Family friendly food – Summer 07
Summer is around the corner and so are all the sweet fruits of summer – peaches and nectarines, berries of every variety, melons, mangos and pineapples. And just about any cut of pork is a natural, matched with sweet summer fruit. Try substituting a lean cut like pork scotch fillet or tenderloin, cooked whole on the barbeque.
Mai Tai pork chops & grilled pineapple
2-4 bone-in pork chops
1 cup coconut vinegar (available at Asian supermarkets - any light clear vinegar can be substituted)
1/2 cup dark rum (optional)
2 tblspns brown sugar
1 tspn chili flakes (optional)
- Pour about 1/2 cup salt into a plastic bag. Add the pork chops and toss them around to coat them in the salt. Pour in 1/2 cup vinegar and seal the bag. Allow to marinate in the fridge anywhere from 1 hr to overnight.
- In a food processor, blend 1/4 of a peeled, fresh pineapple, juice 1 lime, 1/2 cup coconut vinegar, 2 tblspns brown sugar, a splash of olive oil and chili flakes. Using a vegetable peeler, slice 3-4 strips of orange peel (try not to get any of the white pith) and add these, plus the juice of 1/2 the orange to the processor bowl. Pulse until the pineapple and orange zest have been finely chopped.
- Remove the pork chops from the bag, rinse them and pat them dry. Discard the brine (salt and vinegar solution).
- Place the pork chops in a bowl and pour the pineapple marinade over them. Allow to marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge.
- Slice the remainder of the peeled pineapple into strips lengthways. Place in a bowl or dish and squeeze some fresh lime juice over them. Add a splash of olive oil and some chili flakes. Allow to sit whilst the pork chops are marinating.
- Heat the barbeque grill and brush it with olive oil.
- Place the pork chops and pineapple wedges on the grill. Cooking time will depend upon the thickness of the chops. Suggested grilling time would be 6 minutes per side. Give the chops and pineapple a quarter turn after 3 minutes; this will give the cross-hatched grill marks.
- For a whole piece, grill 10 mins each side, then wrap it in foil and let it sit for another 10-15 mins. Don't worry about the rum; the alcohol all burns off. It is the salt rub which helps keep the pork moist and tender.
- When grilled on both sides. remove the pork chops and cover with foil. Allow the chops to rest for 5 minutes before serving. If you like, the pineapple can keep grilling until it is nicely caramelised, or you can remove it and arrange it on a serving platter.
- Serve with apple & nectarine coleslaw.
Apple & nectarine 'slaw
2-3 Granny Smith apples
2-3 slightly under-ripe nectarines
Marash pepper flakes (or chili flakes)
- Finely slice the apples and nectarines
- As you go, keep squeezing fresh lime juice over the fruit so that the apples don't turn brown.
- Chop a fistful of fresh mint and add to the fruit.
- Drizzle some really good olive oil over everything
- Sprinkle some pepper flakes...just a pinch or two...over the fruit and toss everything.
You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Serve chilled.
Very Berry & Brown Sugar Cake
A great recipe for new season berries. An easy, all in the food processor affair topped with a mountain of cream cheese frosting.
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
zest 1 lemon
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup buttermilk - Make buttermilk by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes.
2 cups self raising flour
Optional: 2 tspns icing sugar, 2 tspns cornflour
225g softened cream cheese
3 cups icing sugar
orange or lemon juice (optional)
- To the food processor add 100g soft (not melted) butter,1/4 cup canola/ vegetable oil
- 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar and the zest of1 lemon
- Add 3 eggs,1 cup buttermilk
- add 2 cups SR flour
- Pour into a large loaf pan which has been greased and lined.
- In a bowl, mix blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
- Optional step - helps keep berries from sinking to bottom.
- Mix icing sugar with cornflour and sprinkle over the berries...toss them lightly to coat, then scatter the berries over the top of the cake.
- Pop into an oven (pre-heated to 190), give it 10 mins, knock the heat down to 175 then cook another 40 mins.
This is a dense, moist cake and the weight of the fruit will sink it slightly in the middle, but it looks gorgeous with all the colour. You will have to trust your touch when checking 'doneness' as a cake tester will not come out clean with all that fruit juice.
I made the frosting by combining cream cheese, orange and lemon zest, soft butter and icing sugar in the food processor. You can add some orange or lemon juice to it as well. If icing is too soft, put it into the freezer for about 5 mins before pouring it over the cake.
Blackberry, fetta, pancetta and spinach salad
This salad is for the grown ups in the family!
1/2 cup blackberries
8-10 slices of pancetta (preferably coils)
3-4 oz smooth fetta
handful toasted sliced almonds
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup blackberries
fresh cracked pepper, salt
good olive oil
- Place the coils of pancetta in a skillet, turn on the heat and watch as the coils transform into smoky little rosettes. Remove to a paper lined plate.
- Place the spinach leaves into a salad bowl, crumble the fetta into little nuggets on top of the leaves. Add the berries and pancetta coils. I choose a smooth, rather than a super-tangy goat cheese for this salad.
- Make the vinaigrette by placing a sieve over a bowl or jug. Squeeze the 1/2 cup blackberries over the sieve and let the juice run into the bowl.
- Add an equal amount of lemon juice...by now you probably have a 1/4 cup of liquid.
- Add an equal measure of very good olive oil (any citrus infused oil would be great). If you haven't got one, grate a little orange zest into the bowl.
- Add a pinch of salt, whisk it all together and then give it a taste; I do this by dunking some baguette into the vinaigrette. The tartness of the berries or lemon may vary, so you might consider adding a little sugar.
- Season with freshly cracked pepper and then whisk again.
- Pour over the salad and finish it all by scattering some toasted, sliced almonds on top.
This article was first published in Australian Family Magazine, October 2007.