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Category Archives: cooking

Roasted Veal

UK rose veal is becoming rather fashionable, and rightly so. It’s lean, tasty and very easy to cook with. It’s pale, so think more like you’re cooking pork than beef and you won’t go far wrong. I’ve seen lots about braising veal, or using mince for ragu, but not as a roast. My local butcher is the cities only organic butchers, and having something of a conscience about such things, I generally only buy meat there or from the farmers market. This week they had a great selection of local veal in, and I really though it was about time I gave it a go.

I much prefer having a roast on a Sunday, than a stew, I don’t know why, it just feels a bit more special, so I was determined to give it a go with veal too. I got a small-ish joint, probably would feed 3 people although 4 at a push.

It was a kind of veal topside, not my favourite cut for roast beef, but I thought that I could still make a go of it with the veal if it was treated right.

I marinaded the meat with a mixture of bashed up garlic, rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and white pepper. I used white rather than black pepper corns as I thought they would go with the more delicate taste of the meat better.

I rubbed it all over the meat, and left it for half an hour or so. I then went onto sear the meat all over in a hot pan, with some onions, the smell at this point was pretty good, so I was happy that the choice of rub would work well. Once browned all over, I put the joint into a roasting dish in the oven at about 170 (fan assisted). I put half the onions in with the joint, and de-glazed the pan with some red wine (a Beaujolais, thinking that I wanted a light wine, but not white), poured that over the meat and covered with tin foil.

The rest of the bottle of wine went in the pan with the remaining onions, and reduced down to make a gravy/sauce kind of thing.

I roasted the meat for about half an hour, then left it to rest. Served with a selection of roasted root veg and some spring greens. For pudding we had some home made melting in the middle chocolate lava pudding things from Rachel Allen‘s Bake book, which I was a bit worried about, but were very tasty. Yesterday was a good cooking day.

I used wine here, although I do love cooking with beer. I think a nice light saison or wheat might work, although I’ve never cooked with those. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this and what you think might work well.

The meat was cooked really to perfection – for me anyway, golden on the outside and pink in the middle. Veal can be very lean, so I guess you either cook it quick as above, or slowly in a slow cooker or similar. I really recommend trying it, it’s light and tasty, perfect for spring.


Pulled Pork – Vindaloo style

I know pulled pork is very popular at the moment, but I thought it would be fun to try a twist on it, and have it with Southern Indian spices and flavours rather than the traditional US ones. I tried this recipe out at the weekend, it takes a long time to cook, but it’s very simple, and the results are utterly worth it. Don’t let the vindaloo put you off, this isn’t mind blowing hot, the long slow cooking takes a lot of the heat out. If you like a bit of hot stuff, I’ve indicated where you can add more chilli to get a real kick.

So, this recipe is enough for 4 people, serve with rice, or with whatever you fancy. Adam thought that it would go with mashed potato quite well too.

I used 1/3rd of a pork shoulder, on the bone. This should fit nicely into a slow cooker – if you don’t have one, a casserole dish in a low oven would be just fine.

Firstly, stab the pork shoulder all over, I don’t have great knife skills, so it’s all simple, and this works just as well as slashing it.


1 tsp cumin seeds

5 cardamom pods

3 cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

4 peppercorns

1 chilli (as hot as you like)

3cm bit of root ginger, grated

5 garlic cloves

Juice of a lemon

Bash these all into a paste with a pestle and mortar, do the dry ingredients first. Use a spice/coffee grinder if it’s easier. Combine them with the lemon juice.

Rub the marinade all over the pork, pop it in a non metallic dish, and cover. Put it in the fridge overnight.

Next day you’ll need to start this around 11am if you want it for dinner. Set your slow cooker to heat up, or turn the oven on.

Cooking Sauce:

Vegetable oil for frying

4 cloves of garlic – chopped

2 onions – sliced

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tin chopped tomatoes

3 tbsp white wine vinegar


Start by frying the garlic on a low-ish heat, you don’t want to colour them too much. Then add the onions, and turn the heat up a bit, fry the onions until they’re soft and turning colour. Add the turmeric and tinned tomatoes, chilli and vinegar. Let it all bubble away for a few minutes, season.

Put the pork into the slow cooker dish/casserole. Pour over the sauce and then top up with boiling water until the pork is about 2/3rd covered.

Cook for around 6 hours, turning the pork over every now and again. You’ll notice it becoming softer and softer until it is falling off the bone. Take it out of the slow cooker and shred it at this point. Discard the bone and the fat. A lot of the fat from the pork will have melted out and formed a layer on the top of the sauce. Skim this off if you wish. Place the shredded pork back in the sauce, now you can get the chilli kick back if you want, add some freshly chopped green chilli.

You can leave it now on a very low heat until you’re ready to serve, I left the lid off the slow cooker to allow the sauce to thicken up a bit – but that’s my preference. Before you’re ready to serve you can sprinkle a little more chopped chilli and even some fresh coriander over the top.

All ready to serve, add some of the cooking sauce over the top.