Slow roasted acorn-fed pork shoulder with honey and buttered apples and pears….Christmas with friends…

Christmas, friends, gifts, acorn-fed tender pork shoulder, honey and buttered apples….. what more do you want for a lovely early Christmas get-together with friends to exchange gifts and eat delicious food produced here in our beautiful Valley…

Once a year a couple of our friends get together to celebrate Christmas the weekend before “Christmas”. As usual it will take us a week or two to decide on “what to cook”, this year we outsourced the snacks, starter and desert to two of the other families and myself and Shannon focused on the Main Meal…. we did however demanded Yummy Galore food from the contributors and they knew they had to perform or be scrapped for the invite list, and believe me they did not disappoint…

Shannon decided on a simple yet beautiful and tender acorn-fed pork shoulder for The Pool Room at Oak Valley Estates… wow, what a beautiful piece of meat, you should have seen Shannon handling that lovely shoulder, rubbing it with the lemon salt with true respect…
We are spoiled with various restaurant’s in the Elgin Valley and THE POOL ROOM with chef Nicole Precoudis, is the latest edition to a growing list… they also have a deli and restaurant filled with local produce, flowers, freshly baked breads and bakes, acorn-fed pork, beef and their own Oak Valley Wines.

No 24. w2s the poolroom

No 21. w2w the poolroom deli

For the slow-roasted acorn-fed pork shoulder you need to follow the following steps:
The day before, soak the shoulder in brine…
+/- 3kg or larger acorn-fed pork shoulder with the bone and skin on
1/4 cup sea salt
3/4 cup castor sugar
2.5 litres water
6 bay leaves, rosemary, a hand full of sage leaves or 1 tablespoon of dried sage
1 whole head of garlic with the top cut off to expose the cloves
1/4 cup green peppercorns

Make the brine, by adding the salt, sugar and water to a saucepan, slowly bring to the boil and dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the cooled liquid to a plastic bowl, big enough to fit and cover the shoulder. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, sage, whole garlic and peppercorns. Prick the shoulder with a skewer and dry the skin. Score the skin at 1cm intervals with a small sharp knife or ask your butcher to do it, rub with salt… Place the shoulder in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.

4 hours before serving…
Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees. Remove the shoulder from the fridge and discard the brine. Pat DRY with paper towelling.

Handled and rubbed with LOVE it could not be anything else that tender...

Handled and rubbed with LOVE it could not be anything else than juicy and tender…

Make the Lemon Salt rub..
Make the Lemon Salt Rub by grinding together in a pestle and mortar…
1/3 cup sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon rind
1/3 cup green peppercorns
1 tablespoon olive oil

No 4. christmas with friends

Rub and massage the DRIED shoulder tenderly and with LOVE with the Lemon Salt mixture…work it into the scored/cut skin.
Line a roasting pan with foil, and add 500ml of boiling water, rosemary, sage and bay leaves. Place the shoulder skin side up in the roasting pan. The water should come up +/- 3 – 4cm in the pan. Roast for 35 minutes at 220 degrees. Remove from the oven and cover with foil, REDUCE THE HEAT to 150 degrees. Roast for 3 hours 30 minutes, remove from the oven, uncover the pork and crisp at 200 degrees for a further 30 minutes until crisp. Rest for 15 minutes, remove the skin and cut the skin into smaller pieces to serve as cracking with the sliced tender pork.

For a printable version of the recipe click on the LINK BELOW
Slow-roasted acorn-fed pork Shoulder with Honey buttered apples and pears … RECIPE CARD

No 7. ch5ristmas with friends

We’ve set the table as per Shannon’s instructions, silver and white, while the pork roasted in the oven and finished a couple of bottles of bubbly on the kitchen floor, life like we love it…..

Me in kitchen heaven...

Me in kitchen heaven…

The silver and white themed table...

The silver and white themed table…

Shannon decided to serve the tender pork with sweet honey and buttered apples and pears straight from the farm…
Poach the peeled and cored apples and pears until slightly soft but still firm. Drain and fry on a high heat with 1 and a half tablespoon of butter and a big squirt of honey until golden brown…

Honey and butter like the girls in the kitchen...

Honey and butter like the girls in the kitchen…

We started the afternoon with me and Shannon and the other friends joined us a bit later… the girls all dress up for our dinner…

After dinner it was time for the VERY important “exchanging of gifts”…. thanks to Vissie for being very “willing” to be Father Christmas, I wonder why??

No 27. christmas with friends

So Shannon promised me a scale,( see it is in Vissie’s hand on the pic above) yes I don’t have a kitchen scale and every second day phone her to “weigh” flour ect for me and give me the ml’s…. so when I saw my flat small parcel I gave it back to her, unopened and said “WHERE IS MY SCALE??”, she gave it back and once opened I saw it’s a VERY FANCY flat electronic scale that can take any type of bowl… wow how lucky am I…

And for the “outsourced” desert … a truly decadent triple layered chocolate mousse… to follow on the blog as soon as I can get Elzaan to make it for me again…Elzaan I demanded Yummy and it was “Yummy GALORE”…

nO 29. christmas with friends

Christmas is all about tradition, and this is one tradition I would like to keep…

Sweet potato and phyllo bake ….. Christmas at Bodemloos Kombuis

Thanks to Maryke van Niekerk for sharing this recipe with me, I need to create a “noddy badge” system on my blog to highlight my top 5 recipes, yes….. , it will be┬áreal easy to select my top 5, but to start with, this recipe will be right there at the top….

1a

Bodemloos Kombuis, the venue for our Office Christmas Dinner, will stay one of my favourites in our Valley. Looking out over our beautiful Elgin Valley it is ideal for smaller size functions like our recent Office Christmas Dinner. Maryke and Henk’s friendly approachable and enthusiastic nature combined with great food made us return year after year to this venue… and let me not mention the “rolled up lamb spit” and her sweet potato bake and and and…

Bodemloos Kombuis at night...

Bodemloos Kombuis at night…

Nicole, our General Manager’s wife, always goes “all out” with creating a real Christmas feel to these dinners, and I once said that she is maybe the only person apart from Shannon (my blog partner) who I will trust blindly with decorating and setting up for a function without any “interference” from my side.

The beautifully decorated tables by Nicole and Maryke...

The beautifully decorated tables by Nicole and Maryke…

Always something different...

Always something different…

For the second year in a row, we’ve selected the Bodemloos Lamb roll on a spit…. and I will put money on it that next year we might choose it again.

Bodemloos Lamb roll on a spit ...

Bodemloos Lamb roll on a spit …

Let’s get back to that Sweet Potato and phyllo bake that accompanied the tender and juicy lamb.

For the Sweet Potato and phyllo bake you will need:

This recipe is for +/- 12 people….

Shortcut sweet potato method

Shortcut sweet potato method

2.5kg sweet potatoes (or a bit more)
125ml or half a cup of butter
187ml brown sugar
125ml golden syrup
one roll of phyllo pastry
+/- 1 cup or tub of cream
125ml brown sugar, half a cup

Cook the sweet potato by your method of choice, basically the “traditional South African” way, and if you don’t know how to do that, follow the easy method below, thanks to Ilse Groenewald for sharing this method with me.

Peel the 2.5kg sweet potatoes, immediately put the peeled sweet potatoes in water to prevent browning. Once peeled slice the sweet potatoes in 5mm thick rings and keep covered with water. In a heavy based pot melt together 125ml butter, 187ml brown sugar and 125ml golden syrup, simmer together for about 5 – 10 minutes until it looks like a slightly thick caramel. Drain the sweet potatoes and add the rings to the simmering caramel. Give the caramel and sweet potatoes a good stir. Add boiling water to “just cover” all the sweet potatoes, this is the strange part, as the traditional method cooks the sweet potato without adding any water. Simmer for about 45 minutes on a low heat without stirring until well cooked and all the water has dissapeared. Keep an eye on it for the last 10 minutes as you only want to cook it until there’s about 1 cm of liquid remaining. Let it cool.

Once cooled completely start rolling the pastry rolls.

Very important when working with phyllo is to firstly defrost it overnight in your fridge, and once ready to use make sure you have a damp tea towel at hand to immediatly cover the sheets of phyllo as soon as you remove them from the plastic packet, if you don’t cover the flat opened sheets they will dry out quickly and stick together. I love working with phyllo, as long as you remember to cover it with that damp cloth.

Remove one sheet, and spoon one long line of sweet potato 5cm from the bottom of the pastry over the full lenght of the sheet, refer to the pic below, and roll it up tightly. Cut into 4 – 5 cm long pieces and pack the rolls into our dish. Make sure you cut the all the same length to create an even layer of little rolls stanking up in your dish…

The process...

The process…

Up to this stage you can prepare in advance, I would guess up to 3 or 4 hours before you need to serve….

About an hour before you need to serve, drizzle the cream over the sweet potato rolls and sprinkle with the 125ml of brown sugar, add a bit more sugar if the 125ml don’t seem to be enough, the cream will absorb into the phyllo and the brown sugar will turn into a crispy layer on top of the rolls… sweet crispness at the top and soft heaven inside…

The unbaked rolls sprinkled with brown sugar...

The unbaked rolls sprinkled with brown sugar…

Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees or until crisp at the top and all the cream absorbed into the pastry…

For a printable recipe card click on the PDF link below:
Sweet Potato and filo bake … RECIPE CARD

The crispy top

The crispy top

I loved this recipe so much that we made it on Friday night before Christmas at our “Christmas with friends” dinner and AGAIN on Tuesday for our Christmas Lunch….

Maryke, serving crispy prawn snacks...

Maryke, serving crispy prawn snacks…

Thanks to Ilse for always grabbing my camera and taking a couple of pics….(not a lot of people will be brave enough as they might get a growl), I don’t have a lot of pics of myself and really love the fun pics I find on my camera late at night when lying in bed and quickly scanning through the evenings pics on my camera…

Me and Bruce, thanks Ilse for taking the pic

Me and Bruce, thanks Ilse for taking the pic

Now time for something sweet…

The yummy dessert.

The yummy dessert.

LET THE PARTY START!! But I’ve had a busy busy week… (one of the pics I found on my camera)

A find on my camera...

A find on my camera…

What a GREAT evening, I think we went home at 3…. the next morning….

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And next year we will be back…. Thanks Maryke for your great food and Henk for the music that made us dance the night away…

9a

Christmas inspiration….

Surprise your friends with a beautiful invite to an early “Christmas celebration with friends”. I wish I have the time to do this every year, the fun of planning an “early” Christmas Dinner is nearly more exciting to me than the dinner itself….

Flashy fab invites, dress up, the garden filled with tiny fairy lights…. and good friends…

A tray filled with shotglasses full of baberton daisies… one per place setting..

Christmas should be RED….

The table under the tree…

The weather…. WILL play along…. (lets hope)

Pretty…

Fill the table with homemade menu’s, nametags, individual flowers, small gifts…..

I love looooong tables, this one should have been longer… with white flowing tablecloths.

Plan, plan plan ahead.

The very important “drinks table”…

And go all out for your friends….

As this night they will remember and always be thankful for being on the “invite list”…

Fill the garden with brown paper bags, filled with sand and candles..

And friends will chat the night away…

Thanks to Liezel for taking the pics for me, as I was running around to get the well planned 5 course dinner on the table….

I LOVE Christmas.

SO, there’s more than enough time to plan your “early Christmas Dinner for friends” this year, they will love you for doing it.

And pleasssssse invite me too.