There are so many facets of the student experience we are part of as caterers. The restaurant, canteen, cafeteria; call it what you may, for me it can be the primary social hub of the students’ life at university. Yeah, there’s always the union bar, but eating together is an extremely social interaction, even if they only grace us once a day. So we can give our graduates a haven away from extreme bouts of study, essay deadlines and even excessive socialising. We have the places where they can refuel and create a social space for interaction with fellow students.
Then of course, there’s the food. Food which now has trends bigger than the fashion industry and appears in more television programmes than Ant and Dec. So offering similar dishes in line with the high-street trends is important, but we must not forget the comfort food of home, which will hopefully excite, satisfy and nourish our students.
It’s autumn so a bit of pork with celeriac, crushed potatoes and coleslaw will give you something different to offer the students.
Collar of Pork with Celeriac
For the pork
2 litres water
1 bunch rosemary
2 garlic cloves
1kg pork collar
400g charlotte potatoes
For the coleslaw
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
¼ celeriac, peeled and julienned
Salt and pepper
For the dressing
1 bunch parsley, leaves picked and blanched
1 bunch mint, leaves picked and blanched
1 bunch basil, leaves picked and blanched
1 tsp english mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 green pepper, roasted, peeled and deseeded
60g pak choi leaves or mustard leaves
For the pork, place the water, sugar, salt, rosemary and garlic in a large pan and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and when the liquid is cold add the pork, cover the pan and leave for 10 hours.
Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Remove the pork from the brine, wash well in cold water then place into a casserole.
Cover the pork with the oil, place a lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for four hours. To test that it is cooked, insert a metal skewer into the meat – if it slides in easily, the pork is cooked.
Remove the casserole from the oven and set aside. When the pork is cool, remove it from the oil, form it into a cylinder shape then wrap tightly in cling film. Place in the fridge to chill and firm up. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in salted water, drain, add the butter and lightly crush with a fork.
Cut the pork into 2cm thick slices and peel off the cling film. Pour a drizzle of rapeseed oil in a non-stick pan and fry the pork until golden-brown on both sides.
To make the coleslaw, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. For the dressing, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon some coleslaw onto the serving plates and place the potatoes beside it. Dress the pak choi in a little of the dressing. Place the pork on top of the potatoes, spoon over some dressing and serve the pak choi or mustard leaves alongside.
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