Wednesday 26 September 2012

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum

One of my favourite sections on this blog is making a comeback. Although I should say that it never really went away. But I wish sometimes I could post more articles about food. Especially about food in relation to music.

Summer is on its way out finally (honestly, my gente, I can't stand it! I know, I know. I was born in Cuba, tropical country with warm weather. But I'm a sucker for autumn... and spring). Anyhoo, as I was saying, or rather, writing, summer is taking its final bow and what better way to sign it off than with this tasty pork recipe? By the way, I didn't use pak choi when I made this. I don't even know what it looks like, but I think it's something like this.  Pork has a natural strong flavour, although my experience in the UK is that unless you go to a butcher's, you will be very disappointed by what they sell in supermarkets. The recipe is by Angela Harnett, who's slowly become one of my favourite chefs. I just hope she doesn't dethrone Nigel Slater. He's still my número uno.

Pork escalope with peppers and pak choi

(Serves four)
50ml olive oil
2 red romano peppers, thinly sliced, seeds removed
2 pak choi, sliced, thick roots and green leaves separated
1 tbsp sage, chopped
Pinch of salt
8 pork escalopes, approximately 80g each
2 tbsp of lemon juice

Put 30ml of the olive oil into a large frying pan. Add the sliced peppers and saute for 10 minutes on a low heat.

Add the pak choi roots and saute for two minutes, throw in the green leaves and continue to cook on a low heat for a further two minutes. Add the sage and check seasoning. If the vegetables look as if they are drying out, add a little hot water.

Remove the vegetables, dry the pan with kitchen roll and add the remaining oil. Get your pan nice and hot, season the escalopes and fry on a medium heat for two minutes on each side.

Remove the pork, deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and add the vegetables for long enough to ensure they are hot through.

Rest the escalopes on top of the vegetables to serve.

As for the music I chose to go with this dish it mirrors the season. The transition from summer to autumn, which means that the melodies I selected move from an upbeat tone to a more subdued mood. When Angela writes about sage and peppers that makes think of seasoning. Just like Chila Lynn's Real Woman makes me think of cool, catchy pop. She's a Cuban-born singer who performs in both Spanish and English. I hope you enjoy this track from her debut album, Real Woman.

Ex-Cranberries, post-Cranberries, still-Cranberries? I've no idea, all I know that the first time I heard the lilting, strong Irish accent of Dolores O'Riordan, I was smitten. I still have a tape where a friend of mine recorded a couple of tracks by The Cranberries as fillers. This song, Black Widow, might well represent the first leaf that falls from a tree as soon as August gives way to September. The song is apparently about Dolores's mother-in-law's death. O'Riordan's voice reminds me of cooking on a low heat. Although normally high-pitched, she can bring her tone down to a husky whisper. Now, that's what I call singing.

My last musical offering tonight comes all the way from Brazil. I "discovered" Criolo back in the summer through a compilation CD that came with my copy of Songlines magazine. This track, Não Existe Amor em SP (There's no love in Sao Paulo) is about the lack of love and hope in that city. Criolo is actually a rapper but he can also put his soul hat on and belt out a heartfelt tune like this. I recommend that you check out his other clips on youtube. Brilliant performer, and the band ain't 'alf bad either, innit? Just like that simmering pork, I hope you enjoy the music. Ta.

Angela Hartnett is chef patron at Murano restaurant and consults at the Whitechapel Gallery and Dining Room, London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

© 2012
Next Post: "Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music", to be published on Sunday 30th September at 10am (GMT)


  1. I've always loved your food and music posts. This one is delightful!

  2. I'm not much of a pork eater but it's nice to share recipes. The first clip can't play in my country but the other two were fine.

  3. Thanks for your comments.

    Sarah, it's such a pity that the clip won't play. It's a nice, catchy tune.

    I do have to apologise to my vegetarian and vegan readers and fellow bloggers for the pork, but I am an omnivore. And you know... :-) I promise to make the next one a veggie recipe.

    Greetings from London.

  4. smiles..always enjoying your music and the recipe sounds yummy...def. need to try it..

  5. I'm vegetarian so no thanks on the pork but I love the music! I can always count on your good taste.


  6. Soulful Criolo. Thank you!

    There's a large pot of black beans on the stove: it must be autumn. The kitchen smells of onion, garlic, green pepper, green olives, etc., etc., Do you have a favorite recipe for black beans?

    Regards from Boston

  7. Yummy! I do love pork and this recipe looks scrumptious! Couldn't play the first video (due to the country I'm in?), but I certainly enjoyed the rest of it.

  8. Rice and peas, Mim! In fact, I haven't cooked that in a loooooooong time. Maybe my kitchen will start smelling of garlic and onions soon, too! :-)

    Greetings from London.

  9. The food looks fantastic and all credit to you for even posting the recipe. Food tends to speak to the soul, or at least mine. I always did and still love the cranberries. Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

  10. Oh my...this recipe looks quite lovely! We love pork and I will have to make it a point to make this either this week or next! Heading over to listen to your choices of music to go with your dish....looking forward to it!! Enjoy your weekend!

  11. That dish looks edelish. Can't get the first track here, but the second is mad ethereal - love.

  12. Thanks for your comments. Apologies for the video problems. It's happened to me as well, if it's any consolation.

    Greetings from London.

  13. what a combination of music and food! I'm a sucker for Irish and Scottish ballads myself, which are soul-stirring.

    Fall is here firmly where I live, and that pork recipe with its vibrant colors and bold flavors seems just the ticket for the season.

    Thanks for sharing, Cuban!



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