Sat 11 Mar 2006
Having munched our way through the much improved prawn dish we moved on to a lovely piece of roast pork.
The recipe called for pork loin but the butcher was only offering pork loin already cut into chops so I just went for a piece of roasting pork. This was a bit of a mistake in that it was a bit tricky to do the stuffing part, but that mastered, it served perfectly well.
Take your piece of pork and unroll it/flatten it out. Spread the inner with bacon (or pancetta), chilli flakes, crushed garlic, thyme leaves, some grated lemon zest and some olive oil. Roll it all back up, rub with oil and (the skin especially) with salt. Roll it back up, tie with string and leave it to soak up the flavours a bit. The original recipe (from a Sainsbury's magazine) called for leaving overnight but I'm hardly organised enough to have bought meat the day before I want to eat it so it just got a few hours in the fridge.
Pre-heat oven to full bore (around 220 C) and heat some olive oil in your roasting dish. Add pork and cook for 10 minutes before turning and cooking for another 10. Reduce the heat to 170C and add a good glug of dry white wine (we used a sauvignon blanc) and some chicken stock (for our just over 1 kg piece of pork it was about 250 mL of chicken stock). Leave the pork to cook, turning now and then. I think this took just over an hour once I'd turned the oven down - but just stick the knife in and see what happens.
I served this with roast potatoes, roast sweet potato (roasted with thyme) and steamed carrots. The lemon zest in the stuffing is a totally brilliant addition, and obviously, the juices from the pan make a great gravy!
After this we were almost ready for our chocolate fondant (recipe Nigella Lawson, from the Observer Food Monthly a while back, recommended by Tom Aikens). This fondant fulfilled all my requirements for a dessert - you have to be able to finish off the cooking after you've had more than 1 glass of wine. This is easily done as these babies go in the oven for 12 minutes from the fridge, which even the most sozzled should be able to manage.
Melt 350g of best dark chocolate (we used M&S as I was too stingy to fork out on really flash stuff, but it was still good!) in a double boiler and allow to cool. In your food processor cream 50g unsalted butter with 150g caster sugar. Add 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 50g of plain flour. Mix well. When chocolate has cooled add it to the food processor and mix well to create a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into greased AND base lined ramekins, level off as much as you can, and put the little fondants in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 200C and cook fondants for 12 minutes. Loosen and tip out. They should be firm on the outside and lovely and molten in the middle. (If you are going to make and cook straight away preheat the baking tray you'll be cooking them on and only cook for 10 minutes - and well done you on staying sober!).
[Sorry for the slightly blurry nature of these last two pictures ... might have had something to do with some wine ...]
Apparently you should deny yourself the sheer pleasure of licking out your food processor as the mixture will contain (shock) raw eggs. Somehow I made it through childhood doing this so I'm confident I'm going to make it through adulthood continuing to do it. The mixture tastes so good you could almost forget about cooking it.
The fondants don't keep particularly well (I ate the last one last night straight from the fridge and it was a bit hard as the centre had solidified - it still tasted good) so do eat them as soon as you serve them. I don't recommend eating more than one - I did and I felt almost ill afterwards ... it seems that I do have some kind of chocolate threshold after all. And obviously, serve with cream!Sun 12 March 2006
In theory this was the great trip to Anthony's at Flannels
for afternoon tea. However, the unabashed gluttony of Saturday night saw us arrive at Anthony's not having eaten anything all day. And Andy was much taken with the idea of steak, chips and onion rings. Unlike Anthony's proper, Anthony's at Flannels is really catering for all types of occasion and, from what I saw, doing it well. The steak (sirloin), chips & onion rings was just that. I didn't get to try any steak or onion rings although the steak was cooked as ordered and the hand cut chips (so obviously twice cooked in animal fat) were delicious! Still full of fondant I ended up going down the savoury route too and enjoyed the goats cheese cannelloni, served with basil sauce - it was lovely. I had a vague concern that a filling centred on goats cheese would be a bit overwhelming (particularly in the salt department) but it wasn't and the dish as a whole was lovely and light - just what the doctor ordered after the previous night's excess.
I enjoyed my glass of champagne but was a bit disappointed in the Whistling Duck Semillon Chardonnay. I also thought the service was a bit indifferent and, in the case of the wine, a bit lacking (there is only one semillon chardonnary served by the glass so no clarification should have been required). However, the restaurant is lovely and our meal was unhurried and totally enjoyable.
Though somewhat spoiled by Andy telling me I couldn't do this every weekend.