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Robbie’s Inspiration – Recipes from Around the World: Pork chops in white wine and mushroom sauce

I don’t cook pork very often. it is a hangover from my Catholic granny who didn’t eat any pork. Over the years, i’ve grown to enjoy bacon and ham, but I still don’t cook pork often. My dad, a rebel against his mother, saw pork chops in the shop and asked me to make something with them. Yes, it was another cooking con 😊.

Anyhow, this is what he got:

Ingredients

Olive oil for browning

12 pork chops

2 onions, peeled and diced

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1 Tablespoon garlic flakes

7 cups beef stock

250 grams sliced button mushrooms

2 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 1/2 cups semi-sweet white wine

250 grams butter

250 ml flour

Mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Season the chops with salt and pepper then brown in batches of 4. Set aside.

Add more oil if needed, fry the onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the mixed spice (mixed spice gives the dish a slightly sweetish, cinnamon and nutmeg flavour which I liked with the pork; if you don’t like that idea, used mixed herbs instead) Layer the casserole dish with the carrots and onion. Cover with the pork chops. Pour the wine and the stock over the chops. put the casserole in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

In a smaller pot, boil the mushrooms in the milk seasoned with the mustard, salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and retain the milk.

When the chops are cooked, drain off the liquid and set aside.

Melt 250 grams in a large pot, make a rue with 250 ml of plain flour. cook the paste for a few minutes, add the milk slowly. Next slowly add the retained liquid. Bring the mixture to the boil, whisking continuously. Once the sauce has thicken add back the pork chops.

The meal is now ready to serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

This is Goldie the acrobat from my latest fondant art project.


Robbie’s Inspiration – Poor Mr. Weaver, a poem

A row of woven nests

All in shades of green

Carefully constructed by a hopeful male

Will one meet his girlfriend’s

high expectations?

***

They fail her inspection

Each and every one

What doesn’t please his discerning prospective mate?

Is it the location

or the local birds?

***

Undaunted, determined

He begins afresh

My evergreen plants virtually destroyed

By his fervent efforts

to win her favour

Robbie’s Inspiration – Recipes from around the world: Cauliflower cheese

I was supposed to share this recipe on Monday. But I didn’t. So, I’m sharing it now [smile].

Cauliflower cheese is a traditional British dish that can be eaten as a main meal or as a side dish to a main meal for either lunch or dinner. According to Wikipedia, the cauliflower is lightly boiled before being added to the cheese sauce and then baked in the oven with a light sprinkling of cheese and breadcrumbs on top.

I don’t like boiled cauliflower as it goes soggy and leeches water into the cheese sauce. I roast my cauliflower in the oven.

I used two heads of cauliflower for my recipe. I broke the heads into florets and wash them in cold water. I then laid them in a single layer on a roasting pan, sprinkled them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and baked them in the over for 40 minutes on 200 degrees Celsius. The tops are lightly browned when done and knife slips into the stems with no resistance. Remove from oven.

Making the cheese sauce

125 grams cubed butter

125 ml plain cake flour

Salt and pepper to taste

10 ml nutmeg

1 litre of low fat milk

3 cups of grated cheddar cheese (I used mature cheddar)

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cake flour and mix to form a paste. Cook for 5 minutes. Slowly, add the milk, whisking all the while. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. whisk until the sauce thickens. Once thickened add 2 1/2 cups of the cheese and once combined with the sauce remove from the heat. Stir occasionally until the sauce cools slightly.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheese and some breadcrumbs if you like a crispy topping.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the topping has melted completely.

Robbie’s Inspiration – Book review: Life & Soul (Book 2: Soul Poetry Series) by Harmony Kent @harmony_kent #poetry #poetrycommunity

What Amazon says

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

Praise for Slices of Soul, Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“I found my answer in this wonderful treasure-trove and have already read it three times.” Robert Fear

“I found in Slices of Soul something approaching aesthetic bliss, a sense of being connected in some way to other states – like tenderness, kindness, ecstasy – where art is the norm.” Colm Herron

“A stunning collection of poems that I read in one sitting! Unable to simply put this down until I had read the last. I love the clarity of the short poems, such clear images created in so few words or phrases. Many of them touched my heart and I will be giving them a 2nd and 3rd read!” Audrina Lane

My review

This is as beautiful collection of mainly freestyle poetry by Harmony Kent. The collection is divided into six sections all relating to the emotional reactions of the ‘soul’. My favourite sections were Lonely Soul and Seeking Soul as I found those very relatable. I think that highly creative people can often be lonely even if they are surrounded by people, and are always seeking a higher meaning in everything in life.

My favourite poem from the Lonely Soul section was Echoes, and this is a stanza from that poem:

“Echoes thunder
Through an empty room
The noise deafening
In its absence”

From the Seeking Soul section, I loved Still Laundry to Get Done, and this is a short extract:

“Offer trust and love anyway
Break down our prison walls
Life finds a way
Be me”

The next three sections offer equally beautiful poems about other aspects of relationships that can either feed or detract from the soul including love and friendships.

The Life of a Soul is a most interesting and unusual section as it comprises of one long poem, broken into several sections, that is an autobiography. It tells a poignant and lovely story of the poet’s journey from Birth, which included “nearly died”, through Infancy feeling “but lost identity”, Becoming, involving “fragmented into, a separate person”, Childhood thinking “but didn’t have what it took”, Young Adult progressing to “feels like coming home”, Postulant when she “made myself homeless”, the Monk, a time “to put myself back together”, the Cripple and a circumstances where “life changed forever after”, and Back in the World with an attitude of “laughing into the unknown”.

This is a beautiful and unusual book that will appeal to lovers of poetry as well as any person who has ever felt strong emotions and suffered only to rise up again.

Purchase Life & Soul (Book 2: Soul Poetry Series)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Harmony Kent author page

About Harmony Kent

Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include: 

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul: Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series (Contemporary Poetry)

Life & Soul: Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series (Contemporary Poetry)

Interludes 1 & Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Backstage (Erotic Romance)

FALLOUT (Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the publishing arena. She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes. Harmony lives in Cornwall, England.

twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/HarmonyK

harmonykent@gmx.com

Robbie’s Inspiration – Recipes from Around the World: Lamb shanks in red wine sauce

I always prefer meals that involve cooking meat in a sauce until it is soft and tender to those that involve baking meat in the oven, so when my husband asked me to make lamb shanks, I looked for a base recipe that included a sauce. I found a South African casserole dish that required the slow cooking of the lamb in a delicious sounding red wine sauce and this is my derivative of that recipe. I made this meal for a Fathers Day gathering at my home, so I used 14 lamb shanks. The original recipe only used 4 and is easily accommodated by dividing the ingredients by 3 (increasing a recipe doesn’t involve exact multiplication of ingredients).

Ingredients

14 small lamb shanks

250 gram packed to celery stalks, chopped

6 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 large onions, peeled and diced

750 ml bottle of red wine of your choice

1 Tbspn garlic flakes

4 x tins diced tomatoes

60 gram tin of tomato paste

Olive oil for cooking

1 Tbspn thyme

4 dried bay leaves

4 cups beef stock + 2 additional cups beef stock

salt and pepper

1 cup plain flour

Method

Place the lamb shanks in a bowl (I split this step in 2 as I had 14 shanks) and cover with the flour and salt and pepper. I use a lot of pepper much to my mom’s disgust. Cover the shanks completely.

Heat the oil in a heavy based pot and brown the lamb shanks.

Remove the shanks from the pot and place in a large casserole dish.

Loosen any debris from the bottom of the pot by adding a few Tbspns of red wine. Scrap the debris out and into the casserole dish.

Add more olive oil and fry the onions for 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add the red wine, thyme, garlic (you can use more, I use a small amount because Dad hates garlic), tinned tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. Add the 4 cups of beef stock. Carefully pour the contents of the saucepan into the casserole dish and place in the oven, pre-heated to 200 degrees Celsius.

Cook for 4 hours. After 2 hours remove the dish from the oven and top up the liquid with a further 2 cups of beef stock.

Serve with rice.

If you are interested, you can watch the cooking process show in the following two short videos.