What I smuggled back from Amsterdam…

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I recently had the pleasure of a mind-blowing long weekend in Amsterdam with friends. While I was there, my eyes were opened to many strange and shocking things, the most innocent of these being what I discovered in a coffee shop. No, not that coffee shop, but an actual Starbucks.

Alongside the sugar and sweetener offered for you to add to your coffee, there were also sachets of honey! Oh, how the Dutch live! Here in England, you’re lucky if that’s offered free in a hotel!! Naturally, I stuffed a fistful straight into my handbag with neither hesitation nor logic, and took it away with me.

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A few days after returning home, I discovered these delights were still floating around in the vortex of my handbag. By coincidence, I also had a couple of pork steaks to cook, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them. And so, Honey-baked Pork Steak was born!

I have also recently been inspired by some Spanish ways of cooking- namely the common use of raw tomato and garlic, particularly in a new favourite of mine called Salmorejo. This played some small inspiration on the salad that accompanied these tasty steaks. A fine combination indeed!

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Pork, chorizo and Couscous Tagine

IMG_3606Sometimes, the best meals are the ones filled with ingredients and elements that remind you of the people who make you smile. Now frankly, I don’t think I could make just one dish that reflects ALL the people in my life who make me happy, but this tagine is a good start!

First, tagines will always and forever remind me of my dear friend, Stephen Swinnerton. They are his signature, his territory. The first one he ever made for me was beef and the tenderness blew me away. The most recent one he made me was pork, at which point I sussed this tenderness was no fluke, but a delicious result of the patience and care that goes into tagine cooking! He bought me my own for Christmas and it’s been kicking around for a while. Finally, the time arrived for me to give it a go with a few special ingredients of my own!

Within the ingredients list are the other special elements that remind me of people who make me smile. There is the chorizo and oregano, given to me by the fabulously Spanish Diana Requena, and the chillis, carefully grown to an adorable size here in our home by my father! Finally, I experimented with a little chipotle paste… Chipotle will always remind me of Eric Cartman.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pork steaks
  • A friendly amount of chorizo- sliced or diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 chillis, chopped
  • 500g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • About 100g of couscous- plain or flavoured, the choice is yours!
  • 2 peppers- red and yellow- diced
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Salt, pepper, oregano and paprika
  • Chipotle paste
  • 1 more carrot, shreddred

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Let’s get cooking!

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THE HOB IS BROKEN!!!

It’s true. Our precious hob cooker is broken, which means certain experimentation is limited and it’s time to get creative with the oven.

Now, I’ve underlined my love for a good sausage casserole in the past, but it’s really more of a winter warmer than something to be tolerated in a summer scorcher. But I had these fine sausages when I barbequed the other day, and everything about their flavour screamed summer! I let the inspiration carry me from there.

Mango Sausage Punch

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