Appetites – Piggin’ out

It’s been a little piggy weekend in our house. Went to market and it squealed all the way home!

Last night I steamed a smoked gammon ham over a bouillon of water, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, chilli flakes and fennel seeds. Steaming keeps the meat nice and moist and I end up with a flavoursome ham stock that forms the basis for my sauce.

Soubise sauce (posh French name for a white onion sauce). Sautéed a banana shallot in a bit of butter with some chopped garlic and dried sage. Didn’t need any salt as it’s in the stock from the ham. Add the stock, reduce, thicken and finish with crème fraiche. Served with braised leeks, carrying on the oniony theme.


Today for lunch I’ve had bacon and tomatoes. We have our “Sunday Lunch” in the evening which tonight is slow roasted duck legs. So a light lunch to keep me going. Had some red Marmande and yellow tomatoes from the greenhouse sautéed in olive oil. Couple of rashers, fried over a very high heat and voila!

We get our bacon from the local market. Dry cured and smoked so none of that watery white stuff that tends to come out of supermarket stuff leaving a brown sticky residue in the pan.

I don’t have a really good grill in this house. My previous cooker had an eye level grill which was brilliant for bacon, steaks etc. It had a rotisserie, so the Sunday joint gave us colour, smell and sound. And taste. Yum!

An electric grill in an oven just doesn’t do the same job. In my catering days we had a Salamander in the kitchens of most of the places I worked in. Massive 3 or 4 foot wide grill, on the wall, with a ridged griddle pan underneath. That is the best there is for me. Unfortunately they don’t do a domestic version. Well if they do it’s not in my price range.


Only Debbie and Andrew’s sausages for me. Their Harrogate sausages are 97% pork so you get what you pay for. Very little rusk and only lightly seasoned. Great for making sausage rolls. Take the skins off, roll out some shop bought puff pastry. Wrap around the sausage meat, into a hot oven for 20-30 mins and serve with red cabbage coleslaw dressed in a mustard mayonnaise and Reggae Reggae Sauce.

Also good for toad in the hole. Try taking the skins off, making into sausage patties, brown off in the tin before pouring over the Yorkshire pudding batter. Thanks Nigella, another good tip.

Roast Pork

Supermarket pork just doesn’t do it for me. Its ok for ribs but that’s about it. Insipid, greyish pink in colour, no fat, filled with water and tough and dry when cooked. Yuck! Try getting a decent bit of crackling out of that.

My favourite is Gloucester Old Spot with a layer of fat 1” thick. Keeps the joint nice and moist and the skin crackles up a treat.

Problem is, it is too expensive for us. As a “rare breed” it is two or even three times the price so it is hardly any wonder that most people won’t buy it. So it is an occasional treat in this house. Never thought I’d see the day that Pork was a rare treat!



Rossa can be reached here. Her other posts can be found from the left sidebar on this site.

7 comments for “Appetites – Piggin’ out

  1. JD
    September 26, 2010 at 18:56

    stop it! I’m drooling

    I’ve seen those Harrogate sausages on the shelves but never tried them. You recommend them all of just the plain pork ones?

  2. September 26, 2010 at 19:35

    Looks fabulous. I had to content myself, this evening, with just a pre-prepared chicken tikka masala, over chopped cabbage, buckwheat and buttered mushrooms.

    I must hear how the duck went.

  3. Pavlov's Cat
    September 26, 2010 at 19:49

    All I can think of is “Where’s the fried egg?”

  4. September 26, 2010 at 20:05

    Oh flippin’ heck Rossa – you bring tears to my eyes and water to my mouth with this . Have pity on a poor Brit in deepest Oklahoma where the bacon is more akin to a toothpick than having any relationship to a pig, and sausages all taste the same – of nothing much.

  5. Rossa
    September 26, 2010 at 20:34

    JD. Yes I would recommend them above all others but then I like a meaty sausage!!

    The skins can split quite easily so nice and slow and easy does it….and on that note, I’m going, as my face is doing a nice impression of a boiled lobster!

  6. September 26, 2010 at 22:19

    ‘watery white stuff’ – same with chicken, if it’s from the supermarket then if you fry it you end up boiling it.

    As the previous poster says, where’s the egg?

  7. ubermouth
    September 27, 2010 at 05:52

    Nevermind the egg, where’s the beans? Surely not having beans is illegal here!?

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