Speck and mushy peas

I need to clean out my freezer and refrigerator of bits and pieces.

I had some speck, some baby green peas, some onions, mushrooms, and a handful of cherry tomatoes on the cusp of blooming some mould.

Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

Speck is smokey bacon and sold as a block rather than rashers. I had an open packet after I’d used some speck a few weeks ago for some other dish.

I also have some frozen baby green peas in the freezer because frozen peas are so versatile. When I make mushy peas, I use sour cream, and I had a little left after having it with avocado during the week.

Because I ate a sweet lunch on Friday rather than my usual caramelised onion and mushrooms on Italian bread I had some brown mushrooms getting a little dry in a paper bag in the refrigerator.

Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes


  • Speck
  • Onion
  • Cloves
  • Chicken stock
  • Baby green peas
  • Sour cream
  • Butter
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Claire’s whiskey Seville marmalade
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Golden syrup
Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes


Speck and caramelised onions

  1. Cut the speck into thick slices. When I write thick, I’m thinking, at least 1 cm thick. You want to be able to bite into the smoked bacon and experience the smokiness as your teeth cut through and the fatty meat juices burst from the moist, tender flesh over your tongue. 
  2. Quarter a brown onion with a sharp knife. I use a Chinese-style meat cleaver which I like to hone with a cook’s steel each time I use it. I love the sound of iron on iron.
  3. Put the speck, onions and some cloves into a saucepan and pour over enough chicken stock to cover the meat.
  4. Bring the chicken stock to a simmering boil and cook for about 40 minutes.
  5. The idea is to get the speck soft and floppy.
  6. After 40 minutes, take the saucepan off the hob and allow it to rest off the heat.
  7. With a mandolin, slice a couple of white onions and remove the stalks from the mushrooms.
  8. Begin to caramelise the onions in some olive oil over low, slow heat. Add in the mushroom caps and stalks and put a lid on the frying pan.
  9. When the onions and mushrooms soften and begin to take some colour, add in a little balsamic vinegar and continue to cook slowly. For some extra kick add a dessert spoon of Claire’s whiskey Seville marmalade. Watch the onions and mushrooms because you want them caramelised and not burnt.
  10. Towards the end, add in some golden syrup for a little extra sweetness. Adding the golden syrup is an optional step.
  11. When the onions and mushrooms are ready, take the frying pan off the heat and transfer the caramelised onion and mushrooms to a bowl.
  12. Remove the pieces of speck from the saucepan. Dry the surfaces of the meat and fat with a towel.
  13. In the frying pan used for the onions and mushrooms, fry off the speck along with the cherry tomatoes. Fry the meat until it takes on some colour and a little crispiness.
Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

Mushy peas

  1. Put the frozen baby green peas into a silicon mixing jug with a little water and cook using microwave radiation. Cook the peas until they just become soft.
  2. Drain out the excess water and add in a nudge of butter and a dessert spoon of sour cream.
  3. Blend with a stick blender.
  4. The sour cream keeps the peas bright and green.

Serve the food

  1. Put everything on a dinner plate.
  2. Shoot a photograph.
  3. Sit down and eat with a knife and fork.
Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

What have I done this week?

I’ve been out twice. I know, right? What a gadabout. I like the description of gadabout in the British Engish Thesaurus (see below).

On Monday evening I went out with some pathologists (specialist microbiologists, as a colony) to XO in Narabundah and we enjoyed the Christmas menu.

On Wednesday evening, I went out with some work friends to Tipsy Bull in Braddon and enjoyed a collection of vegetarian tasting plates.

What have I watched this week?

I watched the food show Ugly Delicious produced and starring US-based celebrity chef, David Chang. David is of Korean heritage, and this is important to know when watching the program.

David spent the series highlighting the differences between the sophisticated Italian and French cuisines against the messy and ugly south-east Asian and Indian cuisines. The premise being there is inherent racism because Asian food is quick and looks sloppy, and the service is often curt. In contrast, Italian and French food is refined and sophisticated with the food elements and plating being elegant, and the service is polite and courteous.

I could see his perspective, but I don’t see it as racism. Eating at a fine dining restaurant with attractive looking food and courteous service is enjoyable with the right company. Likewise going for cheap eats in an Asian restaurant with cheap tables and chairs, newspaper for table covering, and disposable chopsticks can be just as enjoyable with the same company.

Final thoughts

Have a good week. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

British English Thesaurus

gadabout: gallivanter, pleasure-seeker; wanderer, rover, rambler, drifter, bird of passage; traveller, journeyer, explorer, globetrotter.

Natural yoghurt with no added sugar and Kensington Pride mango

Cheesy herb-infused béchamel sauce with leftover crunchy pecan roast pumpkin and pork sausage

Cheesy herb-infused béchamel sauce with leftover crunchy pecan roast pumpkin and pork sausage

Cheesy herb-infused bechamel sauce with leftover crunchy pecan roast pumpkin and pork sausage

Check out last night’s blog post for the recipe for the roast pumpkin.

I’ve been watching the French Cooking Academy YouTube channel, and I was keen to try a béchamel sauce with a cold roux and hot flavoured milk.

I flavoured the milk with onion, clove, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and nutmeg.

Assuming you’ve not made a white sauce or béchamel before, it involves making a roux or a paste with equal amounts (by weight) of butter and flour.

You need to cook it on low heat and whisk it for at least 3 minutes to reduce the taste of the flour.

In this version, you allow the roux to cool. To the roux, you add hot flavoured milk and then whisk it until it thickens.

I made a thick bechamel because I wanted it to be the foundation for the pork sausage and leftover pumpkin. Using some cheese makes thickening the béchamel much easier.

Cheesy herb-infused bechamel sauce with leftover crunchy pecan roast pumpkin and pork sausage

Roast pumpkin and caramelised onion

For the full recipe please got to Yummy Lummy.

Here are the photographs from the post.

Sweet corn and caramelised onions

I felt like a relatively light lunch but I wanted something which would require some effort.

Caramelising onions seemed like the right thing to do.

Sweet corn and caramelised onions

It’s fairly simple to make caramelised onions.

I slice a couple of onions with a sharp knife and put them into a cold skillet with some olive oil and a nudge of butter. I then heat the skillet gently and keep the heat low and slow until the onions take on a brown colour. Once the onions begin to smell sweet I add in some cooking sherry and cook until the sherry has reduced. Then I add some Worcestershire sauce and cook until the onions are sticky. I turn the heat off and add a liberal quantity of dried chilli flakes plus freshly cracked black pepper.

The sweet corn is easier to cook. I buy the corn with the husk on and run it under a tap for a few seconds to get it damp. I then wrap it in aluminium foil and put it into an oven set at about 200 °C for about 45 minutes. After about 45 minutes, I unwrap the corn, remove the husk, and then season it with salt and pepper.

Sweet corn and caramelised onions

Slow cooker caramelised onion pizza


It’s Friday and I worked from home today. The last few Fridays I’ve been making a pizza for tea so I thought I would try to keep this going. Given I was home I figured I’d caramelise some onions in the slow cooker. 

Caramelised onion pizza
Continue reading “Slow cooker caramelised onion pizza”
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