(All Recipes have Gluten-Free Options)
Pork, Beef and Ricotta Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Serves 6)
These meatballs are made from a combination of pork and beef, and are held together by the ricotta cheese rather than breadcrumbs, so have a lighter consistency. I have taken the recipe from Mary Heffernan’s cookbook ‘Five Mary’s Ranch Raised’. The tomato sauce is a basic one that I’ve used over the years, it is rich and garlicky. Served with spaghetti they make a crowd-pleasing dish – they should definitely be on your recipe list!…
For the Tomato Sauce:
6-9 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper
For the Meatballs:
450g minced pork
450g minced beef
250g ricotta cheese
30g grated Parmesan cheese (plus more to serve)
½ onion, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Schwartz)
½ teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh basil leaves to garnish
Spaghetti to serve (gluten-free if required)
- For the tomato sauce, place the oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan over a medium-high heat, lightly brown the garlic with the bay leaves. Add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, bring to a simmer, lightly crushing them with the back of a spoon. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Put aside whilst you make the meatballs.
- To make the meatballs, place the pork, beef, ricotta, Parmesan, onion, egg, Italian seasoning, ground fennel, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix gently with your hands until combined. Shape into meatballs, you should make about 28, each about 2 inches in diameter.
- Lightly oil a baking sheet and space the meatballs evenly on it. Place in a preheated oven, 220’c fan, for 20 minutes, until well browned on one side and cooked through.
- Loosen the meatballs from the baking tray into the tomato sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, gently moving the meatballs around occasionally.
- Serve with spaghetti and garnish with the chopped basil and more grated Parmesan.
Medallions of Pork with Prunes & Cognac (Serves 4)
As Rick Stein says in his cookbook ‘Secret France’, this is one of those recipes which has been around forever. Indeed, I have cooked it in various forms over the years, but it is this recipe from Stein’s aforementioned cookbook that is the winner (so far!). Apart from being delicious, it’s a recipe that is very quick and easy to cook, hence its ongoing popularity. It’s great served with ‘My Favourite Mash’ and ‘Sautéed Spinach with Garlic’ (recipes here).
2 teaspoons olive oil
700g pork fillet, trimmed of slivery sinew and cut into 1 cm rounds
2 banana shallots, chopped
60ml Cognac or brandy
150ml double cream
250ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons redcurrant jelly
A few fresh thyme sprigs
12 ready-to-eat pitted prunes
Small handful flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
- Heat half the butter with the oil in a frying pan and brown the pork medallions for 1-2 minutes, then set them aside.
- Add the remaining butter and gently fry the shallots until softened. Then add the Cognac and cook for a minute or so until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Add the cream, chicken stock, redcurrant jelly, thyme sprigs and prunes, and cook for a couple of minutes before putting the pork medallions and any of their juices back in the pan. Taste and season with salt and plenty of pepper, then cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the pork is just cooked through.
- To serve, remove the thyme and sprinkle with the parsley.
Sausages with Grapes (Serves 4)
Kids and adults alike will love this dish, it’s a real crowd-pleaser. I have taken the recipe from Skye McAlpine’s cookbook ‘A Table for Friends’, she, in turn, took it from one of her favourite cookbooks…so it is one of those recipes that has done the rounds, and for good reason!…It is a dish that deserves the best pork sausages you can find and really needs little else, although some mashed potato would be good, or as McAlpine suggests, Fennel and Parmesan Purée (both recipes are here).
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 pork sausages
500g red grapes
240ml white wine
1 teaspoon cornflower
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or casserole over a low heat and add the sausages. Cook, turning occasionally until they are browned all over.
- Snip the grapes into small bunches, add these to the sausages, then pour in the wine.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until the sausages are cooked through and the wine has evaporated by half. Remove the sausages and grapes to a serving dish with a slotted spoon, leaving behind the cooking juices.
- To make the sauce, mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of cooking liquid in a small bowl, then add this to the juices in the pan. Bring to the boil, stirring, and simmer for 2 minutes until thickened. Serve with the sausages and sweet grapes.
Pork Steak with Mustard & Gherkin Sauce (Serves 4)
Pork collar steak is a cut of meat which is often overlooked, it’s a shame as not only is it one of the cheaper cuts of meat but it is also very tasty. This recipe shows just how special it can be. I found the recipe in Daniel Galmiche’s ‘French Brasserie Cookbook’, it really is an inspiration; the sharpness of the gherkin and mustard in the sauce beautifully cuts the richness of the cream and pork. It is super quick to cook, all it needs is a good crisp salad and perhaps some ‘homemade chips’, or on a cold night, some creamy mash potato is great for mopping up the sauce! (recipes here).
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pork collar steaks, about 150g each
160ml double cream
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
4 tarragon sprigs, leaves roughly chopped
8 small gherkins (cornichons), halved and sliced into strips
Sea salt and black pepper
- Warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the steaks and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown, adding the butter when you turn them over. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water to the pan, stirring to deglaze it. Bring this liquid to a simmer over a low heat and slowly stir in the cream and mustard, then add the gherkins and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.
- When the sauce is heated through, pour over the steaks and serve.
Chilli-Rubbed Pork Chops with Charred-Corn Salsa (Serves 4)
This is another incredibly tasty recipe from the cookbook ‘Five Marys Ranch Raised’. To create the wonderful chargrill flavour you do need to use a griddle pan (or a BBQ). The pork chops are seasoned with a chilli rub, I use a mild chilli powder but if you prefer a hotter kick you can of course use hot chilli powder. The sweet-smoky corn salsa makes this recipe extra special – chargrilling the corn cobs creates a delicious, sweet BBQ flavour. The pork chops are cut relatively thinly, so are ready in minutes; it really is a perfect quick dinner dish, just serve with a big salad, and with either ‘Roasted Cauliflower with Chilli & Lime’ or ‘Homemade Oven Chips’ (recipes here).
For the Pork:
4 pork chops (bone in), ¼ inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chilli powder (see note above)
1½ teaspoons salt flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the Salsa:
2 corn on the cob
2 slices red onion, each ½inch thick
Large bunch of fresh coriander, leaves finely chopped plus a few sprigs to garnish
1 small green jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sea salt and black pepper
- In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, garlic, chilli powder, salt, paprika and oregano to form a paste. Spread the paste evenly over the chops and set aside at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.
- To make the salsa, brush the corn cobs and the onion slices with olive oil. Heat a griddle pan until very hot, then place the corn in the hot pan and cook, turning, until tender and slightly charred – about 7-10 minutes. Cook the onion slices in the same way, they will need less time – about 5 minutes.
- Cut the corn from the cobs and finely chop the onion. Combine the corn and onion in a bowl with the chopped coriander, jalapeno, lime juice and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put to one side.
- Reheat the griddle pan until smoking hot and place the pork chops on the pan, griddle for 2-3 minutes, so they get lovely chargrilled marks, then turn and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until the chops are cooked through.
- Transfer to a serving plate to rest for a few minutes before serving with the corn salsa, garnished with the coriander sprigs. It is delicious served with ‘Roasted Cauliflower with Chilli & Lime’ or ‘Homemade Oven Chips’ – recipes here.
Medallions of Pork with Rhubarb Salsa and Sautéed Spinach (Serves 4)
Rhubarb isn’t just for dessert, it works well with savoury dishes too, as it’s fruity, tart flavour really complements meat such as pork or duck. This dish is very good with Sautéed Spinach and Baby Roast Potatoes (recipes here).
2 pork tenderloins (trimmed of any fat and silverskin)
For the Salsa:
60ml white wine
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 teaspoon sugar
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Cut the rhubarb into small slices (about 1cm). Place in a saucepan with the white wine and gently cook until it becomes ‘mushy’ and tender. Purée until smooth – a stick blender is ideal for this or you can use a food processor.
- Melt the jelly in a saucepan, then add the rhubarb purée, crème fraîche, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and nutmeg.
- Meanwhile, cut the tenderloins, into 2cm slices. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the medallions over a medium to high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side – you want them to still be a little pink.
- Serve the warm salsa over the pork medallions. Serve with Sautéed Spinach and Baby Roast Potatoes (recipes here).
The Very Best Sausage Rolls (with a gluten free option!!)
Seriously, this is the best sausage roll recipe you will come across!…The secret is the sausage meat, the combination of bacon and fennel with the pork mince really adds a burst of flavour. Apart from making the sausage meat, this recipe is very quick, as it uses ready rolled puff pastry. Any uncooked sausage rolls can be easily frozen and cooked at a later date.
Gluten Free Note: As you may know, I’m gluten free, and so I make these both with and without gluten, if I’m totally honest the gluten recipe is slightly better, however the gluten free option is still very good. I have recently discovered ‘Jus Roll Gluten Free Ready Rolled Puff Pastry’, and I was pleasantly surprised with it, it doesn’t puff up in quite the same way as the gluten puff pastry, hence those pictured are made with ‘proper puff pastry’, however they still taste rather delicious!
The sausage meat recipe requires ‘Panko’ Breadcrumbs, so as a gluten free option I use ‘Esgir, Gluten Free Crunchy Crumbs’, which are a great substitute.
For the Sausaage Meat
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
150g unsmoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan
500g pork mince
40g panko breadcrumbs (or gluten free crumbs – see note above)
1 egg, lightly whisked
½ teaspoon salt
For the Rolls
2 packets of Jus Rol Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (Gluten Free if required – see note above)
1 egg, lightly whisked
A little plain flour (gluten free if required) for rolling
- Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion, garlic and celery for 2 minutes, then add the bacon. Cook for a further 2 minutes without browning. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Add the fennel seeds, pork mince, breadcrumbs, salt and a little pepper and the egg, mix well using your hands.
- To make the rolls: lay out the pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. Cut each rectangle of pastry in half lengthways, so that you have four pieces. Put the sausage meat in a compact log shape along the middle length of each piece of the pastry. For each piece: brush the egg along one long edge, fold the pastry over to meet this egg washed edge, seal tightly, then fold this sealed edge under the long roll.
- If you have the patience it is a good idea to refrigerate the long rolls for an hour before cooking, as it makes them easier to cut.
- When you are ready to cook them, cut each long roll into smaller lengths to create ‘sausage rolls’. Gently score each roll a couple of times with a knife and brush with the egg wash.
- Place on a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven, 180’c fan, for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and serve warm.
Freezing Note: You can freeze unbaked sausage rolls, place in an airtight container in single layers with baking paper between each layer. You can cook them from frozen, brush with egg wash and place in a preheated oven, 180’c, for about 40 minutes.
Simple Sausages with Roasted Potato & Onion Wedges (Serves 4)
This is a great midweek supper, it’s more or less a matter of putting the ingredients in a roasting pan and leaving the oven to do its work!
900g large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 – 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 red onions, peeled and each cut into eight wedges
Sea salt and black pepper
- Put the potatoes in a roasting tin drizzle over the olive oil and turn to coat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Place the rosemary on top. Place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 20 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the onion wedges, toss with the potatoes so that they get a good coating of olive oil. Then put the sausages in between the potatoes and onions. Return to the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve with tenderstem broccoli or baked beans (Heinz!), and a dollop of tomato ketchup and mustard!
Pork Chops with Pears & Crackling (Serves 4)
This is one of our family’s favourites, a real ‘hug on a plate’ – a beautiful creamy dish. I found the recipe years ago in a magazine, the cutting is now rather dog-eared, as I’ve cooked it so many times! The crackling, which is made from the rind of the chops, is my personal addition to the recipe and one which, I must admit, is one of my more brilliant ideas(!); it is really worth making as it makes this dish extra special. I like to serve this with my ‘favourite’ mashed potato or, if I’m feeling a little lazy, jacket potatoes, and for some greenery I like tenderstem broccoli with lemon butter and almonds (all recipes are here).
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 pork chops
4 bushy sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 medium pears
200ml dry cider
150ml double cream
Sea salt and Black pepper
For the Crackling
1-2 tablespoons malt vinegar
- First of all make the crackling: cut off the rind from the chops. Score the rinds a couple of times. Pour boiling water over each piece, dry it, and sprinkle over the malt vinegar, rubbing it in, finally sprinkle with salt. Leave to one side for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, place on a baking tray and cook in the oven, 200’c, for 30 minutes until crisp.
- Meanwhile, lightly oil the chops, sprinkle over the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
- Halve and core the pears, cut into large dice. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the diced pear until golden and slightly caramelised on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan brown the chops on each side over a moderate heat. When browned place on a baking tray and cook in the oven, 200’c fan, for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, deglaze the frying pan with the cider, stirring to dissolve any sticky residue that the chops have left behind. Boil and reduce the cider for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cream, whisk lightly to mix in and allow to bubble down for a minute or so.
- Return the chops and the pears to the pan to reheat everything. Check the seasoning. Serve with the crackling, mashed potato or jacket potatoes and tenderstem broccoli (recipes here).
Click here to see the video of the crackling being made!