Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Barbie Cake

I made a cake the other day for a 5th birthday party. The birthday girl loves Barbie and the colour purple, so her Mum asked for a purple Barbie cake :-)

I made a chocolate cake and sandwiched the layers together with raspberry jam.

I made the yellow 'flowers' that I used to decorate the cake, and I sprinkled over lots of edible glitter to make Barbie sparkle.

Apparently the birthday girl loved it, so I was thrilled.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Courtney's Wedding Cake

My very good friend Courtney got married recently and I was honoured to be asked to make her cake. Courtney's theme was red and yellow and she wanted cupcakes, and a cake. I thought I would go through my process for making the cake (for simplicity, I'm calling it a "cake") as it was a precision mission!

Firstly, flavours. Courtney's husband-to-be loves banana cake, so that was the cake flavour sorted. I suggested a lemon cream cheese icing as I think that's a great combination. For the cupcakes, chocolate with a buttercream icing, half yellow and half red. There were around 100 people at the wedding, so we decided on 60 cupcakes and two banana cakes. As I made a cutting cake for display, the banana cakes were just left out the back and were cut up at dessert time.

I sat down with my recipes and worked out the quantities I would need. Turned out I needed over 11kg of ingredients!

To make things easier for me, and to speed everything up on baking day, I measured everything out into individual quantities and bagged it all up. It took about an hour, but it was well worth the effort. It meant I could go through and make sure I had enough of everything and that I didn't miss anything out (easy to forget something crucial like baking powder when you are a bit stressed - and I knew I would be feeling a little under pressure - wedding cakes are a big deal!)

Because of all the prep I had done, baking was actually very stress-free and everything went to plan. I certainly had a production line going!

My next challenge was to transport everything two hours away to the wedding venue! I was so paranoid about someone rear-ending me!

Courtney had arranged for a couple of figurines to be made for the top of the display cake (reflecting the occupations of the bride and groom) - they were pretty cute! These were put on top of the cutting cake - a banana cake that I covered with white fondant and attached a ribbon to.

I was so pleased with how everything turned out, and most importantly, so was the bride! She didn't see the finished result until she walked into the reception venue, so I must admit I was nervously awaiting her arrival!

One of the biggest thrills for me was watching people take photos of my cake! The temptation on the faces of the children present was pretty funny - I guess the bright cupcakes looked pretty enticing if you're only 3!

All in all, I am calling this one a success! The cake looked great and the wedding was wonderful.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Chicken soup

I have been feeling very sorry for myself these last few days, suffering from some sort of nasty cold. The only thing I felt like eating on Thursday was chicken soup. I'm not sure why, but that's all my head felt that my stomach could handle.

Naturally I had few of the ingredients necessary to make chicken soup in my house (most importantly, chicken). Luckily, I have a wonderfully obliging partner who called in to the supermarket on his way home from work armed with a list of ingredients needed.

My chicken soup was a raging success, if I do say so myself. It hit the spot, and I credit it with my speedy recovery (although resting and drinking lots of fluids may also have something to do with it).

So, here's how to make my chicken soup. This made enough for dinner and lunch the next day for the two of us. You will need:
Garlic - I used about five chopped cloves as I wanted it super-garlic infused
A finely diced carrot (plus another half a carrot I had lounging about in the fridge)
A tin of whole kernel corn (or fresh corn if it's in season)
1L of chick stock
Three bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed)
Frozen peas (I didn't measure them - probably about half a cup)
Two handfuls of dried rice noodles broken into small bits
Salt, pepper, parsley, thyme

What to do:
Gently fry the carrots and garlic until softened. Add the chicken thighs and just give them a quick fry to give them some colour. Add the stock and herbs. The liquid should cover the meat - if not, just add a bit of water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 40 minutes - until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken onto a plate and let it cool a bit. While it's cooling, add your corn, peas and rice noodles. Shred all your chicken off the bone, and add the meat back to the pot with some more fresh herbs. Taste and season to your liking.

Some notes: If you don't like thigh meat, or bones, you could use chicken breast. Although, I think thigh meat gives much better flavour and is less likely to dry out.
I don't eat onion, but if you do, I'd throw a finely diced onion in there too. Finely diced celery would also be a tasty addition.

Ahhh, how good does that look. Deliciously comforting.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Chocolate sauce - my way

When I feel like really indulging, I make chocolate sauce. It's so easy to make and it keeps well if you don't quite eat it all (but let's be honest, how often does that happen!).

The beauty of my chocolate sauce is its versatility. Really, the only thing you really must have is chocolate!

So, my ultimate chocolate sauce recipie would be the following:
Dark chocolate (as a rule, I use Whittakers, 70%, but if you wanted a less intense sauce, you could use milk chocolate)

Now, you're going to ask, how much of everything? Good question. I generally make it up as I go, but because I knew I would be asked, I measured everything out (kind of). Again, this is so flexible, you won't go wrong with adding a bit more or a bit less.

You want about 200g chocolate, 1/2 cup cream (if you want your sauce thinner, add more), a handful of marshmallows (the more you add the more gooey it will be - delicious), about one tablespoon each of alcohol/liqueur and vanilla, 50g butter.

I cook my chocolate sauce over a water bath (a bowl on top of a pot of simmering water). I plonk everything in, and just gently melt it all together. Make sure you give it a good stir as it melts.

When it has all melted together, lather it over ice cream, brownie, or whatever takes your fancy really.

Triple chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce? Don't mind if I do!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Venison salad

With my freezer full of delicious venison, I get to start having some fun with it - cooking it!

Tonight I cooked a beautiful back steak. Back steak is delicious and tender and requires very little cooking. In fact, if you over cook it, it will be dry and tough and reasonably unpleasant to eat. You want it still pink in the middle.

I'm a huge fan of fruit with meat, particularly with venison. Venison loves to soak up the flavours of a delicious sharp fruit such as blackberry or cherry. So, I made a tasty, tasty cherry sauce. I used the following ingredients, you can adjust it to suit.

1 large heaped tablespoon of cherry jam
a small handful of dried cherries
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 small dried chillies
one orange, juice plus pulp
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup of port/red wine (I used a mixture of both)
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tsp honey

I boiled everything in a small pot, reduced to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the sauce reduced and thickened. It will go beautifully glossy and syrupy. Strain before serving and add the cherries back into the sauce.

I wanted to keep it simple, so I made a lovely green salad with capsicum, grapes and carrot.

I added some roasted kumara and yams.

Now to cook my lovely back steak. I cooked it for four minutes per side. For a great tip (and crucial to perfect venison-cooking) turn on the timer so you don't overcook it! Because this was a whole steak, I cooked it for a bit longer than I would for a standard steak. Normally I have a two minute per side rule.

Then, time to rest it for at least five minutes, before slicing it up.

I piled the venison on top of my salad and drizzled over my sauce - just like a bought one!! :-)

Talk about delicious. I seriously could eat this every night. Best dinner in a long time I reckon!!!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The day I butchered a deer

Yes, that's right, a deer. As in Bambi. I butchered one. In my kitchen. The kitchen in my apartment. Why? How? What?? All fair questions. Let me explain.

On Thursday morning my little brother rang me. He would be coming through Wellington at lunchtime, and had a deer for me. Could I meet him to pick it up? Vension! Yum! I'll be there.

I arrived to find, not the venison I had been imagining, but a deer. A whole deer. Fur and all. Hmmm, interesting. My brother had a grin as wide as his face, he was so stoked to have bagged himself a deer. I'm not sure he had really thought about what I was going to do with a whole deer, he was just so proud of himself. And I'm proud of him too, and very, very thankful for free venison, but I still had a whole deer.

So, we drove the deer back to my place, which I need to point out is an apartment on the first and second story. No backyard. No grass. We do have a deck, but it's a shared deck, with another apartment. So, we left the deer on my varnished wooden floor and I went back to work to ponder what I was going to do with it. Luckily it's winter and my apartment is cold. I'm not sure what I would have done had it been summer.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I arrived home after work that evening with a plan. I have butchered a sheep before, surely a deer can't be that different? I talked to my Dad who had some good tips, and off we went to Mitre 10 to get a saw. Here, I must give a shout out to Mitre 10 in Petone, those guys and girls are so cool. The staff are always so helpful, and Thursday evening was no exception. The man in the saws department didn't bat an eyelid when I said I needed a saw to cut up a deer. He just recommended one and off I went. Next I needed some plastic to put down on my kitchen floor. Feeling very Dexter-like, I went out to the trade section to find some plastic. The guy behind the counter wanted to know how much plastic I needed, when I said only two metres, he just lopped me off some Mitre 10-branded orange plastic and sent me on my way, free of charge. What a great guy. Off home I went to tackle my deer.

Here is my deer, in the kitchen, on the Mitre 10 plastic, all ready to go! (My brother had chopped off the hind legs earlier in the day, to make it easier to carry and work with).

Paul stood the deer upright, and off I went. Turns out skinning a deer is a bit like skinning a sheep, so it wasn't too hard. The only problem was the deer's hair! It went everywhere. Good thing we had the plastic! No photos, as it was a two person job. But, this is what it looked like after I had finished.

Right about now the reinforcements arrived. Paul rang his brother-in-law, who, like me, grew up on a farm and has butchered the odd sheep or two. He also bought with him his super-duper sharp knives. Excellent. So, we set to work taking it apart piece by piece.

We concentrated on the good bits first (and the bits that I knew) - back steaks, rump, shoulder and fillets. Then we attacked the rest. We didn't leave a scrap of meat on that carcass - I'm a big believer in using everything.

Two and a half hours later, we had finished! What a great feeling. Again, I forgot to take a photo of the carcass, as we were just so pleased to be done! I also forgot to take a photo of all the meat bagged up, it was a massive pile! But, I did get this photo showing about 1/3 of the bagged meat, and all the "mystery meat" - the bits and pieces such as the flaps and the neck meat. Once I had cleaned up all the mystery meat I had 2kg of beautiful stewing meat. Delicious. I have some simmering away now, what out for a post in the coming days.

You might be wondering why I didn't butcher it into chops, or use the ribs. Basically, it was too much of a hassle. We only had a tiny kitchen bench to work on and a $5 saw. Every time we had to saw through a bone I had a heart attack imagining how I was going to explain to the landlord why there was a massive gouge out of the bench! Thankfully the only mishap we had was me getting my finger in the way of a knife, and that was right at the end. We did bone out the rump and one shoulder, they will be beautiful.

I had a great time, and Paul and I must give a massive thanks to Rodney who did a sterling job!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Too easy and so delicious

I just have to share my newest creation. I had an amazing smoothie/juice the other day at Reka in the Dowse. I forget what was in it, other then cranberries and mint. Anyway, I decided that I would have a go at creating my own delicious smoothie.

I hauled my blender out of it's hiding place in the back of my cupboard and got creating. I had some mixed berries in the freezer, so in went a good cup full of frozen berries. Next, a good slug of orange juice (I imagine you could use any type of juice you liked - pineapple would be super tasty). I went and raided my mint plant and added two good sprigs of mint (maybe 6-8 big leaves) as well as half a lemon (just the flesh, not the skin).

After a thorough blend, I was left with a wonderful, cold, delicious smoothie. Not too sweet, and with a refreshing kick from the mint.

I like my smoothies much thicker than Paul, this is easily fixed. I made the smoothie to the thickness I like, then added extra juice to Paul's to thin it out. Done! Usually smoothies are full of dairy (yoghurt and/or milk) and banana, but this is a great alternative for those who can't/won't eat much dairy, and don't like banana.

You could totally use any mixture of berries, juice and other fruit. Ice cubes would make it cold and add thickness if you didn't have frozen fruit.

And the best news of all - it's super healthy! Bonus!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wellington on a Plate - Gusto

Part two of Wellington on a Plate saw us head off to Gusto Bistro in Petone.

Gusto's blurb advises us, "Inspired by the ingredients, techniques and wines of the Mediterranean region, Gusto Bistro's menu is littered with classic dishes and some more contemporary interpretations".

The Wellington on a Plate menu was as follows:

Three courses with matched wines for $60. For full serve wine matches, $80.
Wairarapa onion soup with Kingsmeade Opaki manchego cheese crouton
Lighthouse Gin-soaked Salmon gravlax with Prana baby leaves and Zany Zeus smoked yoghurt

Market fish with Te Horo Jerusalem artichoke purée, sunflower seeds and Lot Eight citrus oil
Braised PrimeStar osso bucco with Greytown Gold saffron risotto and parsley gremolata

Whittaker's chocolate mousse with Stanmore Farms blackberry sorbet, jelly, jam and powder
Wairarapa apple and Zorganic panna cotta with Crooked Cider and Pinnacle Grove walnuts

Seven of us were dining at Gusto, on a Tuesday night. Gusto is full of nooks and smaller rooms and we were fortunate to be in our own little room - quite nice for a larger group, we could be as raucous as we liked. We all decided on the Wellington on a Plate menu. I went for the salmon gravlax, fish, then the chocolate mousse.

Our first wine match was served up - a delicious chardonnay with the salmon, and interestingly, a sherry with the onion soup.

While we waited for our starters, we were delivered a morsel of smoked snapper wrapped in courgette. Although tiny (the size of my little finger) it packed a punch of flavour and deliciousness. Yum. It left me wanting more.

Unfortunately, we were left wanting and waiting. After 40 minutes of waiting, we had all almost polished off our wine and out starters were finally served. I actually think I am being generous with the 40 minute wait, Paul reckons it was closer to an hour of waiting. Anyway, it was a long time, and we were hungry by the time our starters finally arrived.

Our starters were nice. However, I really can't see how they took so long to arrive, nothing required any cooking as such. And on top of all that, Paul's soup was warm, not hot. My dish was a cold dish (salmon with some foam and a smear of the smoked yoghurt, which really was delicious), so I'm not sure how the soup could possibly not have been piping hot. We had managed to save a mouthful of wine, and we agreed that the wine match was lovely, really well done.

Another wait for the main ensued, but thankfully this was not as long as the starter wait. My fish was beautifully cooked and the puree was tasty. Although, here I have another gripe. Almost all of us ordered the fish, and the size of each portion of fish varied massively. Size might vary between tables, and if you don't know it's happening you can't get grumpy about it, that's fine. But, when one person gets a piece of fish almost three times the size of another and they are sitting next to each other, well, you're going to notice. The same thing happened with our wine, massively inconsistent pours. Now, I know this is picky and a bit miserable of me, but when you are all paying the same, you expect consistency, or close to it. If it was close enough I wouldn't have noticed, and wouldn't be moaning about it. But, the difference was enough for us all to notice, and more importantly, to comment about it.

Dessert was the highlight of the meal. We all chose the chocolate mousse, and it was an excellent choice. All the components of the dish were incredible. The mousse was chocolatey and rich, the sorbet was the right mix of sweet and tart, and the jelly, jam and powder rounded it off beautifully. The wine match with the dessert was also a winner. Again, it was another sherry, but this one was totally different to the first. It was like drinking raisins. Sweet, sticky, moreish, we savoured every mouthful.

While dessert was amazing, I'm not hanging out to return to Gusto. I think overall I would rate it perhaps a 6, helped mostly by the faultless dessert. I think my overall impression was that Gusto takes itself a bit seriously, and perhaps tries a bit hard. It let itself down with extremely slow service, almost-cold soup, and uneven portions.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Wellington on a Plate - Caucus

It's Wellington on a Plate time again, and I am in foodie heaven. Like last year, this year I am using WOAP as a fantastic excuse to try as many new places to eat as possible. Restaurants put on special menus and deals, and it's a great opportunity to step out of the tried and true comfort zone of my favourite places to eat, and to also try places where I would normally steer clear of due to the price.

On Thursday we went along at the invitation of a friend to Caucus restaurant in the Novotel Hotel on the Terrace. Like many restaurants participating in WOAP, Caucus has a set menu plus glass of wine deal.

Paul and I arrived early, so we had a drink while waiting for our friend to arrive. Pleasantly, while we were sitting with our drinks, the staff served us a small bowl of nacho chips. This was just what we felt like - a little something to nibble on to stave those after-work cravings. Good stuff.

The Caucus deal is as follows:
Choose any two courses plus a glass of regional Wellington wine for $35
Fried Ōtaki potato and thyme gnocchi with mizuna and feta–tomato fondue
Roast Kapiti pork sirloin with Granny Smith purée, potato and kūmara mash and mustard jus
Wagyu beef sirloin with blue cheese, potato croquette, spinach and red wine jus
Waikanae raspberry and white chocolate crème brûlée.

The three of us dining all chose the same from the set menu. Gnocchi plus the wagyu beef. It was a shame that we didn't get to see the pork, but not to worry. While we were waiting for our entrees to arrive, we were each served a bread roll and butter; another nice touch.

The gnocchi was interesting. It was fried, which I have not had before. I thought it was quite tasty. It was served surrounding a bit of tomato sauce and a salad. We all felt we needed more sauce. I wanted way more sauce actually. I felt I needed to carefully ration my sauce with each piece of gnocchi, and I'm not a fan of having to ration. As a rule gnocchi is pretty dry, it craves sauce to soak up and compliment it. Give me more sauce than I need, rather than less. It wasn't like it was truffle or something else scarily expensive, it was a tomato sauce, plain and simple. But, on balance, it was a satisfactory starter.

On to the main where we all chose the steak. I ordered my steak medium-rare, leaning more towards the rare than the medium (this is word-for-word how I ordered my steak). I don't like a well-cooked steak. My two companions ordered their steak medium-rare and medium.

Our steaks arrived and they were all well overcooked. My steak was bordering on medium-well done, as was the other medium-rare steak. The medium steak was well-done. Not a spot of red to been seen on any of our steaks. That was a shame, as the flavour of the steak was otherwise very nice.

It turns out there is a mistake on the menu, and the steak was served with the blue potato croquette rather than blue cheese and a potato croquette. Also, and no where to be seen on the menu, the steak was served on a bed of long mung bean sprouts. Tasty, but totally unexpected.

The waitress came over (as she did during our entree course) to ask how our main meals were. I commented that our steaks were all well overcooked. In response, she looked distinctly uncomfortable and said she was sorry to hear that and retreated rapidly from our table. I thought this was a strange reaction. Why bother to ask how our meals are if you don't intend to do anything if we say we're not happy? Either don't ask, or, if you do ask and something's wrong, offer a remedy.

I do understand if one steak happens to be overcooked. These things happen. But to have all three of us unhappy with how our steaks were cooked was pretty poor I felt.

On to dessert. We all decided that we would like to try dessert on top of our set menu selection. And I'm glad we did. Dessert was the highlight of the meal for me. I ordered a white chocolate and raspberry creme brulee and it was fantastic. A thick layer of brulee that cracked satisfyingly when I whacked my spoon on it. Underneath was a delicious custard laced with raspberries. I am a very harsh critic when it comes to creme brulee - the best I have ever had was in a restaurant in Paris. Every one I have eaten since, I have compared to Paris. Everyone who has been to Paris knows that anything struggles when compared to Paris!

Anyway, I would be happy to eat this creme brulee any time, any where. It was sensational. My friends ordered a chocolate tart, and an orange cheesecake. Both reported these dishes were also delicious.

Overall, I gave Caucus a 6.5 out of 10. The food was ok, but the steak was a real let down. It was overcooked, and the menu didn't represent what was actually served up on my plate. Dessert made up for things though. Following a straw poll, my friends both gave a 7 out of 10. In the spirit of the recently ended Olympics, I'll remove the top and bottom scores, leaving a solid 7 out of 10. On balance, I think this score is a little generous, but that's what we went with, so that's what will have to stand.

I'm report on some more WOAP dinners in the next little while.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Some cakes and a competition

I went along with two friends to a cake competition and exhibition at the New Dowse in Lower Hutt last weekend. I had seen this advertised along the main street of the suburb I live in, so decided to check it out.

The Wellington Regional Sugarcraft Guilds hosted this event, and if you're interested you can find out more information here. But, I thought I would try and give a quick run down.

There were lots of different categories - the ones I expected such as wedding cake, celebration cake and novelty cake; and others I wasn't expecting such as bonsai tree (I'll explain soon), miniature cake, and floral spray.

Overall, the cakes on show were not really to my taste. They were a bit, well, old fashioned. While I don't argue that an awful lot of skill and love has gone into them, they are something that I'm sure my 80-something year old Nan would appreciate but they are not very appealing to me. I took lots of photos of the cakes I really liked and will talk about a few of them here.

We got to vote for our favourite cake, and this was mine. I loved the simplicity and the colour, although I would ditch the terrible vase and flowers on top.

It was closely followed by this cake. How adorable! The figures were just so well done.

These were my favourites from the floral spray category. Although again, I'm not sure how relevant these are in 2012. But still very clever bearing mind it's pretty much all edible sugar work.

Now onto the bonsai tree. Everything but the container had to be edible, and the tree could not be deciduous, i.e. it had to have leaves. None of this bare twigs business with the excuse that it's winter! Why there is a bonsai category in a cake decorating competition I couldn't quite figure out, but they were pretty cool nevertheless. Remember, everything is edible.

In celebration of the Year of the Dragon, there was a mini cake category. I loved the scales on the first dragon.

There was another random floral arrangement category. Again, random but very well done.

Finally, I just had to share this cake. Is it a cake or is it something else? Half cake, half light show. Again, random. But a cool random. The icing was so well done. Perfectly smooth, not a hint of a crinkle, and so clean.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Engagement cupcakes

Engagement cupcakes? What on earth are engagement cupcakes? Well, this is my take on an engagement cupcake.

I wanted to celebrate four engagements over the last week. (Four!) What better way than with cupcakes, especially when only one couple lives in the same city as me! Congratulations to those four happy couples, I'm so pleased for you! These cupcakes are for you.

Nothing says romance better than chocolate, so I made a delicious chocolate cupcake from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Book (I admired this cookbook here). The recipe has a tablespoon of instant coffee in it - I'm a real fan of coffee in chocolate cake/cupcakes, it really brings out the intensity of the chocolate. You can't taste the coffee at all - believe me, I think coffee is yuck, so I wouldn't put it in there if you could taste it.

Anyway, the star of these cupcakes was the icing. Sticking with my theme, the icing needed to be something special, not your ordinary icing. With that in mind, I decided to do a bit of experimenting. A while ago I purchased some Fresh As freeze-dried powdered raspberries, and I have been thinking about different ways to use it. (It's amazing mixed with a chocolate ganache to make truffles).

There are lots of different yummy flavours - blackcurrant, mango, passionfruit, pineapple, plum, strawberry; as well as freeze-dried chunks of feijoa, lychee, mandarin, pineapple and blueberry. Yummo. In Wellington you can buy it from Moore Wilson; outside Wellington from the Kiwicakes website. (Kiwicakes is Whangarei-based, therefore close to my heart. I totally recommend you check out the website, you could spend hours trawling through all the goodies).

Back to my icing. I made a standard buttercream icing and added a couple of spoonfuls of the raspberry powder. This gave my buttercream an incredibly intense, zingy, wonderful raspberry flavour. As well as a beautiful pink colour. This icing was delicious, I was so pleased with how it turned out.

But, I'm biased, so I needed an independent opinion. Or 24. I took the cupcakes to work for taste-testing (one half of one of the four happy couples is my workmate, so it was only fitting). Unfortunately my workmate was away (should have checked that!) Not to worry, everyone else happily obliged!

Apparently the cupcakes were a winner, the icing especially!! A touch of glitter topped off the cupcakes. I'm off to Moore Wilson this weekend to buy some more flavours!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Wild pork roast

My Dad went on a hunting trip to the South Island recently. On his way back through Wellington he stopped to drop off some wild pork. Lucky me!

My poor, poor freezer though! I had to resort to carefully stacking everything in until there wasn't a speck of space left, and then quickly slamming the door shut to hold everything in there. This worked well until my partner opened the door to get something out, only to have half the contents of the freezer collapse on him. Oops. (Of course, it was his fault for opening the freezer - what was he thinking? He he).

Anyway, a giant leg roast was taking up the most room, so it had to go. And by go, I mean it was time for dinner.

As with all wild meats, wild pork needs to be treated carefully. It generally has little fat on it, so you can easily wreck it by drying it out. You skin a wild pig, so wild pork does not have that protective layer of skin and fat that supermarket pork has.

I made my roast a nice little bed of veges to sit on - apples, yams and garlic as well as some rosemary, salt and pepper.

Into the tray I poured some wine, water and pineapple juice. All of these things I thought would give the pork a lovely flavour and tenderness.

I covered this tightly with tinfoil and put it into a really hot oven (250 degrees) and immediately turned it down to 150 degrees for about three and a half hours.

Now, I was so excited about how my roast turned out, that I forgot to take photos! Mind you, as delicious as it was, it just looked like a big hunk of cooked meat, so you're not missing out on too much!

As I carved the meat, I spooned over some of the juices left over in the pan - this helps to ensure it stays lovely and tender as you serve it.

There are only two of us to feed, and despite me piling our plates high - pork is such a treat as I rarely buy supermarket pork (and only ever free-range) - we had a lot left over. So, I thought I would share my ideas for the leftovers.

On the first night of leftovers we had pork fried noodles with Chinese-inspired flavours - I used a marinade of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chilli, rice wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. (As an aside, worcestershire is the most ridiculously hard word to spell!! Not to mention that you don't pronounce it anything like it looks, but don't get me started on that one).

I quickly stir-fried some carrot, broccoli and mushrooms, and added the pork as it only needed to be heated through. Some more sauce plus the cooked rice noodles, and dinner was done!

The next night we had tacos - this time I didn't flavour the pork directly, but added a delicious chilli salsa to the pork and salad on the tacos. The meat was still so tender and delicious, yum, yum, yum.

There was even enough left over for lunch the next day!

So, thanks very much Dad!!!