Carnitas in a Frying Pan. #recipe

Carnitas, Mexican roast pork, done in a dutch oven is one of my goto camping recipes. The only problem is that with just two of us, it makes for an immense amount of meat.

So I wanted to see how it works in a frying pan, in an oven, inside. In short, very well. Not quite as good as a large batch done over coals, but dashed good none the less.

Here’s the recipe:
flour pork with:

  • 1 cup (more or less) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon powdered chili pepper (New Mexican is best, Cayenne will do).
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

The mixture ready to go

Place in a cast-iron frying pan:

  • 1/4 inch cooking oil
  • meat and flour
  • 1/3 can of beer (That’s what the bubbles in the picture are from. Not boiling it on the stove.)

Cover with foil and back for 2 hours at 350. The white bits are some of the flour that didn’t absorb moisture. They mix right in when you serve it.

Quick English Custard #recipe #goodfood

For a nice sized serving.
Byrds has nothing on this, and it’s about as easy as using the packets.

  • 1 cup milk (330 ml)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (corn flour in the UK)
  • dash of vanilla extract

Heat the milk gently.

While the milk is warming, use a whisk to mix the yolks, sugar and corn starch.

When the milk is hot add the yolk mixture to it and whisk it in. It’s unlikely that all the mixture will pour into the milk. So take some of the warm mixture and put it in the bowl with the yolk mixture. Whisk again. Repeat until all the yolk is mixed with the milk.

Heat, while whisking until it’s thick.

Enjoy. Other variants might add a dash of brandy.

Carnitas #recipe

About done. Carnitas in one of my Dutch ovens.


Carnitas are a Mexican stable, actually “men’s” food, that are surprisingly easy to make. They’re also dashed good, either prepared in the home or on a campout. The essential ingredient isn’t food. It’s a cast iron, unglazed dutch oven. There’s a whole mythology about curing these (some other post). However, as long as you don’t use soap or detergent on them, keep them dry and oiled, and generally don’t abuse them too much, they’ll serve for many years. The black layer is an iron oxide (not hydroxide or rust) that is relatively non-reactive with the water and sugars in the food. Hence things tend not to stick.

Enough chemistry, here’s the recipe:

Cut boneless pork butt or similar slightly fatty pork into large (2-3 inch, 5-6 cm) chunks. Remove any obviously nasty bits, but don’t be too neat. Flour the meat in a mixture of wheat flour (plain flour) with oregano, ground chilli pepper (NOT chilli powder which has cumin in it). The meat can be frozen at this step for later use. I used chipolte for this batch, but only because I was out of the powdered pepper from my last trip to New Mexico. Typically for a cup of flour, I’ll use a tablespoon of both oregano and chilli, but your mileage may vary.

Place a layer of oil in the bottom of the dutch oven (or 1/2 stick of vegetable shortening, or a similar amount of Lard (authentic)). The idea is to have enough fat on the bottom to coat it so that the meat is greased before the fat from it cooks out.

Indoors:  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 hours. The pork will be very tender when done. You should turn the meat once or twice during this time.

Outdoors: Use charcoal briquettes,  about 8 beneath and 8-12 on top. Rotate the dutch oven about 90 degrees every 15 minutes, and counter rotate the lid about the same amount. Add charcoal as needed. You don’t want it too hot, but you need it to cook.

We served this with tortillas, fresh salsa, lettuce and yogurt (out of sour cream). Oh, and hot peppers.

A Meat Pie #recipe #regency

A Meat Pie in the English style.

2015-10-04 16.47.53

This is something that would have been eaten during the Regency (although without the pyrex baking dish). Dashed good, if I say so myself.

Cut 2 lbs (1 kilo +-) of beef into 1 inch/ 2cm cubes.
Marinate overnight in:
1/2 bottle guiness stout
1 cup red wine
teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed.
2 bay leaves.

3-4 hours before eating:
cut up and saute:
2 onions
handful of mushrooms
2-3 carrots

when soft add the marinade, a teaspoon of boullion (or cup of stock) and reduce.

Meanwhile, flour the beef and brown it in a frying pan.

Once the marinade is reduced:
put the vegetables in the bottom of a baking dish, cover with the meat. Use the reduced marinade to deglaze the  pan the beef was browned in. (There will be flour that has stuck to the pan, this will dissolve it to thicken the gravy.) Add the deglazings to the baking dish. If the volume is correct, it will just cover the meat.

Bake in a cool oven (300F, 150C) for 3 hours. Use a covered baking dish. (important, you don’t want it to dry out.) The meat should be very tender by this time.

Remove from the oven, place a pie crust over the top (I used Type L biscuit mix here; my sister in law in the UK uses suet dumplings.)

Return to the oven and bake at 375F 180C for 45 minutes until the crust is done.

Smoking Pork, a Southern #Recipe

The apex, at least in some quarters, of Southern cooking is smoked meat. Here’s my intrusion into the manly world of barbeque.

I use a simple dry rub, applied the evening before to the meat (in this case a tenderloin).
1 tablespoon ground red (hot) pepper
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt.

Rub the mixture on the meat and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Then smoke. I use “natural” charcoal rather than briquets.


I make a vinegar based hot sauce that is not for the faint of heart.


In 1/4 cup cider vinegar, put 4-5 dry cayenne peppers. (the little red ones). Crumple them up and heat for about 30 seconds in a microwave (or until boiling). Let cool.

Hint: remember to wash your hands after handling the peppers.

I am reminded, since this blog is sometimes about regency things of the Red Dwarf episode where Lister, Cat and Kachinski introduce curry to Jane Austen World. Be forewarned.

Simple Satay Pork #Recipe

Another one that Darcy wouldn’t have eaten. (but might have liked)

There’s a relatively new product on the shelves in supermarkets in the USA. It’s a dried peanut butter. Some clever person worked out that the peanut residue, after you’ve squeezed out all the oil can be baked into something that can be reconstituted into a substance that is almost, but not quite like peanut butter.

Makes for a great cooking ingredient.

Satay Pork

Pork tenderloin, about 1 lb, cut in thin (5mm) wide strips.
1 Tablespoon “dried” peanut butter.
1 Teaspoon “Hot” Madras curry powder. (I put hot in quotes, it’s hotter than “curry powder”, but not hot).
1 Tablespoon or so soy sauce.

Mix. The mixture will coat the pork very smoothly. It’s much easier than real peanut butter and corn starch.

Let sit for a few minutes.

Add about 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil and stir to coat the meat.
Grill until done.


This would probably work with chicken just as well.

Progress, I guess.

I finished the first draft of my latest. It’s on writeon (there’s not a way to give it a link), and maybe Authonomy.  I’ve changed the title, and have a not ready for prime time cover.

So it’s a step forward, but not as far as I’d like. Anyway, if someone is so daft as to want to read it, I’d be happy to send an advance copy.

Colonel Treader’s Chicken Nuggets.

Definitely not something Darcy would have eaten. That’s his loss.

Cut one or two chicken, I can’t use this word, well at least Jane Austen wouldn’t. But then it is 2015. Breasts (so there – she’d have said “white meat”) into reasonably sized chunks. One breast is fine for two people, and I split it down the middle and cut about 75mm wide slices. Oh, after removing fat and the “back meat” which is usually awful.

Crack an egg and put the nuggets into it and let sit for a few minutes. Mix them up so the chicken is coated.

In a plastic bag put:
 1/3 cup corn meal (Ground Maize for those in the UK, not Corn flour (which is corn starch in the USA (But I digress)))
1/3 cup flour.
1/2 teaspoon salt (can omit or use “lite” salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Chipolte pepper (you can’t buy this in Tesco’s so ask a Yank to smuggle it)

Pour the chicken/egg mixture into the bag and shake. The idea is to thoroughly coat the chicken with the corn meal mixture.

Fry in about 1/4 inch (2-3 mm) of oil until done. Some generic vegetable oil is best, don’t bother with fancy Olive oils for this. It’s a good idea to flip the pieces over about half way. This will take about 10 minutes.


More on Soda Bread

Had a chance to test the recipe I gave recently for soda bread using yogurt back in the good Ol’ USA. Some minor modifications are a good idea. The self-rising flour here, or at least the flour from Publix, is very salty. So don’t add any salt, or use regular flour and add your own baking powder. The flour here is also a different, slightly bitter, wheat and much finer ground. So relative to the UK, the bread had a salty sour taste. The crusty texture was quite similar to the UK version.

Here’s the recipe modified for the USA.

300g self-rising flour (2 cups +-)
1 cup Greek yogurt  (my scale’s battery went out right here)
water if needed.


400F oven.

Mix the flour and the yogurt, then if needed to make a dough add a small amount of cold water. Knead gently and put on a floured baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top and bake for about 1/2 hour until the loaf sounds hollow and is a nice color.


Greco-Hibernian Soda Bread

Not sure if this will work when I get back to the land of the free but it works well in the UK. My family was getting their fix of sausage, bacon, and black pudding (They’re different over here). The trouble was how to accompany them. Irish soda bread would be great, but
 a) we didn’t have any baking soda, and
 2) we didn’t have any buttermilk.

What we had was self-raising flour (coarser ground and a different wheat from the US), Greek yogurt and the ability to improvise.

Preheat the oven to 200C (figure this out yourself if you want to use irrational units).
While the oven is heating mix and then kneed gently:

2 cups (more or less) or about 250 grams of self-rising flour
1 tsp salt
100g +- of Greek Yogurt.
This should form a dampish dough. You may need to add some water, or flour, but the dough should hold together and not be sticky.

Put it on a floured baking sheet, and cut a cross in the top. It should look something like this:

After about 1/2 hour in the hot oven, it will look like this:

It will also sound hollow when you tap it. (Much like yeast bread). It goes very well with bitter, sausage and carrots.

This recipe would work as a “damper” bread and bake well in a Dutch oven.