Slow-cooked Orange Spiced Pork

Hello and brrrrr…!

So, it seems that winter is here in all its glory. Freezing mornings and nights, with chilly yet sunny days and we just had a very, very cold weekend…
I sound a bit like the weather man, don’t I..?

Anyways, it’s that time of year when we crave warm comfort foods, usually in the shape of one-pot-meals or something baked and cheesy and carby… So if you’re trying to stay good and on the Banting or Paleo path, it’s really not that difficult! Ok fine, we all crave those carby things in winter, but you can still indulge in some serious comfort food, while sticking to your eating plan.

I’m totally in love with oranges at the moment, they’re in season and packed with vitamins. Yes, they contain sugar and so strictly speaking not quite an eat-as-much-as-you-can item on the Banting list, but just use them in moderation.
Oranges and spices can transform almost any food into a warm, rich winter staple…

Here is my recipe for slow-cooked orange spiced pork:

You will need:
+- 1kg Pork chops or stew cuts
1 orange {half of it thickly sliced! the other half juiced}
3 cloves
3 star anise
1 tsp honey
2 cups chicken stock
1 cinnamon quill
1 tbs soy sauce
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 butternut, diced and cooked

{You will need a slow cooker / crock-pot for this recipe, although you could also make it in a large, heavy bottomed pot.}

The thing I love about using a slow cooker, is that you literally just place everything into the pot, switch it on and hours later you have a fab meal. The downside of using a slow cooker is that you don’t get that lovely browned meat flavour into the food, unless you brown the meat before putting it into the cooker. With this recipe, I don’t brown the meat first, I do it at the end by placing everything under the grill. This gives everything a slightly caramelised effect.

Enough babbling…

Start by placing the meat in the bottom of your slow cooker and just pack everything on top and around:
Place the cloves, star anise, cinnamon and ginger around the meat.
Season with salt. Combine the soy sauce, honey and orange juice and pour over the meat. Place the orange slices, as well as the half of squeezed orange on top and around everything.
Add the stock and let it cook on high for about 4 hours.
Once the meat is cooked {the meat will be cooked but the fat not rendered and still bleak-looking}, remove and dish it into an oven dish.
Drizzle some of the juices over the meat and place the orange slices on top, again. Add chunks of the cooked butternut and make sure everything has a drizzle of juices…
Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until everything is golden and some bits start to get charred.

Enjoy as is, with a glass of dry red of course! You can also add a few bits of mini lettuce or a micro salad, but let’s face it, who wants salad on a freezing night?!
I think it would also work with cauli-mash…


Winter Warmer Soup

What better soul food for cold winter nights than soup?
I could never make soup for the life of me! My mother makes the most delicious, hearty soups and I would always try my hand at it, but could never get it right…
It would usually taste like tepid dishwater with a few veggies floating around in it! Am I making you salivate yet..? Hehe! Well, thankfully I’ve learnt a thing or two and can now make a decent {and rather tasty, if I may say so myself!} soup.
Here’s my delicious recipe for a hearty cauliflower, chicken & bacon soup:

You will need:
2 chicken carcasses {cooked, leftover from roast chicken, with some meat still on the bone}
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Coconut oil
2 bay leaves
3 peppercorns
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
250g streaky bacon
3 sprigs of thyme
1 cup of cream

Start by sautéing the onions in coconut oil until soft, then add the celery and onions. Sauté a bit more and then add the chicken, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and enough water to cover the chicken halfway.
Let it all simmer away happily for a few hours. Taste it and season with salt accordingly.
{I didn’t use any stock, because the chicken creates the stock, but you could use it if you wanted to.}

Once the broth has properly mingled and the chicken has started to fall off the bone, add the cauliflower florets and cook until tender.
In the meantime, place the bacon in an oven tray and grill until cooked. Let it cool and then chop into bits. Don’t discard the fat!

When the cauliflower is cooked, carefully remove it from the broth and blitz it with a stick blender until smooth. Add the cream and blitz it again.
Add the cauliflower to the broth and stir it through. Add the bacon and drizzle with the fat.

Perfect for a cold winter’s night – it’s so filling and oh-so-comforting! The kids loved it too.
Enjoy! X

Courgette Gratin

From The Real Meal Revolution, this courgette gratin is a goodie!
Rich, creamy, garlicky goodness – it’s the perfect accompaniment to any meat dish and packed full of goodness & flavour.

You will need:
800g courgettes, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and squashed
250ml cream
100g butter
A handful of thyme sprigs
1 onion, roughly chopped
Hard cheese, like pecorino or Parmesan
Salt & pepper

Place the courgettes, onions, garlic and thyme in an oven dish, toss it all together and press it down into the dish.
Season with salt and pepper.
Dollop the butter on top and pour over the cream.
Bake at 150C for about an hour and a half, then sprinkle with cheese and grill until the cheese has melted.

Great with chicken, great with a steak, it’s one of those dishes that is so yummy and memorable – a must-make!

Enjoy! X

Meatless Monday Melanzane

Meatless Monday? What’s that..?! Just kidding.
If you’re looking for a comforting, filling dish that is also meatless and tasty, well this is the dish – Melanzane Parmiggiano.
It ticks all the boxes:
Tasty – check.
Rich and warm – check.
Cheesy – check.
Filling and comforting – check.
{Of course, you can also have it as a side dish with a scrummy roast chicken}

You will need:
2 large aubergines, sliced
Olive oil
Tinned tomatoes
Tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
Sweet basil leaves, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Salt & pepper
Peppadew spice
Garlic, finely chopped {2 cloves}

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and grill in a pan until both sides are golden. Once all the aubergine slices are cooked, set these aside.
Using the same pan {I hate doing dishes and loading the dishwasher, so I use as little pots & pans as possible!}, heat some more olive oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste {2 tbs} and let it all caramelise.
Add the tin of tomatoes, a few thyme sprigs and chopped basil. Season with salt & pepper and let it reduce slightly to a nice and rich tomato sauce.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
In a large casserole, place a layer of aubergine slices and season with peppadew spice. Add a layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle with both cheeses.
Add another layer of aubergines, season, add sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake this in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and has formed a golden brown crust.

Enjoy with a salad and a nice glass of vino! {No reason to go meatless AND wineless..!}