Sunday, 20 January 2013

Last minute dinner party

½ and I had a bit of a last minute dinner party last night. BigSis1 and family were coming over, and then I found out a relative was visiting from overseas. Luckily I had enough food (bulk cooking and freezing) so it was just a case of bulking up with the mash and vegetables.

I was going to make pigs cheeks anyway and extra sausages for the girls (niece #2 loves sausages). The whole meal went down well, with the pigs cheeks and the sausages costing me under £10 - feeding 5 adults and 3 children! There was 1 cheek and 1 sausage left as well! And compliments all around.

I also made a pavlova as well! It was supposed to be meringue but I thought  would try something a little different for a change!

Pig cheeks in cider

What you need

  • 1kg pigs cheeks (cleaned and ready to use - I went to Waitrose just as the snow was falling)
  • Plain flour to coat the cheeks
  • 4 red onions sliced
  • Couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • A packet of smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 bottle of dry cider (I used Stowford)
  • Some apples - peeled, cored and in thick slices
  • Some fresh thyme - a few sprigs (I like it some thyme-y so more/less to your taste)
  • Some butter - maybe a tablespoon
  • Some more plain flour - about 1 tablespoon
What to do
  1. Cook the onions in low/mid heat to caramelise - add the balsamic
  2. Put in the slow cooker
  3. Lightly coat the pig cheeks in the flour
  4. Fry/brown in frying pan
  5. Lightly fry the lardons and add to the slow cooker
  6. Add on top of the onions
  7. Put the apples on
  8. Pour over the cider and add the thyme and season with pepper
  9. Cook on high for 5-6 hours (adjust to whatever speed/heat yours does). [If cooking in oven I think it will prob take 2-3 hours]
  10. Mix the butter and flour together to form a paste
  11. Around 40-60mins before you plan to eat it, add the flour/butter paste bits at a time to thicken up the sauce in the slow cooker - stir and dissolve after adding each time
  12. Serve with mash and steamed veggies (I ama  believer that if serving something with lots of flavour you need to serve 'clean' unflavoured stuff to have a balance)

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