Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

It has been a while since I last cooked with Curtis Stone. And I'm trying to get rid of the stuff in the fridge/freezer to make way for new/fresh food. I found out that I had a packet of pork chops and it seems like it is pretty easy to make for dinner. So I googled and turns out that Curtis has this nice recipe with pork chops. Bingo!! I'll make that then.
I went to the local market to get some sweet potatoes and apples. Guess what? They have the purple sweet potatoes. They don't have this all the time so I decided to buy them though a lot of people usually steam them to just eat it but to me, yucks! I prefer my food with flavours :)
See my modifications in blue.
4 boneless pork loin chops (each about 7 ounces and 1 inch thick) I used about 6 pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths I cut them into cubes too
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths I used 1 tbsp. dried fennel
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1-inch pieces I used 1 tbsp. dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 450°F 180 degrees celsius. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven and heat until very hot.
  2. To cook the vegetables and apples: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, fennel, and rosemary with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables and apples on it. Roast, turning the ingredients over halfway through, for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the olive oil, then add the chops to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and barely pink when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife.
  6. Transfer to a platter (reserving the oil in the skillet) and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the oil from the skillet, leaving the brown bits in the pan. Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the apple cider, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mustard and simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to lightly thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Divide the sweet potato mixture among four dinner plates. Place a pork chop alongside the vegetables on each plate. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.
Check out the nicely browned pork chops above and the root vegetables. I would say that I rarely cooked these root vegetables so they made a good variation. They were pretty tasty with the seasonings. Further, the pork chops were not too dry with the sauce. But I must say that the sauce is a bit tart. Perhaps in future, I wouldn't use all of the indicated apple cider vinegar?
I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs - Local & Seasonal.
I'm also submitting this post to Cooking with Herbs June 2016 organized by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.
Tea Time Treats Lavender and Lovage

Sunday, May 29, 2016

3 step basic banana loaf

Would you believe me if I say that you don't even need to have a mixer for this? I hope you do because I only used a big bowl and a whisk. That is basically all for the equipment. And it was all I could do after so many happenings going on in my life. Life is just beginning to settle down once again. I'm trying to get the hang of it.
Ok, are you rolling your eyes at this because I've baked too many of the banana breads or banana cakes thingy? Hahaha!! I love to bake them because they are just too easy peasy :P
Anyway let's get down to this easy peasy banana loaf.
225g buckwheat flour (I used 100g spelt flour and 125g rye flour)
220g coconut sugar (I used 150g brown sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup mashed bananas (I used about 4 medium size bananas)
1 egg
140g plain yoghurt (don't use flavoured ones!)
60ml grapeseed oil (I used canola oil)
80ml maple syrup (I used agave syrup)
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 banana, extra, halved
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Add the banana, egg, yoghurt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix to combine. 
  4. Pour into a lightly greased 21cm x 10m x 7cm (1.75-litre-capacity) loaf tin lined with non-stick baking paper I used baking spray and spread it all over the tin and top with the banana halves. 
  5. Cook for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes and then tent it with a foil over the bread for about 10 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  6. Brush with extra maple syrup to serve. Serves 6–8.
Check out the picture above. It may look unappealing but trust me, before I could even get a decent picture of how the bread looks like inside. It was almost all gone. I probably need to bake one more loaf.
I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs - May Potluck.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Stuffed Portobello with Melting Mozarella

This week it is Potluck Week with I Heart Cooking Clubs and we are spoilt for choice as we can choose from 14 chefs!! I have been a very safe home cook so I always choose those that I've cooked with :D This time, I'm cooking something different from Yotam Ottolenghi. Each time, I cooked with him, I seem to love his recipes more and more. They look difficult or complex but really their flavours are very bountiful. Try this simple meatless recipe!

This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. See my modifications/comments in blue.


4 large portobellos, stalks removed (If you use small ones, probably 6 would do)
6 tbs olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 small onion, diced (I used 1 big red onion)
1 celery stalk, finely diced (I used 2 stalks)
2 cups finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbs chopped tarragon leaves (you can use dried ones)
4 tbs coarsely shredded basil leaves
3.5 ounces taleggio, sliced (I used mozarella instead)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an oven tray with baking parchment. 
  2. Place the mushrooms on the tray, tops facing down, drizzle with a little oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 15 10 minutes or so, until the mushrooms begin to soften. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and add the onion and celery. Cook on low heat for five to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the vegetables are soft but have not browned. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, cook for a few minutes more, then remove from the heat and leave to cool down.
  4. Once cool, add the parmesan, some of the basil, and the tarragon, to the mixture and season with freshly ground pepper (you can add a little salt, but not much because taleggio is very salty). I omitted salt as the parmesan was salty enough for me. But if you prefer, salt it accordingly.
  5. Pile the filling on the whole mushrooms and top with the slices of taleggio mozarella. Return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the mushrooms are hot.
  6. Transfer the mushrooms to serving plates and drizzle with some more oil. Garnish with remaining basil and serve straight away, alongside a green salad.

I have to admit these pictures are not so well taken this time. A bit of focus. I blame it on me wanting to eat the mushrooms when they are piping hot. By the way, that filling is a killer!! I can just sit there and eat the filling without anything. Trust me, if you have extra after cooking these portobellos, you wouldn't resist and eat it as it is warm and yummy. Thank you Ottolenghi for this meatless yummy dish!! Mr G says he can eat these anytime too. This is such a big encouragement as he is definitely a meat guy. Anything without meat usually wouldn't get his approval but this one is a SURE GO! Try it.

I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs - April Potluck.