I remember growing up being aware of my mam's cooking rather than watching her, and thinking how clever she was in producing the Sunday lunch.
Roast Pork Dinner
The dinner above consists of roast pork, seasoning and apple sauce, with cauliflower, carrots peas and roast potatoes. I produced this last Sunday and it isn't difficult, which is no criticism of my mam, but I say that to give confidence to those who may not be happy in producing such a meal. The real skill is not so much getting it all on the plate but getting it on the plate HOT.
I highlight the temperature because one of the factors that I've noticed in eating out is that food is served up luke warm. If food is supposed to be hot then please restaurateurs make it so. I have a theory that in the kitchens of food selling establishments the chefs are allowing everything to 'rest' for so long that they are going cold. There is also a sneaking suspicion in me that health and safety and the fear of litigation has something to do with the production of barely warm food. It is redolent of the person scalding themselves while driving with a Starbuck's coffee in their lap and suing the coffee company, which I personally find ridiculous. If you buy something that is hot then expect it to be so and respect it as such. If I burn my mouth with a hot drink or hot food, then that is my own fault, not the responsibility of the company from which I bought the item.
The Sunday lunch requires a little thought and preparation before diving in to begin cooking. Simple things like starting to cook the carrots before the cauliflower and the peas. In the case of a pork joint I follow a pattern that I have learned suits me. I like the fat to be crispy and so I first of all dry it with a paper towel, smear it in butter, and season with salt and black pepper before putting it into a very hot oven for half an hour. I then turn the oven down, add the potatoes that I wish to roast, and cover the meat with aluminium foil.
In the roasting tin I sit the meat on a layer of onion rings, sliced dessert apple and a little water, which go to make the gravy. The other purpose of roasting meat in this way is to prevent it from being too dry. I also baste the meat every half hour or so using the juices in the pan. The length of time you cook the meat depends on the size of the joint and there are lots of guides on how to cook meat. I finish off by uncovering the pork and turning the heat up for the final twenty minutes.
The final cooking stage for the pork is a signal that I should begin cooking the vegetables. Half an hour later the food is on the plate and piping hot.
Returning to my rant over health and safety and adding cheffy fashions I have included a photo of slices of pork which is what you end up with when you carve a joint with a sharp knife. If your knife is not sharp - another health and safety issue - you get pulled pork!!!!
Those of you who believe that I made a mistake referring to the covering of pork meat as fat may be labouring under the misunderstanding that it should be called rind - another cheffy term. Then there is what I had left in the roasting tin when I poured the meat juices into a saucepan to make gravy. It consists of pieces of meat, roast potato leavings, onion and apple that have burnt on the tin. A chef would say that they are caramelised and should be de-glazed and added to the gravy. I actually did use them because of the flavour but find the terminology a giggle.
The gravy was warmed in a saucepan, a chicken stock cube added and some boiling water. The gravy was delicious. I could have added cider or white wine but sometimes the alcohol flavour can detract from the onion/apple flavour.
A really tasty meal that serves several times for one.