Tag Archives: pork

An accidental hummus….


I shall be honest, I have never been a great lover of hummus. I find it grainy and bland, and am never sure what to eat it with.
However last night and a failed, improvised recipe, I feel in love with it.

I had slow cooked some belly pork for a late supper, But as it is school holidays and I am avoiding shopping, I was at a bit of a loss at what to serve it with…we didn’t even have any salad in. (the young ones were already fed and I didn’t want anything heavy at 9pm :S ).

One of my favourite cookbooks is Leon book 2, Naturally fast food. I decided to try the Tuscan beans with sage.
It didn’t start well…mainly because I only had chickpeas, and I probably rushed it too.
The anchovies I had used were out of a jar and I was getting cross because they didn’t melt, just added bony spines to my dish. So in a tantrum, I stuck the lot in the blender and warmed up some pitta bread.

Well what can I say….an absolute triumph. If you are going to eat hummus I think you might as well make it.
It was tasty and cheap, and I believe healthy..Wow what more could we want.

Next time I shall prepare more and make the dish properly….but last night I was glad I failed..

amazon link for fab Leon cookbooks…I earn a few pennies if you choose to buy 🙂


Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill

Pie..on a friday?? #nationalpieweek


Pie..On a Friday?? Why not?

Apparently all blogs and tweets that are posted on a Friday dinner time sink without trace…so I might just be writing this for me, I am going against lots of Friday night rules.

Friday would usually be fish, or pizza..Or if I am really lucky Chinese takeaway. The main reasons for these choices is mainly because I’m lazy..and done in by Friday teatime. This week however I cooked a roast midweek, and we have leftovers. And I am told its National Pie Week.

So here it is….I have fried some onions, carrots and thyme…Chucked in some wine, added some cornflour and a splash or good old Lee & Perrins.

Now it’s cooled I have added the leftover roast pork, alongside its cider jelly..(Too good to waste) I am going to give it a puff pastry hat and whilst its cooking I shall chuck in some roast potatoes.

I have a naughty Friday rule..We don’t have to have veg…but we can have pudding.and DVDs before bed..oh and a glass of wine.

So Yay for Friday..My lazy day….dinner will be fab or rubbish. If I don’t sink without trace I shall let you know.

Happy Friday and #nationalpieweek

Lots of love

Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

Pie plates..if you need some 🙂

It is Bramley Apple Week


So it’s Bramley Apple Week,

I intend to exploit it to the full. I have to admit I tend to overlook the old Bramley, which is a shame because it is a wonderful variety, especially when feeding children, or trying to boost your 5 a day. Who can resist it comforting texture? Not me that’s for sure.

It works well in both sweet and savoury dishes, and is pretty easy to cook with.
Homemade apple sauce is divine, and so much better than the prepared gloop we buy from the shops. It freezes wonderfully too so there is no excuse to not make a big batch for the months to come…. not only is it fantastic with traditional roast pork.but is a lovely accompaniment to duck, chicken and offal.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am more of a savoury girl than a sweetie, but with the good old Bramley I will make an exception…I do not believe anyone can eat a steaming bowl of apple crumble served with cream and not feel the culinary love…it has to be up there in my top 3 pudding favourites…. again quick to make and freezes well…I might even try something a little different this evening and make a batch of toffee sauce, to honour our under loved Bramley.

Feel the love

From Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

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Get Yourself Some Balls!


Get yourself some balls!

I will eat most things. But I do like to know what it is that I am putting into my mouth. I am not a lover of mystery meats or processed foods. However I do love meatballs, burgers and sausages.
They can be wonderful delights. Ultimate comfort foods.
A well-constructed sausage in a soft roll topped with fried onions and a splosh of ketchup, is a simple feast that is guaranteed to please everyone in our household.
A moist burger made from rump steak or chicken thighs, or pork or lamb for that matter, is such a simple thing to prepare if you are lucky enough to own a food processor. (If not ask a friendly butcher to mince it for you.) Simply mixed with seasonings, possibly an egg and some breadcrumbs to make our mixture go even further. Cooked in a hot pan or under the grill and served on a toasted bun.maybe with melted cheese or good quality mayo is another favourite tea. And if we make these things ourselves they are actually massively healthier than the pre made often frozen offerings.
And Meatballs…a dish of succulent meaty balls, drowning in a delicious sauce or gravy then nestled on a bed of pasta or mashed potato…if that is not foodie heaven. I don’t know what is.

Check out the new recipe, which is hopefully on the recipe page. (I’m still getting to grips with all this technology :S )

Happy Munching

Love Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

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It was one of those nights…


Last night was one of those nights when we had food in the fridge, but after a day of writing about food and cooking, there was no imagination left in my head.

Turns out I create some of my best recipes that way 😀

We started with some cubed pork loin, which had been marinated in vinegar. (It was for a different recipe, but we had some left.)
There was a bottle of cider on the shelf; a couple of apples in the fruit bowl…a lonesome carrot and sweet potato lingering in the bottom of the fridge. The cupboard contained onions. It always does…as a cook I panic if I am onionless.

We chopped the onions and sautéed them, adding half a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of soda to them, to speed up the cooking time. (It was another of those evenings when dinner was meant to be at 9, but was served at 10 oops.)

The pork was then added and cooked quickly to brown the outside. The chopped sweet potato and carrot were quick to follow, then we simply poured in the cider and left to bubble. After half an hour I thickened the sauce with some cornflour and left it to simmer for five minutes more.

My wonderful partner provided his speciality of very mashed, mashed potato.
I may be biased, but it was divine. (The potato was pretty damned good too) I shall make more next time so I can test its freezability.

Dinner by Sky
Mash by Pod

Happy Friday from all @ thesideplate.com

The Warmest of Welcomes…


The Warmest of Welcomes…

Sometimes you just need a hug. Someone to welcome you…to sit you down and feed you well…I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but this did not happen at my mothers…oh no…it was in the wonderful heart of Ossett, Wakefield. In the Mews Hotel and restaurant to be precise.

OK they didn’t actually hug me, but when I entered this fantastic haven, It felt like they had. They valued our presence. Which is often a rarity in this day and age.

It was busy…I believe it generally is, and I can see why. It is warm, a roaring fire in the corner, and they even have family photos along side some excellent artwork on the walls. It felt like a homecoming.
We were guided to a cosy table, recommended a wine. Offered a splendid selection of bread to keep us going whilst we selected from the menu.
The locals recommended the 12-hour roast pork…. there was no contest. Normally if we step out to review, we order a selection, but on this cold evening, neither of us was prepared to share.

I am showing my ignorance but it was the first time I have sampled a white Rioja, I can honestly say it won’t be the last…it was divine.

I was happy and warm and in fantastic company. What more could I want?? Then the food arrived!

Oh my. I don’t want to ramble, But OH MY. I cook make a mean roast pork, but this was heavenly, crispy, moist, meltingly tender, resting alongside a pillow of cauliflower cheese, mash, carrots, cabbage, (so good I even ate it.) A stunning Yorkshire pudding, and the most delightful roast potatoes I have ever met. The jug of gravy was so good I requested a second!!!

This was truly the most delightful of meals, a little trip to foodie heaven. Reasonably priced, fantastic service…an few hours of deliciousness.

We were so very full, so very happy..it was a wonderful evening. We ended up in relaxing by the fire with a glass of Port. Heaven.

Next time I shall try harder, I would love to sample their starters and desserts. I need to cultivate a huge appetite.

Give them a try..I promise you will not be disappointed.

Love from a very satisfied sideplate.com


A Hot date with…my griddle pan


It would seem my usual gorgeous Friday date is out gallivanting at a business dinner this evening. I guess I should be jealous. However, I know where he is going. So I’m not :S , or I should be out with the girls. But it’s January and we are all skint…and I am a bit of a homebody when it’s cold outside. (I have a wood burner…its hard to leave).

I also have a secret hiding in the fridge…not wine…. that’s not a secret here…but a delicious dinner, better than any takeaway, maybe as good as a meal out.

I guess you could call it a Yorkshire version of soulvaki; it has been bathing in its little bowl of marinade for 24 hours, and should be almost perfect. When it meets my griddle pan it will form those divine caramelised strips, yet retain its meltingly soft inner…I can almost taste it just thinking about it. Then my char grilled pork will enjoy a rendezvous with freshly made flat bread and a crispy salad. There may be roasted peppers..and an olive or two whilst I cook.

If I get really carried away I might dig out my sandals and sun top…and recreate a little Greek haven just for one…right here under Emley Mast. It’s a long way from sunny Greece…. but a girl can dream cant she?

(I have promised to save some for the wanderer when he returns …it’s going to be a tough promise to keep)

Here’s to a tasty night at home 😀

Happy Friday,

Love Sky @ thesideplate.com




Piggy in the middle…

So here I am trying to pretend to be an organised person (anyone that has seen my paperwork that needs filing will tell you different). And I did say yesterday I intend to cook smarter so that I am not always thinking about the next meal. So today’s delights will be slow roast pork, slow roast chicken, (will let you know how that works out) and a vegetable casserole.

I am going to blow the dust of my electric steamer to prepare the unpopular 5 a day. I haven’t used it for far too long, as I tend to put stuff in the back of the cupboard, and the recesses of my mind. But it really is a fabulous piece of kit. Anything that looks after itself whilst it cooks is always a bonus when you have kids. Plus it saves loads of washing up (which my partner will tell you “is not my strong point.”)

It’s going to be a tight squeeze in the oven. But I will put the casserole at the bottom to slowly work its magic…. for the chicken I am using thighs and drumsticks so they only take up a trays depth of space…and of course my beautiful joint of pork will be…. the piggy in the middle.

Warmest wishes & as always, thank you for reading

Sky @ thesideplate.com

cook books
roasting tins

Christmas dinner for two


Christmas Dinner for two

No pressure…but took just as long J

I could not abandon my traditional prawn cocktail. This year it was just some good prawns. Proper cherry tomatoes. Mixed leaf salad and sauce…eaten wearing a silly hat…to be honest it was delicious. I should have stopped there; with a slice of granary bread it would have been enough. But I’m stubborn so a feast followed.

One of the luxuries of spending Christmas without company is you can make just what you want. So this year I broke with tradition and bought a turkey thigh. For the princely sum of £3.95 (I wont lie I have a fully turkey waiting for when the kids come home…Christmas x2, as seems to be the case for a lots of us nowadays) I stuffed it with paxo, butter and cranberry sauce…wrapped it snugly in pancetta and roasted it in white wine. It was awesome even If I do say so myself. We had slow cooked pork in cider too. I have to say from now on my Christmas dinner will feature crackling…the veggies were roast….my partner mashed thespuds for me because he is so much better at it then I ….Brussels with chestnuts..Bacon rolls and sausages, sauce and stuffing. And very lovely gravy made with the juices of the pork.

My only advice on making a Sunday and Christmas dinner is..Buy one of those jugs that’s separates the meat juices (and cider) from the fat, worth every penny for the best gravy.


However you are spending this festive season..Love hugs and good eating.

Sky xx

Crispy pork…for one or more


Recipe for one…. or more…


I think I may be selfish, or maybe I just love to eat. But on most occasions …I will still cook. Even if it is just for me.

Sometimes cooking for just myself generates the best of my recipes. I tend to tinker and adapt. I can make it just to my own taste, and occasionally I even engineer leftovers on purpose.


This is a great recipe for one, but is very easily multiplied. The first night I make it, I tend to stick some spuds and veg in the oven at the same time for a complete meal. If there are any leftovers (unlikely, but I try) the next day I stick the shredded pork and a bit of crackling in a bap (I’m from Yorkshire…if you aren’t use a bread roll, barm cake, call it what you will.) add a bit of apple or chilli sauce…whatever takes your fancy, I’m not about to tell you how to make a sandwich, but most of all enjoy.








Crispy, juicy belly pork


A piece of belly pork…. preferably from a butcher. (I used 600g because it looked about the right size)

200 ml of white wine (I normally use dry cider…but I couldn’t find the bottle opener :S)

Drizzle of oil

Couple of pinches of salt



Turn on your oven to the maximum setting.


Take the pork and place in a dish, skin side up…it doesn’t really matter what size but this works best if it’s quite a tight fit so that it sits in the cooking liquid

Pour in the wine or cider Pour it down the side of the meat, not over the top so the skin stays quite dry.)

Drizzle the top with oil

Add a pinch of salt


Place the pork in the oven for about 15 mins until the top starts to crisp, then reduce the temperature to about 140 degrees / gas mark 1

Leave for at least an hour, longer will not do it any harm, especially if it is a bigger piece of pork.


When you are ready to eat…. turn the heat back up to make sure the crackling is really crispy…this will take about 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave in the dish for 5 minutes before serving.

Slice and serve with any liquid that is left in the bottom of the roasting dish.