Friday, 12 December 2008

Cook's Alphabet 'R'

Cook's Alphabet 'R'

This is the eighteenth in my series of 28 postings going through the entire alphabet, as it relates to cooks and cooking. As you can see, today I'm dealing with the letter 'R'.

The letter 'R' is, of course the eighteenth letter in the English alphabet, and today's recipe is for a classic British stew made with the R-vegetable, rhubarb, that is more commonly used as a fruit. In this slightly unusual recipe, however, its used as a vegetable:

Rhubarb and Pork Chop Casserole

4 pork loin chops (about 2cm thick), trimmed
300g soft breadcrumbs
80g soft brown sugar
40g plain flour
450g rhubarb (with skin left on) sliced into 3cm lengths
pepper, to taste

Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the pork chops until golden. Season with pepper and set aside to keep warm. Add water to the pan to make any drippings up to 60 mil and combine this with the breadcrumbs. Reserve 80g and sprinkle the remaining onto the base of an oiled baking dish (about 30 x 22 x 5cm).

Mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and rhubarb. Spoon half this mixture over the breadcrumbs in the baking dish then arrange the pork chops on top. Spoon the remaining rhubarb mixture on top hen cover with a lid or foil and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C. Bake for about 40 minutes then uncover and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top.

Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes before serving.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Rhubarb and Pork Chop Casserole Recipe page. )

Today's cooking term is Réchauffée: Réchauffée is French word (literally re-heated) used to refer to a dish made from previously cooked foods.

Today's spice is Rose Petals: Rose Petals iare a classic Middle Eastern spice and are typically the aromatic dried petals of the Damasc Rose, Rosa damascena a member of the Rosaceae (rose) family. Rose petals are particularly popular as a spice in the Middle East and are used to make rose petal jam and are incorporated into the spice blend Ras el hanout. They can be added as a flavouring to rice or can be made into ice creams and sorbets. The recipe for a British version of rose petal jam (jelly) is given below:

Rose Petal Jam

450g heavily-scented rose heads
900g sugar
2.2l water
juice of 4 lemons

Pick the roses when in bloom, pick off the individual petals and snip off the petal bases, Place the petals in a bowl and add half the sugar. Mix to combine then cover and leave in a cool place over night (this extracts the scent and darkens the petals).

Add the water, lemon juice and the remaining sugar to a large pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved (use the lowest heat you can) then stir-in the rose petals and the sugar covering them. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick. Test for setting by placing a plate in the fridge. Spoon a little of the jelly onto the plate, allow to cook then move it with your fingernail. If a crinkly skin forms then the jelly is ready. If not continue boiling for 5 minutes more and test again.

Skim the surface with a slotted spoon then ladle into sterilized jars that have been warmed in an oven set to 100°C for 10 minutes. Allow 1cm of head space then secure the lid, allow to cool and store.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Rose Petal Jam Recipe page. )

For more information on cookery-associated terms and information beginning with the letter 'R' here are various links that may well be of interest:

Recipes beginning with 'R'
Spices beginning with 'R'
Herbs beginning with 'R'
Wild foods beginning with 'R'
Cook's glossary 'R'

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