Monday, March 28, 2011

Pork Chops and Cauliflower

I don’t know just how I came to make this dish, except that there was a cauliflower and two pork chops to be used up. Anyhow, the result was delicious, and the remaining cauliflower in its flavoured sauce just as good the following day (even without chops). It can be prepared well before wanted at the table, and will take half an hour to prepare and ¾ of an hour to complete. But one point I have discovered is that real pork chops – meat, fat and bone, are essential. Fat-free, lean, foreign, water-injected pork will produce a much inferior result.

PORK – Pork Chops and Cauliflower

You will need:

1 Cauliflower

Pork chops (one per person)

Ingredients for this (or any) white sauce - butter, plain flour, stock cube, Dijon mustard (optional), grated cheese (optional), pepper and salt, milk, or milk and water

Chilli powder (optional), turmeric (optional for extra colour)

Paprika (to sprinkle on top)

Depending on the thickness of the chops, cook them in a baking tin with a little oil in a hot oven for half an hour (for thick ones).

As you put them in the oven, rest a cauliflower in a little water in a saucepan and boil/steam it for 20 minutes. Make sure that the water does not boil away.

Now make a generous amount of white sauce. Do this in the normal way by melting a large lump of butter in a saucepan into which put 3 heaped dessert spoons of plain flour. Work the flour into the butter. Add to it 1 ½ pints of cold milk, or a mixture of milk and water. Whisk it all together to rid it of lumps, making sure to include the mixture at the angle where the sides of the pan meet the base (a metal spoon run around will draw this in). Keep whisking.

Add to this white sauce a dollop of Dijon mustard (if you have any at hand), a pinch of chilli powder (again, if you have any), a pinch of turmeric (if you have any and want a more glowing colour to the sauce), some grated cheese (optional, but for extra flavour), a stock cube of your choice, and plenty of salt and pepper. Keep whisking. Soon the sauce will start to bubble and be ready to use. Take it off the heat.

The cauliflower will be ready next (having been steam/boiled for 20 minutes). Strain it, using some of the water if you think the sauce needs a little thinning. Use a knife to cut up the drained cauliflower in its saucepan. Cut it into small pieces.

Add the white sauce to the chopped cauliflower and, when the chops are done, use the cauliflower/white sauce to cover and surround them in the baking tin. Sprinkle a little paprika over the top (for looks).

Finish cooking this dish right away with ¾ of an hour or more in a medium oven or, if kept until cold (even until the next day) at least an hour.

The above may sound complicated. But really all it says is this. Bake chops in the oven. Boil a cauliflower. Make a white sauce. Combine the lot. Cook.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Week

It was quite by chance that we saw the tail of a television programme about the giving-away of books in Trafalgar Square. We understood from what we saw that it was the start of a week when new books were given away for free.

Only a few days before, we had closed down our own Mudlark Press as, with no further publicity, and no distribution, not to mention that several dockland books were a little out of date, orders had declined. In fact, it had come to the state when the nearly 100% increase in the cost of our P.O. Box number almost outweighed our annual income.

This left us with quite a few books that we had stored around the house – now taking up room. Here, surely, was just the chance to give away much of our “timeless” stock as encouragement for others to take pleasure in the printed word, and thus to indirectly help our beleaguered libraries.

I put half a dozen copies of “Harbours, Girls and a Slumbering World” in my bag before I walked a short distance down our road to buy the morning newspaper, and came back with the bag empty.

“It’s give-away-a-book-week,” I said in accosting anyone who might be conversant with our language.

All were most grateful and delighted with the book, and the idea behind it.

And that was only the start.

There were only a few refusals by people naturally suspicious of being offered something for nothing, and one or two who had too many books already and just wanted to chat.

But generally speaking, most were extremely happy and considered themselves to be very lucky.

I was sometimes asked if I was the author, and even asked to sign a few copies.

And for Margreet and I the whole process was a delight, especially to see people suddenly change from their workaday demeanour to a smiling one on accepting our gift.

Now we have more room in the house – and a somewhat glowing feeling inside.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


My memory for earlier times tells me that rissoles were once leftover food, and served mainly to children. Leftover food they may be, and now delicious for adults as well.

I have just made rissoles that were as excellent as many a recent dish.

They were constructed with beef that was fine when roast, a bit chewy when cold, and then, when put through the mincer and turned into rissoles – deliciously flavoursome with crisp and soft textures. And they are simple to make.


You will need:

Minced roast beef

Cold mashed potato

Pepper and salt

Amoy chilli sauce or another kind (a little)

Chopped coriander leaves (a few)


Olive oil

Mix the above ingredients together thoroughly. Then form rissoles with your hands. Dip the rissoles into flour, giving them a generous top and bottom coating of it.

Fry the rissoles slowly in olive oil until both sides are brown and crisp.

That’s it.