Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mashed Potatoes with Milk and Parmesan Cheese, Bolognese Style

I've only recently discovered how to make mash. I saw it being cooked on the TV on Food Safari. It looked pretty easy, and it tasted amazing. I now refer to my life as pre-mash and post mash, and cook it once a week. 

Anyway, what did Marcella have to offer over this french bloke?
She cooked her potatoes pretty much the same way. Peel them after rather than before, and don't salt the water.
Both heated their milk, although it shouldn't boil.
The big difference is Marcella's addition of Parmesan and nut meg. I thorugh in a heap of both.
So how did it go? Gold. The parmesan lifted the whole dish, as it does. The nutmeg was barely noticeable. So will I make it again? Nah, I like my approach now. If I'm feeling cheeky every now and then I might grate the cheese in, but really, why mess with a good thing already.

Drunken pork

Such high hopes! Let's be honest, my big wins with Marcella have been the chickens. The cabbage and red wine. The rosemary, olive and cherry tomatoes (from a later book). Even the chicken and two lemons. I wanted to move onto another meats.  So I wandered down the butcher and he had a nice piece of pork. So to speak. 

Drunken pork it was. It looked easy enough.
My first mistake was thinking the carrots were to be put all over the pork. That looked a bit silly and I read it again and they were only to go in the ends. In they went.
Then came the flower and the browning. No worries there.
Then the drunken part arrived. First I poured in some brandy. Marcella calls for 1.5 cups of red wine, or more if you need to in order to almost cover the meat. Is she kidding? What sort of lump of pork can you almost cover with 1.5 cups? I ended up using over a bottle of shiraz along with the bay leaves and nutmeg.
Then came the long cooking at a simmer. All going to plan except with all the wine it didn't reduce in the time Marcella expected, and I had to boil it off at the end. I must say when there was quite a bit of wine still left in the pot the taste was very pleasant. 
Eventually I was able to carve it up, and spoon on some of the syrup as suggested by the big M.
All very pretty. Unfortunately, my sauce had acquired a sharp, vinegary taste that made the whole thing a bit unpleasant. Only saved by the excellent mash. The texture was fine, but the taste was something to avoid in the future.

What went wrong? Did I reduce too much wine? Is it meant to have this taste? 

I'm not sure if I will ever fine out. I want to work out how to cook pork on top of the stove though, so watch this space.