Pork Chops with Black Pudding, Cavolo Nero, Grilled Peaches and Port


Pork chops, peaches, black pudding, port, cavolo nero

It’s fair to say ‘planning and meticulous detail’ aren’t really words I’d apply to some of the things I come up with. When I get the chance to find somewhere decent to food shop, I tend to try and pick something interesting and then build an idea around it.

Cavolo nero, I admit is something I’d never tried and threw in the basket to kick this one off, but heading up to the meat counter, I saw some decent local pork chops, made a connection and it started from there….

I think the grilled peaches idea came from a salad recipe. That black pudding accompaniment; well, pretty much most gastro-pub menus and a little personal preference. The sauce was originally pencilled in using Marsala wine, which the store was out of, but later a quick rifle through the drinks cupboard indicated that we had a stockpile of Port and it seemed silly not to use it.

The pork was good and inexpensive. I liked that the bone was still attached, but you need to cook it carefully to make sure you cook the meat in contact with it, without cremating the rest. Thermometers – the most important tool in the kitchen!

This would have been great, nicely done on the BBQ/grill. But, well, this was the scene in the back garden, so kitchen it was….

IMG_7056-impI must admit, we liked this. The peaches were a little under-ripe and therefore a bit sharper than I’d like but it’s easily resolved next time. The sweet port sauce helped though and added a bit of richness.

peaches, cavolo nero

Ingredients for 2

For the pork:

  • 2 good pork chops
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Oil for frying

2 peaches, halved and stoned. You know what I mean.

6 small slices of black pudding (or fewer, larger ones).

4 handfuls of sliced cavolo nero


  • About 100ml port
  • A little oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed, but in its skin
  • 200ml good pork or chicken stock
  • A handful of thyme, on the stalks
  • Salt
  • Butter to finish (about 30g)

A handful of peashoots to finish

Let the pork come to room temperature. Preheat an oven to 160°C/320°F.

In a heavy pan/skillet, heat some oil until smoking and brown the meat well. Flip it over. Add the black pudding to the pan and place in the oven for ten minutes.


Meanwhile, in a small pan, fry the garlic and thyme very gently to infuse the oil. Pour in the port and stock and gently simmer to reduce it until thickened.

Boil and kettle and steam/gently boil the cavolo nero in shallow water for about 5 or 6 minutes – making sure the tough stalks are tender. Drain, season and put back in the pan with a lid to keep warm.

Check the pork with a thermometer, especially near the bone. I take 62°C/144°F as cooked without being overdone – good pork is pretty safe these day and some cuts can be served rare – but I’ll leave this for you to decide yourselves!

Remove the pan from the oven and cover with foil to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Take the peach halves and place them cut side down to heat through and take on some bar marks. Gently prise them free with a spatula or preferably a thin palette knife. They might be stuck so be careful not to take away the nicely charred bits.

Stir the butter into the sauce, which should have reduced nicely. Taste and season.

Heated plates are important here. Place the pork on the cavolo nero and arrange the rest around it.  Pour over the sauce to make a nice cheffy ‘moat’ and tuck in.

This cries out for a nice citrusy white wine and who was I to argue.




Chicken and Brown Rice Warm Salad with Mint, Yoghurt and Honey

Chicken Brown Rice Yoghurt Mint Honey

A couple of things people often say to me when they find out about my alter-ego as a dinner snapping food enthusiast is that they would love to cook but ‘don’t have time’ or that it’s too expensive to buy all the ingredients these days.

I try and smile in agreement, but inside I’m wrestling with the urge to reply “bullshit”. I don’t of course, it would be rude, but the point stands that preparing decent food doesn’t have to be expensive, nor time consuming.

I swear other than a little bit of marinading, this took no more than 25 minutes (with a little attention) and cost no more than a fiver. We got two dinners and lunch out of it so that’s £1.66 per head. Now if people say they can’t be bothered, then fine, I respect that it isn’t for everyone, but this is very doable.

This warm salad, much like the Monarchy has a distinct Greek accent with yoghurt, lemon, oregano, tomato and olive oil but I’m not sure it features in any Taverna. I worry about these issues too much though as I was actually quite pleased with the outcome and think the balance of flavours was just about right. Healthy too if you go steady with the salt.

The superb honey I used was a gift to Helen by her colleague James, whose folks keep bees, so a gratuitous plug is due:

Yorkshire Honey

The rice, with a bit of kettle boiling, takes the longest to prepare. I will stick my neck out though and recommend that if time is tight, you could always use one of those pre-cooked packets. Before you start pelting me with cries of “hypocrite!”, the plain varieties are mercifully just rice, oil and salt….

A little yoghurt and mint dressing and some of the warmed honey drizzled over the top finished it off nicely.

Serve 2-3

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
  • 100g brown rice
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • A couple of handfuls of broccoli
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Dried oregano
  • Thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes, diced
  • About 100g feta cheese, finely diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 3-4 heaped tbsp yoghurt
  • 1-2 tsp mint sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • Oil for frying
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

Marinade the chicken in the juice of half of the lemon, a little olive oil, the garlic (sliced thinly), salt, and about 1 tsp each of oregano and thyme. 20 minutes should do as a minimum.

Chicken marinading

Meanwhile cook the rice in salted water.

Prepare the vegetables, and the mint dressing (just mix the yoghurt and mint sauce with a little salt). Set aside.

Diced vegetables

Precook the broccoli a little by steaming a pool of shallow water until softened (but still firm). Leave to cool. Drain the rice and rinse under the cold tap

In a large pan or wok, fry the chicken/marinade ingredients in hot oil until coloured. Add the vegetables and season. Cook until the chicken is just done. Add the broccoli and rice to heat through. Taste and season some more if needed.

When just done, add the tomato, and other half of the lemon juice.

Mix well and plate up. Sprinkle over the feta and drizzle with the yoghurt. Heat the honey in a small milk pan and spoon a little over too (not too much or it will be too sweet). A final dusting of oregano and a little decent olive oil finishes it off.

See, not too bad?

Chicken Brown Rice Yoghurt Mint Honey