I think the day has finally come. The day when I can dare to say that the air is crisp and fresh and autumn is here. Can this be true? I don’t know about you but to me this kind of weather makes me want to eat mushrooms. And pancetta. And pasta. Thank goodness these three stars go so well together. All they need is some kind of sauce. Now I’ve got a little confession to make. When I’m in a hurry I make a simple tomato one with a few other ingredients thrown here and there, but I’m not a huge fan. I will eat it because I like it. That’s all. What I really really like is a good cream sauce. Alas, that’s not the healthiest thing on Earth (what a huge disappointment) so instead, that is when I have the time I make bechamel.
I am a planner. Well, whenever I can that is. I look for interesting recipes, write grocery lists and plan weekly meals. Usually. Though there are times when I just can’t be bothered. Stuff just happens. It’s been almost a year since moving back to Malta and we haven’t stopped. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out doesn’t even begin to describe. So for the past few months I have given up on planning meals all the time. Giving this up for the most part has not been as hard as I anticipated. I know – I’m surprised at that myself to be honest but I gradually learnt not to fuss over the little things. To an extent. Cooking and baking are meant to be stress-busters for me. Whereas lately they were completely stressing me out! And I was letting them do that. I almost made my kitchen my enemy. Say what?! The fact that I’ve been running this blog for four and a half years now has somewhat increased the pressure, even though it remains my beloved hobby and my rock. Phew.
So I decided that when it comes to buying fresh produce I was going to relax. My thought process for the past few weeks has been something like this: deep breathe, let the notepad go, let the pen go, make the journey to the veggie truck, pick the best fruit and veggies you can buy, think of some recipes while you linger, chat to the nicest people there, pay for the stuff and walk away slowly. And it’s working. It is. I feel freer and I cook whatever I want when I’m home. The kitchen is not my enemy anymore. At least for now!
There are many variations on this recipe out there, and I wonder why I haven’t written anything about it myself as yet. I have had this photo on file for ages! This is one of J’s favourite things to cook and eat, and I’ve grown to love it too. It’s easy to make and that bit of bread and cheese on top makes it so comforting. It will be piping hot by the time you serve it, but I think that’s one of the best things about it. There is a place for cold soup in the kitchen – not this time.
On those days when I’m really tired to cook I need to eat well. It’s only natural that after a very long day I need to have a fulfilling (*not* as in cannot-eat-anymore-because-I-am-full thing) but a nice cozy supper without too much work.
So a little while ago I got some pork loins on a whim and as usual I got home and wondered why I bought them. Ironic isn’t it: with so many cookbooks in my library I couldn’t quite think of something. Then I thought why not make the easiest thing ever? Simply season them and grill or pan-fry them with some potatoes and green veg. And you’re done. This is how I did it.
For 2 pieces you will need:
- ¼ teaspoon salt,
- ¼ teaspoon fresh peppercorns, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 7 tablespoons plain flour
- Score the skin on the pork to enable this to crisp up. You will not want to eat it later, but you will need to keep it on for the meat to stay moist.
- Mix the salt, pepper, coriander seeds and flour in a shallow plate and coat the pork pieces evenly.
- Shallow fry the meat in a little butter and a spot or two of vegetable oil (so that the butter doesn’t burn on you) till the meat is tender, approximately for 5 minutes per side.
- In the same pan I placed some pre-boiled potatoes and roasted them with the meat, and served everything with fine green beans, boiled for a few minutes, then blanched in cold water to stop the cooking process. I like my veggies with a little bit of bite, but you can cook them for however long you like.
- For the sauce tip the remaining flour mixture in the pan and add some white wine or dry vermouth and whisk till you have no lumps. Add a teeny bit of cream and whisk again. Taste and season if you need to. Pour this over the meat.
Happy New Year!