Roasted Rolled Pork Shoulder

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I enjoy having a roast on over the weekend, it feeds us well and gives me cold meat for sandwiches during the week and the house smells like a home!

I find that the cheaper cuts of meat really LOVE long slow cooking, although this shoulder  has had it’s bone removed it still benefits from slower cooking and you can still have the crackling too. I like to aim for “spoonable” meat with these cuts, literally falling apart, in fact, the string and crackling are the only things holding this shoulder together, yummy! Serves 6 plus leftovers.

While the oven is on you can utilise the heat to roast some beetroot for the beetroot and chocolate brownies or wrap some medium to large potatoes in foil and serve these baked potatoes with your roast.

Ingredients

2kg piece of boned pork shoulder, skin on and scored, the butcher can do this for you.

a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, oregano and parsley, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 onion, sliced into 1cm rounds, do not separate the layers

250mls white wine

250mls water

salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Centigrade.

Take the shoulder and open with the skin down.

Rub the garlic all over the flesh side of the meat, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.

Take some cooking twine and cut into six 30cm lengths. Place a chopping board vertically on your work surface, the idea is that the cooking twine will follow the same lines as the scoring on the skin.

Space the six pieces of twine on your board, spacing them a couple of centimetres apart. Lay the shoulder on top.

Now, if you are really lucky you will have a willing helper to help with the stringing up.I don’t use any fancy knots, a Grannie knot will do the trick here!

I tend to start on the central strings and work my way out, it’s ok if your twine/string goes into the cuts on the skin.

Work your way up and down the strings until they are all done. Cut off the tails of the string.

Now, sprinkle some more salt on the skin and rub it in well, this will help your crackling.

In your roasting pan, spread out the onion, this will work as a rack for your meat.

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Pop the meat on top and whack in the oven for 30mins, this seals your meat.

Now turn the oven down to 160degrees centigrade, add the wine and water to the roasting tin and cover with tin foil. Pop back in the oven for 5-6hrs.

Turn the oven back up to 220 degrees Centigrade and roast for a further 30mins to allow the skin to crackle, keep an eye on it, you may need to turn the pan around but it’s easy to burn the skin so be watchful!

Take the meat out and set aside, covered in foil while you get on with the gravy.

Add 500mls water to the roasting tin and slowly heat on the stove top, using a spoon, scrape the pan to get all the sediment off, bring to the boil.

Seive and pour into your gravy boat/jug. I don’t tend to thicken this gravy, however, you can with a paste made of corn flour and water.

To do this, seive the gravy into a clean pan. In a bowl combine 4 tablespoons of cornflour with enough water to make it into a cream like consistency.

Add the corn flour mix to the pan and stirring constantly bring up to the boil. It  will appear “milky” initially and once the gravy has thickened it will return to its original dark colour.

Serve with baked potatoes and some greens.

 

 

Flapjack

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My boys LOVE flapjack!

Today I decided to teach my eldest the secrets of flapjack making, it’s so easy I thought we would be on to a winner.

Unfortunately, he went outside to play and left the oven timer in the house so the first batch was incinerated, as I often get distracted and burn stuff I really couldn’t complain!

The second batch worked a charm and he has sampled a fair amount of it already.

This is wheat free but please be aware that there is still gluten in the oats so this is not gluten free.

This makes 24 squares.

Ingredients

225g butter

75g syrup

100g brown sugar

125g granulated sugar

275g porridge oats

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade.

Grease and line a 30 by 23cm roasting tin.

In a large pan melt the butter, syrup and sugar.

Once melted, take off the heat and stir in the oats, make sure they are all well mixed.

Tip into the prepared tin, push out to the edges and level out.

Bake for 30-35mins.You are aiming for golden brown, much darker and you will break a tooth on it so keep a close eye on it.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10mins, mark out your portions and allow to cool completely.

Once cool cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Grannie’s Gluten Free Fruit Cake

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When I was diagnosed with coeliacs disease my Mum, on the other side of the world, started wracking her brain for recipes that she had shared with one of her coeliac friends.

This was the first one she sent me and it was her mum’s recipe!

I use a generic premixed gluten free plain flour for this and gluten free baking powder, you can swap these for the regular stuff too.

The large amount of fruit makes this a moist cake which doesn’t look or taste different to a regular fruit cake.

I soak the fruit in hot tea to soften it up and make it moister, a wee drop of brandy works well too, it begins to remind me of Christmas Cake when the booze starts baking!

Start the night before.

Ingredients

175g caster sugar

175g butter, at room temperature

225g gluten free plain flour

1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

3 eggs, beaten

450g dried fruit, currants, raisins, sultanas

90mls hot tea

zest of 1 orange

Method

The night before, place the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the hot tea, stir and cover and leave overnight.

Preheat oven to 180degrees Centigrade.

Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.

In a large bowl cream the sugar and butter until light.

Slowly add the eggs  beating between additions.

Add the sieved flour and baking powder.

Add fruit and zest.

Fill tin and level out.

Bake for one and a half hours, check with a skewer that it’s cooked through.

Allow to cool in the tin.

Cauliflower Cheese

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Cauliflower cheese is a must with corned beef!

I tend to make double quantity of sauce as it freezes well for an easy pasta bake another night. You can also double the quantity of cauliflower and sauce as it freezes well.

If I am making extra Cauliflower cheese I freeze it in a foil BBQ tray, lazy I know, but it means fewer dishes another night! Cover with foil and label clearly, something I often forget to do!

If you are making this as gluten free, double check your English mustard is gluten free, I’ve been caught out by mustard before.

To  make this with regular flours just omit the corn flour and rice flour and use plain flour instead.

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 serves.

Ingredients

I medium cauliflower, stalk and leaves removed,  broken into florets

50g butter

25g corn flour

25g rice flour

600mls milk

1 teaspoon English mustard

150g Tasty (mature Cheddar) cheese, grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Bring a large pan of salted water up to the boil, add the cauliflower and simmer for 10-15 mins, it is best a little al dente rather than mush.

Drain well and place in an oven proof dish, large enough to spread the cauliflower out to single but well packed layer.

In a medium pan melt the butter.

Add the flours and cook over medium heat for two minutes.

Add the milk and whisk continuously until thickened.

Add mustard and cheese, reserve some cheese for sprinkling on top, stir until melted.

Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well in.

Pour over Cauliflower and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 mins until cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve with corned beef and mashed potatoes.

Corned Beef

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Corned beef is so handy, use this recipe one night and then leftovers for sandwiches, corned beef hash or corned beef cakes.

I serve it with mashed potatoes and cauliflower cheese, pop left over  cauliflower cheese in the freezer, left over mash can become potato scones, recipe to follow!

Ingredients

1.5kg piece of corned beef, my butcher does a girello cut

40g brown sugar

60mls red wine vinegar

6 peppercorns

1 onion, pealed and quartered

3 garlic cloves, peeled

3 bay leaves

Method

Pop your beef into a large pan. Add sugar, vinegar, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves and garlic.

Fill the pan with cold water to cover the meat. The meat will likely bob to the surface so put an old saucer,  not your finest, over the top to weigh it down and keep under the liquid.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Once cooked it will be tender. Keep in the liquid until serving, can be served hot or cold.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies

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Now, trust me in this, these are delish! Yes, there is a sneaky bit of beetroot here but the kids will never notice and it really adds to the recipe.

I often bake for the boys but sometimes I fancy some baking for us as a family and that means it has to be gluten free for me. To make these non gluten free omit almonds, rice flour and baking powder and use 150g self raising flour instead.

I cook the beetroot when I have the oven on for something else, wrap the whole beetroot in foil, root tip, skin and shoots included. Depending on size it may take 1-2hours.

This mix makes 16-20 pieces depending on how you cut it up.

Ingredients

250g cooked, peeled beetroot, grated

250g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

250g butter

250g sugar, granulated or caster is fine

3 eggs

100g ground almonds

50g rice flour

1teaspoon gluten free baking powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Grease and line  the base and sides of a 20 by 28cm tin.

In an oven proof bowl, combine the butter and chocolate, pop in the oven to melt. Keep an eye on it and stir a few times as it begins to melt. You could do this in a microwave or over water. Set aside.

Whisk the egg and sugar until light in colour and mousse like, this helps get some extra air in for the gluten free recipe.

Slowly add the chocolate mix, whisk well in.

Add the almond meal, rice flour and gluten free baking powder, fold in.

Add the beetroot gently and fold in.

Pour into prepared tin, level out and pop in the oven.

Bake for 40-50mins, I like my brownies on the gooey side.

Allow to cool in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Serve on their own or have a wee treat, serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Lentil Soup

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I love soup, a meal in a bowl served with bread, simple satisfying food.

This soup is loved by children, full of flavour and a few hidden carrots! It is also great for school lunches, lots of goodness packed in to their thermos!

This recipe makes 4 litres, enough to serve 10-12 depending on your bowl size and whether you choose to water it down a bit! I always freeze half, it freezes really well and gives me an occasional night off!

Ingredients

2 ham hocks

1 onion, chopped roughly

1kg carrots, peeled and chopped

splash of olive oil

400g/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper

Method

In a large stock pot or pressure cooker, place the ham hocks and add 2.5litres water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour if using a stockpot. In a pressure cooker bring up to pressure and cook for 30mins.

Drain with a sieve over a large bowl or jug to catch all of the stock.

Once the hocks have cooled, strip off the meat, chop finely and set aside.

In a large pan, a  6 litre pan works well, warm a splash of olive oil and add onions and carrots, cook until onions are soft.

Skim any fat off the stock, make the stock up to 3 litres with water, add stock to the onion and carrot mix, stir and add the lentils.

Add the hock meat and bring up to the boil, simmer gently for 30-40mins when the carrots should be soft and the lentils falling apart.

Allow to cool slightly and then, using a hand held blender, liquidize completely. If using a liquidizer let the soup cool right down, soup splashes really burn!

Season well, we enjoy lots of pepper in this soup.

Serve with some nice crusty bread.

For a vegetarian version, omit the hock and use vegetable stock, add 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 4 teaspoons ground coriander while cooking the onions and carrots.

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