Maintaining the English theme, I fancied what was a weekly part of my life from as long as I could suck on a piece of meat, the roast dinner.
Mum produced a roast meal every Sunday no matter how difficult times were and we fed on it for another couple of days in the week.
Roast Pork + trimmings
Now I'm not in the habit of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, so no formal recipe. First thing to consider is the cost.
I bought a piece of pork loin at £3.50, two large baking potatoes, two carrots, a mixed tray of cauliflower and broccoli, a packet of budget sage and onion stuffing; and, a budget jar of ready made apple sauce. In total perhaps £6.00. All of that largesse served 4 meals. About £1.50/meal and plenty to eat.
The only thing to add is the cooking time and the electricity but to be honest that happens anyway so I consider it to be an unnecessary calculation. On the health front there are three types of vegetables and some pretty lean meat.
The time to prepare is minimal, perhaps 10 minutes to peel and chop the potatoes and the carrots and slice up an onion.
So the tricks I use to ensure a meal that suits my taste.
A while ago I caught one of the less fashion conscious cooking programmes and the chef roasted his pork on a 'trivet' of onion rings and a little water. It ensures the meat retains some moisture and there is a base for some delicious onion gravy. That chef was the guy who stuffed a bird he was roasting with an apple, an orange and a whole onion, again about moisture and a tang.
Once the pork is ready to cook I put the oven on high, butter the fat add a little salt, and cook it uncovered for about 20 minutes. Then I add the potato pieces, season and covered with foil and turned the heat down to about gas mark 3 - moderate for 90 minutes. Finally, for the last twenty minutes the heat is increased and the foil removed. It usually produces some decent crackling.
There is no secret to cooking the vegetables but I do drain the potatoes and leave them in the hot pan to get rid of all of the water. I mash with butter, a little milk and salt and ground pepper.
The finished article is a satisfying meal full of flavour and goodness and providing what used to be called a balanced meal.
The exercise can be repeated with beef, lamb and a variety of roasted birds. It is important to vary the vegetables and to try different ways of cooking them. I occasionally roast carrots, parsnips and sweet potato, peas are always an option but there is such a range these days that there really isn't an excuse for not finding lovely vegetables.