As many of my regular followers and readers know, I don’t eat a lot of meat (maybe only twice a week), but when I do, it has to be local and fresh and I like to know its provenance.
So recently I took part in a cookery challenge with NI Pork and their ambassador Andrew Smyth of Great British Bake Off fame - and when I say I took part, for full disclosure, I must admit that I joined the entrants at the beginning for canape making and a pork cooking techniques workshop with Andrew and then opted out of the actual competition as I had to get home to mummy duties… But that said, I did cook up the salad, and the Parmesan crusted pork chop recipe at home using some of the ingredients supplied by NI Pork on the night (see all recipes below) and they were delicious! You might recall Esme Hogget’s line in the movie Babe, when she said ‘Pork is a nice sweet meat’ - and it really is, especially when enhanced by marinades and paired with great vegetable and fruit accompaniments.
The NI Pork logo on a product means that the animal has been raised locally as well as being processed here - plus, the quality is really optimal. We have some great piggeries and pork companies here, and it is always good to support local farmers.
It turns out I was supporting local farmers before I even realised it, but in another way. I remember when I was a little girl we’d have a large bucket out the back for food scraps and wastage which ‘Billy the pig man’ would collect once a week to feed the pigs on his small farm. I remember putting cooking apple and vegetable peelings in as I helped mum prepare Sunday lunch, and breakfast toast crusts & egg shells in there on busy school mornings. My mum was so organic and green back then and I didn’t even appreciate it. I know some of you will criticise this for health & safety reasons, but I wish we had more Billy-types now instead of knowing the incredible amount of food waste that exists across Western society. One way of avoiding waste and food miles is to shop for local pork, and you can find NI Pork branded products across all Spar, Tesco and LIDL stores in NI.
NI PORK RECIPES
Pork Flatbreads with Mediterranean salad and minted yoghurt
Mix marinade ingredients.
Slice pork into chunk.s
Pork into marinade bowl. Mix.
Onto griddle. 4 mins each side approx.
Yoghurt – into bowl, chop mint. Mix.
Assemble – flatbread. Pork. Onion. Tomato. Yogurt.
Assemble Salad and serve.
Lemon, Basil & Parmesan Pork Chops
4 pork loin chops
Bunch of Fresh Basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
50 ml lemon juice
1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
Mix Olive oil, basil, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.
Griddle pork chops few mins each side.
Spread chops on baking tray.
Place herb mix on top of chops – sprinkle parmesan cheese on top to cover.
Grill for 10 mins until cheese is golden brown.
Serve with salad (griddle bacon, slice avocado, assemble)
Pork medallions with pistachio crust and sauteed apples
2 slices pork tenderloin
2 tbsp pistachio nuts, shells removed, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ Bramley apple, cored, cut into 3 wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
100g/3½oz sweet potato, peeled and chopped
Place the pork loin between two pieces of cling film.
Flatten out the pork with a meat mallet or the end of a rolling pin, until 1cm/¼in thick.
Place the chopped pistachios onto a clean flat surface.
Press one side of the pork onto the pistachio nuts, to coat, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan, add the pork, apple wedges and the sweet potato and fry until the pork is golden-brown on the underside.
Transfer the pork to a baking tray and place into the oven to roast for five minutes, or until completely cooked through.
Meanwhile, continue frying the apples and sweet potato, until cooked through and golden brown.
To serve, place the pork in the centre of a plate with the apples and sweet potato arranged around it.