Monthly Archives: April 2013

Smell my cheese!

I’m sorry to say this post has nothing to do with Alan Partridge but does have everything to do with cheese.

I’ve not mentioned before, but I’m one of two founding members of a bake club called Pinnies and Petticoats. The club is for anyone who loves baking, (and eating!) We’ve been on the go for about 6 months and meet once a month to share our bakes, eat, have a drink and a bit of a blether. When we set the club up we were adamant that it shouldn’t be all about rules about what you were and were not allowed to bake and there was definitely to be no competition element to the proceedings! We envisaged this as a club where all levels of baking were celebrated and enjoyed and where no one should feel intimidated by other members’ skills. If people came along with Rice Krispie cakes, well, we would be delighted. No one’s bakes would be getting judged, rated or criticised at our club. On the whole, I’m glad to say, I really think we’ve managed to keep to that original ethos. If baking and eating’s your thing you should check us out. We warmly welcome new members.

Most months we have a theme and this month’s theme was cheese. I was really looking forward to this one as I don’t actually have a particularly sweet tooth and cheese really lends itself to savoury bakes.

Bobert was available to come along to this one and he decided he wanted to bake a cheesecake. He’s fairly new to baking and doesn’t get to do it very often but when he does his stuff’s normally lovely, (yes I’m biased but also honest!) I’d seen a recipe online for Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake that I thought would be pretty tasty. The recipe had featured in ITV’s ‘Food Glorious Food’, (it didn’t win). I didn’t watch more than 10 minutes of this programme as I thought it looked like a hideous, badly done rip-off of my beloved ‘Great British Bake Off‘. Well, it was produced by Simon Cowell’s company so what did I expect? Anyway, that aside, the recipe looked good and Bobert was keen to give it a try.

Without sounding awful, baking with Bobert does remind me a bit of baking with a child. It’s not his fault, it’s mine. I have all the ingredients and equipment set out for him, (he doesn’t know where anything lives in this house!), so literally all he needs to do is follow the recipe with me in the background for any help and advice.

There were quite a few stages to this cheesecake from baking the base, cooking the rhubarb, baking the cheese part of the cake and then making and baking the crumble. It did take quite a long time but I think it was worth the effort. Apart from the base which I didn’t think was good, (possibly too much butter recommended in the recipe), it was really delicious. The cheese part was creamy and light and the crumble, with the addition of almonds, was lovely and crunchy and buttery. Because rhubarb was used the cake wasn’t cloyingly sweet so I would be more than happy to eat this again. It also seemed to go down well the fellow bakers at Pinnies and Petticoats too. For a very novice baker I think he did a brilliant job!


For my bakes I decided to do a variety of cheese biscuits and biscuits to be served with cheese. A cheeseboard is one of my all time favourite things. It’s something that we very often have for dinner when no one can be bothered cooking. I ended up doing 5 types of biscuits: Oatcakes, Blacksticks Blue & Poppy Seed Sables, Parmesan & Chilli Stars, Cheesy Feet, and Celery Hearts. The recipe for the oatcakes is from Nigella Lawson‘s ‘How To Be a Domestic Goddess‘ book, but the recipe is not available online.

I make the parmesan and chilli biscuits all the time, (they’re the easiest thing on earth and taste so good it’s unbelievable!), but I hadn’t made any of the others before although I’d been dying to try the cheesy feet so I could use my foot shaped cookie cutter. I changed the recipe for that one slightly by adding a wee bit of salt and mustard powder, rolling the pastry out even thinner than specified so I could get a really flaky, crunchy biscuit, and I brushed the tops with beaten egg. The recipe for the sables used Stilton but as I had some Blacksticks Blue in the house I used that instead and they tasted really good. The biscuits that didn’t contain any actual cheese were the oatcakes and celery hearts. On their own I think the oatcakes tasted like carpet tiles, (having eaten a lot of carpet tiles in my time!) However, once there was a bit of cheese on them they tasted fine. Let’s face it, oatcakes are really just a vehicle for getting the cheese in your gob anyway! I really liked the celery hearts although not everyone at the bake club did. I suppose celery is an acquired taste. I love it! These biscuits actually have celery seeds in them, not celery. I think their taste and smell is fantastic and they go really, really well with cheese.

I served my biscuits along with some homemade chilli jam and onion marmalade and some cheddar and Caboc cheeses. Apart from the oatcakes, which didn’t really get eaten, (well, they were the poor relations to the others!), the rest seemed to be popular amongst the other bakers, in particular, I think, the cheesy feet. A glass of red wine in hand, I don’t think this was something I could really have gone wrong with.


The range of goodies we had at Pinnies and Petticoats was fantastic! There were loads of savoury and a number of sweet dishes. Treats included homemade bread and homemade cheese, lamb and stilton pasties, feta and olive samosas, parmesan shortbread, cheese puffs, bacon and cheese twists, pear and goats cheese tartlets, mascarpone and basil tart, various cheesecakes, lemon cake with goat’s cheese frosting, cheese and chilli biscuits, (some with almond), bacon and cheese cupcakes, and a fantastically retro party hedgehog bedecked with cheese and pickles. The spread was amazing! I did end up with a cheese hangover and didn’t get the best night’s sleep after eating so much but it was absolutely worth it. Everyone went to so much effort and on the whole I enjoyed everything I ate. The best bit was the Tupperware of goodies we took home at the end of the night!

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Some exciting news…

Folks, a brief sojourn away from food chat to tell you some very exciting news about the blog…

blowyourowncrumpet is now the very proud owner of a ‘Favourite Blog Award‘ from!


Sew White favourite blog award



As a fledgling blogger I’m totally thrilled about this as it’s nice to know someone might actually quite like the thing that you’re investing your time and effort in. And I’ll be completely honest, I do hope that this may bring a few more readers and followers to the blog. is a great website which sells lots of lovely baking and crafting things. It’s described as being ideal for ‘people who love modern, traditional design and happy, enjoyable products’. Sounds good to me! Sisley, the owner of is also a very keen baker and maker and you can see some of the things she’s made on the website and also on her blog You should go on and have a look.

I’m completely over the moon that Sisley has given me this award…I’m totally chuffed to bits to be honest! Now me and my grinning face are heading back to the kitchen…

Karen x

Katsu Curry…I did it my way!

I have literally just eaten this meal but as it’s generated some interest on the Twittersphere I’m going to post the recipe now while I can still remember what I did! Please bear with me as I’m typing this from memory so the order may seem a little jumbled at times.

Thanks to a number of cocktails and several G&Ts last night I’m feeling a bit fragile today and as Bobert’s at work tonight this is a good time to indulge in a Single Girl Dinner of high carb and fat proportions, (sorry, this is not a diet dinner but sometimes bad is good!)

Dinner of choice was Chicken Katsu Curry and Sticky Rice. It’s really, really important to say at this point that this is my version of a Katsu. It’s what I wanted to eat. It contains ingredients not normally in a traditional Katsu. The Japanese would be horrified, I’m sure, if they saw what I did. If you want a traditional Katsu there are many recipes available online. Failing that, go to Wagamama. Mine is based loosely on the Gizzi Erskine recipe.

First the curry sauce:

Fry a finely chopped onion, 3-4 chopped cloves of garlic, and 2 sliced green chillies, (with seeds), in a little oil. Add about 2cm of sliced ginger. Once the onions, etc. have softened add approx 1/2 – 3/4 pint of chicken stock. Add 50g creamed coconut, a tablespoon-ish of honey, a chopped stick of lemongrass, a splosh of dark soy sauce, some curry powder and garam masala, (up to you how much). Add a bay leaf. I also chucked in a couple of sliced spring onions because they needed using and flung in a handful of chopped coriander, (including stalks), because I really like it. Mix a teaspoon or so of cornflour with some water to make a paste and add to the mix. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. After it’s simmered, pour into a food processor and blitz. I then pushed it through a sieve into a pot to reheat once the chicken was ready. What you get is a thickish sauce but still pourable without any ‘bits’ in it but all the flavour squeezed out from all the ingredients. I didn’t add any salt as there was enough for me from the chicken stock and soy sauce.

The chicken:

I used chicken breast strips for this but you could easily use whole chicken breasts or de-boned thighs. If you possibly can, use panko breadcrumbs to coat the chicken. The crunch you get is fabulous and because of the way the bread is produced to make the breadcrumbs, they don’t soak up the oil so the food stays crunchier for longer. Tesco sell panko and it’s also available from Chinese supermarkets or online. I always make an egg batter to coat things in before dipping in panko. The recipe is as follows…1 and 1/4 cups plain flour, tablespoon baking powder, teaspoon salt. Mix. Add an egg and up to 1 cup of milk and mix until you get a nice, thick batter. If you leave it for 10 minutes or so the baking powder will start to go bubbly which seems to make for a lighter batter. Coat your chicken in flour and pat. Dip each piece into the batter and sit them on a wire cooling rack or similar, (with something underneath), until the excess batter drips off. This doesn’t take long. Then dip each piece into the panko, making sure it’s all covered, and pat the pieces gently to make sure all the panko sticks. Fry in a vegetable oil, (I use rapeseed as it’s less smoky), until deep, golden brown. It’s fine to keep these warm in a low oven whilst you make the rice and gently reheat the sauce.


I used Thai sticky rice with this, (readily available in the supermarket), but you could easily use long grain, Basmati, whatever takes your fancy. The chicken pieces should be sliced on the diagonal and served on top of the rice. I finished the sauce of with a squirt of fresh lime just because I really like something fresher along with a curry.

As I said, this is my version of a Katsu. It is by no means the traditional Japanese version. Some of the ingredients in the sauce are similar to those in a Thai green curry but I assure you it doesn’t taste like one. I hope some of you out there will give the recipe a bash and if there’s anything in it you don’t like, just leave it out. It’s your dinner! If you do make it please let me know how you got on. I will say this though, this dinner really kicked my hangover into touch!…Enjoy!


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Elvis Has Left the Kitchen – Part 2

Currying Favour

Now I’ve not been great at keeping up with this challenge of cooking something from my myriad of cookbooks every week. It’s been more of a once a fortnight thing but I’m trying my best.

Last week we decided to have a curry for dinner. I very rarely follow recipes for curry. I love it when I do, but on the whole I tend to fling lots of things I like in a pan and hope for the best. So far this method has worked, apart from once when I couldn’t eat the curry in question. I thought it was disgusting. Everyone else loved it. Maybe I was coming down with something… That aside, this curry was of the pan fling variety so I don’t really have a recipe to share.

Anyway, for me, the best bits of an Indian meal are the accompaniments. A naan bread the size of a duvet, spicy onions and bhajias are the stuff of dreams for me so I decided to have a bash at making my own this time. A delve into the book cupboard and I eventually found this…


India’s 500 Best Recipes‘. (Shezad Husain, Rafi Fernandez, Mridula Baljekar & Manisha Kanani. Published by Hermes House). I’ve read this book like a novel but I’ve never cooked from it before so as well as, hopefully, providing me with some tasty treats for dinner, it would also be a great candidate for the Cookbook Challenge. There’s some really great recipes in here for starters, main courses, rice, bread, relishes, desserts and drinks. I really should cook from it more.

I was already doing some spicy onions and a mint raita to go with the ‘pan fling’ chicken curry and basmati rice and decided to try the naan bread and onion bhajias from the book. The bread had natural yogurt and a bit of vegetable oil in the mix and I found it made the dough feel quite tight and a bit more difficult to knead than standard bread dough. However, after about 10 minutes it was smooth and pliable like standard bread dough. As it’s a flatbread the dough only needed to be proved once. Flattening the dough out into the required shape wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Bobert had decided to get involved at this stage and between us we came up with a weird, flapping about, quasi pizza base making type manoeuvre that seemed to work. The oven was turned up to max and the grill was also on hot for finishing off. The breads are literally baked in the oven for minutes and then put under a hot grill to blister. We were like expectant parents standing at the oven gazing nervously through the door! Once they came out the grill I brushed the tops of the bread with melted butter with crushed garlic and chopped coriander in it. It smelled so good! If you have ghee, or can be bothered to go to the trouble of making clarified butter, that should probably be used instead. The shape of the bread wasn’t quite right but I was just glad it wasn’t the awful doughy consistency of supermarket naan. It also heated up really well the following day in a low oven.

Now, as with all bread, I’m really, really fussy about naan. I’d rather go hungry than eat the stuff you get in the supermarket and I was worried that my efforts were going to taste the same due to my lack of experience and a proper tandoor to cook it in. However, I’m delighted to say that for a first effort these were pretty good and were light inside with little crispy bits on the outside. I won’t be getting a job at my local curry house anytime soon but I could eat these and that was saying something!

The onion bhajias were essentially sliced onions mixed into a spicy batter and deep fried. I’m a bit nervy about deep frying, (I don’t have a deep fat fryer so everything gets done in a wok), but needs must. The recipe called for gram flour which I didn’t have so I used plain flour which worked just as well. After a couple of duffers which were too big, (they just got halved and bunged back in the wok), these turned out to be a success. Bobert had initially said he thought they should be spicier but once he was eating them with the curry and a very hot lime pickle he decided that, actually, they probably didn’t need anymore spice!

It would definitely have been easier to nip along to the local take-away and buy naan, etc., (which is what we normally do when we have a curry), but it was actually really nice knowing that every part of the meal, (apart from the lime pickle), was homemade and I was really chuffed with myself. I sent a picture of the meal to Nisha Katona, a food writer who describes herself as a curry evangelist, and I got the following response, “I can’t tell you how proud I am to have this photo grace my inbox. It looks amazing! Thanks so much for sending it.” Sorry, but I really had to share that comment. When someone who knows what they’re talking about complements you it’s a fabulous thing!

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I’m not saying I’ll make our breads and accompaniments every time we have a curry, but it’s definitely worth the effort now and again. If you’ve never made naan before give it a try. Because it only gets proved once and spends so little time in the oven it doesn’t involve the time commitment you’d expect. Now to decide what to cook next out this book…

Naan…a brief history.

The Naan originates from India but is today eaten in most types of South Asian restaurants and homes around the globe. It has transformed from a basic form of bread to experimental creations by chefs and food enthusiasts with different fillings and flavours.

The first recorded history of naan can be found in the notes of the Indo-Persian poet Amir Kushrau in 1300 AD. Naan was originally cooked at the Imperial Court in Delhi as naan-e-tunuk (light bread) and naan-e-tanuri(cooked in a tandoor oven). During the Mughal era in India from around 1526, naan accompanied by keema or kebab was a popular breakfast food of the royals.

In 1926, overlooking the hustle and bustle of Regent Street, Veeraswamy, Britain’s oldest Indian restaurant, first served naan on its menu.

Founded in 1984, Honeytop Speciality Foods became the first company in Europe to supply authentic naan bread on a commercial scale to major retailers and restaurants. They introduced the first 13 week shelf-life flatbread.

The word Naan is derived from the Persian word ‘non’ which refers to bread, and initially appeared in English Literature dating back to 1780 in a travelogue of William Tooke.

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Easter Parade

Apologies folks as it’s unseasonably late to be writing about Easter although, in my defence, my raspberry chocolate egg remains, as yet, unopened…yes, I’m a freak! However, as Easter in this house involved lots of baking and cooking, (and eating!), I really think it deserved a mention on here.

Hot Cross Buns

Like countless others, I was put in the mood for a bit of Spring-time baking after watching The Great British Bake Off Easter Masterclass. As I’ve become slightly obsessed with bread making I decided to have a crack at Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns first, (that sounds vaguely pervy!) These were actually really easy to make and the only part of the process that I found tricky was kneading the fruit into the dough without half of it pinging across the kitchen! Stupidly I decided to watch them being made again on the programme once they were in the oven. Doing this before I baked them might have been more useful. It turns out the recipe on the BBC food website was actually slightly different to the one that featured onscreen. Not helpful Beeb! Luckily the changes were only in how much cinnamon and orange went into the mix, (the website stated half the amount), but in my paranoid, ‘new to bread baking’ mode I was initially convinced my buns were going to be rubbish! I’ve noticed since I made these that the BBC has corrected the recipe so if you download it from here you won’t need to double the amounts they give you.

I was a bit nervy about piping the crosses on to the tops as piping isn’t my best skill and I’ve not got the steadiest hands in the world, but for a first attempt they weren’t bad. The smell whilst the buns were baking was fantastic so my hopes were raising along with the dough…sorry! When they came out the oven they looked bronzed and delicious. A brushing of warmed apricot jam had them gleaming and looking pretty inviting. Yes, they were a bit bokety-shaped but I was really proud of them and they smelled divine!


Now I’ve never had a Hot Cross Bun out of a shop that I’ve really liked but I had to try one of these to make sure they were baked ok. I’m sorry if this sounds boastful, but they were really good! The addition of chopped apple into the mix was lovely and even though there was half the amount of cinnamon and orange that there should have been I could still taste it. It was at that moment I was regretting telling Bobert he could take them in to work for the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary A&E staff to scoff. I’m reliably informed they went down very well and vanished in less than 15 minutes. These absolutely have to be eaten with cold, salted butter. Spread thickly enough that you can see your teeth marks in it.

Easter Pavlova

As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love Pavlova. I’ve tried many variations and am always on the lookout for new flavour ideas so when I saw Mary Berry whip up her Easter version which included lemon curd and Cadbury’s Mini Eggs I knew I had to give it a bash. I was looking for a dessert idea for us to have for our Easter Sunday dinner and this looked perfect.

I liked this recipe as the egg yolks left over from making the meringue could be used to make the lemon curd and I’m ashamed to say there’s been many times I’ve chucked egg yolks away as I couldn’t be bothered making anything with them. However, if you can’t be bothered making your own I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a shop-bought jar of the stuff. As the Pavlova was only going to be feeding 2 of us I reduced the size a bit, (who was I kidding? I could have eaten it to myself!) Again, this recipe involved the dreaded piping to make wee nests round the Pavlova for the Mini Eggs to sit in. Mine may have looked as though poachers had been at them but I like to think it added a certain, ahem, charm!


The other nice bit of this recipe was the addition of candied lemon peel. This was very easy to make, looked really pretty on top of the cream in the centre, and tasted lovely. The finished Pavlova looked suitably pretty and very Spring-like, and the addition of the lemon curd and lemon peel took away some of the jaw-aching sweetness of the meringue. I’ll definitely be making this again and will probably just miss out the Mini Eggs for a year-round, delicious dessert.

Mrs Crumble Cooks’ Rack of Lamb

As well as all the sweetie goodness we were having at Easter we did need an option for the main part of our dinner and Bobert requested rack of lamb. Now this was a good thing as not long before that I’d spotted a recipe I really liked the look of on This is the blog of a fellow food lover. You should have a look. I ordered the rack from Andrew Gordon and was delighted when he said he French trims them as standard as I really didn’t want the hassle of doing it. One day I will try this myself! If you go on to Mrs Crumble’s blog you’ll get the full recipe, (and also instructions on how to French trim), but essentially the lamb was marinated overnight in delicious things such as pomegranate molasses, cumin, ginger, etc. The only addition I made was some fresh coriander just because I love it and I had some to use up in the fridge. The result was a Moroccan-inspired dish which would also go really well with couscous and some nice flatbread as well as the more British addition of veg and potatoes. Middle Eastern food is my absolute favourite and the best food I’ve ever eaten was in Marrakech so I was really looking forward to this!

Rack of lamb doesn’t take long to cook and it really should be a bit pink in the middle but you absolutely must, must, must leave it to rest as with all meats. The marinade goes nicely blackened on the outside. Don’t worry about this! The cutlets we got from the rack were a really good size and there was loads of meat on them. I know people think rack of lamb is an expensive cut for the amount of meat you get, but, as usual, shopping at Andrew Gordon was really good value for money and the cutlets were certainly bigger and meatier than any I’ve seen in supermarkets. We had the lamb with asparagus, (not good at all. Probably a bit early for it to be honest), and Chantenay carrots,…if you haven’t tried these, you must. They actually taste of carrot!…and the ubiquitous roast potato.

This was a really lovely meal and a wee bit different from our usual roast. I suspect the marinade would work equally well on other cuts of lamb. Give it a baa-sh!

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Elvis’ Mississippi Barbecue Pork…an addendum

As I said in the previous post, I’m obsessed with pulled pork. After making the Mississippi Barbecue Pork from the Elvis cookbook, I was really hankering for some proper pulled pork but fancied trying a recipe of my own. One night whilst watching ‘Prisoners’ Wives‘, (the programme isn’t relevant but it’s really good. You should try and catch it on iPlayer), I suddenly thought Bloody Mary Pork! I love a good Bloody Mary, (hate a bad one which is often what you get.) Pork. Good. Tomatoes. Good. Vodka. Bloody lovely! The decision was then made to create a Bloody Mary marinade for the pork joint which would be roasted for around 4 hours in a low oven, (160 degrees). I then went back to watching some gritty TV drama.

The marinade I made had all the component parts of a Bloody Mary with some garlic added to it. There was tomato, (I used a thick passata), celery seeds, chilli, (quite a lot), garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, the juice of a lemon, vodka and sherry. You know you’ve probably got a good Bloody Mary when the barman puts a dash of sherry in it. If I’d had some fresh horseradish I would have grated that in too.

I scored the pork and then smeared the marinade all over it, including the underside, covered it and left it in the fridge overnight. The smell the next day when I took it out of the fridge to get up to room temperature was amazing!

I’d been saying for ages that I was going to make us pulled pork to put into tacos instead of chilli so this seemed as good a time as any. I’ve never found a shop bought salsa that I like so decided to make Paul Hollywood’s roasted tomato salsa from his latest programme on BBC 1, (it was really good but probably made at least double what I needed). I also decided to make a BBQ sauce. It was so good but was one of those ‘fling everything in the pan’ jobs so I’m now going to try and list everything that was in it if I can remember them…finely chopped onion, crushed garlic, tomato sauce, (yes, the Heinz stuff), tomato puree, some passata, red wine vinegar, crushed fennel seeds, brown sugar, salt, pepper, star anise, chilli, wee bit of water. I think that was it. I basically brought it to a boil and then let it simmer until it thickened. Take the star anise out before serving. It was really good and could be used hot or cold.

Back to the pork. After it’s long roast in the oven it looked pretty black…


…this is nothing to be worried about. This blackness is a good sign! The pork was then pulled. This is basically shredding it with two forks. The pulled pork was then served in corn taco shells with shredded lettuce and onion, mozzarella cheese, guacamole, sour cream and a choice of the salsa or BBQ sauce. The result was a delicious, highly messy meal. Not the thing to be eaten on a first date!

The best thing about this dinner was the leftovers. The next day Bobert was going out on a stag do so I made him Sloppy Joe’s in a vain attempt to line his stomach. Two bread rolls, (I’m proud to say they were home baked!), were split, filled with some pork, liberally drizzled in BBQ sauce and a generous sprinkling of mozzarella and put under a hot grill. They were then topped with guacamole and sour cream. Really, bloody good was the verdict. I can’t guarantee they will prevent drunkeness and ridiculous behaviour. That aside, they’re well worth a try.


The Origin of the Bloody Mary

There’s many disputed origins to the legendary Bloody Mary but amongst the most popular is that it was first created in Harry’s Bar in Paris in 1921 where the bartender mixed equal parts vodka and tomato juice. The story goes that one of the bar’s patrons said the drink reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago and a girl there, Mary. And so the Bloody Mary was born.


Elvis Has Left the Kitchen – Part 1

Mississippi Barbecue Pork and Killer Onion Rings

This was to be the first attempt in my Cookbook Challenge where I aim to cook a dish from one of my many, many cookbooks every week.

I’m very much drawn to kitsch and unusual cookbooks, as well as the more mainstream ones, and the first book I chose certainly put the kitsch in kitchen! ‘Are You Hungry Tonight? Elvis’ Favourite Recipes’. (Compiled by Brenda Arlene Butler. Published by Gramercey Books), was bought purely for the name, but whilst I know there’s things I’ll never cook, (including Elvis and Pricilla’s 6-tier wedding cake that uses 28lbs of sugar in the sponge alone), there are actually some pretty decent recipes in here.


I really wanted to make the famous fried peanut butter and ‘nanner sandwich, but as I was making this meal for a weekend treat I thought I’d better stretch myself a bit more.

The dish I ended up choosing was Mississippi Barbecue Pork. Elvis was apparently a meat and potatoes kind of guy who liked all his meat well done. Whenever he was dining, the chefs would be told to “burn the meat” to make sure Mr Presley got it just the way he liked.

I’m obsessed with pulled pork and looking at the ingredients and cooking time of this dish it looked fairly similar so I suspected I was on to a winner. However, I have to confess the thing that initially drew me to this recipe was its main ingredient. Pork butt. I’d never heard of this cut before and assumed it came from the rear of the animal but a quick call to Andrew Gordon ( was soon to put me right. Pork butt is, in fact, the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg. It’s sometimes known as Boston butt. The name originates from the time of the American Revolutionary War when some pork cuts, deemed less highly valued than loin or ham, were packed into cases or barrels known as ‘butts’ for storage or shipping. Now you know. Perhaps you already did. So anyway, the butt was ordered and I was good to go.

The rest of the ingredients were really store cupboard staples. A straightforward sauce was made which the pork would cook slowly in. This included tomato sauce, (I used a thick passata), brown sugar, cider vinegar, chilli and celery seeds. Really just a bog-standard BBQ mix.

The recipe said the pork, covered in the sauce, should be cooked in a Dutch oven on a simmer for 2 hours. I don’t own a Dutch oven. I had no idea what one was but a quick squizz on Google showed it essentially to be a big, black pot. It looked like the sort of thing the Beverly Hillbillies would cook beans in. I used my run-of-the-mill big soup pot. The smell when the pork was cooking was really good so I was hopeful that it would taste as good too.


The book suggested, “planning a party like Elvis and his boys would have done in the good ol’ days and frying up some breaded onions.” Well who am I to argue with the King? My take on these breaded onions, (which looked like breaded whole shallots in the picture), were onion rings coated in an egg batter and then dipped in panko, the Japanese breadcrumbs, and then fried. If you’ve never used panko before I strongly recommend it. The crunch you get is amazing!

I also made a radish salad and homemade coleslaw as both things featured in the photo of the finished dish and I was trying to remain as faithful to the book as possible.

After 2 hours of slow cooking and regular basting the pork was ready. I left it to rest for about 15 minutes and then sliced it. To be honest I would have preferred to pull it but the book said to slice.

We sat down to enjoy this with cold beers but should really have been drinking Pepsi, believed to be Elvis’ favourite tipple. The pork was really tasty although it didn’t have as strong a BBQ flavour as I would have expected. There was loads of meat on the joint so I was already thinking about sandwich possibilities with the leftovers, (is there anything better than a sandwich made with leftovers? I think not.) I served the sauce the pork had been cooking in, in a jug on the side. The book didn’t state to do this but what a waste of sauce if you didn’t use it! The coleslaw was really good too but to be honest the stars of the show were the onion rings. They were amongst the best I’ve ever tasted. I don’t think I’ll be buying ready-made again.

All in all this was a really tasty meal but I think if I was making this again I would up the chilli content, add a couple more ingredients to the sauce and cook it really slowly in a low oven rather than on the hob and I would definitely pull the pork rather than slicing it.

I’d like to think the big man himself would have been pleased with the end result. All shook up, if you will.

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