Slow Roasted Pork Belly

This pork belly was slow roasted at quite a high temperature but carefully covered to keep the moisture. For the skin I didn’t have a elaborate technique. I first had it covered to keep in moist and soft. I then grilled it at high temperature to get it crisp.

With the pork I served two types of cauliflower. The first was a puree. Roast cauliflower, garlic in their husk and cut up lemons in an fairly hot oven. Make a puree with the cauliflower and the garlic. Add cream, milk and butter. Taste with salt, pepper and the roasted lemon.

The other was delicate and sweet variant called fiorina that I simply boiled and tossed with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

You will need

  • One piece of pork belly. About 1 kg.
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp, or to taste, of dried chili.
  • Salt.
  • A couple of onions. Cut into pieces.
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic. Cut in thick slices.
  • A glass of white wine.
  • A handful of sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • Water.

Do like this

  1.  Pound the thyme, fennel seeds, chili and salt in a mortal. Season the pork belly all around with the spice blend. Let the pork belly rest at least an hour, preferable over night.
  2. Warm the oven to 175 C.
  3. Take a baking tray that will barely hold the pork belly. In that, fry the onions and garlic in some olive oil seasoned with salt.
  4. Add the white wine and scrape up pieces from the bottom.
  5. Add the pork belly skin side up. Add the thyme and water to cover about two thirds of the pork belly. Season with salt.
  6. Bring to a boil, cover with foil and put in the oven.
  7. It should be done after about three hours.
  8. Remove the foil and pick up the pork belly.
  9. Put the gravy in a separate pan. Remove the thyme, season it and keep it warm.
  10. Grill the pork belly in a hot oven, about 225 C, until the skin is crispy.
  11. Serve pork belly with the gravy and the two types of cauliflower.

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Charred Leeks with Romesco Sauce

This is a dish that is inspired by the Catalan Calçot onions that are grilled and served with Romesco sauce. Here, leeks are charred in a dry skillet and then covered, while they are hot, to let them steam until they are mellow and soft. Serve with a spicy Romesco sauce.

You will need

  • 2 – 3 leeks.
  • A handful each of hazelnuts and almonds
  • One tomato.
  • 5 – 6 cloves of garlic with the skin on.
  • A couple of sprigs of parsley.
  • Chiliflakes and cayenne to taste.
  • Salt.
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar.
  • About 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil.

Do like this

  1. Roast the nuts in a dry skillet.
  2. Cut the tomato in quarters and char it together with the garlic in a dry skillet. Peel the garlic and chop the tomatoes with the skin.
  3. Pound the nuts and garlic in pestle.
  4. Add the tomatoes and vinegar. Taste with salt, chiliflakes and cayenne.
  5. Add olive oil so that you get a chunky but smooth sauce.
  6. Finely chop parsley and add to the sauce.
  7. Clean the leeks and cut the white and pale green part in about 4 cm pieces.
  8. Lightly coat the leeks with olive oil. Season them with salt.
  9. Grill the cut sides of the leeks in a dry skillet until they are nicely charred.
  10. Put the leek on a plate an cover them with foil for about 5 minutes to let them steam.
  11. Serve the leeks with the Romesco sauce.

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Fennel gratin with Pernod

This is a great side dish. The pernod marries with the fennel. The richness of the cream and the freshness of the lemon.

I served it with Mustard and Fennel marinated Chicken. But it would also go really well with fish, like poached Cod.

You will need

  • 1 – 2 bulbs of fennel depending on the size. Thinly sliced.
  • Butter
  • About 1 dl each of cream and milk.
  • 0.5 dl Pernod.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Up to 1 dl bread crumbs.
  • About 1 dl grated parmesan.

Do like this

  1. Warm a oven to 200 C.
  2. Melt some butter in a pan. Add the fennel and salt. Fry until the fennel softens.
  3. Add pernod to the pan. Bring to a boil and burn of the alcohol. Add cream and milk Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  4. Transfer the content of the pan to a buttered oven dish.
  5. Bake the fennel for about 25 minutes.
  6. Top with bread crumbs and parmesan, increase the heat of the oven to 225 and bake until you get a nice colour.

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Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Slowly braised short ribs are really good. The result is like a less gelatinous variant of braised ox cheeks.

For the smoked pork belly in this recipe I used an excellent mild warm smoked variant. Thick slices briefly grill it in a dry pan to get it charred.

I wanted something tangy and savoury to go with the short ribs. A salad with grilled carrots and leeks. Dressing with grilled garlic, dijon mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. The garlic is grilled in their skin until soft and mushed with a knife.

You will need

  • 1 kg short ribs in large pieces on the bone.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 1 carrot, chopped.
  • 1 – 2 sticks of celery. Chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic. Roughly chopped.
  • 1 tbsp flour.
  • Smoked pork belly. 2 chopped slices to the sauce. A couple of thick slices to serve.
  • Olive oil.
  • 1 dried smoked chili. I used serrano.
  • 1 star anise.
  • A couple of cloves.
  • A bouquet garni of fresh thyme, fresh parsley and bay leaf.
  • 1 dl rum.
  • Half a bottle red wine.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.

Do like this

  1. Put the meat in room temperature.
  2. Warm the oven to 125 C
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper and fry the meat in a hot skillet to get good colour.
  4. Put the meat aside, remove most of the fat, lower the temperature and add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and pork belly. Season with salt. Slowly fry until vegetables is soft and has some colour.
  5. Add the flour, stir an fry a couple of minutes.
  6. Put the meat back. Raise the temperature, add the rum, bring to boil and burn of the alcohol.
  7. Add the wine, chili, start anise, clove and bouquet garni. Bring it to boil, put a lid on and put it in the oven.
  8. Let the stew simmer until the meat is fork tender, 3 – 4 hours.
  9. Pick up the meat and strain the sauce. Remove the fat from the surface. Put the meat back in.
  10. Grill the pork belly and add to the stew.
  11. Serve with the carrot salad.

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Grilled Scallops with Jerusalem Artichoke puree and Crispy Pancetta

This is a combination that really works. The trick is to add lemon juice to the Jerusalem Artichoke puree. That way you get a freshness that really complements the scallops.

The crispy pancetta is really easy to do. Make sure to use unsmoked pancetta. Place thin slices of pancetta on a rack. Put the rack in a 175 C oven for about 25 minutes or until they get crisp. Let them rest for about 10 minutes.

You will need

  • Scallops.
  • Crispy Pancetta.
  • 6 – 12 jerusalem artichokes, depending on the size. Cleaned with there skin.
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic. Peeled.
  • 1 tbsp of dried thyme.
  • A generous knob of butter.
  • One lemon.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • A couple dl with milk.

Do like this

  1. Prepare a bowl with juice from half a lemon and olive oil. Season with salt and dried thyme.
  2. Slice the Jerusalem artichoke and put it in the bowl. Do the same with the garlic.
  3. Gently braise the Jerusalem artichoke and garlic in butter for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add milk to barely cover.
  5. Let it simmer until the Jerusalem artichoke is soft.
  6. Mix the Jerusalem artichoke, garlic and milk to a puree. Add more milf if necessary.
  7. Put the puree through a sieve. Taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  8. Mix the scallops with a little olive oil.
  9. Fry the scallops in a dry and hot pan for about a minute on each side. Make sure not to overcook them.
  10. Season the scallops with lemon juice.
  11. Serve the scallops with the puree and the crispy pancetta.

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Smoky Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Olives

This is one of my favourite French Beef Stews. The inspiration comes from Elisabeth David and the French Provincial Cooking. The combination of smoky bacon, rum, olives and tomatoes is really good.

I like to serve this type of stews with egg noodles, like Tagliatelle. I like to treat it like a proper Italian pasta. Cook the pasta slightly undercooked. Finish by cooking the pasta rapidly in a some of the sauce from the stew and some of the pasta water.

You will need

  • Beef. Suitable for stews, like chuck. About 1 kg. Cut in cubes.
  • One onion. Sliced.
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic. Peeled and sliced.
  • A couple of thick slices of bacon. Roughly cut.
  • About half a dl of rum.
  • About a dozen green olives. Roughly cut.
  • 1 can of tomatoes. Chopped with their juice.
  • Fresh Parsley.
  • Fresh thyme.
  • Bay leafs.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.

Do like this

  1. Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least half an hour before you start cooking.
  2. Make a Bouquet garni by tying together parsley, thyme and bay leafs.
  3. Warm the oven to 125 C.
  4. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  5. Fry the meat in olive oil on high heat in a skillet that can hold the stew.
  6. Remove the meat from the heat. Lower the heat and add the onion, bacon and garlic. Season with a little salt and fry under lid until they get soft and golden.
  7. Add the meat back in the skillet. Add the rom and stir. Burn of the alcohol and reduce.
  8. Add the tomatoes, bouquet garni and olives. Add water if it looks to dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Put on a lid and put the skillet in the oven.
  10. Let the stew simmer for a couple of hours until the meat is done.
  11. Remove the bouquet garni and serve.

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Pork in Red Mole

This is another Oaxacan mole called Mole Coloradito. It is traditionally served on chicken enchiladas.

The taste was really good, probably the best mole I have made. It was full of flavour, a bit sweet and a nice mild but warm chili heat.

The problem with this mole is that it is so full of flavour that it is hard to pair with other things. I came up with the idea to make sort of a salad but with typical salsa ingredients. Grill tomatoes, sliced onion, cloves of garlic and fresh chili until nicely charred. Cut the vegetables roughly and mixed it with a dressing of lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, salt and chopped coriander. It worked well and managed to cut the richness of the mole.

You will need

  • 6 Ancho
  • 2 – 3 tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 fresh tomatillo (Optional. Replace with two more tomatoes if you can’t find it).
  • 1 medium onion. In thick slices.
  • 3 cloves of garlic. Unpeeled.
  • 1 – 2 tbsp sesame seeds.
  • 1 – 2 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican.
  • 1 tsp cloves. Ground.
  • 1 tsp black pepper. Ground.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon. Ground.
  • 2 tbsp raisin
  • 2 tbsp almonds.
  • 2 – 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 30 – 40 g chocolate. Dark, at least 70 %.
  • About one l chicken broth
  • Salt.
  • Pork neck. Cut into cubes.
  • Pepper.

Do like this

  1. Open up the ancho and remove the stems and seeds. Fry them in a medium heat and dry skillet until they get fragrant. Watch out so they don’t get burnt. Cover the chilis with hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. Warm the oven on high heat, preferable with grill. Put the tomatoes, tomatillo, onion and garlic on a baking tray. Bake until blistered without being burnt. Remove the skin from the garlic.
  3. Fry the sesame seeds in a little vegetable oil until it’s lightly toasted.
  4. Mix the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and garlic with some of the chicken broth. Put it through a sieve and cook it in a little vegetable oil until it thickens, about 15 minutes.
  5. Mix the anchos, sesame seeds, oregano, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, raisin and almonds with some of the chili soaking water. Strain and cook with a little oil until it thickens, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato sauce, chocolate, break crumbs and more chicken broth to the chili sauce. Cook for about 30 minutes. Taste for salt. The mole is now ready to be used.
  7. Warm the oven to about 125 C.
  8. For the pork. Season the pork with salt, peppar, lime juice and a thin coating of olive oil.
  9. Fry the pork in a skillet until its get colour.
  10. Add mole and eventually some water if it is to thick.
  11. Cover the skillet and put in the oven for about four hours or until the pork is fork tender.
  12. Serve the pork with the salad and corn tortillas.

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Vegetable soup with pesto

There are variants of this soup in both Italy and France. For me its a nice mix of light summer and comfort food.

The pesto here is not the traditional Italian pesto. It is the French variant, called Pistou, without pine kernels.

One way to add depth to the soup is to add let a parmesan rind boil together with the soup.

You will need

  • One medium onion or two fresh ones. Sliced.
  • One large grated tomato. Cut the tomato in half and grate the cut side until only the skin is left.
  • One or two dl cooked Cannellini beans.
  • Parmesan rind (optional).
  • A couple of medium size potatoes. Preferable new potatoes. Unpeeled, cut into bitesize pieces and put into cold water.
  • One courgette. Cut into bitesize pieces.
  • One medium leek. Sliced.
  • A handful of green beans. Cut into bitesize pieces.
  • A couple of tbsp Vermicelli.
  • One or two tbsp Olive oil.
  • A bunch of basil.
  • One clove of garlic. Gut in half lengthwise and stem removed.
  • Salt.
  • Grated parmesan.
  • Lemon juice.

Do like this

  1. Start by making the pesto. Put the basil and the garlic in a mortel together with some rough salt. Grind until you have a fine paste. Stir in the olive oil.
  2. Take a pan that can hold the soup. Fry the onions in olive oil and some salt until they soften and get a light golden colour.
  3. Add the grated tomatoes. Let it boil until the liquid have evaporated and the tomatoes gets lightly caramelised.
  4. add the Cannellini beans and water.
  5. Bring to simmer and add the potatoes. Let it gently boil for about five minutes until the potatoes are half cooked.
  6. Add the courgette and leeks and let it simmer for another five minutes until the leeks are soft.
  7. Add the green beans and the vermicelli. Let it simmer for a couple of more minutes.
  8. Off the heat, stir in the pesto. Taste for salt and peppar.
  9. Serve the soup topped with parmesan and lemon juice.

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Gently Poached Salmon

The idea with this dish was to poach salmon in a poaching liquid that had a very low temperature. I served it with fresh onions baked in tinfoil and a spicy cucumber salad. As a contrast I also had crispy fried salmon skin and serrano ham. This worked very well. The poaching liquid had a very low temperature, about 50 C and I poached the salmon to 36 C which might seem low but the result was really juice and moist. And because it took almost half an hour it took on a lot of flavour from the poaching liquid.

To make crisp serrano ham is quite easy. Put slices of ham on a baking sheet and put it in a 175 C oven for 15 minutes.

For crispy salmon skin first make sure that the skin has no meat left. Season the skin with salt and fry it in a medium heat pan with olive oil. Fry for about 15 minutes until they are crisp and have a nice colour. Put them on a rack and season them with some chili flakes and lemon juice.

To oven bake the onions I took fresh onion, quartered them and put them in tinfoil together with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and chili flakes. I then baked them in a 175 C oven until they were soft and juicy, about half an hour.

The cucumber salad was done with thinly sliced fresh red onion, cucumber, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, chili flakes and olive oil. Chill until needed.

A note about the chili flakes. In this recipe I use a Turkish variant that has a very mild and varm taste.

You will need.

  • Salmon without skin. (Use the skin to make crispy salmon skin).
  • Water.
  • On small lemon.
  • A knob of butter.
  • A tbsp of olive oil.
  • Salt.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds lightly pounded in a mortal.
  • 1 tsp chili flakes.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme.

Do like this.

  1. Heat the oven to about 50 C.
  2. Take an oven proof dish that will hold the salmon neatly.
  3. Fill the dish with water just to cover the salmon.
  4. Cut the lemon in parts, squeeze in the juice and also add the rest of the lemon.
  5. Add the butter, olive oil, fennel seeds, chili flakes and thyme. Season with salt.
  6. Put the poaching liquid in the oven for about half an hour to infuse.
  7. Add the salmon to the poaching liquid. Let the salmon poach until it reaches an inner temperature of 36 C, about half an hour.
  8. Remove the salmon gently from the poaching liquid, strain it and then reduce it slightly. Season it with salt and lemon.
  9. Serve the poached salmon with the onions, cucumber salad, crispy salmon skin and ham. Poaching liquid on the side.

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Lamb stew with lentils

This is a simple and very tasty lamb stew. The amount of garlic can seem a lot but they slowly cook for many hours and get soft, mild and delicious.

Dried vegetables is really underrated. Especially for this stew it’s an excellent choice. The classic choice of lentils is the French puy lentils but this time I mixed half puy lentils and half beluga lentils. They both have the same cooking time, about 15 minutes. The result was really good with a depth of flavour and texture.

You will need

  • Lamb pieces suitable for stews. About 1 kg on the bone. I used cut up shanks.
  • Brandy. About 2 tbsp.
  • 7 – 12 whole garlic cloves. Peeled.
  • Water.
  • 1 – 2 tbsp dried thyme.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • 3 dl lentils.
  • 1 onion. Chopped.
  • 1 large grated tomato. Cut the tomato in half and grate the cut side until only the skin is left.
  • 1 – 2 bay leafs.
  • 2 tbsp butter.
  • The leaves of 4 – 5 stalks of flat leaf parsley. Finely chopped.
  • Juice from one half small lemon.
  • Green beans.

Do like this.

  1. Take out the meat in room temperature about 1 hour before you start cooking. Pre heat the oven to 125 C.
  2. Put salt and pepper on the meat. Fry the meat on high heat in a oven proof pot. Get a good colour. Don’t fry to much meat at the same time. If you do that the temperature will go down and the meat will boil instead of fry. Remove the meat from the pot as it get’s ready.
  3. In the hot empty pot, fry the garlics for a couple of minutes.
  4. Put the meat back in the pot. Add the brandy and ignite to burn of the alcohol. Add the thyme and water to almost cover the meat. Add some salt and pepper. Bring the pot to simmer, cover and put it in the oven.
  5. Let the stew simmer until the meat is done. It should take a couple of hours. Turn and taste now and then.
  6. Remove the meat from the pot. Mix to get a smooth gravy and then put the meat back in. Cover and keep worm while you prepare the lentils.
  7. For the parsley butter mix butter with the chopped parsley, salt and lemon. Put it in the refrigerator until it’s time to use it.
  8. For the lentils, fry the onion in a pot until it’s soft and has a nice colour. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Cook dry until the tomatoes have the consistency of jam.
  9. Add the lentils and stir. Add a little less then 5 dl of water. After half the time add some of the lamb gravy. Stir the lentils, taste and add more water or gravy if it get’s to dry.
  10. Cook until the lentils and done and the liquid is gone. Remove the bay leaves, add some parsley butter and taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Cook the green beans in salted water until al dente. Drain and add some parsley butter.
  12. Serve lamb on a bed with lentils and green beans on the side.

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