Yes, I am starting my blog with a poem. I took a walk earlier this week with my friend, Fran, and complained how crazy the weather is in Sydney, Australia. She mentioned this classic poem, and even though it's 100+ years old, it still holds true today.
When we moved here and I told people that we were from the San Francisco Bay area, they mentioned that Sydney itself and the weather must remind me of San Fran. LOL - nothing could be further from the truth! In Sunnyvale, we had 9 months of consistently sunny, dry, warm days and 3 months of a rainy season. The weather here is erratic and unpredictable. I don't look at the forecast beyond 36 hours as it can change and often does. Last weekend, we had wild weather - 10 inches of rain in 1 day. There was flooding in both New South Wales and in Queensland. Our local beaches have had up to 12 ft waves all week and the only ones in the water are the very good surfers. The rain is back and I'm watching the Southerly blow trees and cause whitecaps on the waves out my window. It has also started to thunder and lightning - a storm is a brewing...again.
This weather leads me to pull out my UGG slippers, drink and take out the crockpot. The 2 recipes below are easy to make, they just require planning as they both need to be made 8+ hours ahead of time.
Sangria is a wine punch typically drunk at informal events in Spain and Portugal. It is a nice change from wine and beer and is great with Mexican food and grilled food/BBQs.
original recipe altered from Cook's Illustrated
2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced; one juiced
1 large lemon, washed and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Triple Sec
1 bottle Pinot Noir or Merlot or Roja wine
1. Add sliced orange and lemon and sugar to large pitcher; mash gently with wooden spoon until fruit releases some juice, but is not totally crushed, and sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. 2. Juice the other orange and stir in pitcher with Triple Sec and wine. Refrigerate for at least 8 hrs.
3. Before serving, add 6 to 8 ice cubes and stir briskly to distribute settled fruit and pulp; serve immediately.
What the recipe doesn't tell you: - This recipe serves 2 people; double or triple it for a party. - Wash the outside of oranges and lemon well as many have pesticides. - You can add other fruits to the orange and lemon as well - stone fruits are a good addition
- The original recipe suggests a cheap Merlot. I think cheap wines = big hangovers. Investing in a $10-$15 bottle is worth it. If you like a full bodied wine, use Merlot or Rojo. If you prefer a light red, Pinot works.
- Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight for best flavour.
- Do not take out the pieces of fruit before serving. It looks better with the fruit plus the fruit tastes good and is quite potent.
Pulled Pork with homemade BBQ Sauce
One of my daughter's favorite meals is Pulled Pork. It is so easy to make and tastes great. I love using the crockpot as I don't have to do much and the meat always comes out so tender. I like my Pulled Pork with corn bread and coleslaw while the girls like it on a bun with lettuce. You can usually get 2 dinners out of this recipe I have also included a recipe for homemade BBQ sauce. I decided to make it when I looked at the ingredients on the jar of my BBQ sauce and was shocked to see how much sugar and other junk was in it. I was put off by the long list of ingredients but happy to find that I had all the needed ingredients for the homemade version in my pantry. I didn't agree with all his proportions (original recipe looks too sweet) so I changed them and it turned out well. If you don't have the time to make it from scratch, a bottle of BBQ sauce works. PS - I sometimes substitute a leg of lamb for the pork. Braising the lamb in a crockpot all days helps to lessen the gamey smell and flavor of the lamb.
3-4lb (1.5+kg) pork shoulder or roast
1 bottle beer (optional)
3 cups beef stock (5 cups if no beer)
Homemade BBQ Sauce (original recipe from Matt Preston, altered)
1- Leave twine & fat on pork and cook in oven 400F/200C for 25 minutes. Do not leave longer as meat will get too cooked and will taste tough later.
2- Place pork in crockpot and cover with beer and stock. Put on Low Setting and cook for 8+hrs.
3- Several hours before serving, start making the BBQ sauce - heat large saucepan with some vegetable oil and brown onion. When onion is translucent, add crushed garlic. Add all the other ingredients except the cider vinegar and bourbon. Place over a medium heat and cook for 20 minutes so it thickens.
5- Taste the BBQ sauce and adjust the flavors to your liking. If the BBQ sauce is too tangy, add some of the brown sugar. If it is too sweet add some apple cider vinegar. Cook a little longer then remove from the heat and gradually add the bourbon to taste if desired.
7- After the pork has cooked for 8+ hours and BBQ sauce is ready, take pork out of the crockpot, trim & discard all fat and cut/shred into small pieces. Put pulled pork back in crockpot, add BBQ sauce and mix.