mikelindner.com

powering the Internet since 1995

Photography | Computing | Cooking | Contact |

Perfect Roast Pork and Crackling

December 2nd, 2014

There are a few steps you might not consider when roasting a joint of pork, but they make all the difference.

Prep

  1. First up is washing the meat. This is an unusual step, but with pork it removes a lot of the spare fat and juices that would otherwise spoil the taste of the end result.
  2. Secondly dry it afterwards. You want to use a (clean!) tea towel or paper towels to remove all of the water. Particularly the skin for crackling, that needs to be patted down so that it’s super dry.
  3. The third thing you want to do is score the skin. Many butchers will have done this already, but if not make cuts three quarters the way into the skin, about 1 – 1.5cm apart across the whole piece of skin.
  4. Fourth is to rub olive oil into the skin. Use lots, we’re cooking almost pure fat here, so give up on the idea this is healthy – but it will be extremely delicious!
  5. Now rub in salt. Lots of salt. Preferably freshly ground sea or river salt. Pretend you’re trying to push it through the skin, really work it, the flavour you’ll end up with will be well worth it.

Cooking

  • Cook for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 220C
  • Turn down to 180C and cook for about 30-45 minutes for each 500g
  • If the crackling starts to brown too much cover with foil, but remove it 10 minutes before serving.
  • Tap the crackling with the back of your cooking knife and you can hear it’s progress.
  • Poke it with a skewer. When it’s fully cooked the juices should run clear.

That’s it! These tips should produce a roast that will satisfy even the fussiest pork eater.

I’d serve the meat in a stack with a sauce made from grainy mustard, cream and finely chopped shallots, sweetened, cooked shredded carrots and a slice of poached apple.  Serve the crackling on the side of course, you didn’t go to all the trouble of getting it crunchy to cover it in sauce hey!

Basic Mayonnaise

February 8th, 2013

Nothing beats hand made mayonnaise, the stuff in jars just isn’t the dish. Once you can make it, you can try some of the derivatives listed here.
Using an immersion mixer and a small jug you can do this with the below technique in a minute, it’s one of my favourite magic tricks.
The basic rules of mayonnaise are:
1) the ratio is always 1 egg to one cup oil.
2) it needs an emulsifier.
3) it needs flavour.
Ingredients
* One egg
* One cup (250ml) good oil
* One largish teaspoon Dijon mustard.
* 1 tsp Good White Wine Vinegar
* 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
* Salt and White Pepper
Method
Be prepared, this is quite a shock when it first works, it happens very quickly, but following these instructions to the letter a child can do it.
1. Pour the oil into a one litre plastic jug, or the beaker that comes with the stab mixer. Note that the jug or beaker probably has measurements on the side, use them to save cleaning up measuring things.
2. Crack the egg straight into the oil, being careful not to break the yolk, landing in the oil should cushion it’s fall. Remove any shell at this point.
3. Add everything else, try and get the mustard next to the yolk.
4. This is the magic part. Leaving it switched off place the stab mixer right down to the bottom of the jug so that the cup that covers the blades completely covers the egg yolk and mustard.
Now activate it (whatever speed, we don’t care) and slowly pull it up to the top of the oil.
If everything has worked for you, you should have a jug of mayonnaise before your eyes, go up and down a couple of times to catch any oil that was not mixed in.
5. If it worked for you the most important thing to do now is to taste it and add more vinegar and lemon juice as you see fit.
Storing It
This sauce contains fresh, raw egg, so it must be refrigerated. Ironically my favourite thing to keep it in is a re-used mayonnaise jar… One with a plastic screw on lid will be easiest to keep clean, so buy a jar of the best you can find, eat it then compare it to what you make here. Make sure you wash it very well between uses. You’ll find that for price and taste hand made is way better. Keep it for about a week.
What Happened
The mustard acted as an emulsifier, joining the water from the egg to the oil, and making that creamy sauce everybody loves.

Mayonnaise Derivitives

February 7th, 2013

Dill Aioli / Ranch Dressing

Make the Mayonnaise listed opposite, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and as much fresh dill as you like. I like a lot, so that would be a good handful. You can cheat and add some dried dill as well, but make sure there is some fresh stuff there, the flavour is completely different, and you don’t have to wait for the fresh stuff to rehydrate before it’s not gritty.

Blue Cheese and Basil Dressing

Put half a cup (125g) of your favourite blue cheese into a coffee cup – of course Roquforte is best but you’ll have to buy twice as much because eating it straight is so beautiful! Half fill the cup with water and microwave for about 45 seconds. The cheese should go soft and the water warm.
Add this, water and all, with a whole bunch of fresh basil (this is meant to be a very rich sauce) to the mayonnaise and give it a good going over with the stab mixer again. You should end up with something you can pour over a salad. Try rocket and/or baby spinach, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.  It doesn’t need many ingredients.

Caesar Dressing

Add three anchovies and half a cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the mayonnaise and give it a good going over again with the stab mixer.
Now you know what’s in it, you can understand why cooks everywhere are driven mad by people who ask for their Caesar Salad with “No Anchovies” – if the person is allergic to fish they will still be eating them in the sauce. If you think you like Caesar Salads but don’t like the anchovies, think again – now you know you’ve been eating them all along 🙂

Sauce Tartare

To the to the mayonnaise made opposite stir in about 2 tsp finely chopped capers and gherkins, about 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, the finely grated rind of one lemon. I also like to add some red capsicum, slightly less finely chopped, to give it some colour and freshness.

Wasabi Mayonnaise

This is the best stuff for sticking chips into. Add a big teaspoon of wasabi paste or powder to the mayonnaise noting that the powder is quite a bit stronger. You might like the wasabi flavour it a bit weaker, so add a bit, taste it and repeat until you have what you like.
Also note the powder will need to be mixed (with the mixer) a lot more, and may well need a tablespoon or two of water, as it’s very dry. A lump of wasabi powder will ruin the experience of whatever you put it on.  I would keep adding wasabi until it’s quite a bright green, it should have a kick.