Recipe: pork fillet with lemon and thyme

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This thinly sliced and seriously tender pork fillet is such a good recipe to have to hand in the summer months as it can be served warm or cold and goes with pretty much anything. I personally think a potato salad, a nice green salad and some cold pale rosé is perfect, but it would work equally well with an array of different salads, pasta salads and sides on a buffet. And this parmesan créme is delicious to serve with it!

A quick note on pork: I prefer to cook mine slightly pink as it makes the meat so much more tender. The reason we have always been told to make sure pork is well done is because of trichinosis, but there has not been a single case of it from meat produced in the UK for more than 30 years because of rigorous testing (the last case in Sweden was almost as long ago; in 1994) , so it’s perfectly safe to cook it pink. Interesting article here.

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Pork fillet with lemon and thyme, serves 2

1 pork fillet, ca 500 g 

Marinade:

100 ml rapeseed oil or mild olive oil

1 garlic clove, sliced

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 lemon, sliced

sea salt and black pepper

For cooking:

butter for frying

Decoration:

sea salt and black pepper

1/2 lemon, juice only

approx 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (taken off the sprigs)

1 tbsp thyme oil or nice olive oil 

Trim away any sinews and fat on the pork fillet. Season all over. Place in a ziplock bag (or bowl) and add garlic, lemon, thyme and oil. Close the bag and make sure the marinade is evenly distributed around the meat. Place in fridge overnight. 

Remove the meat from the fridge about an hour before you intend to cook it. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat and add butter to the pan. When melted, add the meat whole and brown it on all sides (even de the ends). Add a little salt and pepper. Place the meat in an oven-proof dish and cook in the hot oven for 8-10 minutes (a few minutes longer if you want to make sure it’s not pink in the middle, but it does cook on the residual heat as well). Cover with foil and let rest for five minutes. Slice thinly and arrange on a platter. Add salt and pepper and decorate with thyme leaves. Drizzle with thyme oil and lemon juice.  

 

 

First week of holiday!

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My holiday was rather busy, but that’s what it’s like when you’re living abroad; lots of family and friends to catch up with and you’re constantly behind on that front, however hard you try, as there simply isn’t enough time. My strategy this time was to start off busy and try to wind down a little towards the end, as I need to sleep and relax as well. And for once I think it worked. To say I feel refreshed might be pushing it, but I feel less tired than when I left London, which is the whole point of a holiday, isn’t it?!

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But since I had a 7am flight on the Saturday I took that day to relax and really feel that I was on holiday. It was pure bliss to arrive at the beach house, change into a bikini and a cover up, have an glassbåt ice cream in the sun and just try to switch off a little.

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I also walked down to the beach to dip my toes in the water and breathe the fresh air. And in the evening I enjoyed some bubbly and a nice homecooked dinner (pork fillet with lemon and herbs, new potatoes, tomato salad and a cold garlic and herb sauce).

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The next day I went to Helsingborg for lunch with friends and got to see both the hosts’ lovely new house and meet other friends’ little baby for the first time. For lunch we had a lovely poke bowl with sesame marinated tuna and ice cream for pudding. It was so nice to sit in the garden catching up with dear childhood friends like that. The afternoon went by in a flash!

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On the Monday I went to Copenhagen for the day with two friends, and we’ve been doing it for so long it’s a tradition we do everything to keep every summer.

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We started off with tacos and smørrebrød for lunch at Torvehallerne, had fika at our favourite café and in the evening wine and cheese at one place before dinner at another. It was a perfect day chatting away with friends, looking in a few shops and just enjoying what this lovely city has to offer!

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The next day I didn’t have many plans so started with a lie-in and a late breakfast in the garden. I did a few errands and sunbathed a bit and had dinner with my parents in the evening before a visitor from London arrived late that night as the flight was delayed.

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So the next morning another lie-in was in order followed by a cooked breakfast outside. By the way, poached eggs on toast with tabasco is delicious!

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We continued the day driving around the south coast, checking out the beaches and eating ice cream.

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And in the evening we had a crayfish party complete with Västerbotten cheese quiche, fresh and smoked prawns, snaps and silly hats!

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The following day my visitor played golf in Falsterbo while I spent the day with by best friend and my god daughter before meeting up with the golfers for lunch. Afterwards we went to Badhytten for a drink followed by a quick swim in the sea.

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Then I was put to work making burgers (with fake shack sauce) for us all. So yum!

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Friday was my visitor’s last full day in Sweden so we made the most of it spending most of it on the beach and after a late lunch we made our way into Malmö for drinks, dinner and some more drinks.

The next day we had time for a long breakfast and a swim before my visitor had to leave for the airport and I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and had dinner with mamma and pappa in the evening.

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The next day (Sunday) we drove to the southeastern part of Skåne to have lunch with two of my cousins and my auntie. We had hot smoked salmon with new potatoes, soft boiled eggs, asparagus and a cold dill sauce. Very Swedish and so yummy!

It was a lovely week and as you can see I got to see and do a lot and catch up with many of my friends!

Marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs

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That weekend in the countryside the maincourse was a buffet with plenty of options. We had sausages and burgers from Waitrose as well as chicken drumsticks with sweet chilli marinade and marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs.

For the sausages and burgers we had buns, mustard, ketchup, mayo, sliced tomatoes, onions and pickles.

The other trimmings were a regular salad with avocado and spring onions, couscous salad with grilled peppers and chickpeas, bean salad with Dijon and feta, classic potato salad (with parsley instead of dill) and slaw.

Marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs, serves 6-8

2 pork fillets/tenderloins approx 400 g each

150-200 ml mild olive oil

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tsp honey

1 garlic clove

5-8 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

5 sprigs rosemary, chopped

Trim the meat of any fat/tendons and cut into 1 inch thich slices. Flatten them a bit. Season the meat. 

Mix the marinade and cover the meat (either in ziplock bags or a ceramic tray/bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge at least over night or for 48 hours. Barbecue. 

Cooking is my yoga (and a three course dinner)

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Sometimes I forget how much I love to cook. It’s true. When I have a busy work week and come home exhausted in the evenings and haven’t hatched a plan for what to cook for my evening meal I usually surrender to a cheese toastie or just toast with cheese and cucumber slices, which in my world does not constitute cooking.

On Friday I had promised to cook for my flatmate as it was one of those rare occasions when we were both spending a night in. Although I almost regretted my decision as I noticed how very tired I was when I was on the tube home.

But when I got home, put my pinny on and started prepping I got second wind. And it was so much fun! I wasn’t stressed because my flatmate Daisy was happily perched on the sofa in front of the TV with a glass of wine in hand and I let the cooking take its time. Because it’s usually the time aspect that is my downfall. I can be a bit of a time optimist and when I realise that I am running late I get stressed and become clumsy and a not-so-great cook. But when cooking without the time pressure I am truly happy. Cooking is my yoga. It relaxes me and keeps me sane.

What I cooked? My favourite spring time starter; steamed (British) asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise and Parmesan shavings (and some watercress) followed by caramelised pork fillet, an amazing mushroom crème, roasted new potatoes and steamed purple sprouting broccoli. To finish vanilla icecream, chewy meringues, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Eating it would make anyone happy, so lucky me who got to cook it too.

Pork fillet in a creamy bacon and mushroom sauce

A few weeks back I invited my friend Nick over for dinner. In exchange he got the lovely job of putting up my curtain rod. A perfect exchange if you ask me.

Just before he arrived I started cooking and was about to blitz the floors with the vacuum cleaner but it refused to even come to life, so I had to open the door with dusty floors.

Maybe not a big deal to some people, but it is to me. I like things to be nice, and most of the time as nice as possible. But I thought to myself, maybe I can distract him from noticing the dust in the corners if I cook something really good.

As it turns out I did. It is a very simple recipe, and pork fillet is a cut we use A LOT in Sweden. Less so here, and although I like other parts of the pig, this is a very versatile cut and I always go back to it now and then.

Pork fillet in a creamy bacon and mushroom sauce, serves about 3

200 g button mushrooms, quartered

4 slices smoked bacon, cut into small pieces

350-400 g pork fillet, tendons and fat removed, diced

100 ml dry white wine

200 ml creme fraiche

200 ml cream

ca 2 tsp dijon mustard

some concentrated beef stock (Touch of Taste)

soy sauce

sauce colouring

salt and pepper

Fry the mushrooms on high heat in a large frying pan, in butter and olive oil. Remove when properly browned, add salt and pepper. Add the bacon to the same pan and fry until crisp. Remove. Brown the pork on high heat and remove as well. Add the wine and let half of it bubble away. Add the cream and creme fraiche and let it bubble for a few minutes. Add the mustard, stock, soy sauce and sauce colouring. Adjust the seasoning. Add the mushrooms, bacon and pork and let it cook for about 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

Serve with potato wedges and any vegetables you like. I served it with crunchy green beens and soft leek and peppers that I cooked in the oven in some olive oil.

Caramelised pork fillet, potatoes with tomatoes and parmesan, and a cold dijon and honey sauce

In Sweden pork fillet is the most common cut of meat for dinner parties. I state that as a fact, and I am convinced I am right, but with no real research to back it up apart from my own experience.

What’s so good about the pork fillet it that it is lean meat that when cooked right is very soft and tender. And because of the cut being lean it means less flavour in the meat than tougher cuts, which then means that this is a very versatile cut. You can flavour it with anything you like.

I have come across thousands after thousands of recipes for this particular fillet in Sweden, but hardly any here in the UK. But then I found one, by Gary Rhodes. And it was just too tempting not to try it.

It is incredibly simple, but leaves a very tender meat. First you caramelise it whole in a frying pan, then transfer it to an oven until just done. Let it rest. Slice and serve.

Because this cooking approach leaves a fairly bland (but delicious) meat it needs soemthing more flavoursome to go with it. I opted for thick potato slices, cooked in the oven with chopped sunblush tomatoes, thyme and grated parmesan. And with a cold dijon and honey sauce, this is a perfect dish for this time of year; the transition between summer and autumn.

Caramelised pork fillet, serves 2-3

Adapted after Gary Rhode’s recipe

1 pork fillet, trimmed, about 400 g

salt, black pepper

butter

50 ml caster sugar

Season the meat well on all sides. Pat it with some of the sugar. Place the fillet in a hot frying pan with the butter in. Add the remaining sugar and fry the meat until caramelised all around. Then either transfer the meat to an oven tray or place the frying pan (if it does not have a plastic handle) in a 200C oven for 12 minutes. Leave to rest in tin foil for at least 5 mins before slicing.

Potato slices with tomatoes, thyme and parmesan, serves 2

3 large maris piper potatoes or baking potatoes, washed

1/2 jar  sunblush tomatoes

a few sprigs of thyme, just the leaves

50 ml grated parmesan

olive oil, salt and pepper

Cut the potatoes into 1 cm thick slices and place on a baking tray. Chop the tomatoes finely and mix with the thyme. Place some of the mixture on each potato slice. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan and add salt and pepper. Place in a low oven, 300 C for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Cold dijonand honey sauce, serves 2

200 ml half fat creme fraiche or regular sour cream

1-2 tsp dijon

2 tsp squeezy honey (Acacia)

salt, white pepper

Mix all the ingredients. Leave for 10 minutes to intense the flavours.