Despite putting together fun meal plans for Eating Adelaide, our own meal planning has been pretty shambolic of late. We are getting back on track, but a lot of our choices are being driven by how quick something will be to put on the table. The toddler seems to be in the process of dropping his nap (we’ve done well – he’s almost 3 and until the last couple of weeks has routinely been napping 2-3 hours a day!) and Andy has just started a new job.
So there’s not a lot of time for leisurely kitchen activities. Dinner needs to be of the “put in pan and serve” variety. And, of course, I have the sage plant …
A quick trawl through my delicious bookmarks threw up this simple recipe for pork chops, from The Goddess’s Kitchen, an English blog I’ve been following for ages. Maria doesn’t blog as frequently as she used to, and a lot of her posts are baking oriented (one of the reasons I started following in the first place) but this simple pork chop recipe hit the mark.
I served it with mash and a few steamed vegetables, and made a simple tweak to the sauce (I opened the cream for the mash, so I figured I might as well enrich the sauce at the same time!). It’s a great way of using some kitchen garden produce and jazzing up a very simple supper.
Pork Chops with Sage, Italian Style
- 2 pork loin chops
- fresh sage leaves, to taste, but at least 3 per chop
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- generous splash of white wine
- 1 tbsp cream
- Add some oil or butter to a pan and cook the chops.
- When the chops are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. If there is a lot of fat in the pan drain.
- Return the pan to a gentle heat and add the garlic and sage leaves. Season. Add the white wine and reduce a little before adding the cream.
- Cook for a few minutes, until the raw alcohol taste is cooked out and the sauce reduces further.
- Serve the pork chops dressed with the sauce.
Last week, after nearly four years at the one job, Andy said goodbye to a pile of workmates. Only just back from Spain, there was no way I was going to be the life of any party (or surrender up the toddler to babysitters – or maybe that should be “be surrendered”?!) so I stayed in.
I had a pretty lazy day and only once shops were closing and the toddler was in bed did I discover that the cupboards were pretty bare. Normally I would have spaghetti, chilli, oil and garlic but there wasn’t enough plain pasta for dinner so I had to put my thinking cap back on.
Fortunately the freezer was home to a small bag of gnocchi (of indeterminate age, naturally), the fridge had some bacon and we have a big pot of sage in the back garden.
Now, I could have done something healthy because we always have tinned tomatoes to hand but … I wanted super quick. Taking inspiration from the countless variations on sage and butter that you find in Italian cooking I whipped up a tasty, but also not very healthy or very balanced supper!
Absolutely perfect for a night in for one. But a word of advice – you absolutely HAVE to use fresh sage. Dried simply will not work at all.
- 2 rashers of bacon
- fresh sage leaves, to taste
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- gnocchi, for one
- Heat the butter in a frying pan that is big enough to fit the gnocchi in.
- Chop the bacon and add to the butter.
- Start cooking the gnocchi in boiling water.
- When the bacon starts to brown and crisp, add the garlic and the sage leaves.
- When the gnocchi is cooked (it all floats), drain and add to the frying pan with the bacon, sage and garlic.
- Give this a quick fry and then serve in a warm bowl, topped with grated parmesan and plenty of black pepper.
A bit of a wander over the other side of town saw us in a position to visit a different fish monger and perhaps try out something new. In the end, Andy was sent off with purchasing orders and came back with ling. Ling falls into the Sustainable Seafood ‘think’ category because it is often trawl fished which can create stock management problems and significant bycatch. Sadly, there’s no legislation that means this kind of information is displayed at point of purchase so the poor consumer either stands at the counter entranced by his or her phone, or gets home to find that a wiser choice could have been made.
I wasn’t too sure what to do with ling so google came to our aid and we decided we had enough in the cupboard to muddle together something similar to this Korean fish stir fry.
The final dish got top marks for a quick, easy and delicious mid-week dinner. Unfortunately, in this case, it received the thumbs down from the toddler. Despite his initial enthusiasm for ‘spicy fish stir fry’ (which he shouted over and over again) this waned dramatically when faced with the dish. I suspect this was because he was actually full, rather than a reflection of Andy’s cooking!
Don’t skimp on the sesame seeds and don’t wander off while you’re toasting them. They turn from golden brown to burnt within a heart beat.
We actually served this on top of a mix of brown rice and quinoa which worked very well. The rice and quinoa was very filling and a great carrier for the flavour of the stir fry.
- ~ 500g ling fillets (any firm white fish will do)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- neutral oil
- 1 small-medium onion, finely sliced
- ½ red capsicum
- lightly steamed broccoli and carrot
- fresh coriander as garnish
- Mix together the marinade ingredients. Cut the fish into bite size chunks and cover with the marinade. Leave for about half an hour.
- There is not a ton of marinade so don't expect the fish to be swimming in it.
- Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the onion. Add the fish. When the fish is cooked, add the vegetables and cook for a minute or two more to ensure they are warmed through.
- Serve on rice or noodles, and garnish with the coriander.