Category Archives: Post Pub Food

Eggs poached with n’duja, peppers and tomatoes

N'duja

A lovely lump of N’duja. Yes, I know my infills need doing.

Spreadable sausage. Like chocolate cheese, jeggings or Texas ft. Method Man, it’s not really a concept that your brain initially warms to. There feels something faintly 1980s and unhygienic about it, redolent of unwashed lunchboxes and bouts of salmonella poisoning. Then, I discovered N’duja. N’duja is the Calabrian form of salami; a spicy, spreadable treat made from various parts of the pig, roast peppers and a lot of bright red spices. I bought a gigantic lump of the stuff recently during a trip to Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar in Manchester (along with beautifully bright mini bottles of campari and soda, and a lump of smoked mozzarella which I covered in rock salt and ate guiltily in my pyjamas as a midnight snack) and since then have been adding it to everything from pasta to toast. I’ve even been known to cut off hunks of the stuff and eat it with my fingers, because a) that’s the kind of thing I do, and b) I really can’t be left alone with pork products.

So, on a night where the worst storm of the year is slicing through the North West, I decided to use it to create a warm, spicy, porcine spin on an old favourite, Shakshuka. Hunks of n’duja are fried in sizzling oil; along with onions, garlic, and sweet red pepper (after all, woman cannot live on pork alone.) I added a spinkle of cumin and smoked paprika to the mixture for a touch of warmth and spice – this is a dish which can handle it after all. Add some eggs and a large handful of chopped coriander, and you’ve got the perfect Winter’s meal; one which is healthy, tasty, quick and – most importantly – full of pork. What more could a person want?

Eggs poached with n'duja peppers and tomatoes

EGGS POACHED WITH N’DUJA, PEPPERS AND TOMATOES (Serves two)

You will need:

  • 1 thumb sized lump of n’duja
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 medium sized red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A fistful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • A medium sized frying pan (with lid) or saucepan

Make It!

  1. Remove the n’duja from its casing, and fry in a tablespoon of oil until it has broken up, and the oil has turned a rich red colour.
  2. Add the sliced onions and red pepper, and fry for 2 – 3 minutes until soft. Throw in the garlic, and fry for another minute.
  3. Sprinkle the ground  cumin and smoked paprika over the mixture, and mix to combine. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and simmer for five minutes until the mixture has thickened. Season with the salt and pepper.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, make small wells in the tomatoes, and crack in the eggs. Cover the pan, and cook for five minutes until the whites have set.
  5. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander, and serve immediately. This goes really well with wholemeal pitta breads, or freshly baked soda bread.
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Oriental-style Steamed Salmon

Having a bar in your office can be a dangerous thing. As time has gone on, I’ve learned not to walk through it when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, as I inevitably get pulled into the kind of drunken debauchery that only ever appears when you have £1.50 pints of Grolsch at your disposal. But sometimes – just sometimes – I forget. Like tonight for example. I did have the best of intentions when I left my desk to head into town to buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper, really I did. But my new Doc Martens were pinching my heels, it had been a long day and, well, the call of warmth, friends, laughter and cheap booze was strong.

Nights like this are always dangerous. After a few drinks, I have a horrible habit of putting all of my healthy-eating-everything-in-moderation tendencies to one side and indulging in all of the kinds of deliciously fatty foods which will inevitably lead me to be hospitalised with gout by the time I’m 40.  I remember on one memorable occasion coming home from the pub and eating a load of paté and a loaf of bread with my bare hands in the moonlight in my pyjamas. Which makes me sound a bit sad – and a bit mental – when written down, but take my word for it, it was bliss.

Post pub food is an art form. OK, you can just settle for Alphabetti Spaghetti on Toast, but, if you’ve still managed to have your wits about you after a few pints of the hard stuff, you can whip up something relatively delicious without burning your house down. Like, for example, this Oriental-style Steamed Salmon.

As a rule, I hate the term ‘Oriental style’. I’d prefer to use the term ‘Chinese-esque’ but I doubt that would be particularly SEO friendly. But, this is definitely filled with many of the delicious ingredients which are so ubiquitous in Chinese cooking. All you need to do is chop them, pop them over some salmon, wrap the whole lot in a little foil blanket and pop it into a steamer. Add rice, a handful of sesame seeds and some steamed vegetables and hey presto. Fifteen minutes later,  you have dinner. OK, so it’s no Chip Naan, or Paté in the moonlight, but – after two pints of Grolsch and a walk back from Bootle New Strand station with a worryingly full bladder, it hit the spot. And it was certainly tastier than a Sainsbury’s microwave meal.

ORIENTAL-STYLE STEAMED SALMON

You will need:

  • 1 medium sized salmon fillet
  • a small knob of fresh root ginger , peeled and chopped
  • 1 plump garlic clove , chopped
  • 1 small red chilli , seeded and finely chopped
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • A handful of sesame seeds for garnish
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    Make It!

    1. Pop the salmon onto a large square of foil and scatter the ginger, garlic, chilli and lime zest over it. Drizzle the lime juice and soy sauce over the fish, and loosely seal the foil to make a package, making sure you leave space at the top for the steam to circulate as the salmon cooks.
    2. Steam for 15 minutes. (If you haven’t got a steamer, put the parcel on a heatproof plate over a pan of gently simmering water, cover with a lid and steam.)
    3. Serve your salmon with steamed vegetables, rice and the sesame seeds scattered over the top.
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