Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Porky's (NW1)

Pulled pork, cheese, fried eggs (in a muffin) and AMAZING hash browns - £6.95
Imagine the scene... It's a chilly winter's Sunday morning in Camden and it's raining. You're hungry. You're with six other people, including two children under ten. It's not quite the right time for Lebanese flat breads or Spanish churros. It's also a bit too early for nitrogen ice cream. Well never fear, Porky's is near.
Situated on Chalk Farm road, Porky's is not enveloped by the crowds of tourists flocking to Cyberdog, but it's still not entirely off the radar of the affluent north London familias. At ten thirty in the morning, every table in the cramped restaurant was being used, except for our one. We are placed in the cosy outside* area by a good-looking Nordic model. It's warm and the benches are not too uncomfortable.
"What's on the menu?" cries aged 4. "Are there pancakes?" aged 8 pipes up. "Don't like it" announces aged 4. (Bear in mind she'd just been deprived a doughnut.)
Straight-faced, the tall, Nordic model comes to take our order. Several of the dishes on the menu consist of an English muffin, fried egg, hash browns and some sort of meat, and at £6.95 I'm not complaining.
The pulled pork (my chosen meat) is tender and, well, pulled. It works nicely with the melted cheese and the runny egg yolk. The hash browns are delicious... Crispy and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, this is how hash browns should be.
The others are disappointed with their sausages in the Full English (chose the wrong dish, my friend), but the mushrooms are good (Full English ) and the bacon's alright (Muffin with bacon and sausage). Aged 8 is impressed, not least because of the saloon-style bathrooms.
Porky's is a nice place to have American/bbq-influenced food, but if you like to read the weekend papers with your breakfast, I suggest you find somewhere with more space. The meal's good, staff are okay, but aged 4 still wants a doughnut, so we head to Tesco.

*It's outside in the sense that you're sitting in a conservatory made with corrugated glass.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Chocolate and chestnut cake

This is quite a bitter cake, perfect for an after dinner treat. It has quite a moussey texture thanks to the folded egg whites

400g whole cooked chestnuts
250g dark chocolate
150g unsalted butter
2 eggs, separated

100g dark chocolate
one orange - zest and juice
icing sugar, to taste
double cream, to taste

It's nearly Christmas already?!
Pulse the chestnuts until you have a fine crumb.
Melt the chocolate over a ban marie, and add the butter.

Melted chocolate.
Once melted, leave the chocolate/butter mixture to cool.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and add to the chocolate/butter liquid.
Whisk the egg whites.
Combine the chestnuts with your chocolate mixture, and beat in two tablespoons of the egg whites.
Gently fold the mixture into the rest of the egg whites.

The mixture.
Pour into two lined cake tins and leave to bake for half an hour.
The finished product should have a crumb when a skewer is inserted.

Melt the chocolate and add orange zest as well as the juice of an orange. I used clementines as I didn't have any oranges, but their flavour was not intense enough to cut through the orange.
Add icing sugar to taste. The cake is bitter, as is dark chocolate, so you need some sweetness!
Add double cream to thin the mixture, and dilute the intensity of the bitterness.

Spread onto the cake.

Serve a slice of cake with crème fraîche.