I went on a “date” last night! I took the path of least resistance and said “Yes” to a dinner invitation. An old “flame” of mine from Noosa is in town for the weekend. For ages he’s been urging to visit the mountain and me. As he has a meeting down at the Gold Coast today (surf lifesaving business), it was a good opportunity for us to catch up. He’s down at the coast as I write so I thought I’d sneak in a post for you. He’s due back later this afternoon. I’m preparing a barbecue dinner for us this evening as the nights (and days) here are absolutely brilliant at present. I’ve got some fresh, green prawns to throw on the Barbie “Crocodile Dundee-style” as starters, followed by a couple of thick steaks that look tender, juicy and very appetizing. The prawns are presently marinating in olive oil, a sprinkling or two of crushed chilli, loads of garlic, chopped shallots and a dash or four of a light soy sauce. I’m going to cook large field mushroom caps filled with a blue cheese, pancetta, diced Italian parsley and thickened cream mixture on the barbecue, together with corn on the cob, “smashed potatoes" with fresh rosemary roasted in the oven and a tossed salad on the side. I’ve got quite a few fresh limes at the moment so Margaritas will the cocktail of choice as we sit and ponder the setting of the sun.
As for the “date”, I donned my gladrags and we decided to patronize a restaurant around the corner and up the road from where I live, “The Polish Place”. There we were offered a wide choice of imported Polish vodkas. With our perfectly chilled vodka shots in hand, we sat outside on the rear deck area over the restaurant overlooking the valley below to the mountains of the
I had one of my all-time favourite starters, Marinated Herrings in Sour Cream. I convinced my friend to try it too, and then he decided he’d have similar as well with our main courses. We were not disappointed with our choices. Years ago in
So you see, it's quite a delicious weekend I am having!
Cut herring into small cubes. Mix herring with onion, eggs, apple and lemon juice. Combine sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper; add to herring mixture and mix well. Sprinkle with dill or parsley. Serve with rye bread.
Seared Pork Medallions with Braised Fennel
Seared Pork Medallions with Braised Fennel
Pork tenderloin, about a 500g (1lb)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, pulverized
4 tablespoons coarse mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 fennel bulb
1 medium onion, peeled
1 cup vegetable broth, unseasoned
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons butter
hot chilli sauce
Preheat the oven to 220C (450F). Brown the pork tenderloin on all sides, including the ends, in a hot skillet with a small amount of oil. This will take 5 to 8 minutes. Remove to a side plate; allow to cool for a few minutes. Mix the mustard and horseradish and spread all over the pork. Then sprinkle on the rosemary and fennel seed, pressing the herbs into the mustard/radish spread to keep it in place. Sprinkle with salt. Place the pork back in the skillet and put it into oven 10-12 minutes, uncovered. Remove the skillet from the oven, cover the pan and let the pork rest while you make the braised fennel.
Remove the outer sheath of the fennel. Use a mandolin or a very skillfully-handled knife to cut the fennel and the onion into very thin slices. Place in a saucepan with the broth, wine and 2 tablespoons of the butter; bring to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer and braise, covered, for about 20 minutes; drain, reserving the broth; set the braised fennel aside and keep warm. Return the broth to the pan, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Remove the pork from the pan and slice it in medallions 3/4" - 1" thick (they will be pink inside). Heat the pan to very hot; add two tablespoons of olive oil and then the pork medallions, placed on their cut sides. Sear for 90 seconds without disturbing, and then turn for 90 seconds more. Remove to a warm plate. Pour the fennel liquid into the pan and stir to loosen any browned bits in the pan. Boil rapidly for a minute or two, and then stir in the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Season to taste with fish sauce and chilli sauce.
To serve, spread a bed of fennel on a platter. With tongs, dredge the pork medallions in the hot broth, turning to coat, then place on the fennel. Spoon remaining broth over the pork and fennel. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired. (Sauerkraut could be used instead of the fennel).