Thursday, December 30, 2010

Venison Faggots with Onion Gravy

It has long been the plan to have an amazing haunch of venison for Christmas. The man's sister and her husband and family have a farm in Cornwall where they planted a section of native forest about a decade ago. It has attracted a large wild deer population which needs to be managed with an annual cull so that both the trees and the animals survive in optimum conditions. They very generously gave us some when they visited in the summer and I have been idly making plans for it ever since. The first one involved using a jar of cherries I bought in France a very very long time ago. There were a few different versions of side dishes and accompaniments that I liked and then discarded. The final one happened because I ordered venison at dinner one night and it came with faggots and they were gorgeous. Don't think I'd ever eaten one before. Instantly decided that they too would be on my plate.
Faggots are a very old fashioned dish, a sort of simplified sausage that is easier to make, using cheap piggy bits of offal and fatty pork and spicy onions made into balls and wrapped in caul fat. They have been made in Britain since approximately the dawn of time - it was an accident with a batch of faggots at a shop in Pudding Lane that started the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Given that I had already decided not to go to Borough Market on the Saturday before xmas as it is invariably bedlam I set about finding pigs liver and caul fat. Who knew it could be so difficult to pick up a couple of bits of fairly standard butcher's fare? Jamie Oliver has opened a butchers under his new Barbecoa restaurant - complete with a couple of ex Ginger Pig butchers! - so was positive that I could get everything there. Not so - seems they had offal for the first couple of weeks but no one bought it and it has been subsequently discontinued. Further on down that street there is Porterfords - a traditional butcher that has served the city for many years. They were happy to get me caul fat but don't normally sell pigs liver. I could order it but I had to have a whole one. They weigh a couple of kilos and I needed 250g so it seemed wasteful. I started making calls (it was snowing and slippy and possibly dangerous to be wandering from butcher to butcher), but the Ginger Pig at Greeensmiths had none and expected none till after xmas, the butcher on Theobold Road didn't answer, the first retail butcher I tried at Smithfield didn't stock it, the second one suggested I call a third one who - joy! - promised they'd have some the following day. Popped in on my way to work, asked for pigs liver, and the butcher said 'Don't stock it, only lamb or calf'. When I said I'd spoken to someone the day before he said 'Oh, got that for you!' Came back with a whole liver - and insisted I must have it all.When I said I'd pay for it but only wanted a little bit he was somewhat taken aback. 'No love, you've paid for it. Freezes well and I'll slice it for you.' Which is how I ended up with an enormous amount of pigs liver.
Worth it in the end though - these little balls of pure delight were one of the highlights of the week. The recipe comes from that master of all food things British, Mark Hix. Those who know me will not be surprised to hear I omitted the mustard. I also used a little nutmeg as I had no mace.
Venison Faggots with Onion Gravy
This made sixteen decent sized faggots
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3 juniper berries, crushed
2tsp chopped thyme leaves
1tbsp vegetable oil
200g minced pork belly
250g minced pork or game liver
350g minced game meat such as pheasant, venison, hare, etc
1/2tsp ground mace
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg
200g caul fat, lamb or pig's, soaked for an hour in cold water
For the onion sauce
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1tbsp vegetable oil
A good knob of butter
3tsp flour
1tsp tomato purée
1tsp Dijon mustard
100ml red wine
250ml beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gently cook the onion, garlic, thyme and juniper in the vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes until soft, add the pork belly and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes stirring well. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/Gas mark 7. Mix in the liver, game meat, breadcrumbs and egg and season well with the salt, pepper and mace. Mould the mixture into 150g balls - bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball - and wrap in a double layer of caul fat. In a deep baking tray, roast the faggots for 20 minutes or so until nicely coloured, then drain off the fat.
Meanwhile make the sauce: heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan and gently cook the onions for 8-10 minutes with a lid on until lightly coloured - you may add a splash of water if they are catching on the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and flour and tomato purée and stir well over a low heat for a minute. Add the mustard, stir well then gradually add the red wine, stirring again to prevent lumps forming, and then gradually add the beef stock. Season, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 175C/gas mark 4. Put the faggots into an oven-proof dish with the sauce, cover with a lid or foil, and continue cooking for 40 minutes. Eat them with mashed potato and root vegetables.
I made them a week early and froze them and cooked the onion gravy a couple of days early so on the day they were absolutely stress free. Best of all I only used half of them at xmas and the rest made a perfect mid week supper with the last of the root veg.
Am thrilled now that I have more liver in the freezer - these will definitely be on the menu again before this winter's out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

King's Ginger Truffles

These are quick, easy and very festive. They will adorn our table at the end of the meal in case anyone is still remotely hungry.

King's Ginger Truffles

The recipe comes from Berry Brothers & Rudd as does The King's Ginger

Makes about 24

200g good quality chocolate
175ml double cream
5 tbspn The King's Ginger Liqueur

1 tspn finely chopped drained stem ginger in syrup

Cocoa powder for dusting

Line a baking tray with cling film.

Break the chocolate inot small pieces and drop into a heat proof bowl.

Bring the cream to the boil over a low flame and pour over the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted.
Add the King's ~Ginger and the chopped stem ginger and mix well. Leave the mix to cool to room temperature which takes about 2 hours, when the mix will have stiffened nicely.

Use a teaspoon or melon baller and roll into interesting shapes. Roll in cocoa powder (I used toothpicks to turn them) and place on the baking sheet. Chill overnight.

Gorgeously ginger!

Happy Christmas everyone - eat well!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I wanted...I bought...I made

Vension faggots ready for christmas day

'Tis bizarre but the only Saturday of the year when I absolutely know I will not go to Borough is the one before Christmas. It is simply too horrible to contemplate, spectacularly busy to the point of completely mobbed and that's at 9am. Add snow to the mix and God knows what horror it is by mid afternoon. So my plan is to go early Sunday and collect my gammon and some cheese and coffee then run away home.

Saturday am planning culture afternoon with the lovely David, Turner Prize followed by cinema then spag bol and garlic bread at ours due to the fact that some toerag stole all of David's clothes and things from the gym culture was cancelled but restorative spaghetti at the end of the day helped a tiny bit. Sunday possibly out for lunch more spaghetti for dinner with the last of it intended for lunchboxes Monday. Monday night I'd like tofu and rice and cabbage had steamed eggs and leeks and rice so in the same kind of ball park, Tuesday lentils or dahl grilled pork chops with mash and carrots and peas, Wednesday we are out, Thursday is ham sandwiches as is the tradition in my family xmas eve, one early as we are spending Christmas with Jaey and Marie and they are planning a Swedish feast that I am very excited about.

OMG Never have I seen Borough Market so empty as it was Sunday morning. We got there about ten and I swear there was no more than 4 other people there shopping. It was brilliant! But only for us, for the stallholders who had turned up in the sub zero snow fest what should have been one of the best times of year for them was very bad for business. It's a real shame - they work so hard all year supplying such amazing produce they deserve the bonus that xmas brings.

Started at the beautifully laid out but completely empty Ginger Pig where I bought a gorgeous piece of gammon for the end of the week £21.38

Then to Muirenn Smokehouse for salmon - the trader told me that with the arrival of snow on Saturday the market pretty much emptied out and the afternoon had been deathly quiet. They plan to be there all week though they have currently lost a truck full of fish somewhere between the west coast of Ireland and Borough. Bought a pack of salmon - £10

Tub of olives from Fresh Olive Company - the only place where there was another customer - got the melange - £4.50

There was no Ted's Veg, or Harriet at Organics so wandered over to a very cold looking Lizzie at Wild Beef for eggs - £3

Then to Gastronomica for a lovely hunk of Pecorino - £10

Coffee from Monmouth - £11.50

Neal's Yard for spaghetti, milk and cream - £9.80 then remembered I'd planned to get some Coolea - £11.23

Then bread for toast from Flour Power - £1.10

Then back out into the snow to get the bus home, I was cold by now and I was well rugged up. Suspect there was a lot of hot coffee drunk by those who were there for the day.

Spent £82.50 but I know I will spend more - it is the time of year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fried noodles

Stri fry noodles is somethng that anyone who cooks and even vaguely likes Chinese food will make at some point. They seem so incredibly obvious - the name says it all, surely. Hot wok, noodles, garlic and ginger plus whatever protein and veg you have available, add some liquid, preferably rice wine and stir rapidly over a high heat. If there's a bit of coriander in the fridge chop it in at the end and it's all to the good. You have stir fry. Technically speaking this is precisely what you have.

For many years it was pretty much how I made them and often as not it was fine as dinner, fairly quick and not much mess, light if not really elegant. But over the last few years as I have begun to use more and more Asian cookbooks, both current and ancient out-of-print ones that I indulge myself with occasionally, I have started to realise how much more this dish can be. What my origninal method lacks was any kind of subtlety to the finished dish, any nuance or melding came mostly through luck or through trying to replicate something I'd eaten in a restaurant and not through any particular skill on my part.

The results were borne of ignorance rather than inability. One of my favourite Chinese books is Mrs Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook, last printed more than thirty years ago but still brilliant today. The woman was a culinary genius on a domestic scale. I was looking for something else the other day when I happened again upon her list of one dish meals, a tempting list that I had once resolved to work through from top to bottom, an ambition not yet achieved. Fried noodles was one of the 'yet to makes' and, with noodles and some pork in the freezer and a sweetheart cabbage in the fridge I decided its time was now. It took quite some time to prepare everything but it was a fascinating lesson in how to construct every element so that each ingredient was considered so that they all stood out and worked together.

Fried Noodles

You could use many other combinations of ingredients, consider this to be the building blocks and the key to understanding how they go together.

Makes 2 generous bowls of noodles with a little over for one lunch next day

1/4 cup dried tree ears
6 dried mushroom
2 cups boiling water
100g raw prawns
1/2 tspn salt
500g fresh noodles
1 small cabbage - sweetheart or Chinese
150g pork steak
3 spring onions
2 tbspns soy sauce
1 tbspn sesame oil
2cm knob of fresh ginger thick as your big toe
1 tbspn rice wine or sherry
1 tbspn corn flour
9 tbspns peanut oil
1 tbspn salt

Put the tree ears and dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 20-30 minutes.

Peel the prawns, devein them (cut the thin black intestine out that runs down the back) and, if large, cut them into 2cm pieces. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, mix thoroughly and set aside.

Pull off the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and discard. Wash the other leaves then shred crosswise into pieces roughly 2cm wide; you should end up with about 3 cups.

Cut the pork into thin shreds about 5cm long and 1/2 cm wide and put into a bowl.

Clean the spring onions, then cut both green and white parts into 5cm lengths, then slice them lengthwise into fine shreds. Add the spring onion shreds to the pork shreds along with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside.

Peel the ginger, then slice it into shreds about 1/4cm wide, the width of a matchstick.

Drain the tree ears and mushrooms, then rinse them well under running water. While you are rinsing the tree ears pick them over carefully to remove any impurities, such as little pieces of wood tha may still be embedded in them. Remove the hard stems from the mushrooms and slice the heads into thin slivers 1/2 cm wide. Keep the mushrooms separate from the tree ears.

Add the rice wine and the corn flour to the prawns and mix well.

Rinse the noodles thoroughly with warm water and drain in a colander.

Heat your wok or pan over a high flame for 15 seconds then add 6 tablespoons of peanut oil. It will be ready to cook with when the first tiny bubbles form and a few small wisps of smoke appear. When the oil is ready toss in the ginger and the mushroom shreds. Stir-fry them for 30 seconds, scooping them off the sides of the pan and stirring them in the middle of the wok. Add the meat mixture and stir-fry for antoher 20 seconds.

Now add the tree ears and continue to stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Keep stirring while you add the prawns, keeping everything moving for another 45 seconds, then tip the whole lot into a large bowl. At this point the prawns will only be partially cooked.

Thoroughly wipe out the pan with paper towels and put it back onto a high flame for 15 seconds then add 3 tablespoons of fresh peanut oil. When the oil is hot enough for cooking put in the sliced cabbage. Stir-fry for a few seconds, scooping the cabbage shreds off the sides of the pan and tossing them into the centre. Add a scant tablespoon of salt and continue to stir-fry for about a minute.

Now add the drained noodles. (You don't have to stir-fry something like noodles too energetically; just use your cooking shovel to spread them around and keep them from sticking to the sides of the pan.)

After the noodles have cooked for about 2 1/2 minutes, return the meat and prawn mixture to the pan. Stir the ingredients so they are all evenly distributed, then let everything cook for 5 minutes more, stirring the noodles occasionally to make sure they all get fried. Longer cooking will produce crispier noodles, which is a good thing. Some crispy bits add another texture.

Serve immediately.

Expect no sauce on the finished dish just a lovely melange of noodles and pork and cabbage.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I wanted I bought I made

This weekend is Food Chain so busy busy. Saturday night needs to be simple, maybe pork chop soup as I made stock with the bones from last week's roast and there are pork chops in the freezer sausage and mash, perfect and the stock is in the freezer. Sunday a roast, simple and tasty it was but it was cooked at the Canton Arms so we had fried eggs on toast, lovely. Monday stirfry noodles roast beef and veg but sadly the creamed turnip was bitter but the rest was very good indeed. Tuesday we are out. Wednesday I think the beef stew from the freezer with lots of veg fried noodles. Thursday broccoli pasta bake with a tub of cheese sauce from the freezer the beef stew with added mushrooms, mountains of mash and carrots and brussel sprouts a welcome meal to greet the return of the snow. Friday omelette with morcilla.

At the Ginger Pig Charlie and John and the others already look tired. And they've still got two weeks till xmas. They work really hard at this time of year and I'm glad they are there for me to get such great meat. There was only a couple of really small bits of beef topside left so bought a nice piece of rolled rump and some pork mince for £24.87
Next to Total Organics for some parsnips - they were lovely last week - £1.87

From Ted's Veg I bought brussel sprouts and onions but no potatoes this week as I still have last weeks - £2.80

Still had last weeks eggs too, so bought beef sausages from Wild Beef - £4.72

Milk from Neals Yard - £3.20

A box of clementines from Tony's - really is xmas when the clems are about - £3.50

Toast bread from Flour Power - £1.10

Spent £42.06 - and so close to xmas!

I love cheeses

On Tuesday night I was delighted to be invited to an evening of French goats cheese and a ‘ready steady cook-off’ at Divertimenti in Marylebone. Accepted with alacrity, needless to say.

Bizarrely when I arrived the road was closed off to traffic by police cordon due to a suspect car but the shops and footpaths were open to pedestrians. People wandered about vaguely nervous but otherwise unhindered.

Inside all was calm and warmly welcoming. A glass of crèmant accompanied a catch up chat with some bloggers I met at FBC10 and haven’t seen since. When the crowd was thawed and chilled we were welcomed by Marilyne Le Pape, from ANICAP who explained that many small French producers had banded together to take more of their cheese to the world. I am more than happy to help in the promotion of these wonderful artisan cheeses.

The main tutoring of the evening came from Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie, one of too few fine cheesemongers in London. This woman really knows her (goats) cheese.

Lots of cheeseboards were dotted about laden with generous quantities of cheese. It always appeals to me just how many shapes you get with goats cheese – it’s a delight before you even taste them. We started with a couple of cheeses from the Administrative region Centre which includes the Loire. The first was Crottin de Chavignol, a small flattened ball of crumbly cheese made with the raw milk of mountain goats. It was gorgeously smooth with a rich nutty taste. As it matures it gains a light mould which is when it is perfect grilled atop a salade de chevre. One of my favourite salads – but then what’s not to love about a salad topped with warm goats cheese and crumbled walnuts? It matched well with the Sancerre we were drinking, another product of this bountiful region.

Next up was Sainte-Maure de Touraine. It comes as a log with a wisp of straw running through the centre. Historically there to make it easy to handle and repair, producers nowadays engrave the straw with their name to prove its origins. Removed before cutting, it leaves a tiny hole in the centre of each slice. You could almost thread them back together to make a necklace. The cheese is a delicate white with a fine coat of charcoal ash. Fairly mild and ever so slightly salty it is rich and smooth on the tongue.

Staying in the Loire we sampled Selles sur Cher, one of the first products to be awarded AOC status in 1975. It comes as a pyramid covered in a blue tinged ash contrasting with the ultra white interior. Nicely goaty with a rich nutty flavour and a tang of salt, it’s really quite dense when you bite into it and then it melts gently in your mouth for a sensuous finish.

Then we tried Cabecou du Rocamadour, from the Lot. I’ve been to Rocamadour and it’s a small village, very pretty, that hosts an annual Fête des Fromages which is the largest cheese festival in the south of France. It has something like 10,000 visitors a day and according to 2009 statistics, 2 tons of cheese were sold. Two tons! You have to love a country that has such serious cheese festivals. This cheese comes in small medallions with a delicate natural rind. Soft, rich and creamy it has a slight nuttiness as well.

Next, Valençay, a cheese with back story. Originally this cheese was made in the shape of a perfect pyramid. But, coming back from a calamitous campaign in Egypt, Napoléon stopped in Valençay. He saw the cheese, loathed its reminder of his failure, wielded his sword and chopped the top off. Been that shape ever since. Produced to traditional methods, when firm enough each cheese is covered in salted ash then matured in a ventilated cellar till ready. It’s an incredibly white cheese, moist and firm and distinctly salty. Apart from straight from the cheeseboard, it would make a great topping for a jacket potato.

The penultimate cheese was one I know and love – a Tomme de Cleon au Jurancon from the Pyrenees. It comes as a sizeable round and is a semi hard cheese with a gentle fruity flavour. The rind is washed in Muscadet or Jurancon which gives it a floral sweetness. It’s an incredibly smooth cheese, really lovely to eat and was the hands down favourite on our table. It makes a quite fabulous cheese sauce for lasagne and vegetable pasta bake and would be sensational with a seafood mornay.

The last cheese had sat neatly wrapped in chestnut leaves tied with raffia on the board for the whole evening. It was a Banon and what a delight it was when it was unveiled. Cutting into the golden rind the interior was lush and runny and smelled divine. It is generously salted then matured for a couple of weeks before being washed in eau-de-vie then wrapped in the leaves to ripen. Small amounts of edible blue mould develops under the wrapper further developing the flavour. The end result is a strong cheese, rich and creamy with a really complex flavour. I remarked to Marilyne that I thought it would go better with a red wine and she assured me it is actually best with a luscious sweet wine like Montbazillac or, particularly Jurancon. No doubt she is absolutely right.

After this fabulous feast of cheese it was time for fun and games. While most of the others had a wander round the shop four of us hit the kitchen for a goat cheese cook off using cheese readily available from supermarkets. Rachel and Anne were team captains, Tracey and I their trusty assistants. We had thirty minutes to make two dishes per team using that all time favourite - a bag of random ingredients. We had butternut squash, figs, hazelnuts, beetroot and pork. Anne decided we'd make butternut tartlettes topped with tomme and grilled bacon and bruschetta with figs and melted mini log with a carpaccio of beetroot and a scattering of toasted hazelnuts.

Rachel and Tracey had haddock fillet, sunblushed tomatoes, pinenuts, pears and a Savoy cabbage. Rachel went for smoked haddock topped with grilled (blowtorched) chevre log with tomato base, and most remarkably given the time restrictions, cheese gnocchi in a sage butter mixing a spreadable chevre with a little flour and egg.

It's amazing how half an hour can be so very slow while at the same time pass in a flash. Both teams made it and though Anne presented two beautiful plates of food Rachel just pipped her in the taste test to be the ultimate winner! There are no recipes of course but it shows you really can make a good cheesey dinner any time.

Hope I've tempted you to try a few new things. All of the cheeses are available from La Fromagerie but if Marylebone is not handy to you it is worth searching out other cheesemongers who will always guide you and give you any help you need, as well as a taste if your serious about buying. This time of year most feasts will incorporate a fine selection of cheese but remember cheese is for life not just for Christmas.

A special thanks to Tracey from International Foodie for letting me use her brilliant photographs of the night.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I wanted I bought I made

Another busyish week ahead - Saturday I am having an early xmas dinner with friends so plan slow cooked pork to keep the kitchen warm and steamed marmalade pudding because I hate xmas pudding the pork was perfect but made an apple and blackberry duff for dessert. Sunday we are out to lunch so dinner may well be toast topped with mozzarella and the last of the parma ham, v good toast indeed. Monday is Hamlet, Tuesday I am out so the man can have hot pie, Wednesday the man is out so I shall have burgers as it's been ages and I love them with the fab edamame, rice and blackbean salad from 5am foodie, Thursday we are both home so shall rescue the final tub of beef and mushroom stew from a couple of weeks ago and serve it with lots of winter veg due to the change in temperature from less than zero to a little more than zero we had a slightly unsuccessful pasta with broccoli and walnuts -should have stuck with the original plan :( Friday stir fried noodles - grilled lamb chops with salad and bread.

Spent an age rugging up to go to the market Saturday morning only to discover it was positively warm outside, ridiculously balmy even. Total surprise. The market itself is always 10 degrees colder than outside so it was, obviously, totally freezing but not as bad as it could be. *sigh of relief*

At the Ginger Pig I bought a magnificent piece of pork shoulder on the bone which I put in the oven on our return and served for dinner some hours later for £15.80

Then to Teds Veg for potatoes, swede, carrots - I love winter veg - and fennel which was intended for the mussels but that did not go well - £8.70

Had to have a bag of chocolates from L'Artisan du Chocolat - £2

Bought parsnips puréed with butter and cream, lovely with pork and garlic from Tony Booth's daughters organic veg stall - she was very pleased with the thaw. The market had been really quiet Friday with no trains coming into London Bridge and that, combined with sub zero, was a definite challenge... Spent £2.85

Apples from Chegworth - £2.10

The Italian ham stall had obviously had a slow week and were offering bogoff on the buffalo mozzarella - too good to resist, added some ham, spent £10.80

Mussels from Shellseekers the last mussels I bought from here were possibly the best I have ever had, and these ones promised to be the same. I washed them and found only one that was open. Cooked them with a little shallot and white wine. When I opened the lid a cloud escaped that smelt not of the briny depths but distinctly of farmyard, fresh manure variety. It was of course the moment that the first guest arrived and as the man came back into the kitchen with her he said, euuugh, what's that smell? They had all opened and they looked fine but they really did not smell it so I binned the lot. Anyone have any ideas of what it could be? Straight on to mains! £5.50

Eggs from Richard at Wild Beef as Lizzie was home minding the Aga - sensible woman - £1.50

Cream, clotted cream, milk, bread (from St John yay!) and a fresh donut at Neals Yard - £12.70

That was all from there - having porridge for breakfast meant no toast loaf - spent £61.95 then bought a butternut at the local market and sprouts round the corner.

Walking back to the bus stop saw a sign - Automatic door out of order. Please push. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pai Gwut - Steamed Spare Ribs

Winter is here with a vengeance and it makes me want to eat. The obvious - stews, roasts, toasts and mashed potato - are all featuring heavily but I also love chilli hot and ginger bright at the end of almost any kind of day. Robust flavours combined with interesting textures, both texture and flavour multilayered making every mouthful wonderful.

I was having a craving for black beans, was actually thinking beef and black bean, one of my favourite dishes when done well. Checked Steamy Kitchen and found, instead a recipe for spare ribs steamed with black beans. I know already that steaming pork is an unutterably fabulous thing to do so figured a new version could only be a bonus.

How right I was.

Though it was a Tuesday I fancied making a few dishes, the ribs were very quick to prep, and I already planned to steam the last of the cabbage I had in the fridge but even with rice I wanted one more dish. Aubergine because I love aubergine, thinking sea spiced but came across this on my own blog and the hit of chilli in it was the perfect addition for a seriously fab dinner. Man said he wasn't hungry when he got home, but still managed to eat the whole bowl full in no time.

Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce

You need to ask your butcher for spare ribs, maybe order them in advance if you are definitely planning this dish, otherwise you may be disappointed

Serves 4 with a couple of other dishes also great next day cold for lunch

500g (ish) pork spareribs
2 tablespoons black beans
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornflour
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Cut the spareribs crosswise into 2-4cm sections or ask the butcher to do it for you. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Transfer spareribs and sauce into a shallow, heatproof pan and leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

To cook in a steam oven set temperature to 100C and steam for 25 minutes.

Or set a steaming rack inside of your wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack. Turn the heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high. Set pan with spareribs on top of a steaming rack in wok. Steam on med-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink.

Serve with rice and one or two other dishes for perfect winter treat.