Autumn Happenings

I have plenty to post about but no time to do so.  Until I do, here are a few pictures from the last few weeks.

By the by, the dolphins were photographed way way down the Beauly Firth.  I’ve never seen them so far inland before.  Camera-less, Marco and I followed them down the coast for an hour before calling David to come down.  It was a special morning and it’s only now, when I can’t share better pictures of the creatures with you guys, that I regret not having my camera the whole time…

Pulled Pork

We visited Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Barbecoa, in London during the summer and were very impressed.  The service was relaxed and friendly, the view of St Paul’s was spectacular and the food was excellent.  Afterwards, as we walked back to our friends’ flat in the warm city night, David and I discussed our highlights.  For me, it was my starter:  a watercress, apple and walnut salad with a blue cheese dressing.  For David, the highlight was his main of pulled pork with waffles and barbecue sauce.  He loved it and, ever since, has been badgering me to make it at home.

So I did.  And it was amazing.

Though it is delicious and  a crowd-pleaser and ridiculously simple to make, it’s also very, very indulgent!  If you are dieting or watching your weight, I advise you to just step away from the recipe.  Once tried, it’ll be hard not to make again.  And again.  And again.

Pulled Pork

(serves 4)

1.5 kg pork shoulder (skin on and scored)

300g barbecue sauce

200ml white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

  • Preheat your oven to 200 oC.
  • Rub the pork joint generously with salt and pepper.  Place into a heavy casserole dish and pour over the vinegar then the barbecue sauce.
  • Place the lid on the dish and pop in the oven for 4 hours, removing every hour to baste.
  • After four hours remove from the oven.  If, like me, you would like to reduce the fat content of the dish ever so slightly, carefully remove the excess skin from the top of the pork and pour off the excess oil that will be surrounding the meat.  Be careful not to pour away any of the sauce though!  If you don’t care about, move on to the next step.
  • Use a couple of forks to shred the meat which should pull apart very, very easily then toss with the barbecue sauce which will have caramelised beautifully around the meat.
  • Serve in buns with coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

Courgette, Tomato & Potato Gratin

It hasn’t been a great year for growing really.  A lack of sunshine and warmth meant that my berries and salad vegetables were a little pathetic this year.  Two things that did, as ever, grow well were my potato and courgette plants giving me plenty of opportunity to make this lovely dish.

Beware, the below recipe is rough in quantities.

Courgette, Tomato & Potato Gratin

(serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side)

10 tomatoes, sliced thickly 

8 medium potatoes

3/4 courgettes per person, sliced 1 cm thick

Olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tspn chopped thyme (1/2 if dried)

Salt and pepper

A big handful of grated mozzarella cheese OR breadcrumbs

  • Scrub the potatoes and boil in salted water until almost tender.  Drain and cool.  Remove skins (they should come away easily) and slice into 1cm thick rounds.
  • Heat 1/2 cm of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add the courgette rounds in batches and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen roll to soak up excess oil.
  • Once all of the courgette has been cooked, add the garlic and thyme to the oil and immediately turn off the heat.  Stir until the garlic stops sizzling.
  • In a shallow oven dish add a row of sliced potatoes.  Angle them slightly so they aren’t lying flat but aren’t completely upright either.  Add a row of courgettes then a row of tomatoes.  Repeat until all off the veg is in the dish.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Brush the vegetables generously with the garlicky oil  then sprinkle cheese or breadcrumbs over the top.
  • Bake in a 180 oC oven for 30 mins until the top is golden.