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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Ribs and Romance

M and I recently celebrated our four year anniversary. This, more than anything, is a perfect reason to eat out. And we all know that I don't need an excuse to do that! Usually, if I haven't eaten out by the time Wednesday comes around, I've started suffering withdrawal symptoms and broken out in a cold sweat.

Ok that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not too far off the truth...

For once we decided to celebrate a special occasion by staying in, cooking up a storm, and sharing a bottle of prosecco.

Deciding on a menu was tricky. I spent ages perusing the internet and my cookbooks. I just couldn't choose a type of cuisine. In the end, instead of picking one cuisine and sticking to it for all three courses, we went for our favourites, ending up in an incredibly mismatched but delicious meal.

First up was a tasty salad starter  - crumbled bacon, stilton, praline, caramelised peaches and leaves.

We followed this with pork ribs. I haven't had a lot of experience with ribs, but after trying them at Cinnamon Kitchen knew that it was something I had to recreate at home. My first attempt was hopeless - I followed a BBC Good Food recipe and for once Good Food let me down. The pork ribs were bland, unsticky and definitely not falling off the bone.

This time I used this recipe for inspiration. And the result? Barky, uber sticky, meat falling off the bone tender ribs. In essence they were perfect.

The recipe calls for plain pork ribs, but Morrison's was unobliging so we ended up with Chinese five spice ones. They tasted so good that I've decided to include them in my 'recipe' below. This isn't really a recipe, as everything's far too pre-made for that, it's more of a method for making the best ribs imaginable. Please ignore how odd the ingredients sound together - I promise the pork ribs can take anything you throw at them. M thought I was crazy but even he admitted that they tasted better with the Reggae Reggae! If in doubt, buy plain ribs and follow the recipe I've linked above.

Serves 2
1 rack of chinese 5 spice marinade pork ribs
1 Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
2. Wrap the ribs in a sheet of foil, shiny side facing out. Make sure the meaty side of the ribs is facing down
3. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 2.5 hours or until the meat is starting to shrink away from the ends of the bone. Remove from the oven.
4. Heat your grill nice and hot.
5. Cut your ribs into serving sized portion of around 3 ribs.
6. Brush the BBQ sauce over.
7. Place ribs under the grill and grill for a couple of minutes until the sauce is all bubbly.
8. Turn over the ribs and repeat steps 6 & 7 on the other side.

We served our ribs with loaded potato skins using Nigella's recipe.

Our dessert was my current favourite - Illes Flottante - Floating Islands. Beautifully poached meringue served on top of chilled custard with praline. I said our meal was random!

I know the photo of my floating island looks horrendous, but please believe me, it was delicious.

As with all good meals, we finished off with cheese, biscuits and port. I was glad that we had the opportunity to wheel out a fig and almond cake we'd bought in Barcelona.

I'm so glad we stayed in and cooked for our anniversary. I know it's a lot of effort and washing up but the great thing is that you really do get to eat exactly what you fancy, however odd it is.

Here's to another amazing year, M.

Disclaimer: This photo is Google+'s work, not mine!


  1. Looks like such a tasty combo! Congrats on 4 years :) Here's to lots more!


    1. Thanks very much, fingers crossed! x

  2. Aww love the photo at the end Hazel :) The ribs look amazing! Never tried a floating island but am definitely going to order one when I next see it on a menu x

  3. I love that Levi Roots sauce! I have his cookbook too ;) I've never made ribs but I'm always ordering them at restaurants - will brave them one day!