Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Baking from Blogs on a Budget {Part 1} and Sparkling Rosé

I have been feeling a bit down lately. I work too much and seem to fill my spare time with housework, doing things for other people (which is awesome but not relaxing), wasting time on Facebook and attempting to study for a wine exam I meant to sit 12 months ago. Plus I have had an insane number of bills (Ted broke a glass door to name one) so I am having to live very frugally too, which I hate. I needed a day off that was relaxing but also achieving something so I decided to not plan too much for once and do a spot of baking.

I love reading The Londoner, a fashion, food and lifestyle blog from an impossibly perfect girl with a unbelievably perfect life. It doesn't necessarily make me feel better about my chaotic, overworked, largely unsatisfying (at the moment) life but it is kind of like reading a fairytale and I was always a huge fan of fairytales. And when I swing on back from that tangent, the point of all that was- she cooks up some great stuff. I tried making her Carb-free Carnitas but couldn't get chipotle paste locally and had to do a bit of supplementing. The result was great though, and making pulled pork at home is so cheap (about $10 for around a kg of meat) that I had to give it another go, a higher carb version. Introducing:

Pulled Pork Potato Sliders with Apple Fennel Coleslaw

You will need:
For the pulled pork:
1.4kg pork leg or shoulder, trimmed of fat and chopped into 3-4 large chunks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp tabasco
1 Tbsp dried oregano
sprinkle of chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
1/4 cup smokey barbeque sauce
330ml bottle of cider
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of salt

This is sooo easy. Pop all your sauce ingredients into a slow cooker and stir then add the pork and coat it in the sauce. Put it on low for 8-9 hours and wait for your house to smell delicious. Because I fiddle when I'm cooking I turn the pork once or twice duirng this time to keep it all moist. When it has finished cooking grab 2 forks and use them to tear up the met and mix it into your cooking juices.

A note about the cider. I use Australian cider made without added sugar (eg, The Hills, Pipsqueak, Yarra Valley, Napoleon, Hill Billy, Bilpin- now I am just showing off). If you are using Magners or Bulmers they are made with concentrates and are quite a bit sweeter so you may want to cut back on the brown sugar.


After- OK so after is ugly but it tastes bloody good

For the buns (this recipe is from Taste - but obviously just the buns bit- and then modified by me as usual:):
1 115g pkt Deb mashed potato with onion
60g finely grated cheese of your choice. I used parmesan.
1 cup SR flour
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Olive oil
220ml water
dash of milk for brushing the tops
sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 210C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper. Combine Deb, cheese and flour in a large bowl. Whisk mustard, 1 tbsp oil and 220ml water in a small bowl, add to flour mixture, then stir to form a dough. Roll dough into 5cm diameter balls then place on tray and flatten slightly (I only got 7 out of this). Brush with milk, then scatter with sesame seeds. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and risen.

A note about Deb. At my core I am absolutely anti fake vegetables. How easy is it to boil up a potato and mash it? I would never ever use Deb in place of real potato in normal circumstances but to make potato buns with real mashed potato it seems to become a rigmorole of yeast and time and I still want to have some reading time on this day off.

It is time to come clean on something though. I do really really like Deb. I had not tried this reconstituted potato mush until a few years ago when I was stage managing a show that required a full Sunday roast on stage. This was no plastic chicken number, the cast had to eat it on stage so it needed to be made up prior to each show. I developed buns of steel walking up and down 3 flights of stairs from the performance space to the kitchen to steam up a bit of greens, prep a roast chicken and reconstitute an enormous platter of mashed potato (otherwise known as goop). The kitchen only had a microwave and a kettle so the run sheet was something like this:
 1.5 hours pre-show- go to Woolworths to purchase a roast chicken. As an aside, at 2 shows a day, I'm pretty sure the guy at the deli thought I had some kind of eating disorder like Brittany Murphy's character in "Girl, Interrupted".
1.25 hours pre-show- peel cut and steam vegetables in the microwave. Fortunately,  my mother is a doyenne of microwave cuisine and passed her skills on to me.
1 hour pre-show- make goop
Then- attempt to keep everything at a roughly safe and not completely disgusting eating temperature until the dinner party scene- Uuughhh. tough gig.

This meant that I needed to test the goop regularly to make sure it was edible but not too runny.
It's pretty tasty stuff. Nice and salty and comfortingly goopy. I put on 2 kilos during that run. Were it not for those stairs it would have been 3. I have not purchased Deb since. Until now.

For the slaw (I made this one up):
1 apple of your choice julienne (I used a delicious)
1 small fennel bulb (try to get a small one because it is more tender) or half a large one, very thinly slice
Juice of half a lime (or lemon)
Half a carrot, grated
A quarter of a small cabbage thinly sliced
Finely chopped shallots to taste
Finely chopped mint or parsley or both depending on your taste
Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
Some really good store bought aoili or mayonnaise (preferably something high fat and delicious)

Like this stuff-

Put the sliced apples and fennel in a bowl and squeeze over the citrus juice (this will slightly cook the fennel and stop the apples from going brown) and leave to sit for a few minutes. Pop in the rest of your ingredients and toss through your creamy dressing.

And the finished product.

Now, this needs to be washed down (and prepped during) something pretty tasty. I love to have sparkling wine with casual food like takeaway and sliders so we had a bottle of this-

A truly fantastic and very local sparkling rosé. It is creamy and nutty with strawberries and cream, fresh juicy peaches and a bit of lemon pith on the palate. And it goes remarkably well with spicy food. YUM. We had a bottle of this open at the wine shop with no wine on the weekend and everyone that tasted it loved it. Buy some if you see it (only about $20)


  1. I recently made pulled pork sliders myself and couldn't believe such a "hip" dish was so cheap to make! Will have to try it with apple slaw next time I make it

    1. I know! And you can make enough to feed an army for the same price you pay for one in a cafe.

  2. Apple slaw is a great idea to have with pork slider. Havent heard of Leura Park Estate, i'll try keep an eye out for it. Found you via Fab Food Fridays

    1. Leura park is from the Bellarine Peninsula, one of Victoria's lesser known regions. It is distributed by Sante - I think they have a NSW arm so you might see it about.


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