Sticky ribs

The photo doesn’t really do these ribs justice.  They are sticky, savoury, sweet and just delicious.  A friend made something similar for a party a few months ago and they disappeared very quickly indeed.

This recipe is loosely based on one of Hugh F-W’s in his Everyday recipe book. I have added cumin and rosemary to add a bit of an edge and instead of honey I used maple syrup.  I used my medlar jelly, but you could use redcurrant, bramble or any other fruit jelly you may have in the cupboard.

If I had more patience I would have cooked them a little bit longer so that they were really caramelised but we were hungry and I couldn’t wait any longer.

I would definitely recommend having lots of paper cloth to hand as you will need it to mop sticky fingers and chins.

Enough for four hungry people.

1.5 kg pork ribs

6 tbsp medlar, or other fruit jelly
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp finely chopped root ginger
½ tsp crushed chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped


Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together.  Place the ribs in a single layer in a shallow oven proof dish.  Pour the marinade over and cover the ribs well by turning them over in the marinade.

Place in the fridge for a few hours (as much time as you have) turning the ribs a couple of times.

Hugh F-W recommends covering the dish with foil, cooking in a preheated oven at 170°c, gas mark 3, for 45 minutes.  Then turning the oven up to 190°c, gas mark 5, removing the foil, turning the ribs over, and cooking for another 35 minutes.

I, of course neglected to read any of this.  I put my ribs (without foil) in to the baking oven of my Aga (about 180°) for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (whilst I took the girls swimming) and then moved them into the roasting oven (about 200°c) for another 15 minutes when I got back.  They might have been stickier with another 5-10 minutes in the roasting oven, but we were all hungry.  This worked out well, so it’s up to you if you want to try the advice of a professional or my more slapdash approach to cooking dinner.

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Ham and vegetable bake

It has been ages since I shared something savoury with you.  It’s not because we eat cake and nothing else in this house, it’s because my savoury food is never very photogenic.  I would like it to look like this or this but it never does.  My presentation skills are always lacking.  I never pile things into towers I just spoon it onto a warmed plate. It is especially difficult to get a good photo of an evening meal in an English winter.  With a cake I can take it outside and take a photo using the little natural light offered by our dull January days.  With an evening meal the sun was last seen a good few hours ago and the lights in our kitchen are of the spot variety which means wherever I stand I am always casting a shadow.

Anyway, I decided that last night’s meal was so good it needed to be shared with you regardless of whether it looks a bit of a mess in the photos. I had roasted a gammon joint, but I should have boiled it or soaked it the previous day because it’s just a bit too salty . So I thought if I layered it into a potatoes boulangere this might reduce the ham’s saltiness but add a good flavour to the potatoes.  Then I thought I might add carrots too to add an extra savoury element.

The end result was very comforting indeed, soft and squidgy veg and tender ham with a crispy potato topping.  I urge you to try it soon. If I had more time I would have crisped the top more, but we were both very hungry.

Serves 2 hungry people

2 large potatoes, sliced thinly
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion sliced thinly
4 ham slices
400ml vegetable or chicken stock

I use a tin measuring 26cm x 20cm and butter it generously.  Then place a layer of potato, a layer of carrot, a layer of ham, then a layer of onion in  the tin and season generously with pepper (you won’t need any salt).  Top with a layer of potato and pour over the stock.  Dot with more butter.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 180°, gas mark 4 or the baking oven of the Aga for 1½ hours.  Remove the foil and continue to cook for another ½ hour until browned on top. Serve in a pile on a plate if you are anything like me.  A chunk of good bread is obligatory to soak up the juices.

Here it is before the final layer of potato.

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Aga cooked turkey

I have had a stinking cold.  It’s the sort where only full bed rest will do, but life is just not going to let that happen and I do want to tell you about how my mum cooks the Christmas turkey.  I am only sorry I didn’t manage to post it earlier in the week. It is the best turkey I have ever tasted, moist and delicious.

The one in the picture above is from last Christmas but I never quite managed to post about it.  If you have an Aga then this is the way to cook your turkey.  This recipe is based on a 15lb (7kg) turkey.

Mum stuffs the cavity with two types of stuffing, usually prune and sausagemeat and apricot. You can stuff your turkey with your favourite stuffing. She then slathers the entire bird in butter and then on Christmas Eve night she cooks it for 1 hour in the roasting oven.  This gives it a good start, crisping the skin and bringing the internal temperature up.  She then turns it onto its breast and places it in the simmering oven under a tent of foil and leaves it there overnight. So it gets about 8 hours in the simmering oven.  When she gets up in the morning, and she is an early riser, she turns the bird over and places it back in the simmering oven for another hour or so. Then she checks the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to check it is cooked.  Then transfers the bird to the warming oven, where it sits happily until we are ready for our dinner at about 1pm.  The turkey is still hot and the juices have run back into the meat making for a very delicious turkey.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.  I hope you all have a wonderful time. Kath xx

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