Monday, 29 August 2016

Sticky Pork Chop Recipe from a #BranstonBBQ

It's one of those things from childhood. I remember the slogan, "Bring out the Branston." I have to say I'm not a huge fan of pickles but was curious when invited to a Branston barbecue to see how the brand from my childhood could enhance one of my favourite forms of cooking.

I imagined small heaps of pickle next to chargrilled meat but was pleasantly surprised to discover that products from the range (much expanded since my youth!) could be used with great effect in marinades and glazes too.


Let's rewind a little. I was intrigued by the invitation from Branston which said the event would be held at the London Barbecue School in Peckham Rye. I don't know what I was expecting but it was not a gloriously vintage cooler than cool venue under railway arches where you can learn to cook with fire under twinkly lights as overground trains rattle overhead.

London Barbecue School
London Barbecue School Peckham Rye

Some seriously professional ceramic barbecues were already hot when we arrived so we quickly got into preparing our meat. We were given recipes but food bloggers being what they are (especially after a couple of glasses of wine) we actually ended up improvising slightly, whilst still using the very tasty Branston products. We substituted the Branston Orchard Fruit Chutney for Caramelised Onion Chutney - mainly because down to a last minute hiccup there was no Orchard Fruit Chutney for us to use.

I helped to make sticky pork chops- I've shared the recipe but just to let you know we added more of everything and a splash of soy sauce and the resulting chops were melt in the mouth gorgeous!

Food Bloggers cooking at Branston Event at London Barbecue SchoolThe chops were cooked off the heat- you can move heated coals over to one side of the bbq and put chops on the over or put a pizza or similar shallow dish on top of the coals so you are cooking from indirect heat.

You just shut the lid, open the bottom and top vents and leave for around 35 mins. No turning, no burning just moist tasty chops! I had a go at home making them again using a cheap-as-chips supermarket kettle bbq and they were just as good I reckon.

Branson BBQ Sauce bottles

Fave Branston products from the night - the caramelised onion chutney ad the smokey BBQ sauce. Surprise product - a gorgeous tangy sweet chilli pickle which would be very versatile in or accompanying meals.

We also cooked steaks and chicken using Branston products which really brought something special to the meat - definitely worth perusing the condiments aisle to see the range if like me you thought it was all about sandwich pickle. The BBQ sauce alone should be in everyone's store cupboard!

madmumof7 blogger cooking on BBQ

Here's the sticky pork chop recipe:
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
25g butter (we thought this could be omitted)
4 tbsp Branston Orchard Fruit Chutney (or caramelised onion chutney)
2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tbsp runny honey
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp sherry or white wine vinegar
4 pork chops

In a shallow ovenproof dish, combine the garlic, butter, Branston Orchard Fruit Chutney, chilli flakes, honey, ginger, oil and sherry. Add the pork chops and coat completely. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 mins.

Sticky Pork chops\
Place onto hot BBQ away from coals or using a foil-covered metal dish to cover coals (see above) to cover coals.  Replace BBQ lid. Cook for 30 minutes without turning or lifting lid. Check after this time inserting a fork to check juices run clear. Cook further checking in 5 minute increments until chops are cooked through.

I served my pork chops last night with Portobello mushrooms with smoked garlic butter,big  flat strips of chargrilled courgette which had been marinated in mint, garlic and olive oil and steamed new potatoes.

smoked garlic mushrooms

Disclaimer: I was invited to the London Barbecue School and received a goody bag of Branston products free for the purposes of this review. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sunset over the Isle of Wight #MySundayPhoto

sunset over Fishbone, Isle of Wight

Taken from the deck of the Wightlink Ferry after a wonderful camping holiday. I actually couldn't really see what I had captured, shooting into the sun with an iPhone 6s plus but am quite pleased with the outcome.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lemon Couscous Salad

It's barbecue season and it's customary in these parts if you are invited to one, to take along a bottle and a food contribution. Maybe meat, maybe a desert or maybe something to accompany the grilled food.

I'm not a fan of traditional green salads and I hate tomatoes so with a degree of self interest I almost always take along some version of a potato salad and/or my favourite couscous dish.

Couscous is not a grain - its actually tiny beads of semolina. It's very simple to prepare and is so versatile. You can buy it ready flavoured or plain which will take on the flavour of anything you add to it. You can buy instant couscous which you just "cook" by pouring boiling water on, or traditional couscous which needs to be soaked and steamed.

I love it prepared simply with a knob of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, or soaked with lemon juice. To make it extra special I prepare it with slightly more effort which makes it look more impressive when I take it to someone's house.

I say it takes more effort - it's still very simple and in fact this weekend I asked two of my children aged 10 and 11 to make it for me. All I did was pour the boiling water onto the couscous for them!

Here's how to make lemon couscous salad.


100g instant coucous (lemon flavoured or plain)
160ml boiling water
4-5 s

pring onions
2tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
handful rocket or spinach leaves roughly torn.


Tip dry couscous into a bowl and prepare as per packet instructions or add 160ml boiling water to 100g couscous. Stir then leave to stand for five minutes.

Meanwhile trim and thinly slice spring onions and tear salad leaves.

By this time the couscous should have absorbed all of the water. Run a fork through the grains breaking up any clumps then add lemon juice and stir again.

Leave to cool for at least another five minutes then add spring onion slices and salad leaves and mix thoroughly. Turn into a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil.