This year Britain has a fantastic year for apples, and as I've never been a great buyer of apples I thought what better way to learn how to cook with them than play with a few dishes for my blog. So this week guys you get three for the price of one!
The dishes are:
- Carrot, apple ginger soup
- Pork chops in a caramelised apple and onion sauce with mustard greens and cauliflower mash (ya-ummm)
- Super smoothie with spinach, mint, cucumber, apple and mango
I always judge my food on would I be happy to pay for that in a restaurant and I've got to say I'd be happy buy all 3 of these, especially the pork. In fact I actually bought the smoothie last week, recreated it at home and now I'm sharing it with you guys.
The pork dish is the star this week for me. It has that sugary thick sauce that's so hard to recreate when cooking clean; butter, wine, cream and sugar are all great in a sauce but of course none are clean. (Although a small amount of grass fed organic butter isn't gonna do you any harm.) I struggle with sauces for clean food but this week I've got a winner. I really loved it and I hope you guys do too.
So let’s start with the soup:
- c700g of carrots (I measured this week whoop!)
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 lg apple or 2 small apples chopped & cored
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh ginger
Heat a little oil in a large pot (I used coconut oil) and add the chopped onion, cook for about 4/5 mins making sure they go translucent and not too brown, you can always add a little water if they start to stick. Add ginger, garlic and nutmeg and fry for another minute and add the chopped, peeled and cored apple coating it in the spices then add the chopped and peeled carrots and do the same.
Then top with stock, so all the ingredients are covered but only a little bit floating. That is my guide to adding liquid to soups. I'd rather add more at the end to thin out a thick soup than have a thin soup to start with. Cover with a lid and cook until the carrots and apples are soft. About 30 mins.
Blend the soup, adding more water or stock if required.
I've served mine with a little grated carrot and a sprinkling of chives, more for colour than taste.
Now it’s up to you what stock you use I'd recommend veg or chicken, but you want to use a good bit of it because carrots do not have strong flavour so you want to enhance it with the stock.
Grating ginger, I use a really fine grater for this so the ginger is grated into almost a paste as it’s much better in the finished dish than great bits of ginger.
Chops (serves two)
- 2 pork steaks/chops (fat trimmed before eating)
- 1 eating apple
- 1 banana shallot or any onion
- 175ml of stock chicken or ham
- Handful of sage leaves / 2tsp of dried
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 2 bunches of Chinese mustard greens
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 small pinch of nutmeg
- Rub pork with a little oil (spray oil is fine I know lots of you use that) and some salt & pepper. Add to a frying pan that's been heated to a med heat. Fry for 2 mins each side. Take out of the pan and pop on a plate.
- Then add a little more oil to the pan and add the apples, which should have been cored and chopped into 8 slices, sliced onions and sage and fry for about 5 mins, add a tablespoon of water or two to help it along if it sticks.
- Add the stock and mustard, give it a mix. Then add the chops back in and simmer for about 10 mins.
- As the apples are cooking wash and prep the veg. Chop the cauli into florets ready to steam and shred your greens, if you can't find mustard greens any leafy green veg, for example spinach, is good to use.
- As the pork is cooking, add your cauliflower to the steamer and get cracking. I find it takes about 10 mins to steam. Once cooked, add to a dish to mashm add a pinch of nutmeg and then use the blender to mash it, it comes out so smooth that way! I also use a round plastic storage container to blend it.
- Once my cauli has been steamed, I whip it out the steamer, or to be more accurate, the metal colander sitting on top of my pot and I put the greens in.
- Then plate up. Big dollop of mash, delicious pork in a sweet thick sauce and mustard green on the side, just delicious.
I got the mustard greens in the Chinese Supermarket.
Mustard - You need to be careful when buying mustard as sometimes it can be loaded with sugar, wholegrain tends to have the least amount of sugar and some like the one I used has no sugar added.
I bought this as a juice but I don't have a juicer, I gave it away before I got healthy and now I regret it, but I do believe Christmas is coming if you're listening Santa Claus? So I just blended everything. I used:
- 1/2 cucumber - not peeled
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 1 eating apple cored - not peeled
- 1/2 mango
- 2 lg sprigs mint leaves only
- Some water - to thin
I actually used mango I'd frozen, remember you can freeze fruit rather than throw it away. Chop it into bite sized pieces and freeze them on a baking sheet not touching. After a couple of hours transfer into a freezer bag.
- Pork goes with apple and sage or both
- Apples go with nutmeg
- Cauliflower mash also benefits from a teeny bit of ground nutmeg
See I told you guys if you invest in some store cupboard ingredients I'd show you how to use them and what goes with what.
Oh just as I'm sitting here typing a childhood memory has come flooding back to me, baked apples with raisons and nutmeg. I'm sure my mum used sugar but maybe I could do something with honey and clean it up! I'll be trying that one at the weekend, but I'm not sure next week. I'm on Bootcamp week, in fact the whole MC&L blogger crew is doing it so come and join us!