ad astra per alia porci

mushroom sauce
January 10, 2009, 10:39 am
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I made this to complement the pork chops. This is the first time the sauce turned out well. The flour and the simmering process are the critical bits. The recipe is not cast in stone; vary ingredients to achieve optimum result. I used Swiss brown button mushrooms.

Mushroom sauce


Butter – 1 tbsp

Chicken stock – 1/2 can

Mushrooms – half a box, chopped

Flour – 1 tbsp

Salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat up butter and stock to a boil

2) Turn down heat, add mushrooms

3) After about a few minutes, add flour to coagulate sauce. Stir to break up clumps of flour.

4) Let sauce simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5) When appropriate viscosity is reached, remove from heat and serve.


roasted chicken
October 18, 2008, 2:20 pm
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The chicken I used did not provide enough juices to make a proper sauce, so the meat was slightly dry. Ate it with pita and lettuce, with button mushrooms sauteed with butter. Luckily there was enough mushroom sauce to complement the chicken.



1 chicken, about 1.5kg

1 large or 2 medium onions, cut into chunks

1 large carrot, peeled and cut

30g salted butter, softened

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper, paprika or other spice seasonings

1 lemon

180ml white wine or chicken stock

20g salted butter, cold


1) Preheat oven to 200 deg C

2) Cut off neck and feet of chicken. Rinse chicken thoroughly and leave to drain until it gets to room temperature

3) Sit carrots in the middle of a roasting pan. Scatter onions on the pan.

4) Pat chicken very dry with paper towels. Gently separate the skin from the breast meat using your fingers. Do not tear the skin.

5) Slip half the softened butter in between breast meat and the skin, massage to spread the butter of the whole breast area.

6) Mix salt and spices in a small bowl. Rub half over the cavity of the chicken and half on the outside. Cut lemon in half and put into the cavity. Rub the rest of the softened butter all over the chicken, then sit other bird on the carrots, breast side up.

7) Roast about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until chicken is golden brown. Check after 1 hour. Wriggle the drumstick. If it moves easily, the chicken is done. If the juices run clear, the bird is ready. If roasting a smaller bird, check after 50 minutes.

8) Remove roasting pan from oven, move the chicken onto a large plate, set aside to rest 10-15 minutes. Add the carrots to stock pot if making stock.

9) Place the roasting pan with the onions on the stove over medium high heat. Pour in the wine or stock and bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. When the sauce has reduced slightly, add cold butter. Swirl it around the pan, stirring constantly to make sure the sauce comes together. When all the butter has been incorporate, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is too tart, add a little sugar. Pour into a bowl.

10) Carve chicken, and stir any accumulated juices into the sauce. Serve chicken with sauce on side.

simple pork chops
September 20, 2008, 8:47 am
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This turned out very well. Simple, unpretentious, and most importantly, delicious. The trick is in timing: the meat must be cooked just nice without overcooking. The meat is the mainstay of the dish, so it must be done properly. Personally my mantra is to cook less when in doubt. After all meat can be eaten rare. Serve with English mustard sauce and a glass of wine. Remember to remove the unsightly garlic before serving.

Simple pork chops


Pork chops

Cracked black pepper



Garlic, crushed


Olive oil


1) Heat pan, medium-high heat with olive oil.

2) Sprinkle and rub salt and pepper onto both sides of chops.

3) When oil is heated, lower heat to medium and place chops on pan together with garlic and rosemary.

4) After one minute, add butter and melt. Use spoon to repeatedly pour butter with garlic and rosemary over chops.

5) Check chops – meat is cooked when it can be pierced with a fork with some resistance but not tough.

6) Turn heat to high, sear chops to golden brown on both sides.

7) Serve.

September 13, 2008, 6:59 am
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It tastes like one, but doesn’t look like one. I baked flat baguettes today.

The key to this recipe is the water. I think I added too much water to the dough at step 2, and this resulted in a more flaccid dough that doesn’t hold up its shape well.

At any rate the product is extremely edible, with a strong taste of butter.

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rye bread
August 18, 2008, 12:40 am
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I have a grand total of three loaves to savour this coming week: one tomato parmesan, one rye bread made from prepared mix, and one homemade rye bread. The caraway seeds in the mix really imparted an added fragrance and dimension to the bread; I need to find them soon. The rye bread I made myself had a strong sweet smell due to the molasses used.

Going to eat them with apple baked ham, honey-baked ham, Dijon mustard, blackberry jam and honey!

Rye Bread


2 cups rye flour

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup molasses

5 tbsp butter, in bits

1 tbsp salt

1.5 packet dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

6-6 1/2 cup flour (variable)


1) Mix all ingredients except for flour, yeast and lukewarm water in bowl. Leave to cool.

2) Mix and dissolve yeast in separate bowl with lukewarm water.

3) Add yeast mixture to rye flour mixture when it is cooled.

4) Add flour gradually and mix, until a stiff dough is formed.

5) Knead for 10 minutes.

6) Cover, leave to rise till doubled.

7) Punch down the dough, cover, leave for 30 minutes.

8) Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

9) Grease bread pan, shape dough and place on pan.

10) Bake for 40 minutes.

wholemeal bread
August 9, 2008, 7:04 am
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This turned out very well. The bread is soft yet dense, and packed with flavour from the butter and wholemeal grains. I have two loafs that I am going to eat with tomatoes, Virginia ham and blackberry spread, washed down with orange juice or soya bean milk depending on my mood. The dough is significantly wetter than that of white bread: wholemeal flour needs more water.

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swedish rye bread
July 20, 2008, 3:09 pm
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Baked my first loaf of Swedish Rye Bread today. I don’t know if I baked it properly because the end product was a hard and dense bread that was full of flavour. Not that it matters because I love breads that are hard and dense. This loaf will last me till Vietnam… I am going to eat it with mustard, ham and cheese together with Florida’s orange juice and soya bean milk!

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