Friday, 16 December 2011

Random Recipes 11 - Gary Rhodes: Pork, Apple and Sage Kebabs

The theme for this month's Random Recipe challenge (hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen) is cookbooks you never use. And there is only one cookbook that gathers dust on my bookshelf and that's Great Fast Food by Gary Rhodes. Don't get me wrong; when I first bought it in 2000, I used it a lot, whipping up prawn pies with filo pastry and curried scrambled eggs. But somehow it just fell by the wayside once I got more into cooking - I don't really know why.

So I plucked it from the shelf, closed my eyes, flicked through the book and opened it at a random spot. It opened on page 145 - and Pork, Apple and Sage Kebabs.

Putting together the dish was easy, and quick. And it forced me to cook with a cut of meat that I haven't cooked with much before: pork loin fillet. It cost around £5 per fillet, which fed the whole family, so it's fairly cheap and the meat was lean and really tender.
I just whisked up some honey, olive oil and cider to make a marinade, threaded chunks of pork, sage leaves and apple slices onto skewers and, after a 10-minute sit in the marinade, I grilled them. The sage leaves in my supermarket plastic pack weren't exactly on the large side, so some of them disappeared once they were snuggled in between the pork and the apple on the kebabs, but they were there, I promise!

The honey and cider marinade caramelised a little under the grill, and gave the kebabs a slight burnished appearance and a real sweetness. The apple gave moisture and sweetness, and the pork was succulent - it only took 10 minutes to cook.
But even so, as we scoffed up the last of it, it wasn't a dish I would rush out and cook again. The marinade gave sweetness, but I think I'm desensitised and expect much stronger, spicier flavours even, from my kebabs. But it forced me to cook with pork loin fillet and I found it so easy and quick to cook, that i think, with a little tweaking, I'll be revisiting this recipe again, before passing the book on to the charity shop.