June 10, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 6:12 pm

I’m lucky to have a great, friendly butcher’s shop near my flat. I found it, oddly enough, by reading the River Cottage Meat book which led me to the website of the Guild of Q Butchers. It was there that I discovered that the butcher’s shop H G Walters was literally 10 minutes from my front door.

Since I’ve started visiting them I’ve grown addicted to their maple cure bacon. In fact, all the pork I’ve had from them has been awesome, so last Saturday I decided to try a pork roast. I bought a decent sized  loin of pork, which the butcher untied so I could stuff it.

I’d had a plan to stuff my pork loin with a mixture of pears, walnuts, sage, rosemary and celery and serve it with a stilton sauce. But, when I came to make my roast, I noticed I had a small problem. I’d assumed the butcher would have left the string in for me to re-tie my joint, but he hadn’t. So I rang up Goon to ask him to pick some up on the way home.

Sadly, I underestimated Goon’s capacity for being lazy. Goon stopped off at the small Tesco metro instead of going to the big supermarket. I would have expected both places to stock some kind of string but apparently the small store didn’t and Goon didn’t want to walk the ten minutes extra to the big shop. So he decided to pick up an alternative. I wasn’t too pleased when I found out what he bought.

“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, ‘YOU GOT ELASTIC BANDS’!!?”

Goon looked at me me sheepishly. “There wasn’t any string anywhere.”

“You’re honestly telling me that it’s impossible to find string in a large shopping centre in Hammersmith at 8:00pm on a Monday night?!”

 ”You can use these, can’t you?”

I didn’t have a clue how these colourful bits of rubber would fare in a 160 C oven but I was willing to bet they weren’t the best thing to put on my roast.

“I doubt it.”  I said. “They’ll probably snap when they get hot.” Goon started wrapping rubber bands around my pork loin. “STOP IT!” I shouted. 

“I’m sure I’ve seen them used like this before.”

I resentfully agreed to let Goon tie my pork loin with rubber bands on the condition that we test them in the oven first to see what happened. As I’d thought,the bands didn’t like the heat. Within five minutes of them being put in the oven, we had a multi-coloured gloopy mess to scrape off the bottom shelf. 

So much for the elastic band idea. I needed a new plan but by now all the shops had shut and  I couldn’t find anything oven-proof that I could use to secure my pork.

In the end, after a lot of debate, we resorted to skewering. This wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The main problem was that the pork skin was very thick so, to get the skewers through, I had to aim for the bits where the skin had been scored. This meant  there weren’t that many places I could skewer the pork so the joint wasn’t held together very well at all!

skewered joint

Yes, I know, it does look ridiculous. But at least i some of the stuffing stayed in. The rest turned into a horrible burnt mess at the bottom of the dish but I think about half survived.  

The pork still cooked well though. It was tasty and juicy and the pear-walnut-stilton combination (that made it) was great with it.  

The rest of the meal worked fine too, although you can’t really go too far wrong with boiled new potatoes and steamed broccoli can you?

pork with pear and walnuts, stilton sauce, potatoes and brocolli 

Apart from the great quality pork, the stilton sauce was definitely the best bit of the dish. It was made from a little chicken stock which I reduced with some dry cider, white wine and a small sprig of rosemary which was removed at the end. Then I melted in the stilton and added a touch of double cream.

I’m looking forward to trying this idea again with a properly tied joint.  

 

 

 

10 Comments »

  1. Yum yum - i saw a pork loin roasting join in tescos today reduced to a fiver - i was contemplating it, but after your post i think i’ll have to have it!

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — June 11, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  2. Hehe, your Goon stories are always funny! You know, I think the smell of the rubber bands would have ensured I kept them way away from the pork but luckily your inventiveness won out! And the pork looks wonderful with it’s delicious stuffing!

    Comment by Freya — June 11, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  3. You’re terrible Ros, I’m sure Goon’s not nearly as stupid as you make him out to be. In fact I have actually met him, and I know he can’t be as bad as you say he is. Elastic bands to tie a joint for roasting is pretty hilarious though!

    Walnut, pear and blue cheese is a combination as old as the houses. Truly tried and tested. I’m sure it worked well with the pork.

    Comment by Trig — June 11, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  4. I clearly didn’t actually try to use rubber bands…

    Did I?

    I think I did :/

    Maybe I really am that stupid :’(

    Comment by Andy — June 11, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

  5. I am glad that you have discovered Q Guild Butchers. Where I live we have plenty of Q Guild Butchers (but not much else, unfortunately!) - long may they reign. The pork looks delicious.

    Comment by Margaret — June 12, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  6. Why the nickname Goon, or do I need to ask..? I think the roast actually looks rather cool pre-cutting. Not quite sure what that says about me… I’d like seconds when it’s cold, piece of crackling, spoonful of sauce.

    Comment by Amanda — June 12, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  7. Schmoof, keep it away from any elastic bands and all will be good!

    Freya, if you think elastic bands smell normally, you should get a whiff of them when they’ve been in the oven for five minutes!

    Trig, Goon’s stupidity is reserved for a few things, but mainly cooking. When it comes to other things (like saving the flat when I almost set the kitchen on fire) he’s very quick. But, God, does he do stupid things when it comes to cooking.

    Margaret, I’m really glad I discovered them. I’m very lucky for great food shops where I live but it took me a shocking amount of time to discover them.

    Amanda, look here in this post.
    http://www.roshani.co.uk/livingtoeat/index.php/2006/09/14/teaching-goon-to-cook/
    The leftover cold cuts were good. I’m rapidly becoming a fan of crackling.

    Comment by ros — June 12, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  8. The question is, Ros, if you had had the string, would it have helped? My attempts at tieing (tying? both look so wrong) meat have never been that successful. I mentioned to my wife that I was going to ask the butcher to show me how to do it, and she thought this most amusing. I do always think my butcher takes a deep breath when he sees me coming - he’s always very nice, but I get this feeling that he thinks I’m a prat.

    Comment by Richard — June 13, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  9. I like Sir Millar too but Goon has a nice ring to it.

    Comment by Amanda — June 13, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  10. Oh that’s hilarious! But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention ;-) I think the roast looks fine, even with the skewers in it - and the stuffing sounds just plain gorgeous. Thanks for some inspiration!

    Comment by Jeanne — June 15, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

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