I know that this may not necessarily be the time of year for writing about burger recipes, but this one is so good I can't but share it. A few weeks ago I was gifted with a shoulder of organic pork from a local organic farm, Menton's in Banagher. To do this beautiful piece of meat some justice I treated it tenderly with a simple spice rub and glazed it with a barbecue-like sauce, before slow roasted it for a few hours. The result was sensational; the meat was flavoursome, moist and tender, and it shredded easily into bite-sized pieces. It made for the perfect burger filler. The meat doesn't necessarily have to be eaten hot, as I allowed some of mine to cool and after refrigerating over night the flavours really intensified.  I paired it with an easy to prepare salad, however if you prefer you could use a regular coleslaw. This roast pork dish, minus the buns and salad, would also be delicious as part of a traditional meat and two veg dinner, and simply serve with a nice bowl of apple sauce. Organic pork is becoming easier to source and isn't it wonderful that local farmers are making it available for us to buy straight from their farms. The difference between the farm-reared organic pork and the regular pork is remarkable.


The pulled pork was a huge hit with the adults and children alike in the house. When I took it from the oven I couldn't shred it fast enough to keep up with the children 'tasting' it. Eventually I had to hide the plate of meat in a bid to have some left to pack into the burger buns. I think that a trip to Menton's farm will be in order very soon.  




Organic Pulled Pork Burgers with a Crunchy Salad

1.5 kg pork shoulder

Spice rub
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard

Glaze
1 tbsp Worchester
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp maple syrup
50 mls cider vinegar
100mls water

Nutty Carrot & Red Onion Salad

2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 carrots, grated into strips using a potato peeler
50g salted peanuts, roughly chopped
large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mayonnaise {optional}

To Serve
Burger buns
lettuce
Nutty Red Onion & Carrot Salad

Method

1. First make the spice mixture by combining the paprika, sugar, salt and mustard in a bowl.
2. Score the fat on the pork. Then rub the spice mixture all over the pork, making sure to get into the cracks of the fat. Cover and rest in the fridge for an hour.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
4. Take the pork from the fridge and place in a snug fitting casserole dish. Mix together the ingredients for the glaze and pour over the pork. Cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil.
5. Roast in the oven for 3 ½ hours, taking from the oven a few times to baste the pork with the juices. If the pan dries up completely add a few tablespoons of water. After 3 ½ hours remove the tinfoil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
6. To 'pull' the pork stick a fork into the shoulder and shred the meat using another fork.
7. To make the salad, in a bowl mix together the vinegar and the sugar. Add the finely sliced onion and leave to pickle for a few minutes. Add the carrot strips, peanuts and coriander. Combine well. If you would prefer a creamy-type salad, add some mayonnaise. Otherwise serve the mayo alongside the burger. 
8. To serve, pile the pulled pork into a lightly toasted bun and top with some lettuce and a generous helping of the salad. 



Article published in The Westmeath Independent - 13/11/13

For the month of November The Irish Times are celebrating the best of the Irish food scene. They are sharing recipes, including lots of food-related interviews and features, while they are also running events and give-aways throughout the entire month. One such competition is the chance to join Catherine Cleary, The Irish Times' food critic, as she reviews a restaurant. How amazing would that be! 
Each Friday The Irish Times host an on-line food Q&A, appropriately called The Friday Food Forum. Questions on food, wine, cooking, baking and all sorts of kitchen conundrums can be submitted. Then on Friday the forum will be live between 1pm and 2pm, when the questions will be answered by the panel. This panel consists of The Irish Times Food & Drink team; Eunice Power, Marie Claire Digby, Catherine Cleary, John Wilson and Alanna Gallagher. Each week there are two or three guests who join the panel. I'm delighted to tell you that this week, along with Clodagh McKenna and Oliver Dunne, I too will be on hand to answer any culinary queries that you may have.
So whether it's a question about dinners for fussy eaters or how to make the most of leftover turkey, submit your questions here - http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/friday-food-forum-ask-us-your-questions-1.1585612 - and they will be answered this Friday. 
This is a very proud day for me as the first of a four part series I've written especially for Irish Country Living has been published. I was thrilled when I was interviewed and featured in Irish Country Living during the summer, so to be given the opportunity to guest write this feature for the magazine was a real honour.


Irish Country Living - 14/11/13

As many of you will know, I was working as a nurse up until 2007. When the time came for me to decide on the content for my book, Apron Strings, I knew for sure that I wanted to include a chapter based around the concept of a 'Home Nurse'. It's a chapter of the book which is very personal to me. Even with my nursing background I was mostly basing this chapter on the care I have given to loved ones from the home; for example my late Mother and Father and also my darling foster brother Nick, who has cerebral palsy. I also included recipes and advice for dealing with common ailments such as the cold virus. I always felt as though I could of written much more on this 'home nurse' topic, so when Mairead Lavery { editor of  Irish Country Living } contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in writing a four part series, based on this chapter, I was ecstatic.
This week's topic is 'Food for Convalescing' and in the coming weeks there will be 'Warding off Colds & Flus', 'Pregnancy-Related Anaemia' and 'Caring for Someone with Cancer'. I hope that you enjoy reading them, as I loved developing the recipes for this series and thoroughly enjoyed writing each piece.
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In other news:
*In this week's Westmeath Independent I've a very delicious recipe for a pulled pork burger, using organic pork from Menton's Organic Farm in Banagher. The recipe is so good that I will also share it with you on the blog next week.
* It may only be the middle of November but for the past few weeks my kitchen has had rather a festive feel to it, as I've been busy developing some new Christmas recipes. I'm looking forward to sharing them with you all very soon.