Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Invention Test

Sometimes when I'm cooking a meal I don't really decide exactly what I'm making till the very last minute - and even then I sometimes make adjustments "on the fly".

Last Saturday was an occasion like that. We went shopping in the morning and bought (amongst other things) a nice Pork Tenderloin at a very reasonable price, so I decided to make "something" with that as its basis. Eventually I settled on a vaguely (very vaguely) Eastern European dish involving medallions of the tenderloin beaten out flat:

To get the meat like this you cut the tenderloin into slices about an inch thick and then flatten them with a meat-mallet, or the blunt side of a cleaver. Before beating out the meat I sprinkled it with a mixture of crushed coriander seeds, black peppercorns and (home-made) paprika. The flattening process works the spices into the meat.

I left the meat to marinate in the fridge for about four hours, and eventually cooked it very briefly on a searingly-hot griddle pan. I had so many pieces of meat that I had to cook them in batches and keep the first ones warm while I cooked the others.

I had originally intended to serve the pork with a mushroom sauce made separately for pouring on at the last minute, along with sautéed potatoes and baby carrots with green beans. I had cooked the potatoes (home-grown "Nicola") in advance, and I was planning to sauté them simply in some butter, with loads of chopped fresh herbs. I had some onions for the sauce cooking very slowly in another pan. However, when I went to light the gas under the griddle-pan I realised that I didn't have enough cooker space and I had to do one of my "on the fly" adjustments. The potatoes had to go in together with the onions, herbs and mushrooms:

The herbs I used were Rosemary and Thyme. I think Thyme goes particularly well with mushrooms. I made a point of chopping the Rosemary very finely, because if the leaves are left whole they can be unpleasantly tough. A couple of minutes before serving-time, I added about 200ml of Elmlea, a staple ingredient in our house (you could use cream, of course), and stirred it in to make a sort of creamy sauce.

By this time the carrots, green beans and all the pork medallions had been cooked:

So it was just a case of dishing-up.

Now, at this point I should really show you a couple of photos of the finished dish, but unfortunately on this occasion I am unable to do so - for the simple reason that the photos accidentally got deleted from my camera before I had uploaded them! Grrrrrrr!

So you'll just have to imagine it. Soft, quickly-cooked meat with the citrusy tang of coriander and the warmth of paprika and black pepper. Super-tasty, super-fresh, vibrantly-coloured carrots and beans. The earthy flavour of soft chestnut mushrooms. The comforting waxiness of firm new potatoes. And all brought together in a smothering of that creamy, herby sauce.

I was pretty pleased with the result. In retrospect, a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving would probably have been an improvement.... but I didn't think of that at the time.


  1. That looks delicious. I sometimes have trouble with not enough space too, but most days I'm fine. Even with the big pot of water for my corn every night. That takes up a lot of space.

  2. Sounds satisfying indeed! Looks like you had plenty of left-overs too.

  3. Looks delicious - was it just for the two of you?

    1. Sue, Yes it was. Does it make us sound greedy? Pork loin is a very cheap meat these days. That one was £2.25, and I could have made it feed four if I'd had to.

  4. Sounds like a tasty meal. I'll have to try your method of pounding the spices into the meat, it seems like a very effective method for seasoning it.

  5. Hi Mark Great blog i am now following you. One thing i am vegetarian .....xx

  6. Hi Linda; Welcome aboard! Thanks for introducing yourself. As you will already have gathered, I'm NOT a vegetarian, but I definitely like veggies!

  7. That recipe sounds lovely Mark. I love anything cooked "on the fly" since I am always doing that. Then the boys say, hey mom can you cook that so and so dish you made last week, and because I didn't write down the "on the fly" substitutes the next variation comes along...and so it goes on.

  8. The creamy mushroom and potato is my type of dish!

  9. Gosh, that was making me hungry just looking at your photos, Mark! That is definitely a meal I would have enjoyed immensely! Yum!


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