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Last weekend I decided to impress my French friends with some traditional English cooking.

On Friday, I made Somerset Pork, a delicious pork and apple recipe from Somerset not far from the region where I used to live in the UK. I served the Somerset pork with mashed potatoes and green beans from the garden.

I now realise where English food slips up – presentation! My presentation was appalling and thank goodness it tasted good otherwise English food would have taken another hit! I was too embarrassed to take a photo in front of my friends but I can pretty much describe my presentation: I created a layer of mashed potato, then added the pork chop on top of that and then the sauce. As the sauce was quite heavy with onions and apples it ended up looking like slop on a plate! But boy it did taste good and everything finished their dishes!

I didn’t have the proper recipe so I made up my own based on what I could remember doing before. Here it is:

Serves 6:
6 Pork Chops
1/3 Cider (brut not sweet)
2 Canada Apples, finely sliced.
2 Onions, finely sliced.
Sage
Chicken gravy

Brown off the pork chops in a little oil with the sliced onions. Place the chops in an ovenproof dish and continue cooking the onions until soft. When the onions are soft, poor in the cider and add the sliced apples. Add the sage and season to taste. Prepare some chicken gravy and add a little to the cider sauce mix to thicken it up. Cover the pork chops with the apple and cider sauce mix. Place in the oven at about 180 degrees Celsius and cook for 40 minutes.

On Saturday, I decided to bake a Victoria Sponge Cake to impress some more French friends with my English cooking. Again, I didn’t have a recipe and I tried looking on the internet and blindly picked a recipe which went something like this:

100 g caster sugar
100 g butter
100 g flour
2 eggs

whisk. Cook for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.

There wasn’t a picture on the site I choose but I’d imagined that my Victoria Sponge would look something like this:

 [picapp src=”0247/640a2969-5ba0-47de-b8e6-df3d2402dd4b.jpg?adImageId=5386643&imageId=251429″ width=”380″ height=”480″ /]

Nope. It looked like this:

Victoria Sponge Cake Disaster

Victoria Sponge Cake Disaster

 

 

 

Oops! Have to make sure I do better next time!

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In 2006, I learned that veal is quite unpopular in the UK and whilst it is produced there, a lot of the production is then exported as the Brits just don’t want to eat it. Janet Street Porter did a section on the consumption of veal in Gordon Ramey’s F Word exposing that people did like the meat once they’d tasted it, it was just their perception of veal that stopped them buying it! After the show, Waitrose reported that the sale of veal had increased by 45%… oh the power of the television!

Veal is one of my favourite meats which I have had the chance to discover since living in France and its such a shame that more people outside of France don’t eat it. I don’t really like meat that much at all, I could be a part time vegetarian in fact, but veal is so tasty and tender I just love to eat it!

I was looking for something easy to cook for my guests last night and was happy with this recipe I found:

Veal Sauté with Aubergines
Serves 6

1.2 kg of veal, diced
2 onions
4 aubergines
2 tins of chopped tomatoes (or about 8 fresh tomatoes chopped)
3 teaspoons of curry powder
1 bunch of fresh coriander (or 6 soup spoons of frozen)
1 bunch of chives (or 4 soup spoons of frozen)
1 pinch of cayenne chilli pepper
1 Clove
Chicken broth (I used Maggi Bouillon de Volaille)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Peel and chop the onions and dice the aubergines and tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes).
Heat some oil in the bottom of a saucepan and then gently fry the veal with the onions for about 10 minutes.
Add the curry powder and herbs (keep some of the coriander back to use for presentation). Season to taste and cook gently for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, aubergines (there will be loads and loads but they reduce right down so don’t worry), the cayenne chilli pepper and the clove.
Cover with the chicken broth and leave to cook but stir frequently on a low heat for 1h30.
Serve with rice.

Drink suggestion: White Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone Valley)

Whilst I didn’t drink the recommended wine (hubby had already opened red) I did enjoy this meal and I believe my guests did also. I think I’d put a little too much cayenne pepper and not enough coriander (I forgot to add the fresh coriander back into the dish before serving) as the taste was spicy but didn’t have the full flavour I’d been hoping for. All in all though, it was a quick dish for me to actually put together which meant that I spent time with my guests rather than time in the kitchen.

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