Occasional recipes: honey mustard pork chops with peppercorn

This one comes from the BBC Food site (apparently Mike Robinson from Saturday Kitchen), with adaptation.

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp runny honey
2 pork chops
50g/2oz butter
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices
200g/7oz new potatoes, lightly cooked and halved
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
6 shredded fresh sage leaves

For the sauce
3 finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp green peppercorns
small glass cider
100ml/3½fl oz double cream

I’ve done this a few times before with the drawbacks that (a) Bonusbarn doesn’t like it and (b) the original recipe suggests griddling the chops for 6 minutes each side with the honey mustard sauce already slathered on them. This means you do the rest through a haze of pork flavoured smoke.

Oven roasting the chops takes longer but makes them much nicer. Cover and roast for 1 hour in an oven at gas mark 4, over a tray full of water to keep them moist. Mix the honey and mustard together and, at the 55 minute mark, paste it over the chops, then return them to the oven for another five minutes.

Before that, stick to what the original recipe said:

  • Melt some butter, add the onions and apples and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and another teaspoon of mustard.
  • For the peppercorn sauce, melt some butter in another pan, add shallots and peppercorns and cook for a minute. Add a splash of cider and bring to the boil, then add the double cream and cook until it thickens
  • Serve it all together. Pork chops lovely and moist, sauce deliciously creamy, potatoes and apples adding body and interesting flavours to the mix. Yum.

So that’s Thanksgiving

Mashed potatoes with turkey? I know, shocking.

We have an American vicar, for reasons I’ve never quite gathered. (I know why we have a vicar, because we’re that kind of church, and I know why he’s American because you don’t really get a choice in that when your parents are American and you’re born in Pittsburgh. I’ve just not yet quite understood how he ended up here, but I’m very glad he did because he’s a great guy.)

Last night we commemorated the fact with an American-style Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn bread, peas and sweetcorn. All ingredients genuinely American, acquired somehow from a US airforce base. And the menu …

The vicar explained beforehand that American palates are not quite the same as British ones. They don’t draw the same distinctions between sweet and savoury. And how! The corn bread is essentially dry Victoria sponge. It could have served with the sweet potato casserole as our dessert – except of course that dessert was pumpkin pie and pecan pie. (I was surprised to hear how many people present had never had pumpkin pie – I’ve had it often thanks to my mother’s cooking at home. Never had pecan pie, though.) I think the Americans must have invented cranberry sauce in a desperate attempt to drag it at least a little over to the savoury side of the taste spectrum.

But I quibble. This was my first Thanksgiving dinner and very nice it was too. It certainly whetted my appetite for the real thing in 25 days time …

If you’re in a hole, stop digging

Best Beloved served up some really quite nice rice pudding for dessert. I went to boarding school: “nice” and “rice pudding” have never belonged together in the same sentence. This was hot and creamy with a hint of cinnamon.

Quoth Bonusbarn: “it’s a bit like phlegm, isn’t it?”

[Transfixed by twin glares]

“I mean, good phlegm, obviously.”

[Glares do little in the way of abating]

“The kind that’s out, not still in and making you feel unwell.”

I think we then talked about the weather.