Trappist Ale Risotto with Grilled Pork

Where we live, the length of our growing season isn’t guaranteed. Winter can be 4-6 months long depending on the mood of Mother Nature so second harvests of veg usually isn’t in the cards. But my husband decided to experiment a bit with the peas. The packet always says you can do two plantings but we’ve never had luck with that but he took peas from the pods that had gone past it a bit and planted those peas. Lo and behold, it worked! We did have to cover them a few times with the frosts we’ve had. Thank goodness as there seems to be a shortage of peas in the grocery shops and it’s a key veg in my Trappist Ale Risotto with Grilled Pork.

With this insane year it has been fascinating what becomes scarce in the shops. Now it’s peas but I’ve had trouble getting Coleman’s mustard, Old Bay seasoning and sour cream. Olives were scarce but that must be because of the spike in martini drinking. Like most people, a crystal ball would be handy so I can try to stay ahead of the curve!

I like mixing it up with risotto, it is such a versatile ingredient so it’s fun to think outside the box. I was in the mood for more German inspired flavours for this dish and I love trappist ale. It’s a great pairing with Jarlsberg cheese that is in this dish.

Technique for Trappist Ale Risotto with Grilled Pork

You couldn’t get an easier marinade if you tried. Beer, mustard, sea salt and pepper. That’s it.

Stir the ingredients and add the pork. Cover and chill for about an hour.

When it is time to cook the risotto, prep all the ingredients and get the grill heated. In a large skillet, heat up the garlic infused olive oil. Add the scallions and mushrooms.

Sauté for a few minutes, then add the risotto.

Cook for a minute. Add the mustard and stir well. Cook for another minute then add the beer.

As the liquid reduces, gradually add the veg bouillon to the dish while stirring frequently. When you start adding the bouillon, add the peas. At this point start grilling the pork. Cooking the risotto will take about 20-25 minutes. You don’t want it boiling but a decent simmer is good.

When you put in the last of the bouillon, add the cheese. There needs to be enough liquid for the cheese to melt into.

Once the pork is cooked, allow it to rest a few minutes before slicing it.

Top the risotto with the sliced pork and grate some Jarlsberg over the dish. Serve immediately.

It’s such a good feeling to be able to use and eat food that we grew ourselves, can’t get more local than that!

Trappist Ale Risotto with Grilled Pork

A fun twist on risotto with trappist ale and Jarlsberg cheese.

Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Keyword Trappist Ale Risotto with Grilled Pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Grilled Pork

  • 1 lb Pork Loin 453g
  • 1 cup Trappist ale 8oz
  • 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Trappist Ale Risotto

  • 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sized scallion/green onion chopped
  • 3-5 shiitake mushrooms chopped
  • 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 cup Trappist ale 8oz
  • 1 1/2 cup risotto 290g
  • 1 cup frozen peas 130g
  • 5 cups veg bouillon, needs to be hot. 40oz
  • 1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese 85g
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Grilled Pork

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together and add the pork loin. Cover and chill for at least an hour.

  2. Heat the grill to medium high. Cook the pork until very light pink in the centre. Once cooked, let it rest for several minutes before slicing.

Trappist Ale Risotto

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the scallions/spring onions and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.

  2. Add the risotto and cook for a minute. Then add the mustard. Stir well and cook for another minute. Then add the Trappist Ale. Cook again for another minute.

  3. Begin adding the bouillon 1/2-1 cup at a time. Add the peas at this point as well. You don't want the risotto to be boiling but you want a good simmer going. As the liquid reduces, add more bouillon. Throughout this process stir frequently.

  4. When the last of the bouillon is being added, add the cheese. Stir well and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Putting it all together

  1. Slice the pork. Spoon the risotto onto a plate. Place the pork on top of the risotto and grate Jarlsberg over the top. Serve immediately.

Roasted Curry Chicken

I got the idea to do this Roasted Curry Chicken during this past weekend when we had a yard sale. There was a definite need for a clear out and I hate throwing things in the tip when someone else might find a use for something. One customer had some butternut squash in her car and she gave me some. As she loves habaneros, we did a trade. I thought the butternut squash would be great with a curry dish. Sadly the squash was rotten from within.

Luckily I bought some Japanese sweet potatoes. They aren’t orange like regular sweet potatoes and aren’t as sweet but their flavour is perfect to pair with a spicy curry.

This dish is perfect for a busy evening. Most of this was cooking while I walked the dogs. It’s important to have quick flavourful and nutritious meals in the back pocket for when life gets hectic. Still need to eat well!

Oh, I had forgotten to mention the excitement we had in my previous post. It was a Sunday afternoon and we noticed some activity in our front yard. Out we went and the people immediately said “don’t go into your back garden!” Turns out there was a 400lb male black bear on walkabout. This photo was about 50 feet from our driveway. A beautiful beast.

Technique for Roasted Curry Chicken

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. If you have a convection/fan oven, use that.

Slice the Japanese sweet potato and brush with olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

In a baking dish, place the chicken thighs in the dish. Add the chicken stock and season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and curry powder. Cover and place the chicken and sweet potatoes in the oven. It will take 30-45 minutes for both to cook. Half way through cooking, remove the cover from the chicken so the skin will roast nicely.

In a skillet, heat up the garlic infused olive oil. Begin sautéing the scallions, red pepper, mushrooms and the habanero. As the habanero came from our garden, I only used half as they pack quite the punch.

Add the minced ginger, tomatoes, chili powder, curry powder, cumin and cilantro/coriander leaves. Bring to a simmer. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

I do love roasted chicken.

The chicken and sweet potato should be done about the same time. Serve immediately after spooning the tomato mixture over the chicken. Enjoy!

Roasted Curry Chicken

A warming meal that is quick and easy to make on a busy evening.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Roasted Curry Chicken
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 2 Japanese sweet potatoes sliced in half
  • 4 chicken thighs with bone in and skin
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock 4oz
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions/green onion 11g
  • 2 tbsp chopped red pepper 18g
  • 1/2 habanero chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes 14oz
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. If you have a convection/fan oven, use that.

  2. Slice the Japanese sweet potato in half lengthwise. Brush the halves with olive oil and then season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place on a baking sheet.

  3. In a baking dish, place the chicken thighes in the dish, skin side up. Sprinkly the curry powder over the chicken and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the chicken stock. Cover the dish.

  4. Place the sweet potato and chicken in the oven. Cook for 30-45 minutes. About halfway through, remove the cover from the chicken so the skin roasts and gets nice and crispy.

  5. Heat the garlic infused olive oil in a skillet. Add the scallions/green onions, red pepper, mushrooms and habanero. Sauté for a few minutes.

  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently so the tomato doesn't catch on the bottom. Simmer until the sweet potato and chicken are cooked.

  7. To serve, place the sweet potato and chicken on the plate. Spoon the tomato mixture over the chicken and serve immediately.

Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce

I spied a treat at the shop the other day in the form of Coho wild salmon. I’m not a fan of farmed fish so I love it when certain types come into season. I was in the mood to recreate a dish my mum used to make when I was younger. When I used to work with her she would bring in the previous night’s leftovers so I was lucky to eat well right out of university. At least one decent meal a day! One of my favourites was salmon, peas and potatoes. So I made Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce with jacket potatoes and peas from our garden.

I chose dill sauce because I had a lot of fresh dill left over from making my husband Hungarian mushroom soup. I’ve realised I have not done a post on that so I shall have to make it again and do up a post to share.

Technique for Grilled Salmon and Dill Sauce

Heat the grill so it’s nice and hot. This will give the salmon a nice sear while keeping the centre moist. Slice a lemon. Place the slices on the grill and place the salmon on the lemon slices. It keeps the salmon from burning and gives it a lovely lemon flavour.

In a small saucepan, heat up some garlic infused olive oil. If you can have garlic, use two chopped cloves and regular olive oil. Sauté the chopped dill for a few minutes.

Add the mustard and the white wine and simmer to reduce a bit. Turn down the heat to low.

Add the cremé fraîche, this is a lovely alternative to regular cream. Stir in the cremé fraîche and keep it warm on low heat. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Spoon the sauce over the salmon and serve. This is such an easy dish to make but you are rewarded with high end flavour.

Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce

A perfect pairing of dill and seafood.

Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Fresh salmon 226g
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1/3 cup white wine 2.5oz
  • 3 tbsp cremé fraîche
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Grilled Salmon

  1. Season the salmon with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Slice the lemon

  2. Heat the grill to high heat. Place the slices of lemon onto the grill and place the salmon on the lemon. Grill until the fish has a nice sear and the centre is cooked to medium. Slightly pink in the centre.

Dill Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, heat up the garlic infused olive oil and sauté the dill for a few minutes.

  2. Add the mustard and white wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce for a couple of minutes.

  3. Lower the heat to the lowest setting. Add the cremé fraîche. Mix well and keep it just warm. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Putting it together

  1. Place the grilled salmon on a plate and spoon the dill sauce over the salmon and serve immediately.

Moroccan Grilled Steak

We are getting into cool humidity free weather and I’m loving it. It is so refreshing to be outside and not feel suffocated by a blanket of thick air. While I don’t jump on the fad of pumpkin spice, seriously that is out of control, I do love bringing back warming flavours in our cooking. I needed to come up with a dish to use the aubergines in our garden so I made a Moroccan Grilled Steak dish. Perfect for the cooler evenings, though this weekend we are already under a frost warning. I really hope that doesn’t mean winter is too close! We’ll need to bring out the blankets for the veg so we can keep them going.

I made this with steak but this could easily be made with chicken, lamb or even tofu. I also made this with garlic infused olive oil but feel free to throw in a few cloves of garlic.

Technique for the Moroccan Grilled Steak

At least a couple of hours prior to making dinner, prepare the steak and the marinade. I like using steak tips as I’m grilling and they generally come out nice and tender even after the high heat of the grill.

Put the marinade ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well. Add the steak and make sure it’s covered well.

Cover and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. When it is time to cook dinner, grill the steak, giving it a nice sear. I grill my steak about 8 minutes, turning it half way through, as I like it on the rare side. Time it with the rest of the meal so it has several minutes to rest.

Technique for the Veg and Couscous

I prefer Israeli couscous over the regular couscous but using the regular couscous will work perfectly well. Just cook it according to the directions. Cook the couscous while the veg is cooking.

Sauté the aubergine and shiitake mushrooms in the garlic infused olive oil for a few minutes before adding the scallions and cilantro/coriander leaves. Then add the remaining marinade to the skillet. If you need more sauce, just increase the ingredients of the marinade equally to keep the balance of the flavours.

Add the cooked couscous and the chopped stems of the swiss chard. Cook for a minute or so then add the chopped leaves of the swiss chard. Cook for a minute until the leaves wilt a bit.

Slice the steak and serve over the veg and couscous mixture. This is a great dish to welcome autumn back and to use up the veg in the garden before the frost hits. Fingers crossed we get an autumn longer than a couple of weeks!

Moroccan Grilled Steak

Moroccan Grilled Steak with Israeli Couscous and Aubergine

Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan
Keyword Moroccan Grilled Steak
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Moroccan Grilled Steak

  • 1 lb steak tips 453g
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  • dash lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Couscous and veg

  • 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous 183g
  • 2 cups aubergine/eggplant cubed 130g
  • 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom, chopped 60g
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions 15g
  • 2 cups swiss chard, chopped 40g

Instructions

Moroccan Grilled Steak

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl and add the steak. Cover and place in the fridge. Marinate for at least a couple of hours.

  2. When it is time to cook dinner, heat the grill on high and cook the steak. You want the outside seared well. As I prefer the steak to be on the rare side, I cook it for 4 minutes then turn and cook another 4 minutes. Rest for several minutes.

Israeli couscous and Veg

  1. Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the box or bag.

  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the aubergine and shiitake mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes.

  3. Add the cilantro/coriander leaves and scallions and cook for a few minutes. Then add the marinade used for the steak. If you need more sauce, add the ingredients of the marinade in the proportions of the original marinade until you have enough sauce. Do a bit at a time so you suddenly don't have soup.

  4. Add the cooked couscous and the stems of the chopped swiss chard. Cook again for a minute or so then add the chopped leaves of the swiss chard. Cook until they start to wilt.

Putting it together

  1. Slice the steak. Spoon the couscous and veg mixture onto the plate and top with the steak. Serve.

Southwest Quinoa Wrap

One upside to the high heat of summer is this is the time where our veg gardens start really giving up their bounty. This year our 8 tomato plants are acting like we planted 30 plants. On the other hand, our leeks have decided this year is not their year. Thankfully, our local co-op has all the seasonal fresh produce. Plenty to make a Southwest Quinoa Wrap.

This is a vegetarian dish that has loads of protein but it is very easy to add meat or seafood to this dish. This is also low FODMAP if you stick with the portions allowed for the ingredients. For example, I have corn and black beans in this dish. Corn if kept under 38g is good and black beans need to be under 40g. This dish has enough ingredients that this isn’t an issue.

I’m also trying to find meals that are healthy but filling enough for a teenage boy. The way he eats, he should be at least 7 foot tall by now!

Technique for Southwest Quinoa Wrap

Prep all the ingredients while the quinoa is cooking. The quinoa takes about 20 minutes to cook but the rest cooks quickly.

In a skillet, heat up the olive oil and begin to cook the scallions, leeks, corn and black beans.

Add the chili powder, cumin, lime juice and cilantro/coriander leaves. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix in the cooked quinoa.

Start layering the fresh ingredients on the quinoa wrap. I included some mung beans that we needed to use up. That’s the great thing about this dish, there isn’t any wrong veg to use.

Add the cooked mixture and top with shredded cheese and sour cream. Salsa would be a nice addition but it’s not always low FODMAP.

This was a delicious and filling meal. Though to be honest my son had more before he went to bed. At least he’s not eating junk!

Southwest Quinoa Wrap

A delicious vegetarian dish that fits with the low FODMAP diet

Course Main Course
Cuisine Southwest
Keyword Southwest Quinoa Wrap
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 8 Quinoa Wraps
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa 185g
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks 89g
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions/spring onions (the green part) 50g
  • 1 cup frozen corn 164g
  • 1 cup black beans, drained 260g
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • lettuce
  • cucumber, sliced
  • tomato, sliced
  • carrot, sliced
  • mung beans
  • dollop of sour cream
  • shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package's instructions. Takes about 20 minutes.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Cook the scallions, leeks, corn and black beans for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the chili powder, cumin, sea salt, pepper, lime juice and cilantro/coriander leaves. Cook for a few more minutes.

  3. Add the lettuce, tomato, cucumber and carrot to the centre of the quinoa wrap.

  4. Add in the cooked quinoa to the skillet and mix well.

  5. Spoon the heated veg mixture over the centre of the wrap. Add the sour cream and shredded cheese. You can also top with salsa. Fold the wrap and cut into two. Serve the dish.

Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes

We’re in the thick of summer with high heat and soup like humidity, my least favourite weather. I feel like we hibernate more in the summer than we do in the winter but the heat just saps all energy out of the body. This calls for quick and light meals such as Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes.

We should be getting a break in the weather this weekend. I really hope for once the weather people are correct. So often we are disappointed given how erroneous the forecast often is. Very rarely we are pleasantly surprised!

Technique for Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes

This recipe is low FODMAP as I use garlic scapes instead of garlic. Obviously if you don’t have to worry about garlic, use that instead as it gives more of that lovely garlic flavour.

Garlic scapes are in season at the moment and they do lend a fresh flavour to this dish.

Heat the oil to medium in a skillet. Start slowing sautéing the tomatoes to release their flavour and to soften them a bit. Keep frequently to keep it from catching. I made the error of getting distracted with something else and burnt the first batch of tomatoes.

Add the scapes and sauté for a couple of minutes before adding the lemon juice and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Meanwhile prep the scallops by dabbing them with paper towels/kitchen roll to dry them a bit. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place into a skillet with the hot oil. Allow to cook for a few minutes until they freely come away from the skillet.

Turn over and cook the other side.

I roasted potatoes in duck fat, such a guilty pleasure! Place the scallops over a bed of greens and top with the sun-dried tomato mixture. As my husband and son don’t like seafood I marinated steak with balsamic vinegar, grilled it and served it with the sun-dried tomatoes.

Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes

A flavourful Italian summer meal with garlic scapes and sun-dried tomatoes

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 8 Sea Scallops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for scallops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes 1oz
  • 1/3 cup chopped garlic scapes 2oz
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Scallops

  1. Dab scallops with paper towel/kitchen roll to remove excess moisture. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

  2. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet. Place the scallops into the skillet. Cook on one side until the scallops freely move from the skillet. Turn and cook the other side.

Sun-dried Tomato mixture

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet to medium heat. Start cooking the sun-dried tomatoes. Stir frequently to keep the tomatoes from catching.

  2. After a few minutes add the garlic scapes. Sauté for a couple of minutes then add the lemon juice. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Putting it all together

  1. On a bed of greens, place the scallops. Top with the sun-dried tomato mixture and serve.

Chicken Saagwala

I have had to start a low FODMAP diet for health reasons. I was really worried that would mean a narrow range of foods (which isn’t good if you blog about food!) and bland flavours. Thankfully, as this Chicken Saagwala will show, that is not the case. There are plenty of ingredients to choose from, I just needed to change my habits and learn new dishes. I do have to be careful as just because the word low is in the diet name, it doesn’t necessarily mean low fat or calorie!

How are all the parents doing out there with first days of school coming up quickly? Our district is still trying to sort out what to do. They have seemed to settle on dividing the schools in half and one group will go two days and the other two days. They are trying to encourage parents drop off students as they need to reduce those taking the bus. The tricky bit round here is there are several hill towns, up to 45 minutes away, that bus into our district. They state bus windows must be open. That can be a problem as we can have winter start in October. I know there aren’t any easy solutions to this surreal year. Universities are starting to reverse their decision to accept students on campus. Our daughter’s school is one of them so we get to have her home for this semester. I feel for her but am also glad she’ll be safer.

Technique for Chicken Saagwala

I found this recipe from A Little Bit Yummy. Of course I changed it but mainly I was trying to use what I had available. It still follows the low FODMAP guidelines. The only ingredient that I couldn’t fine definitive guidance on was the poblano but it didn’t cause me any problems. But just do your research.

We have lost the plot with the mustard greens we are growing so it was great to be able to use this in a recipe. The greens went like gangbusters but the rest of the lettuce we grew decided to be very indifferent to growing. I love gardening but at times there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason.

In a skillet, heat up the olive oil and begin to cook the cubed chicken breast. Add the garlic chives. Cook for a few minutes.

Add the leek, mustard greens and minced ginger. Cook until the greens begin to wilt down. I really like ginger which is why I put in 2 tbsp. If that is too much for you, just reduce the amount.

Add the poblano, diced tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, ground cloves and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for several minutes so the liquid can reduce a bit. Season with sea salt and pepper.

While I was cooking this, I roasted a sweet potato to accompany this dish. I really enjoyed this dish with the flavours of the fire roasted tomatoes and the bitterness of the mustard greens. I don’t pretend this is full on traditional as if you look at other recipes, there are a few more steps and it looks a lot greener. They also have dairy in it. But I hope you enjoy my version.

Chicken Saagwala

A low FODMAP dish with loads of flavour and easy to make.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Chicken Saagwala
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, skinless and boneless, cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic chives
  • 1 cup chopped leeks, the green part only 80g
  • 1 cup chopped mustard greens 120g
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 poblano, chopped and seeded
  • 14 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and begin cooking the cubed chicken. After a couple of minutes add the chives.

  2. Add the mustard greens, leek and ginger. Sautè for a few minutes

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for several minutes to reduce the liquid a bit.

  4. To keep this low FODMAP, serve this with something like a roasted sweet potato. If you aren't worried about low FODMAP then naan would be perfect.

Fish en Papillote

My daughter’s school is planning on bringing back students to their campus in a few weeks. Before she heads back to university, I wanted to make sure she gets meals she won’t get there. When there she mostly eats vegetarian as, well, dining hall meat and seafood doesn’t always set a high bar. As she loves seafood I thought I’d make this incredibly easy but delicious Fish en Papillote for her. I do wish I could cook her dishes and mail them to her safely but well, that’s not possible.

I am curious how long open campuses will last. These issues are the same closer to home. Our school system is looking to have in-classroom learning. Not quite sure how they will pull this off when, in the high school, there will be 1400 students walking through the hallways every 84 minutes. Who will be cleaning the classrooms between classes? Not an easy problem.

Technique for Fish en Papillote

I bought a nice piece of fresh cod for this dish and the fresh thyme from the garden was a lovely compliment. This fish was a reminder to pay attention to what the fishmonger is handing you. I pointed to a thicker filet and without me paying attention, I got this thin piece. I didn’t notice until I was back home. Slightly small for two people, especially when one is a teenager.

Place the fish in the parchment paper and twist the ends to make a boat shape. Add the ingredients into the boat.

Seal the package so the liquid is contained.

Bake at 350F/175C for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. You want the cod to be nice and flaky.

Serve immediately.

It was a lovely pairing with salad and roasted sweet potato. This is also a great dish to whip up for a quick lunch.

Fish en Papillote

Fish cooked in parchment paper

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Fish en Papillote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 6 oz fresh cod
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

  2. Place the cod onto a piece of parchment paper. Make a boat shape with the parchment paper and add the rest of the ingredients to the fish.

  3. Seal the parchment paper into a packet to hold the liquid in. Bake 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked and flaky.

  4. Serve with sides of your choice. For example, a salad and roasted sweet potato.

Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

A big component to my joy of traveling is being able to try new food and get inspiration for new dishes at home. My husband and I aren’t big shoppers, we’d rather budget for experiences. I prefer having a memory of a lovely meal in some far off locale than fill the house with stuff. Though stuff seems to multiply anyway, not sure what happens there! A couple of decades ago I was in Scotland on the west coast. I had a meal that I remember til this day because not only was it delicious but the simple flavours just came together to be amazing. It was Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce.

Prior to this I’d never had duck. I don’t think it was something, at the time, readily available in the States. I was also not a fan of cherries as it was difficult to get really fresh cherries and the flavour that gets stuck in your mind is the awful chemical cherry flavour of ice creams or medicine. Seriously, who taste tests those? But this was a revelation.

Technique for Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

The key to this, as is for most dishes, is fresh ingredients. I love being able to pop into my garden for the fresh herbs and veg.

Coarsely chop the cherries and finely chop the garlic. I really wish I had a cherry depitter but it’s not big deal to cut away the cherry from the pit, just slows it down a bit. Start cooking the cherry in a small pan with a bit of water.

Prep the duck by scoring the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place into a skillet face down to start with. Keep the heat just under medium so the fat renders down as much as possible while giving you that really nice sear. Every few minutes flip the duck so it cooks evenly without burning either side.

Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice to the cherries. Let that simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the butter, sea salt and pepper. Stir well.

I do like a crispy duck. Cook the duck to at least medium. Allow to rest for several minutes before slicing.

Slice the duck and place over a bed of greens. Spoon over the sauce. We also roasted potatoes in duck fat. That is next level good.

Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

Seared Duck with cherries, garlic and thyme

Course Main Course
Keyword Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 duck breast
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water 2-3oz
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Cooking the Seared Duck

  1. Score the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

  2. In a skillet, put the duck face down. Keep the heat just below medium so the fat renders out without burning the duck. Flip the duck every few minutes so it cooks evenly. Cook until it is at least medium in the centre. Let it rest for several minutes before slicing.

Cooking the Cherry Sauce

  1. Sautè the cherries in the water for a few minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Simmer for a few minutes to cook the garlic.

  3. Add the butter and stir well. Reduce the liquid by about a third.

Serving the dish

  1. Slice the duck and arrange it over a bed of greens.

  2. Spoon the sauce over the duck.

  3. Serve with potatoes roasted in duck fat.

Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork

So how’s the year going for everyone? Crazy you say? We all have years that we are glad to see the back of but this is a year, for the first time in a very long time, I think we’re all looking forward to see the back of. It’s been difficult to hold on to some normalcy, especially with our kids. Blogging took a back seat with sewing face masks and headbands, as well with just wanting to do cosy things and make sure the family was in a good and safe space. For a lot of us, the anxiety has been over the top. How there hasn’t been a wine shortage, I’ll never know. We still need to eat, of course! This Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork is very easy to make and has a lovely fresh flavour, perfect for these hot days.

Technique for the Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.

Prep the pork by removing any connective tissue and then pierce the pork in several spots. Everytime I think or say “pierce the”, I always think of the movie Birdcage and the “I pierced the toast!” line. Very funny movie. Place the pork in a deep baking dish. Season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the baking dish.

Cover and bake for about 6 hours. Low and slow is key here. You’ll end up with moist and falling apart pork.

Remove the big pieces of rosemary so you don’t have big twigs in the meal. Shred the pork and stir well so the onion, garlic and rosemary are evenly mixed in.

Serve on a bed of lettuce, top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I absolutely love roasted potatoes so that was my chosen side with this light meal.

I hope you are all getting through this surreal year and are staying healthy, we will eventually get through this.

Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork

A lemony slow cooked pork served over lettuce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 4
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder 900grams
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 boughs of rosemary
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice 4oz
  • 1 cup chicken stock 8oz
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C

  2. Remove the connective tissue from the pork and pierce with a knife, several times. Place in a deep baking dish and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the remaining ingredients to the baking dish.

  3. Cover the baking dish and bake for 6 hours. After about 3 hours, baste the pork every 45- 60 minutes.

  4. Remove the big pieces of rosemary. Remove from the oven and shred the pork with two forks. Mix in the rosemary, onion and garlic evenly.

  5. Serve over a bed of lettuce and grate fresh parmesan over the pork.