Saturday night comfort supper

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We are truly into the autumn, the evenings are closing in and it’s a great time of the year for comfort food.

We are truly into the autumn, the evenings are closing in and it’s a great time of the year for comfort food.

I like Saturday evening supper, everyone is home from work or college and sitting around the kitchen table enjoying a one pot family supper and discussing all the events of the week.

Pork chops are a great value cut of meat and doesn’t often offend. You can ask your butcher to cut the chops to whatever thickness you would like them.

The secret of the oven baked chops is in the long slow cooking if anything they are sweeter the longer and slower they are cooked. Served up with a pot of fortified mashed potatoes it’s a big hit in our home.

Then you must have something nice to end on a sweet note.

Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Pine Nuts

1 clove of garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2.2kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

225g butter

4tbsp crème fraiche

Topping

1 tbsp sunflower oil

150g streaky bacon, diced

1 thnly sliced large red onion

3tbsp pine nuts

For the topping, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the streaky bacon and fry until cooked and started to crisp. Toss in the onion slices and continue cooking until the bacon and onion are crispy and golden.

Drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and toast the pine nuts. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/550°F/gas mark 4.

Place the whole clove of garlic on a piece of foil large enough to wrap it in and pour over a little olive oil. Wrap it up tightly and roast it in the oven for 20-25minutes or until it is soft.

Remove the garlic from the oven and let it cool until you are able to handle it. Squeeze out the flesh, mash it in a bowl and set aside.

To make the mashed potatoes, fill a large saucepan with water, add salt and potatoes and bring to the boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes until soft. Drain the potatoes well.

Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the butter, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and crème fraiche and beat well. Taste for seasoning. Spoon into a warm dish and scatter over the topping.

Oven Baked Pork Chops

6 pork chops

Salt and pepper

1 large onion, peeled and diced

2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 sprigs of sage

250ml cider

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Place a roasting tin in the oven until its very hot.

While the pan is heating up, season the chops with salt and pepper. Remove the tin from the oven and pour in some sunflower oil.

Put the onion into the tin and stir so it is coated with oil. Put the tin in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until soft.

Put the apples on top of the onions and the chops on top of them. Tuck in the thyme and sage. Pour over the cider. Slide the tin back into the oven and cook for 20 minutes, then turn over the chops and cook for a further 20 minutes.

When the chops are cooked, take the tin out of the oven, transfer the chops to a warm plate and rest for 5 minutes.

Over a low heat, bubble up any pan juices and mash the onions and apples together: add a little more cider or stock if the sauce is too thick.

Check the seasoning and serve with the onion and apple sauce.