domingo, 23 de mayo de 2010

And they thought they were joking!

Last April, one of the papers published an article about a new fruit called “Pineberry”, a white strawberry that tasted like pineapple, many people didn’t believe it, they thought it was an April’s food joke...I have a radar when it comes to find new foods n the supermarkets, so I found them and I was pleasantly surprised. They were quite expensive, £4 a punnet (250G) but they really worth it.

As soon as I bought them, I could smell the aromatic essence of the strawberry but more intense than a normal one. I couldn´t resist and on my way home, on the train, I try them and I have to say that I have never tasted such a sweet and aromatic fruit. I couldn´t find the pineapple taste, it was more like a super intense and delicate strawberry, even to the touch, it felt like velvet. Honoring this little beauties, I give you an intense dark chocolate, with a chocolate ganache. 

Of course you can use any other fruit, raspberries are perfect or normal strawberries or even kumquats. These pineberries were on sale for a limited period only, ans although I tried hard, I couldn’t find them again. See you next year, I hope ...


150g softened butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup caster sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder


Grease a medium loaf pan and preheat the oven to 180.

Cream the butter and the sugars with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla extract, the eggs, one at a time. In a big bowl sift the flour, the bicarbonate of soda, the salt, the baking powder and the cocoa. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Pour this mixture on the tin and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes away clean. Cool in the tin, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:

200g dark chocolate

150 single cream

30g butter

1 tablespoon rum (optional)


Cut the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler over boiling water or in the microwave. Heat the cream and butter in a pan until is very hot. Mix in the melted chocolate and um and ice the cake with the sauce. Decorate with the white strawberries or with any other fruit. Serve with some more of the chocolate sauce, in case somebody “needs” and extra dose. Yes, please!

domingo, 9 de mayo de 2010

Roasts of the World II- Porchetta, ti amo!

Welcome to the second instalment of the series Roasts of the world. This one is dedicated to the magnificent Italy and its varied and delicious gastronomy. And the main protagonist of the post is the “Porchetta” which is so popular that the Italian Ministry of agriculture has place it on the list of the most traditional Italian foods.  The “Porchetta” is a piece of pork meat, usually pork belly, you can kindly ask your butcher to butterfly it for you, or you can try yourself, which is not difficult. The meat is stuffed with herbs and fennel, then rolled and roasted. It’s important to keep the skin on since it gives the meat a wonderful taste and texture. It’s usually sliced very thinly and is traditionally served in a sandwich around the streets in Italy where you can get it from the vans selling it everywhere. It’s a dish of celebration and party with friends and family. I have been wanting to make this dish since I saw it at Borough market, and I have to say that everybody who tried this after I cooked was so pleased that I am going to cook this many many times. I used half a pork loin for this, which I bought at the Smithfiedls Market in London, one day, early in the morning, where I travelled with the idea of getting some of that wonderful wagyu beef, but that, ladies and gentlemen, is another story...

You can served this as a roast, or as a smart main course, inspired in a recipe by Jason Neroni, with cannellini beans and salsa verda, or as I mentioned earlier, in a sandwich, the proper way. This meat and the way of cooking it is extremely  grateful to be eaten, Mrs Porchetta lets herself go and she lets you stuff her, roast her and slice her with a fully submissive attitude, because she knows that, in the end, she is going to please our palates and we are going to love her. Forza Italia!

Ingredients for the meat

5 onions

3 bay leaves

¼ cup olive oil

1 bulb fennel, finely sliced, reserve the fronds

2 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely sliced

Salt and pepper

1 piece of pork belly or pork loin with the skin on


 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Butterfly the meat if the butcher hasn't done it for you.  Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a pan with olive oil and chopped two of the onion, add to the oil with the fennel and cook for ten minutes. Add the fennel seed more pepper, the rosemary and the garlic cloves, and cook for another ten minutes. Turn off the heat and add the fennel fronds, and spread this mixture on top of the open meat. Roll out the meat like a Swiss roll. Tied with twine and place on a bed of the rest of the onions, roughly chopped and the bay leaves, drizzle the meat with more olive oil and roast in the oven for 2 ½ hours. Remove from the oven and let it rest on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes before slicing it and serve.

For the two gravies. Pass the sauce through a sieve (onions included) and the coking juices. For the other gravy, blend everything. 


For the salsa verde

 1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 onion

Salt and pepper

¼ cup olive oil



 Blend all the ingredients and drizzle the olive oil until everything is combined, reserve.

For the potatoes

 1 kilo baby potatoes, sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper


 Place the potatoes in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Fry in oil until they start to get brown and place them in an oven tray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

 To serve, slice the meat very thick and cut into rectangles. Heat some of the cannellini beans and pace on the plate with some of the salsa verde on top. Place the meat on a bed of gravy and serve with the roast potatoes and more gravy on the side. 

 The other option is the sandwich, for this, spread the gravy on crusty bread. Slice the meat very thinly and place on the bread along with some lettuce leaves if you want. 

Buon appetito!