Cooked an absolutely crap dinner last night! I just thought I would tell you about it so that people realise I am just a home cook that occasionally gets it right and occasionally gets it wrong – although let me brag here and say I get it right far more often! I am really quite disappointed in myself as I was hoping I am a better cook than I demonstrated last night. Still even really good cooks have a bad night and last night was mine.
So I was at the local markets on Sunday (held the last Sunday of the month) really lovely produce and great people – market day is something I really enjoy. I love chatting to the producers just as much as I love to taste and buy their produce – my wife enjoys them too however I am sure she would rather that I don’t view going as a complete social occasion and hence we could cut the wander time around the market by a good half.
Anyway we wandered around the market looking at what was good – all of it!!!!! I finally decided that I wanted to do a roast pork with some beautiful fresh from the ground baby carrots, parsnips and fennel. Funnily enough there was no fennel – so I bought that at the supermarket but got all the other ingredients from the market including some gorgeous free range pork. My wife finds the use of the word gorgeous when I am talking about pork or for that matter any wonderful produce slightly disturbing possibly because that is what I call her all the time. She is truly is my gorgeous! As were the lovely big bulbs of fresh fennel! Mmmmm….. I see what she means.
So that is the dish – and quite frankly a bloody good dish especially when you consider the absolute freshness of the produce and the simplicity of the relationship between the ingredients. So how did I turn it into crap??
Simple – I overcooked everything! See what I mean about thinking I was a better cook than that? How can you over cook a roast?? Well as it turns out easily, all it takes is a complete lack of thought and a slight lack of desire – I mean I wanted to cook but somehow I lost my mojo and stayed sitting on the couch nursing my ale and watching an enjoyable episode of Merlin. Oh dear.
The recipe: oil and salt pork, cut some of the fennel up and place it on a baking tray then sit the pork on that and place in a hot oven 230°c for half an hour then turn down to 140 and cook for half an hour. Whilst it cooks clean the carrots and the parsnips – keep the carrots whole as they are only babies and cut the parsnips to the same size – I cut some of the core out also, thickly slice the rest of the fennel and put all of this into a bowl. Drizzle olive oil over and then season with black pepper, chilli powder and garlic powder and toss to coat. Remove pork from oven and take the fennel it was sitting on out of the tray as it has burnt (should have known then that I was not on the ball) – don’t throw the burnt fennel out – eat it, it really is quite delicious a bit like fennel crisps. Surround the pork with the veg and put back in the oven and turn it up to 160° for 30 – 40 minutes.
I should mention now that the pork was only 800 grams so this cooking regime is misplaced for its size as is the 40 minutes for the veg.
A basically good recipe dried up, over cooked but seasoned really well – with good pork crackling I might add.
I hate cooking badly mainly because I know I can cook better than that and this was just a poor effort of not paying attention, not thinking it through and careless slack ass performance – thank god I didn’t do this for a chef on my show!!!! Worse still my gorgeous wife is not backward in telling me when something I have made is well….crap…. and she was quite vocal about my lack of performance in this matter. Of course that means an argument as I get terribly offended when someone points out the truth to me and just to get back at her I was very noisy when I cleaned up!
Silly really but the pork was a very tough chew!
I look forward to cooking this dish again soon and getting it right! I only hope that my potato, ocean trout and coriander patties work out tonight or else I will lose all credibility!