I spend a great deal of time looking for foolproof, simple recipes. Experience has taught me that they are a rarity and so the search is on-going. Meanwhile, I am going to share with you one of my all-time favourite, easy recipes, which the poorest of cooks could not fail to get right. This dish comes accompanied by a little background.
Many years ago, my wife I and lived in the South Seas. It was a beautiful place and as one grows older, memory makes it all the more beautiful because of its association with one’s youth. How precious and sweet were those times! One hot, tropical day, we were invited to lunch by a member of the local consular corps. Our host was courteous and attentive as is the wont of his ilk and his wife was charming, warm and hospitable. Lunch was served under an awning at small tables set out around a swimming pool. There, the midday heat was dissipated by the cooling south east trade winds. The heady scent of flowering frangipani trees permeated the air and gorgeous, purple bougainvillea tumbled down the banks of the sloping garden. In the distance, across the top of coconut trees, the azure-blue waters of the lagoon were clearly visible. It was magical and the perfect setting for pork scaloppini which, thanks to the kindness of our hostess, entered the family culinary annals that day.
1 big pork fillet cut into small bite sizes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
250g thinly sliced mushrooms
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped basil
1 400g tin tomatoes
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
*In fact, I have always used Marsala, a fortified Sicilian wine. It is used extensively in Italian cooking and I have been able to buy a variety of it specifically for cooking in my local delicatessen.
Preheat the oven to 170C
Dredge the pork in the flour and brown in the hot oil and butter. Place in a casserole dish with all the other ingredients, bring to the boil, cover and place it in the oven for 45 minutes. It is then ready to eat. – Trust me – I usually serve this dish with pasta and a crispy green salad.