(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pears with Pork Belly

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pears with Pork Belly

My ode to autumn pears

As part of my “well if you like redcurrant jelly with roast lamb” and “how about your apple sauce with roast pork” series, may I present – roasting your pears underneath your pork belly joint? Cook a pork belly joint in the normal way that you would – leaving any packaging off, if you can, for at least overnight.  I have a huge stainless steel mixing bowl that I place over the pork, so that it can dry out but not put other foods at risk.

Cook the pork hot, and REMEMBER to have a jar to keep the fat!  I made an onion tart yesterday morning, and rather than use expensive butter, I just used a tablespoon of pork fat.  Usually I would use butter.  My huge joint of pork belly cost me a tenner.  By saving the fat and using it in place of oil or butter, I figure that I’m both saving money and making my food go further.  Every time we make changes like this, being thrifty, we’re minimising food waste and saving money.  This can only be A Good Thing.

Some sweet little roasted pears to provide a little change from your apple sauce?  Or, if you think there’s going to be haters, pears mashed into the apple sauce so no-one knows?  Get on it, and make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

Roasted Pork Belly with (Leftover) Roasted Pears

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3-4 pears
1.5-2kg joint of pork
Loads of salt

Tools

Knife
Lage mixing bowl
Chopping board
Roasting tin
Baking tray
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

Overnight rest if possible
2-3 hours cooking and resting

Prep

If possible, remove the joint from packaging the night before you want to cook it
Salt it, cover with the upturned bowl and store in the fridge
On the day of cooking, remove the joint from the fridge a couple of hours before cooking, if possible
Dry the crackling with kitchen paper/clean tea towel
Re-salt

Method

Turn oven to 220C
Place the joint in the oven and roast for 15 minutes
Turn heat to 140C
Every half an hour or so, pour the fat into the waiting jar/bowl
Half an hour before cooking time is up, cut the pears in half and use the teaspoon to remove the cores
Remove joint and place the pears on the tray
Return the joint to the tray, ontop of the pears
Cook for a further 30 minutes
Remove the joint from the oven.  Baste the pears
Cut the crackling off the joint and place on a baking tray, uncooked side up
Return both trays to the oven for about 20 minutes to crisp up

Storage
You can store the pork for a few days in your fridge
Leftover pork?  You can make sarnies, ragu or noodles!

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pear & Vanilla crumble

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pear & Vanilla crumble

So roasted pears with cheese and nuts isn’t for everyone – fair enough!  As I said, a younger me would not have touched it with a bargepole. What else to do with 2, 3, or 4 too soft pears?

In The Fruit Testing Fruit Demolishing Toddler Years, my resident Fruit Bat would try every single apple/pear/plum.  She left me with bowlfuls of fruit that hadn’t passed her test, stacking up in the fridge, the places where her little teeth had bitten into them browning and softening.  And now her sister wouldn’t eat it.  And they were spoiling because the skin was damaged.  And I couldn’t afford to waste a single fruit.

So often, the humble crumble would come to my rescue.  Two apples and two pears? In.  Three plums and one stick of rhubarb – oh, that’s my *favourite*.

But … just pear?  I hate to say it, but I prefer it to apple crumble!  Sorry mum.  With some vanilla essence. or half a vanilla pod if you’re feeling fancy/flush, the whole bowlful is light and floral.  And with heart-stopping pours of double cream, you’ll love your leftover pear crumble.

TIP: if you don’t have the time to eat all your soft pears before they go off, and you know that you won’t get through the crumble, make the crumble and freeze it!  easy preserving!

(Slightly Soft) Pear & Vanilla crumble

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3-4 pears
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
175 grams plain flour or half and half wholemeal + plain
125 grams butter/hard vegan alternative
75 grams sugar (I used dark brown but any will do)
Pinch of salt

LOADS of cream/ice cream to serve

Tools

Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Oven proof bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

20-30 minutes prep
40 minutes to bake

Prep

Mix flour, sugar and salt
Turn the oven to 180C

Method

If you want, sift the flour, salt and sugar together
Cut the butter/vegan alternative into chunks around 1cm
Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks sandy (I have hot hands so it’s never perfect)
ONLY WHEN THE CRUMBLE IS READY peel, quarter and core the pears
Place the pears in your oven proof dish
Sprinkle over the vanilla extract
Gently sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top – don’t pat down, else you’ll have a shortbread top
Place in the oven and bake
Check after 30 minutes; it’s ready when the juice bubbles up from underneath

Storage
You can store the crumble for a few days in your fridge
If you don’t have the time to eat the pears, freeze the crumble in the dish and eat within three months

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

Pears are a tricky beast. Buy a bag of 6, and how many do you really eat, every time?  3?  4?  All?!  GTAF.  I make like Nigel Slater and put four in a bowl to ripen, give those round little bottoms a little squeeze a couple of times a day, until they are perfectly ripe and giving and juicy etc etc.  But then it’s 3 days later, the washing mountain is building, the kids homework is beyond late and I remember that the kids don’t really like pears.  My once perfectly sweet bowl of pears are threatening to turn themselves into Lambrini Perry, scrumpy edition.

So, how to avoid the pitfalls of the mushy pear?  Once they’re fermenting in the bowl, they are, well, fermenting and there’s fuck all you can do about it.  (I am, right now, imagining my GCSE English teacher, Mr Lanaway, admonishing me for an over-reliance on swearing in my work.  I feel expressing the frustration of wasting £2.50 and a contribution to our food waste mountain is judicious, sir. Ahem).

Anyway.  Back to pears.  Once they are ripe PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE.  THE FRIDGE.  Right at the front SO YOU DON’T FORGET TO EAT THEM OKAY?

If your pears are a teeny bit mushy without being the whole hoopla rank, then just cook them.  Yes!  Cook them!

I am not a blue cheese fan.  Indeed, I used to sit on the cold – real October cold – pavement outside my dad’s favourite cheese shop, holding my nose and bawking.  I once asked a cheesemonger for a cheese “that isn’t really festy”.  I then told *these* little lines to The Cheese Buyer of Neal’s Yard. FFS.

Anyway.  If you’re looking to use up your roasted pears AND start sampling the delights of blue cheese, may I recommend this warm salad?  The cheese melts onto the nuts and pears, which does the job of making pears in salad less odd AND the cheese less intense.  If you think pears in salad is weird – remember StorrCupboard lovers! – tomatoes are fruits, so, you know, get over it and try it.  Or wait until my 2 other recipes come out 🙂

Warm, roasted leftover pears with toasty walnuts and melty cheese?  You are so welcome.

(Slightly Soft) Pear, Stilton & Walnut Salad

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

NOTE – this is more of a method than a *recipe* – so if you have 35 grams or 75 grams of nuts or cheese, get ’em used up x

2 pears – anything from *will NEVER ripen & I’m going on holiday tomorrow” to “oh god I’d better eat them even though they’re the wrong side of soft”
1/2 tablespoon of fat; I used pork fat for umami/keeping it cheap, but ground nut or vegetable oil would be great.  Avoid olive, too strong
around 50 grams of walnuts or pecans
around 50 grams of Stilton or other blue cheese
Few handfuls of salad leaves

Tools

Colander/sieve
Baking tray
Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

10 minutes prep
30 minutes to roast pears
5 more minutes to mix

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Cut your pears in half and remove the core; chop into about 3 pieces, for even cooking
*I don’t peel the pears as I think that the skin provides a nice texture, but it’s up to you*
Place on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil all over
Roughly chop the blue cheese

Method

Place the oiled pears in the oven
Wash the salad leaves and leave to drain; either spin or pat dry with a clean tea towel
Place the salad leaves in a mixing bowl
After 20 minutes, add the nuts to the tray and coat in the oil
TIMER ON; check after 5 minutes
The nuts are done when they smell all toasty; take them out a little too soon rather than burnt
When the nuts are golden brown and the pears a little caramelised, remove from the oven
Stir the cheese into the pears and nuts on the tray
Mix the warm pear-cheese-nut goo into the salad leaves
Eat!

Storage
You can store the roasted pears for between 1 and 5 days, depending on how ripe they were when you roasted them.  You can roast alongside the nuts but do not store together, because the nuts will go soggy (insert joke here).
To serve from cold, bring to room temperature for a couple of hours before serving, if possible.  Warm through in the oven or in a microwave, if you like.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bursting tomato sauce

Bursting tomato sauce

Sad tomatoes.  Just a few.
How often do you cook or use tomato sauce?  How often do you chuck raw tomatoes?  They are in the top 5 of wasted fruit & veg and, as we learned the other day, use a shit tonne of C02 to get to ripeness (is that a word?) in the UK.
But people. As you make your chilli, your tomato sauce, your bolognese (non-Brits, we in the UK call ragu ‘bolognese’, just cos of how it was marketed to the UK.  Like “Italian rarebit”….). Well, you use tinned tomatoes, right? So, how about just shoving those manky tomatoes into your sauce, too?

I can’t be arsed with crossing and blanching and peeling tomatoes, so I love this trick I got from River Cottage: cut your toms into quarters, and take out the seeds, if you like. Then, like so, grate the tomato and voila! No skin!

 

So take your sad, energy packed tomatoes and add them to your sauce. Food waste averted!

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Manky melon & cucumber salsa

Manky melon & cucumber salsa

Okay this is my favourite of the week’s leftovers.  Sweet and refreshing, a little crunch and a lot of flavour.  It was totally inspired by Zoe Adjonyoh’s mango and pineapple salad from a few weeks ago.

I would never, ever have thought of mixing these flavours together, but that’s what I love about leftover cooking – sometimes shit has to get creative.  Or just, you know, ask me and I’ll do the thinking for you. X

 

Melon & cucumber salsa

 

150g melon after peeling and de-seeding (about 1/4 a galia melon)
100g cucumber after peeling and de-seeding (so about 125g to start off with)
1/2 small red onion (about 45g)
About 15 mint leaves
Pinch salt

 

Tools

Scales
Two large mixing bowls
Sharp knife
Mixing bowl

Time
30 minutes

Level
Simple

 

Prep

Finely, finely dice the onion into pieces a couple of mm
Sprinkle the salt over and leave for about half an hour
Cut the melon in half, half again and half, again!
Cut out and discard seeds and skin
Chop the cucumber; take the core out of the cucumber

Method

When you are ready to eat the salsa, finely chop the mint leaves
Stir the mint leaves into the fruit
Seriously, that’s it

Storage

Best eaten fresh, but stored in a lidded container in the fridge, this salsa will keep for a few days.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Manky Melon Salad

Manky Melon Salad

Fruit salad can be another saviour of the sad fruit bowl.  Woolly melon needs disguising guys.  I could have given you a recipe for a Russian chilled melon soup or tart but … but melon recipes always say “you must have the sweetest the best the most flavoursome fruit”.  And we don’t have that, always, do we? We have sad, flavourless fruits that really we want to bin.

 

But we are food waste warriors and we are not about to chuck this food that has taken farmers months to grow, has used petrol and fertilisers to get to us and, quite frankly, your hard earned cash to buy.

 

Sometimes it’s good to hide in plain sight.  So, I mixed my shitty old melon with a lovely, sweet mango. Add loads of grapes and a skinned nectarine (note: eldest child told me the nectarine didn’t work. I disagree. You decide).  Pour over a little apple juice if you like, and maybe serve with ice cream. That’s it.

 

Waste averted, bellies full. Happy days!

 

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com