The Humble Pork Chop

I’ve spent many hours in the past working on the food and photos to accompany a post for this blog. However, I’m prone to forget about my good intentions until a weekly photo challenge arrives on a Friday afternoon. The title for this post has been sitting dormant since early in the month.

So, why not show you a gallery and tie it to this week’s challenge? After all, you’ll have to agree with me, if you’ve enjoyed a simple yet great feed then you must surely have had a good day! (The photos are sequential so click on them for the captions, from left top onward!)

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Inspiration!

Food, for so many, is the inspiration for many of life’s activities! Just think of all the TV programs dedicated to food and it’s production. Think of all the books and magazines, the recipes you see that may spark an idea. I often find inspiration just by seeing a word or picture. A word like peri-peri… combine that with chicken.

Lemon and garlic… combine that with fish. Whatever you enjoy, there can be little as satisfying as a great bit of food cooked to perfection on the braai! But, before we get meat to the bbq we first have to prepare the marinade… even the colours are inspiring!

The colours are inspiration enough to get one salivating! ;-)

Close UP…

I’ll have to confess… I’ve neglected this blog!! If I’d paid as much attention to my eating habits I’d long be dead. So… why don’t I show you a loving close up… ala Floyd, of the makings of a lemon, herb and honey chicken marinade I’ve been working on in the last while… fun!

Lemon, herb and honey marinade... super scrumptious!!

Chicken Like Nando’s?

I’ve had a craving for Nando’s for a while now. We do have a franchise a few miles away but I’m never there so my craving remains… until you find a recipe to make your own. So, the internet’s box of tricks again came up with the goods. Do click here to see the recipe I based my makings on.

I had a bright moment and part cooked the chicken on the braai in the foil tubs (covered with foil). This meant the pieces were evenly cooked through so they didn’t need too much fiddling on the hot coals!!

Lessons Learned?

  • when I do this recipe again I’ll have the pieces smaller and won’t part cook them quite as long at this time
  • I’ll make the hot mix hotter… there was too little Tabasco and chilly in this mix!
  • as always… try and marinade the meat as long as possible… in this case 24 hours would have been better than the 15 I had at my disposal…

Something Simple

On the odd occasion, when the need arises and Senior Son nags enough, I’ll make French toast. This is usually a weekend brunch hit in the house. It’s really so simple yet it always goes down a treat. You can add extra toppings if you wish, Marmite… grated cheese, sliced tomato… I suppose you could even dice bacon, ham or salami on top.

The mix couldn’t be easier, eggs, lots of milk so you get a thin consistency after beating for a few minutes. Add salt, pepper, dried herbs to taste, heat oil in a pan, dunk 2 slices of white bread in the mix before frying until golden brown, repeating the process until the mix is all used. Simple!

French toast... good for a weekend brunch treat...

Lamb Cutlets in Cider and Apple Marinade

OK… before you shout at me… cutlets, that’s what we used to call leg of lamb chops back in the old country… well, that’s what I think we used to call them. So, if you do a Big G search for lamb cutlets you see the images of the cuts with the ribs sticking out. Rather search “leg of lamb chops” to see what I’m really on about… or, be patient and read on. OK… back to the tale.

I think you’ll have to agree with me when I say lamb on the braai is special. Yep, so special that we often enjoy lamb ribs done on the coals. There’s an extra fun element to the ribs… well, as my GLW usually adds… it may be a little barbaric. And therein lies a wee problem. My GLW doesn’t enjoy the primeval. This got me thinking… why not ask Esquire Ryan, our main meat man, to mutilate a leg of lamb? Cut it into chops? He looked at me as if I sported at least four heads… one pig, one sheep, one bull and maybe even one snake.

The good man was heard to be mumbling something along the lines of sacrebleu as he went noisily about ransacking his cold-room! I have to qualify one thing… JR is a purest! He doesn’t have one of those “meat master” band-saw type of machines in his shop… all knife and saw, our JR. Maybe that’s why he’s not prone to selling leg of lamb all cut up but then, he shouldn’t be all cut up because I wanted a leg cut up… or should he?

Phew… writing recipes is hard work. I’ve not managed to progress past the butcher’s and I’ve already managed almost 300 words! Imagine if I was paid per word. OK, I’m not… so let me get on with proceedings. As I said in the distant past when this post began, I wanted the good lady and grand dad to enjoy their lamb as well… in a more sophisticated manner. However, I wanted the best possible cut… minimum bone, maximum flavour and succulence.That’s why I asked Esq JR to do his mutilation.

Right, the recipe. As is my norm, a bit of Big G searching usually gets me pointed in some sort of direction. I searched “apple and lamb” and was soon rewarded with this recipe. It needed tweaking, I decided. Why, well… I don’t like curry but I like spicy. Secondly, there was no mention of garlic… tragic in any man’s culinary world… well, some ladies are fond of the herb as well. One such lady is the GLW, so garlic is a must.

I wasn’t sure about the sugar but thought I have nothing to lose. I wasn’t sure about anything really but if you’ve been visiting this blog you’ll know I’m never too shy or sanctimonious to try something new. A few other things the recipe doesn’t mention… apples and cider. Yep, I have looooong believed that if the two go so well with me then they must go well with lamb. Something like steak and a splosh of good red grape cordial.

My recipe?

  • One red onion, chopped finely
  • Garlic, as much as you desire, remembering not to overpower the lamb
  • One chopped hot chilli… or two if you so feel
  • Two smallish Granny Smith apples, quartered and grated
  • My mix of spice (coriander, black pepper, cloves)
  • Dry powder ginger (I didn’t have fresh stuff on hand)
  • One cup apple juice
  • One cup cider… apple cider, not that other imitation stuff
  • Half cup olive oil
  • Dry herbs of your choice and to your taste… thyme, rosemary, the stuff that goes with lamb
  • Rock salt ground, to taste
  • Half cup soft brown sugar
  • Two lemons, one squeezed into the marinade, the other for using while you braai
  • A bit of time and effort… not forgetting a slurp or three of cider

Tip: Leave the skin on the apple, you can actually grate the flesh out of the peel without managing to make messy red stains all over the apples!

Gosh, that’s now taken the word count well over 650 and I’ve not showed you a photo yet! Let’s remedy that…

Some of the staples...

Mind you, I’m prone to forget adding things when I take the photos… usually I’m so engrossed in supping the refreshments… sorry, preparing the ingredients that I snap without too much thought.

Grand… now you can at least get an idea of what goes in… sans lemons and sugar. You’ll have to look carefully to spot the cider, but then… this is a family show so we shouldn’t lead the youngsters astray.

At some point the fire needs lighting. Usually Junior Son takes care of that aspect so when he was away playing a Friday evening game of cricket I had to multi-task. As mentioned, I miss adding ingredients when modeling the photos and so do I miss showing all the stages so, now you’re going to see what it looked like once the chops were snugly soothed by the completed marinade…

Lovingly prepared... ok, enthusiastically prepared!

… yes, I know what you’re thinking… surely nothing good can arise from that concoction! Wrong!

Eventually, we arrive at the point of truth… the braai. At this juncture I’ll suggest you scroll down to the photo in the previous post where you see the large green thing providing shelter… yes, seemingly the Celtic weather fairies were not too pleased that I was at my favorite pastime again. Just look-see at this sky… you’d have to agree.

Angry sky? More likely confused sky!

I purposely used the roof and chimney as reference when I took the photo because otherwise folk may think this image is CG! No, it’s not!

Right… now will follow very few words and a sequence… oh, make that a wee gallery, of the braai…

After all those words… here’s a look at the end result! Soon we’ll have to get our hands on those large, elongated restaurant plates…

Better, BETTER! Flipping great!

If you’re wondering about the very pale potato salad… shop special as this whole process happened on a Friday evening after work… we ate after nine… yep, I was still standing in the butchers at about five.

So, the moral of the story?

  • The marinade is great, do try and make it the evening before and get the flavours to really infuse! (Gosh, I’m starting to sound as pompous as that Oliver fella…)
  • How about a de-boned leg of lamb?
  • The original recipe suggests using the left over marinade to make a sauce… yep, that’s happening next time!
  • Don’t be too holy about the cut… it will all be good, even in the oven, me thinks! Slow roast in the darkest days of winter? Yep!!
  • No, the ribs got a separate treatment… but more of that later…

Finally, as I occasionally use Hemingway#s wise words when writing on the other blog… why not leave you with the thoughts of another of my hero’s… the inimitable Sir Keith Floyd,

“I apparently said that celebrity cooks are so up their own bottoms that they do not realise that food should be fun, not a station waiting for a train to arrive to take them to a destination to learn how to cook”

For a great Floyd read… do click here!

Fish, Glorious FISH!! And Don’t Forget The Prawns!!

OK… I’ve shown you how to burn the grid clean… I’ve even shown you a 2 prawn taster. Now I’ll show you the whole thing. A week or so ago a friend at work told of stopping off in Howth to buy some fresh sea bass. He bbq’ed the fish and while he was relating the story I think both of us were salivating. Him at the memory of his experience and me at the reminders of many a fish braais back in the bad old SA.

Then, to my delight, I found out last Saturday that we weren’t required for taxi duties until late afternoon so I convinced the special one that we should head off to Howth, for a walk and to get ourselves a few fish to throw on the braai. I’ll confess, in all the years in Ireland I have NEVER braaied fish! Time then, for things to change. We enjoyed our walk-about on the Howth Head… taking in the scenery and happily snapping away like tourists. Well, I can get away with it because of my strong SA accent. So, it’s easy to blend in and act dumb.

OK, back to the story. We visited one of Dublin’s famous fisheries… and walked away with 5 fish and about half a kilo of prawns. All for a few cents less than 30 yo-yo’s! Oh, don’t forget the massive lemon. Back home, I doctored the ingredients while the good lady went off to acquire the makings of a few salads, and her delectable creamed mushrooms.

You may wonder why so little prawns. It’s really only me who eats them, Granddad and Junior Son will usually have a few each but mostly the job of devouring the pink tails falls upon my frail shoulders. OK, enough waffle… here’s the gallery. Before I get going though… not good tourists we turned out to be… not a single photo of the inside or outside of the fish merchant’s place… so, as advertising I’ll have to show you the carrier bag I set off with…

Lessons learned?

  1. Kick self’s posterior, repeatedly… for waiting this long to braai fish!
  2. The GLW is warming to prawns… next time I’ll shell them and let her enjoy them in a salad
  3. Maybe it will be wise covering the fish with a lid to cook evenly…
  4. Refer to lesson 1…
  5. Try other fish on the braai as well… the sea bass is a tad bony! Nothing like a good shad on the braai!
  6. Refer to lesson 1

PS – The rain lashed down at one point… but there’s nothing top stop a Saffer braaiing!!

your's truly braving the elements... again!

Oh well… this makes it all worthwhile! The GLW posted this on her FB page… to great response!

Not too shabby, even if I may say so myself!