Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Kirsty Ate

My new friend Kirsty, the fabulous Aussie, came over from Provence last weekend to have some lunch and speak some English with us. She has a Mister, I have a Mari. She has trois enfants and so do I. She's about to up the stakes in the enfants department with her fourth but I'm sticking at three. (sighs of relief heard all the way from Texas)
We had a wonderful time together and she documented it all in gorgeous photographs. I didn't know my house looked the way she saw it. That's just her eye. It works for photographs just as well as it does when she puts squares of fabric up on her design wall in preparation for another beautiful quilt.
She mentioned the food and took a photo of the table so I thought it only fair to give you the menu and recipes just in case you'd like to have your own Cuban day in the sun. Mon Mari makes fun here because Americans can't go to Cuba but I draw on experience eating at a delicious Cuban restaurant in Houston for this meal. In a  word, garlic.You'd better eat it with the one you love.

Cuban Pork on the barbie & Garlicky Black Beans

Grilled Cuban Pork

2 pork tenderloins

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 lime
6-8 crushed garlic cloves
fresh coriander (cilantro)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt & pepper
1 tsp cumin, optionsal

Mix the marinade together. Pour over pork in a ziploc bag or large bowl with plastic wrap over and let sit overnight. It is better longer but if you don't have the time give it at least 3 hours in the marinade.

Take it out of the fridge a good half hour before you're ready to grill it. Shake off excess cilantro and garlic and grill.

Rest for 10 minutes under tented foil before carving.

Garlicky Black Beans

2 800g/28 oz cans of black beans or 1 11/2 cups dried black beans

6 cloves of garlic, smashed and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 slices of smoked bacon, chopped or ham bone with bits still on if you have one
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 fresh bay leaves

1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup of chicken stock or enough to cover
1 chipotle pepper, chopped (optional if you like it spicy)

If you're using dried beans, soak overnight, rinse and then continue.

Cook the chopped bacon in a pot until just browned. Drain off excess bacon grease until you have about a tablespoon left in the pot.
Or if you're using the ham bone, just chuck it in with the garlic and onions.
Chop onion, crush and dice garlic cloves and add them to a stock pot with the bacon or ham bone.
Cook for 4 minutes until a bit soft. Add in the cumin and oregano and stir. Warming the dried spices brings out the flavor.
Now add in your beans. Drained and rinsed in cool water if you're using canned.
Stir well to combine. Then add in the bay leaves and let it just simmer there for a few minutes.
Next, add in your tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir well. If you're using the chipotle pepper add it here.

Now all you have to do is bring it up to a slow boil and then reduce the heat, cover and leave for as long as you can. I like to do mine a few hours in advance. When I made them for Kirsty I let them cook for about 5 hours. Just check on them and give them a good stir every once in while to torment everyone around with their delicious smell.

Bon App├ętit!


  1. Where are the pictures? Sounds like a lovely time and yummy food : )

  2. On Kirsty's blog here:

  3. Sounds delicious, I have never been to Cuba, but I trust you.
    I am sure that you are being modest and that your house is indeed the stylish affair that we can see in Kirsty 's shots.

  4. Stylish beyond words Blandina! And the food really was delish, I made an absolute pig of myself. At least I can claim I was eating for two!

    Thanks so much for the recipes Aidan, I will definitely try to replicate your masterpieces this summer. x x x

  5. The day sounds lovely - and looks lovely. Thanks for the link to Kirsty's site.

    And the recipes...
    If I start now I have time to marinate and prepare.

    Enjoy spring.

  6. Delicious! I love cuban and I love black beans! Are you finding the beans in a store or at one of the markets? I haven't had any luck in the stores so was going to keep my eyes peeled on my next market trip.
    Missed you x

  7. Oh MAN. I would make this dish this very weekend, only I haven't seen cilantro ANYWHERE yet. I bet I could find some at an Asian market, but closest one's in Montpellier or Nimes...a full hour away. Darn.


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