This weekend has been heavenly. After a quiet Friday night in (we actually nipped out for a little while – to Morrisons. We know how to live) I visited my sisters yesterday to try on wedding/bridesmaids dresses. My big sister is getting married in July, in Kos where I honeymooned last year, and it was so exciting to try on the dresses and realise that it’s actually only 5 months (and 1 day) away! The dresses were all stunning and we can’t wait to wear them on the day.
After this, we nipped to their local – a brewery which serves its own delicious beer. Then it was back to Chester for a cosy evening next to the fire.
The plan today was for me to do a little gardening – I was given lots of gear for growing my own veg for my birthday, and I had hoped to get started with a little seed nursery. This didn’t happen, because the weather is disgusting and I couldn’t bear to be outside for more than a few minutes. I planted a bay tree though – this is progress at least.
So, rather than garden, we went out and bought ribs. What better comfort food on a cold, rainy Sunday than sticky, sweet, spicy ribs? So, I have spent today doing what I love – making a delicious, slow-cooked meal for our Sunday dinner.
Ribs are best when you take your time – you musn’t rush them. Give them plenty of time to marinate, cook them nice and slowly. You want them to be tender and full of flavour, and this won’t happen if you don’t give them the time they need.
I wanted the ribs with mashed potato – packed full of butter and cream. Hubby is on a health kick and vetoed this. After lots of umming and ahing, we decided on this – a compromise. I’d never made cauliflower mash before and didn’t know how it would turn out, but of course it will work – it is a well established fact now that cauliflower is a decent substitute for any carb (even pasta). It is the trending vegetable of the year.
Try this for your next Sunday dinner; it was a fantastic end to a calm, restful weekend.
This will serve 4-5 hungry people and will take up to 6 hours (including marinating time)
Sticky Ribs with Cauliflower Mash
1 – 1.5kg pork rack of ribs
4 tbsps oyster sauce
6 tbsps runny honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
4 star anise
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Chinese five spice
2 heads cauliflower
20g grated parmesan
1. To make your marinade, mix together the oyster sauce, runny honey and soy sauce. Add the star anise, chilli flakes and chopped garlic. Roughly chop your onion and spread evenly over a lare baking dish. Lay the ribs on top of this and drizzle over half of your marinade, sprinkle over half of the five spice, then turn over and repeat. Lay the bay leaves on top. Leave in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Put your ribs in the oven for 90 minutes, flipping the ribs every 10 minutes. After the 90 minutes, turn the heat up to 200 degrees and cook for a further 15 minutes (flip half way through). Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t blacken too much. Remove from the oven.
3. To make your mash, boil a large pan of water. Cut the heads of cauliflower into florets and add to the pan. Cook over a high heat for 10 minutes until soft, then drain. Put the milk and parmesan in the pan with the cauliflower and put on a very low heat. Mash with either a masher or a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat.
4. To serve, put the rack of ribs on a large board. Pour over any excess sauce from the bottom of the baking tray, and leave for a couple of minutes for it to be sucked up. Chop up into individual ribs and serve a couple each with a dollop of mash. Dig in – use your fingers!