Ready Steady Cook!

First of all…SO sorry that this has taken me weeks to write up. I bow down and beg for forgiveness!! That pesky little thing called work….but moving on.

Ready Steady Cook was the idea of Hilla over at ‘Add to Taste‘; and it is loosely based on the TV show of the same name. Each month (?) we are paired up and we give out partner a list of seven ingredients. Using those ingredients and the allowed pantry items, we each have to produce a three course meal; and blog about it. So this is my list:

The ingredients

  1. Fresh Plums
  2. Beef or Pork Loin
  3. Onions (brown, white, or spring [I chose white])
  4. Phylo Pastry (not pictured)
  5. Cream
  6. Red Wine
  7. Dark Chocolate, above 50% cacao mass

Sounds easy right? I mean, there’s chocolate and cream, and meat and stuff. Simple. HA! I had two course set out in my head, so yes, that bit was easy, but the starters were really difficult. In the end I made what I could; but I wasn’t thrilled with the starters. If you can think of something more creative I could have done…please let me know!! For all the following recipes, I have highlighted the ingredients; so you can check on me if you like! Everything else was from the pantry items.

Starters – Buttermilk Onion Rings

(Adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet)

I decided to serve these more as an amuse bouché, rather than a true starter. They turned out delicious and I will definitely making them again!

  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk*
  • 1 large white onion, sliced (⅛-inch to ¼-inch slices)
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable, canola, or peanut oil for frying

* I made my own buttermilk but mixing each cup of milk with 2 tblsp of lemon juice.

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chilli flakes, ground black pepper, and the buttermilk. Submerge the onions. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for two hours.

Onion rings & a bit of plum – yes those are plums, no they weren’t deep fried.

2. In a shallow bowl or large dish, combine the flour with  ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Dredge the onions in the seasoned flour evenly and shake off any excess.

3. Heat the oil In a large, deep pot until it registers 180ºC (360ºF) on a candy/deep-fat fry thermometer. Fry the onions in three batches, turning them with a pair of tongs so they cook evenly and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Remove the onion rings from the oil and drain on paper towels. Taste for seasoning and add a little extra salt, if desired.

Light and tasty…not too greasy. Very good!

Mains – Roast Pork Loin with Plum and Onion Salsa Phylo Parcels, in a Red Wine Reduction

I have never cooked a pork loin before, so that was a lot of fun learning about!

Pork loin…all that will become crackling!

  • 1 pork loin, deboned or bone in.
  • Salt rosemary & garlic.

1. Score the fat on the loin (see above) and rub generously with salt and garlic & rosemary.

2. Roast in a hot oven, (200ºC) covered for the first 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to roast until done. Allow at least 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Reserve the drippings to make gravy.

Plum & Onion Salsa

Plum & Onion Salsa

  • 4-5 plums, de-stoned and diced.
  • 1 onion, finely diced.
  • Cinnamon, paprika, chilli flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Phylo pastry
  • Butter (for brushing on pastry)

1. Mix the onions and plums in a small bowl add the seasonings to taste. I used between 1 & 2 tsp each. Allow to stand for a few hours.

2. Just before the meat is ready, cut phylo squares, brush with butter and use a muffin tin to create little ‘baskets’. Bake until golden (about 5-10 minutes).

3. Just before serving, spoon the salsa mix into the phylo parcels. If you do this too soon, the phylo will get soggy!

Red Wine Reduction

  • 1 cup good red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 or 2 plums, smooshed
  • Cinnamon & black pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients on the stove top over low low heat and simmer gently until the mix has reduced by 1/3. Add about 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon & freshly ground black pepper and allow to simmer until reduced by another 1/3.


  1. Carve each person a chop and some crackling, and place on the plate.
  2. Place approx 1 tsp of the reduction on top of the chop and then place the phylo basket on top.
  3. Artistically drizzle some more of the reduction around the plate and there you have it!

Main Course

This photo is not the greatest, but you get the idea!!

Dessert – Dark Chocolate Mousse with Dark Chocolate Circles

Adapted from Mayberry Magpie (Scroll to the end for the mousse recipe)

I was thrilled when I discovered that I could manage to make chocolate mousse from the ingredients and pantry items given. OK, I had to leave out the extra cocoa powder, but seriously, no one noticed! I love this mousse recipe! It works a treat every time provided you leave it to set for long enough.

  • 1 cups cream
  • 6.5 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • pinch of table salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Gently boil the cream and then remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until it is melted and smooth. Allow it to stand, whisking occasionally until it has reached room temp.

2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Start adding the sugar a little at a time, beating continuously.

3. You can then either add the whites to the chocolate, or the chocolate to the whites (I’ve done both, it doesn’t seem to matter).

4. When well combined, spoon into your serving dish or individual servings (I used large wine glasses) and allow to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

5. Make dark chocolate circles by melting some chocolate and then spreading it out on baking paper. Place the paper in the freezer.

6. Place the circle on top of the wine glass and serve.

Chocolate Mousse

* Please ignore dirty dishes in the background. *ahem*

13 thoughts on “Ready Steady Cook!

    • LOL!! We had people over to share the meal…and you know what it’s like when entertaining! If I had been more organised I would have taken all the photos beforehand. If I were organised…

  1. Pingback: 2010: The Cliff Notes « C'est la Vie

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