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Stuffed Pork Fillet with figs and Marsala with Tamasin Day Lewis

Friday, 6 November 2009

Tamasin Day Lewis has a new book out "Supper for a Song" and she will cook up two recipes from it.
In this book Tamasin Day Lewis has ventured into new territory: that of the budget conscious cook.

The book is not about scrimping, cutting corners or missing out, though. It is full of clever twists and ideas, ways for using up the leftovers from a roast to make meals in the week. It is packed with unctuous comfort food - and plenty of recipes that cry out to be cooked.

Creamy, silky risottos, punchy pasta dishes and slow-cooked stews made from cheaper cuts fill the pages alongside some seriously devilish puddings. A section on chocolate is a welcome addition.

Tamasin Day Lewis:From an illustrious family, Tamasin has also made a name for herself, in her own niche: cooking.
Tamasin is the daughter of Cecil Day-Lewis, poet laureate, and sister of acclaimed actor, Daniel Day-Lewis.
She has established a career as a respected food writer - combining sophistication, literary skill and culinary class. Tamasin writes regularly for English and American Vogue, Saveur, Stella, Sainsbury's Magazine, Waitrose food Illustrated and Reader's Digest, on subjects related and unrelated to food. She has also produced and directed many television series entitled Tamasin's Weekends and Great British Dishes

As well as writing, Tamasin's cookbooks have covered a range of comforting, rural recipes, from the preparation of seasonal dishes and picnics to the art of pie-baking and 'proper', slow cooking. She is a food purist and is known for her valiant promotion of all things organic and regional. She champions local products versus the supermarket giants.

Tamasin's books are refreshingly different for several reasons. She writes "for people who appreciate good food, for people of all skills." She collects recipes on her travels and sees her recipes as "a link with people" and her style is totally unique. Half novel, half practical, her pages are filled with fascinating background information on ingredients, memories, historical anecdotes, and all in impressively poetic language. Her book West Ireland Summers was a collection of favourite recipes taken from and inspired by her childhood in County Mayo. The rural theme continues in Tamasin's two series' for Good Food Channel, in which she cooks at her family home in the country.

Books from Tamasin
West of Ireland Summers: Recipes and Memories from an Irish Childhood, Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2002
Simply the Best: The Art of Seasonal Cooking, Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2002
The Art of the Tart, Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2003
Tarts with Tops on: Or How to Make the Perfect Pie , Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2004
Good Tempered Food: Recipes to Love, Leave and Linger Over , Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2004
Tamasin's Weekend Food: Cooking to Come Home to, Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2004
Tamasin's Kitchen Bible , Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated, 2005
Tamasin's Kitchen Classics , Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006

Stuffed Pork Fillet with figs and Marsala

The following intro paragraph to recipe is from book:
"This is a simple but beauteous marriage, or rather a double marriage. The four main ingredients- pork, figs, black pudding and marsala- partner and compliment each other, without any one of them overwhelming the other. It only takes minutes to flatten, stuff, tie and brown the pork, the black pudding deepening the flavour of the meat and stretching it.

When you cut the pork and see the black pud encased in white meat- juicy, tender and sticky with sweet marsala and figs- you know you have a dish worthy of a dinner party or a special, but simple to prepare supper.

Please make this with properly reared pork. The fast bred industrially reared pigs taste how you would expect after such an unpleasant life. The old breeds who have been cavorting and truffling in the mud and had time to lay down a proper coating of fat and flavoursome meat are altogether different."

Serves 4
. 1 organic free range pork fillet
. A few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
. Sea salt and black pepper
. 1 small or ½ large black pudding
. 1 tbsp olive oil
. 45g/1½oz butter or so
. 2-3 glasses marsala, sweet not dry
. 4 fresh figs, halved

. Preheat the oven to 180oc/gas 4.
. Slice down through the middle of the pork fillet with a sharp knife to the point at which you can open it out like a book, but it remains in one piece.
. Sprinkle with a little of the thyme and some sea salt.
. Take the pudding out of it's jacket and crumble it along the middle of the pork fillet, not quite to the ends. Roll up the pork and tie it at intervals with string
. Heat the olive oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan, large enough to take the pork fillet, until it is foaming. Add the meat and brown on all sides for a few minutes, then remove to a plate and season with salt and pepper.
. Pour off any fat that looks brown, then deglaze the pan with a glass of marsala, letting it bubble and reduce by about half. Pour in another glass and reduce a little more, then sprinkle in 1 tsp chopped thyme. Stir in a knob of butter, cut into small pieces, to make the sauce glossy. Add the halved figs and warm for 30 seconds.
. Lay the pork fillet in the centre of a sheet of greaseproof paper, large enough to enclose it in a baggy parcel. Plop some figs on top and place the rest alongside. Pour the marsala sauce over the top. Close the parcel by folding up the sides and ends and securely and fastening with paper clips. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
. Let the meat rest en papillote for 5 mins before unwrapping and lifting onto a board. Carve into thick slices and arrange with the figs on a warmed platter or on individual plates. Tip the sauce into a pan and reheat until bubbling, then pour it over the meat. Add a last sprinkle of thyme and serve, with mash and something green.

Winter Fruit Salad
The following intro paragraph to recipe is from book:

"I have long loved bay and citrus. In the winter when naval oranges arrive- or a little later when blood oranges arrive and Tarocco oranges from Sicily cast their sunset coloured spell over everything- and there are pomegranates, reminding one of all things bright and exotic, the time comes to make a winter fruit salad that is enough to banish the winter blues. This is my current favourite, crimson and green, orange and pink, and not a blue light in sight."

. 4 navel or blood or tarocco oranges
. 2 pink grapefruit
. 12-15 organic medjool dates
. 1 pomegrante
. 6 bay leaves
. 2 heaped tbsp unrefined sugar
. A handful of pistachio nuts

. As you prepare the citrus fruit, save all the juices, tipping them into a heavy bottomed pan you are going to make the syrup in.
. Slice the tops and bottoms off 3 oranges and both grapefruit. Work a sharp knife from the top to the bottom of each, removing the peel and white pith together in strips until you have the naked fruit. Trim off all the pity bits.
. Slice the oranges into circles and throw them into the serving bowl.
. Cut the grapefruit into segments between the membranes and add them to the bowl. Squeeze the remains of the grapefruit over the pan to extract all the juice. Halve and pit the dates and add them to the citrus fruit.
. Extract the juice from the remaining orange and add it to the pan. Similarly, squeeze and add the juice from half of the pomegranate; this is difficult but not impossible. Add the bay leaves and sugar to the pan, bring slowly to the boil to dissolve the sugar and bubble for a few minutes until you have a syrupy consistency.
. At this point, throw in the pistachio nuts, cover the pan with a lid and leave to cool until warm. The bay will continue to infuse and scent the syrup.
. Disgorge the seeds from the remaining pomegranate half into the fruit salad. Pour the warm syrup over the fruit salad, including the bay, which looks pretty but is their purely for decoration.
. Cover the fruit salad and put it in the fridge until just before serving. You may like cream or crème fraiche with it, but I love the purity and the flavour on it's own. The syrup really is the colour of sunset