Slow braised pork tagine with cauliflower couscous and apple yoghurt

Dad cooked this for dinner the other day, it was so tasty that he wanted to share it with you. He has adapted it to suit his Paleo Diet by substituting the couscous with ‘cauliflower couscous‘ and has lost about 12 kilos so it’s definitely worth a try!

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Adapted from Hollick Wines

For the slow braised pork

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • butter
  • 2 brown onions (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 heaped dessert spoon ras el hanout spice mix
  • 1 dessert spoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 1 stick celery (diced)
  • 12 green beans, sliced lengthways
  • 1 long red chilli sliced
  • 6 fresh dates, roughly chopped
  • 2kg pork shoulder (cut into large cubes)
  • 1 litre crushed tomato
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ bunch coriander (chopped)
  • ¼ bunch basil (chopped)
  • ½ bunch Italian parsley (chopped)

For the cous cous

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cup green olives (chopped)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • butter
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

For the apple yoghurt

  • 2 cups natural yoghurt
  • 1 large granny smith apple (diced)

Method
Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, ras el hanout, cumin, tumeric, smoked paprika, diced carrot, diced celery, green beans, chilli and dates. Fry until fragrant and vegetables are starting to brown.
Add the pork and stir well to ensure it is coated with the spice and vegetable mixture.
Add the crushed tomato, chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until pork is tender. Stir in the chopped coriander, basil and parsley just prior to serving.

To make the cauliflower cous cous. There are a few ways to cut a big head of cauliflower down to couscous size. You can go at it with a chef’s knife until the cauliflower is chopped to tiny bits or you can pulse the florets in a food processor to break them down. You can also grate the cauliflower spears on the big holes of a cheese grater.

Bring the chicken stock to the boil. Pour the chicken stock over the cous cous. Add the butter and the olive oil and cauliflower and saute for a few minutes until just cooked.
Add the lemon zest and green olives. Stir well and taste. Season with sea salt if necessary. Set aside and reheat before serving.

For the apple yoghurt. Combine the yoghurt and diced apple. Mix well.
To serve. Serve the slow braised pork accompanied by the green olive and lemon cous cous, a generous dollop of the apple yoghurt and a sprinkle of toasted almonds
Enjoy with a glass of Hollick Tempranillo (of course)

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Flapjacks – the M&S kind

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Flapjacks (the English kind, not the pancake kind) have been a hot topic lately. The discussion started at “Why don’t Australians know what flapjacks are?” and turned to sharing recipes and of course a debate about plain vs fruit flapjacks.

I decided to give them a shot, with some guidance from Jen who shared her flapjack recipe with me. They are dead easy to make, however I blasted mine in the oven (as I do with everything) and they turned out crispy rather than chewy. I also found this article in the Guardian on how to cook the perfect flapjacks so I have a few tips to take onboard for next time. And there will be a next time. Oh yes.

 

Jen’s Flapjacks

  • 200gm butter
  • 6 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 80gm Demerara sugar
  • 350gm oats

Mix the oats and sugar in a bowl. 

Melt the butter and golden syrup together and add to oat mixture

Press into a lined baking tray (approx 1 inch thick) and bake in a moderate oven for 25 mins.

Flapjacks recipe

 

 

 

Shakshuka – at Grandma’s Little Bakery

Shakshuka – at Grandma's Little Bakery

–Traditional eggs cooked with our popular tomato & capsicum base served on a hot pan with Grandma’s bread.

I went to Grandma’s Little Bakery in Collector, NSW for the first time on the weekend and really enjoyed it.  The menu is very interesting with Italian, British, Middle Eastern dishes. We went for brunch so of course I couldn’t go past the baked eggs.  I will definitely go back to Grandma’s. It’s only 45 minutes out of Canberra, I might even pop in on the way home from Sydney.

Quick and easy: Apple and berry after-work cake

Last night the sisters watched an episode of Donna Hay’s “Fast Fresh Simple” before heading over to the parents for dinner.

She baked her grandmother’s easy apple and berry cake, which looked delicious – so we decided to give it a crack. To say that she is a precise cook is an understatement, she actually brought out a ruler during one recipe to measure pastry – I’m sure the she would go into a fit if she saw our messy “rustic” attempt at her cake. And here it is!

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ImageThe final product

Donna Hay’s quick and easy apple and berry cake

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cups castor sugar
  • 125gm butter, softened
  • vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • raw sugar, to sprinkle on top

Method:

Beat all of the ingredients apart from the apple and blueberries in a mixer.

Pour cake batter into a lined springform cake tin

Scatter the apple and berries on top

Sprinkle with raw sugar and pop into a 180 degree over for around 45mins.

(note: this was baked in mum’s super duper fan forced oven, so we baked it at 160degrees)

Lazy Sunday: Aunty Vicky smoked trout tart (with a spelt crust!)

 

Thought I’d quickly write down the recipe for a little something I made up on Sunday. It’s called the “Aunty Vicky tart” because it reminded us of Fred’s aunty. Funny that?

This recipe evolved as I remembered reading somewhere that in France you should always use creme fraiche in a quiche rather than cream. I also wanted to attempt to make a spelt pastry using Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry recipe. Put the two together along with some leftovers in the fridge and you’ve got a smoked trout tart!

Why spelt? I’ve been making these fantastic spelt crackers by Jill Santopietro and have a load of spelt flour in the cupboard. Surprisingly, I’ve loved everything that I’ve made from spelt thus far! I used wholemeal spelt, however you could use white or mix it up – I’ve also mixed it with coconut flour with a good result …

Tip: As usual my measurements aren’t very exact. Basically I bought a small carton of sour cream, dished out 2 tablespoons for the pastry and used the remainder in the tart – hope that helps!

SPELT PASTRY (LOOSELY ADAPTED FROM MAGGIE BEER)

1 cup of spelt flour of choice (I used wholemeal spelt)

1 large tablespoon of butter

2 generous tablespoons of sour cream

iced water

salt

Rub the butter into the flour until course breadcrumbs form.

Add in the sour cream and salt. Mix together, then add iced water until the mixture forms a soft dough, similar to play dough.

Roll out into a thin round, directly on to your baking paper then plonk the whole thing into a tart tin or a cake tin.

Blind bake in a 180 degree oven for 15 minutes.

AUNTY VICKY SMOKED TROUT TART

1 smoked trout

250mls of sour cream (or the remainder of your carton or tub used for the pastry)

4 eggs

Half a bunch of thyme

Salt and pepper

Half a red onion, diced

Parmesan cheese, grated (or cheese of your choice)

Squeeze of lemon

Lightly whisk the sour cream, eggs and salt and pepper in a bowl.

Remove skin and bones from trout, then flake into the egg mixture.

Add thyme, onion and cheese to your liking.

Pour the mixture into the cooled pastry case. Top with more cheese and herbs if you wish.

Bake in a 180 degree oven for around 25 minutes.

Make your own coconut milk at home

Inspired by our recent trip to Thailand, I was taken by the importance of fresh coconut milk in Thai cooking – you can taste the difference! David Thompson also stresses this too in his Thai Street Food book so I thought I’d give it a go. David’s recipe uses fresh coconut but unfortunately there were no coconuts to be seen, so I used shredded coconut instead.

In a nutshell, shredded coconut (bought in a huge bag from a Thai shop in Chinatown), cover it with hot water and allow to soak for 10 mins. Blend. Strain.

Fresh coconut milk (no excuses!)

Ingredients:

2 cups of shredded coconut

3 cups of hot water

Have on hand:

blender

muslin or cheesecloth

 

The desiccated coconut and hot water mixture
The desiccated coconut and hot water mixture

Step 1: Soak

Cover the shredded coconut with hot water. I used a half/half mixture of boiling water from the kettle and water from the tap. As you can see, the coconut soaks up all of the water! (don’t worry, it’s still there – but difficult to see in this photo)

Step 2: Blend

I blended it for around 5 minutes with our crappy stick blender. I just blended until I could see a coconut cream like liquid forming in the bowl.

Makeshift cheesecloth strainer
Makeshift cheesecloth strainer

Step 3: Strain.

Eek! Got to this stage of the recipe and realised I needed cheesecloth! In lieu of having cheesecloth or muslin at hand (or even a clean chux!) around – I strained the mixture in a calico bag. As you squeeze and squeeze it’s rewarding to see actual coconut milk pouring in to the bowl.

(at this stage I can hear David Thompson crying in disgust, as I’ve used a metal bowl – which isn’t recommended. I didn’t leave it in there for long though, it didn’t seem to have an effect on the final result)

The final result - glossy coconut milk!
The final result – glossy coconut milk!

Step 4: Settle

Leave the mixture for around 20 minutes and watch the coconut cream form on top. I scooped the creamy part off the top of the mixture into a jug and used it in both the curry and some sticky rice for dessert.

Leave it to settle and allow the cream to form on the top
Leave it to settle and allow the cream to form on the top

And there you have it peeps – coconut milk! Not as easy as opening a can, but it tastes 100 times better than the inside of a can ☺

My handy tip: use a proper blender and cheesecloth and you could easily whip up a batch in 30mins including soaking time.