Pork with a serious, devilishly good (chocolaty!!) twist

If you’re anything like me you will think chocolate and wine are thee very  bestest inventions in the whole entire wide universe. Fact.

They are delicious together. Or separately. For breakfast (well maybe not the wine), brunch, lunch or tea. When you’re happy, sad, bored, stressed or just feel like you deserve a treat. I honestly don’t know what I would ever do if, in a desert island type situation, I had to choose between The Fella and a chocolate-red-wine combo. I’d certainly need a glass of wine to help me mull it over, I may need several in fact.

But… what if you mix these two yummie ingredients with something totally left of field, something completely unusual, something like pork? Am I blowing your mind?! I hope so because this dish is very very special indeed.

This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends, and it has been a major hit since the first time I made it a few years ago. Initially people are very reluctant to try it, but after a little coaxing and a taste, it gets gobbled up quicker than you can say: but chocolate isn’t supposed to be for dinner! Of course, you don’t actually taste the chocolate; it just adds a beautiful richness and sweetness to the sauce. Midweek dinner this ain’t, this is RICH and filling and unusual, but totally delicious. So I urge to mix it up a bit this weekend and try it, I guarantee you’ll love it, or your money back.

Sweet and sour pork with raisins, pine nuts and chocolate

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Rosemary and pine nut semolina cookies

Are you a Barry’s or a Lyons drinker yourself?

This is a question that can polarise Irish people. Friendships can be made or broken on the answer; in fact, it’s a question you should ask any potential partner straight up. It’s pretty much a deal breaker.

I am of course, talking about tea. Irish people can take tea very seriously indeed.

I am a Barry’s woman myself. I grew up in a Barry’s drinking household and I’ll stay a Barry’s woman until the day I die. Lucky for me, The Fella doesn’t drink tea at all, so we didn’t have to have the Barry’s versus Lyons debate. Instead we’ll have to discuss more trivial things, like what country to bring our kids up in and stuff.

Anyway, I love tea, but I love tea dunkers even more. I got the idea for these particular dunkers from the beautiful 101 Cookbooks website, but I have to admit, I didn’t follow Heidi ’s recipe. Instead, I adapted the semolina shortcake cookies I had made for Australia Day (because they were delish!), by adding some rosemary (from my garden) and toasted pine nuts. The result: très dunkable yumness for a classy afternoon tea. Someone stick the kettle on quick….

Rosemary and pine nut semolina cookies

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Pasta with feta, spinach and pine nuts

It’s actually a bit bizarre that in the few months I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve never posted any pasta dishes. The Fella and I eat a LOT of pasta, mainly because it’s cheap (his thumbs up) and quick (my thumbs up). Because don’t you hate it when you’ve had a long day at work and you’re faced with the stupid what to make for dinner dilemma? I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes I find weekday evenings frustratingly short. Some evenings I just want something quick and easy and I don’t like only sitting down to my dinner at 9 o’clock at night. For one thing, that’s when all the good shows start. Hence, pasta it is.

You would not believe the number of “pasta surprise” recipes we have, The Fella is especially good at these. Basically they consist of whatever we have in the fridge, and thus they are great for avoiding a condition called postworksupermarketrage. This dreadful disorder is particularly prevalent among 20 and 30 something childless professionals, who use their weekends for getting drunk and other irresponsible frivolities and neglect to do basic household tasks, such as shopping. Tut tut tut.

This is a wee step up from pasta surprise, and it is a little beaut of a recipe. I found it in Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen, and I guarantee you can get this on the table in 20 minutes flat. Beat that Jamie Oliver!

Pasta with feta, spinach and pine nuts

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