Hope you all had a lovely Christmas day! It was a quiet day for us, just me and my brother this year, but we still feasted on a roast spiced pork belly roll, Indian-spiced mashed potatoes, cavolo nero, bacon-wrapped cocktail sausages and much much much later that evening, a tiramisu. The pork belly was rubbed with salt and fennel and chili and cooked on a layer of onion and garlic, pretty simple and inspired by Niamh’s version. It was fabulous but if it’s one thing I learned this year, I prefer a flat slab of pork belly as the crackling crisps up more evenly. The cavolo nero was cooked with garlic and chili and a touch of chicken stock. The mashed potatoes were gorgeous with lots of fried onion throughout and that idea came from the Amateur Gourmet’s description of aloo bhurta (that’s a great post, by the way – do read it!), though I’m going to increase the spice content next time. There were plenty of leftovers which we turned into a lunch of bubble and squeak with sausages today.

Roast Spiced Pork Belly Roll

My Plate

We barely made a dent in dessert yesterday and when I finally had a taste (yummy!), my stomach expanded to a new level of bloat. I wanted to make a tiramisu similar to that I had in Rome – no alcohol involved and with bits of chocolate inside. Chocolate shavings were used but they just ended up being a pleasant chocolate layer rather than bits. I’m going to have to chop it up and add a layer of it in the middle next time.

What did you feast upon yesterday?

Spiced Mashed Potatoes

Indian-Spiced Mashed Potatoes
serves 4.

mashed potatoes for 4 (with butter and cream and seasoned to taste)
1 small-medium onion, very thinly sliced
3 tbsps sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
1.5 tsps cumin seeds
1.5 tsps mustard seeds
0.5 tsp crushed chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

Heat the sunflower oil over medium high heat. Add the very thinly sliced onion and fry, stirring often, until they’re brown and crispy. Drain from the oil and set aside. Leave the oil in the pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Add both the cumin and mustard seeds to the hot oil and fry until the mustard seeds start popping. Throw in the chili flakes and continue frying for another minute. Add the garlic and ginger together, stir for a bit until the garlic is fragrant and then dump the whole lot into the mashed potatoes. Stir through. Add the fried onions and stir through again. Serve.

The Whole Tiramisu

My Serving of Tiramisu

Tiramisu
serves 4-6.

3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsps sugar
200g mascarpone
12-16 lady’s fingers
espresso/moka coffee, slightly sweetened
dark chocolate shavings

Make the non-alcoholic zabaglione first. Whisk together the yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add the milk and whisk together again. Place the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water (yes, a double boiler) and continue whisking until the volume of the mixture triples and then thickens. It should resemble a thick, airy custard. Take it off the heat. Let cool for a few minutes and then whisk in the mascarpone until well combined.

Get out your tiramisu container – I used a tupperware container as it was the right size. You can also make individual tiramisus – you’ll probably need to break the lady’s fingers so they fit. Dip half the lady’s fingers in the coffee (careful, they go soggy quickly) and make a single layer at the bottom of your container. Add a thin layer of chocolate shavings and then spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top. Repeat again with everything and then top with a final layer of chocolate shavings.

Cover the container (with the lid or some cling film) and place in the fridge for a few hours to set. Serve. This will keep in the fridge for up to two days.

Normally, I am absolutely terrible with leftovers. They tend to sit in the fridge where I ignore them and they go off or I just reheat them and eat a boring meal which reminds me of the meal from the day before – oh wait, it *is* the same meal. Unless I plan something in advance, I’m unlikely to grab those leftovers and make something new and exciting from them. It’s not like I don’t know what to do with them – I know that leftover pasta can be mixed with eggs to make a pasta frittata, leftover stews can go into a pie, leftover roasts into salads or sandwiches or soups – but when faced with something that needs using up, my mind goes blank instantly and I resort to heating it up and eating it as is. Dull dull dull. (Well, unless it’s a cold cooked sausage – those are nice!) How do you deal with leftovers?

But no, I will learn to use leftovers more creatively – I have managed a little in the past! Recently, I found myself with a quantity of leftover mashed potatoes from a meal of sausages and mash. The last thing I wanted was to reheat it and stick a few more sausages into it and so I actually had to think about it for a while before coming up with fish cakes. I like the fish cakes I’ve had in restaurants – surely I could make something like that with leftover mash and a tin of tuna? Call them poor man’s fish cakes if you must.

Tuna and Potato Cakes

This is a very basic recipe and it’s easy to enhance it with more herbs, some chopped vegetables or even substitute the tuna for cooked salmon or chopped leftover cooked meats.

Tuna and Potato Cakes
serves 2-3.

about 600g leftover mashed potatoes
1 tin tuna packed in oil
a small handful parsley
salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
dry breadcrumbs
sunflower oil for frying

Flake the tuna and mix it and the parsley with the mashed potatoes. Season with lots of pepper and salt if needed (your leftover mashed potatoes are probably already seasoned well).

In a small shallow bowl, beat the egg along with about 2 teaspoons of water. In another small shallow bowl or plate, fill with dry breadcrumbs. Form fish cakes/patties out of the mashed potato mixture – I find it easiest to form a tight round sphere and then gently flatten it. Dip the cake into the beaten egg, making sure to coat it entirely, and then toss it through the breadcrumbs. Set aside. Continue with the rest of mixture – I ended up making about 15 from the amount I had.

Prep

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and pour in sunflower oil to about a 1cm depth. Fry the cakes in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) for a couple minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown.

Frying the Cakes

Drain them on kitchen paper and serve with a wedge of lemon and salad on the side.