We went to the Bode museum today, just to see if we could manage with the three kids. It turns out, we can’t really: J. was only marginally interested in the sculptures/paintings, Bas. was in complete agony from being overtired, teething and hungry and Bal. was the only one doing ok, sucking his thumb while looking around. The visit ended abruptly with J. deciding it was a good idea to recline Bas.’ buggy so that he would sleep (sthg which he is not allowed to do, him being only three and all) and completely quetsching the poor childs arm in the process. Everyone started howling on cue — and we fled the scene for home.
After we had put everyone to sleep, we started relaxing, twittering around and generally doing things for our own enjoyment. Meaning, I baked and cooked, while L. computered!
I don’t know if it was to match the weather or the atmosphere in Berlin, but the meal ended up being a nice welcoming of fall: a plum tarte and neck of pork (Schweinekamm / échine de porc) braised in the oven with caramelized prunes. It was totally delicious and along with the nap made everybody feel much better about the weekend. I especially urge you to go make that pork now, because it’s that easy and good!
As an aside, I also tried to replicate the delicious meal L. and I had on our night out, celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary. We went to a big opening, which was great fun, the art on display just as much as the people we met, but the real highlight of the night was the fish with chanterelles in barbecue sauce that we ate later that night at Toca Rouge.
I had already been converted by my father to the idea of serving fish and fresh chanterelles together, but the barbecue sauce was just perfect. When I tried to re-do it (with ginger, hoisin, rice vinegar, soy and a splash of sichara hot sauce), I couldn’t figure out what it was that made theirs so special, but I will try again until I figure it out! In the meantime, please come forth with suggestions or, if you are in Berlin, go check out the place!
Braised Pork Neck with dried Prunes*
Prep Time: 15 min cooking time: 50 min
700 g pork neck, deboned
1 medium sized red onion, roughly chopped
200 g chopped dried prunes (1 packed cup)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar (you can subsitute it with balsamic vinegar)
1 /3 cup of water or a little more
1 tsp each of rosemary and thyme
cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid (can be substituted with tin foil)
Preheat the oven to 190°. Heat the oil in the pot on the stove and add the herbs and chopped red onion. Cook for a minute or until fragrant.
Add the pork and make sure to sear it well on both sides. Put the chopped prunes and stir until evenly coated. Pour over the vinegar, cover with the lid and cook in the oven for about 50 min.
When the meat is done, let it rest covered, for another 10 min to let the the meat stay tender and juicy. Eat with mashed / steamed potatoes or rice.
prep time: 5min, cooling time: 30 min, baking time 40 min
metal mixing bowl and knife or food processor tarte tin
for the Dough**
2 cups of flour (about 240 g)
1/2 tsp salt
100 g sugar
145 g cold cold butter
3 tbsp icecold water
for the Filling
800 g ripe plums washed, stoned and halved
2 tsp of semolina
2 tsp of brown sugar
more sugar to taste
Keep your ingredients very cold. Cut the butter in cubes and using a knife, cut it into the flour, salt and sugar, or mix it in your foodprocessor until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the cold water bit by bit until the dough starts to come together. Roll it together in a ball, wrap it in clingfoil and put it in the fridge to rest for 30 min or up to overnight.
When you are ready, butter and flour your tarte tin and roll out your dough to fill it’s size. Sprinkle the sugar and semolina onto the dough and arrange your plum halves in the tin. I like to alternate between one half facing up and one facing down, so as not get the bottom of my tarte too soggy.*** Add a couple of pats of butter, sprinkle with some or lots more sugar and bake for about 40 min.
* I’m sorry, but dried prunes sound terrifyingly unappetizing!
** I have already blogged this tarte dough before and still stand by the fact that it’s the Bestest!
*** You can see in the picture that I ran out of plums halfway, I only had one scant pound, don’t make the same mistake: really pack the tin full with them!