Eating Out: the Hop Pole, revisited

As we had such an amazing meal last time (see previous post) we decided to dine here again for dad’s birthday last weekend, and again it was amazing. I’ll keep this post/ review brief as my last one pretty much covered all the bases but I just couldn’t not share these beaut food pics with you..

Trio of pork: roast fillet, slow roasted belly and pulled hock croquet with mini toffee apples, baby leeks and roasted beetroot. Each part of the trio had a character of it’s own but all married together nicely and went lovely with a big glug of Hendersons. It felt like there was half a pig on my plate but I managed to plough through it.

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Rabbit and black pudding Wellington with roasted carrots, parsnips and a rich jus. Lovely and moist and full of flavour.

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And… The biggest steak and ale pie I have ever seen, served with chips. Naturally. Lovely tender beef and tasty boozy gravy. mmmm gravy.

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On another note, I know this is supposed to be all about food but I couldn’t resist sharing  a picture of this she-wee contraption, speechless.

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Recipe: Lemon, Garlic and Herb Chicken Thigh Tray Bake

This tray bake is simple, tasty and ready in an hour and needs very little prep, hooray! Using chicken thighs gives crispy and moist meat and the juices released from the skin is just perfect for roasting those potatoes in. The lemon, garlic and herb flavour combination used gives this dish a real freshness about it.

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You will need:

  • 5/6 Chicken Thighs
  • 4/5 Potatoes
  • 2 Carrots
  • Baby Courgettes (5/6), halved lengthways
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 tablespoon dried Herbs de Provence
  • 1 Chicken Stock cube
  • Salt and Pepper to Season

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Dice potatoes and chop carrots and place in a large baking tray with a glug of olive oil
  3. Chop half of the garlic cloves and crush the other half using the back of the knife and a strong firm push down.
  4. Score the skin of the chicken thighs so the flavours sink in well and place skin side up on top of the veg.
  5. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon and add the rest of the lemon to the tray, sprinkle over the garlic, chicken stock cube, herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix well to ensure the seasoning is mingling well with all the meat and veg and roast for 20 mins.
  7. Remove the tray from the oven and give it a shake, turn over the chicken thighs so the skin side is down and return to the warmth of the oven roast for a further 20 mins.
  8. Take out the oven and turn over the chicken so that it is skin side up again and add the courgettes to the tray, give the tray another good shake. Turn up the oven to 220 degrees Celsius and roast for a final 20 mins until the chicken and veg is golden and crispy. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe: Mediterranean Pork Kebabs

This is a simple yet flavoursome recipe which is what I made us for tea last night. I will admit I had a little mishap when making these, I would normally use onions or peppers to go alongside meat for the skewers but this time I decided to use leeks and, erm, well the kind of just fall off the skewers. But they chargrilled nicely anyway and became a tasty little side dish. This recipe uses pork but also works well on chicken too, or if you’re not a meat fan just mixed veg, just forget the leeks.

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You will need:

  • 500g Pork Loin, diced
  • juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 6 Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped

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Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to ensure the pork is well covered with all the flavours. Cover and leave to marinade for at least 30 mins.
  2. Thread the pork onto skewers, this should make approx 12 skewers which will be enough for about 4 people if served with a side dish/dishes.
  3. Over a high heat, heat a griddle pan until very hot and one by one add the skewers.
  4. Turn every few minutes to colour on each side. The kebabs will take approx 10 mins to cook but if you are unsure you can always cut open a pice of pork to check that the meat is no longer pink in colour.
  5. Once cooked sprinkle over fresh mint, take out the pan and serve.

I enjoyed my kebabs with roasted potatoes and homemade garlic and Parmesan bread but would go fantastic with Pitta bread, salad and Tzatziki (see older post for My Tzatziki recipe). This would also be great as part of a meat platter and great finger food when having friends over.