Continuing the Americana theme from my last post on Bowery to Williamsburg: it’s only a month ago that I had my aunty’s birthday celebration over at my house. Given that she had just come back from a holiday in the USA – Noo Yawk to be more precise – and her birthday falls in a convenient spot to tie in the American theme with some 4th of July celebrations, Mum and I decided to surprise her with a theme for her birthday!
I was on main course, my brother and his girlfriend did nibbles, and Mum did dessert – good old American pumpkin pie.
For mains I decided to be a bit heretical and follow Jamie Oliver’s advice on southern-style roasted pork (the original recipe is available here). Jamie’s not American, but I know his recipes work out well. So sue me! However, there were some adaptations to the original recipe.
Jamie specifies “higher welfare shoulder of pork”. I went to the butcher and saw rolled scotch fillet, but no shoulder. I questioned the man as to whether scotch fillet could work instead. He said yes, and I wanted leftovers and needed to serve 8 people, so that’s how we ended up with THIS:
Jamie wanted me to cook the meat for six hours, but I didn’t get up in time to get it started for lunch. It made it into the oven for five hours instead, and I increased the temperature of the oven around 10 degrees (Celcius) to compensate. Given that it came out so succulent and fork-tearable, I can only imagine what six hours would have done to it – amazing things. Next time I do this, I’ll do it for a dinner instead of a lunch!!
After tearing the pork apart so that it fills the tray with juicy pieces, you pour red wine vinegar, chilli, mint and olive oil over the meat – it’s almost like a salad dressing. I could barely taste the chilli in the final product, although I was a little conservative given various family members’ tolerance to heat.
I went well off message with the coleslaw, Jamie specifying white cabbage and ‘collard greens’ – which don’t exist in Australia – if they do, I think it’s another name for swiss chard? Which I didn’t have. So, I present to you, the red cabbage, carrot and apple slaw I ended up making, which was delicious regardless. I’m really getting into coleslaw these days. I remember when I was a kid I used to hate the stuff! But I think in general I probably just hated that fake coleslaw you get that’s premade with fake mayonnaise. Bleurgh, I’d still hate that.
I think that’s the end of my ignoring Jamie’s instructions, except for this bad boy (pictured below), which I bought from Maxi Foods in Blackburn North). He had me at “Sweet Baby Ray” and then to also say “The Sauce is the Boss”? SOLD! Finding out that the number one ingredient was high fructose corn syrup was simply icing on the cake!
I have since found out two things: one, that Sweet Baby Ray is a Well Known Thing in America, and not some random BBQ sauce that i found in a local supermarket. How authentic of me to pick it up! And two: Sweet Baby Ray helps a lot of other random things like unwanted vegetables (blurgh, peas and corn) go down.
Unfortunately I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of this beast, but in the course of my research on American style BBQ sides, I ended up cooking this “mac and cheese” which is apparently a Martha Stewart original recipe (via Smitten Kitchen) that serves 12 people.
Well, Martha, your recipe is insane. Everyone knows how to make macaroni cheese – make a white sauce, add some cheese, stir in your macaroni and either eat it as is or grill it under a parmesan breadcrumb layer to get a bit of crunch happening. Martha uses honest to god crazy amounts of cheese in hers. The recipe calls for 4.5 cups of cheddar and another 2 cups of gruyere, or 1 1/4 cups of parmesan. After I had grated up All. The. Cheese. I had. In. The. House, which amounted to about 2 cups of tasty/cheddar, I stirred it in and a cup of parmesan and had a taste. Yeah, that’s cheesy enough. Martha – this is you:
Mum made pumpkin pie for her dessert, and even managed to find a pumpkin pie dish to make it in. If we’re lucky, she might tell us the provenance of her recipe in the comments (Mum is my biggest blog fan, aren’t you xoxo). It was delicious.
Have you ever attempted an American-themed meal? How did it turn out?