Friday, April 23, 2010

The Long Way Home and Delicious Pork

In a feat that made the Odyssey look a summer day trip to the countryside, I am finally home. My  whinging commentary on the arduous journey was documented for posterity on Twitter via Amsterdam, Brussels, Lille, London, Cardiff, Fishguard and Rosslare. It was an adventure of highs and lows, of disgruntled Dutch rail security guards, won over by my fledgling attempts to speak Dutch and my knowledge of the boutique breweries of Holland, of a trans-Flanders train journey characterised by the intermittent presence of a six year old fellow passenger’s elbow jutting into my ear, and a solitary moment of fury (culminating in a tantrum-like kicking off of my grey patent ballet flat) at not being able to get to Calais despite being at the departure point in excess of forty-five minutes in advance of the train and with the means and will to buy a ticket.

There are far worse places to be stranded than Amsterdam, and I consoled myself with €3 plates of Oude Amsterdammer cheese and cheap Lentebock beers, quaffed in between charting online ever more inventive routes back to Dublin. The journey itself was a once in a lifetime seething awkward stagger in the general direction of home, along with thousands of other bewildered travellers, all heaving their luggage dejectedly through the connections, as if they were not quite sure what they were doing or even what country they were in. I invented little games to amuse myself on the way, including collecting smoked sausages from each city for Mr 9BR, and buying a disposable camera and periodically photographing a small rubber duck that I bought while on an emergency sock/delicate garment/mint tea run, engaged in the various joys of navigating the seven trains, a bus and a ferry-boat back to Dublin. All in all it was not as horrific as I anticipated, there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst the stranded and for the most part, except for one horrendous incident where my laptop converter gave up the ghost, and Dutch rail forbade the purchase of international train tickets in person, it was bearable.

The duck with its various boarding passes. 

I sustained myself through the unexpected journey with a combination of mint tea, prewashed lettuce leaves and goat cheese, making little ham roll ups to eat while crammed into the various transfers with a seat pitch designed for a midget. These along with charming tweets and text messages of encouragement helped get me back to my lovely kitchen, where I was itching to cook and made a slightly more sophisticated version.

I made this, thinking that it would serve as a main, with vegetables on the side, and perhaps potatoes for Mr 9BR, but when done, I found that it lent itself to being served terrine-like, on a bed of leaves, and with a sweet relish. I bought the ham from Fallon and Byrne - their charcuterie counter sells the tail end of various hams, salamis and sausages for the decent price of €10 a kilo, and they will even slice it to order. I got four massive half centimetre thick slices of serrano for €1.39, which were perfect for my grown-up ham roll up recipe.


500 grams pork fillet
100 grams feta or goat’s cheese
50 grams of mixed leaves/herbs such as rocket, spinach, basil and mizuna
Four slices of pancetta or Serrano ham
Two small cloves of garlic, minced
Half teaspoon of powdered tumeric
Salt and Pepper
Relish to serve


Meat tenderiser, or a rolling pin
Large chopping board
Cling film

Serves 8 as a starter, 3-4 as a main


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Trim all fat from the pork fillet. This step is very important, as when it is rolled up, any fat will make it very sinewy.
Place pork in the centre of chopping board and top with a sheet of cling film.
With the meat tenderiser or rolling pin, bash the fillet out so that it is flattened to two centimetres thickness.
Remove cling film and season with salt and pepper.
Crumble feta or goat cheese along the entire length of the fillet and then sprinkle leaves on top of the cheese.
Pressing down firmly, roll the pork fillet along the short side, like a Swiss roll using the cling film if needed to keep everything firm and compact.  
Rub the outside of the rolled pork with the turmeric and then layer with the ham in order to encase the pork entirely. Tie up with string to keep everything pressed together firmly while cooking.
Roast covered with foil in the oven for 40 minutes.
Serve sliced on mixed leaves and relish on the side.


bwhite said...

We used to do something very similar with beef (flank steak) at BiaDuit. But without the ham wrapping.

queera said...

you made it home dahhhling! well done!

The Beer Nut said...

I'm starting a Twitter campaign to make 9 Bean Row's Epic Journey an annual feature. Northern Europe was the easy one...

Brownieville Girl said...

Welcome home!!

This sounds great - something different to do with pork fillet:}}

Mark (Halite) said...

lools like a stunning recipe. The photography of your food makes everyting look stunning!

Clare said...

Welcome home! The terrine/roll looks lovely and the perfect use for pork. Will have to try it!

Miss M-S said...

Myself and the young man just made this for dinner. I think on the first mouthful i swore, it was truly THAT good. Thank you!

Clare said...

Beautiful! *bows down with respect*

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