Tamarind ribs

I absolutely love ribs. There’s the way the meat falls away from the bone (if they are properly cooked), the flavour of the marinade and that immense satisfaction that comes from eating with your hands and making something of a mess!

It also reminds me of my childhood when we used to drive up to Harare (the big city) from the farm where I grew up and after all the business was done, as a special treat we’d go out for lunch or dinner to a Greek restaurant called The Acropolis. I don’t ever remember seeing a menu (though surely they must have had one). All I remember is tucking into piles of ribs and leaving full and happy, with clothes covered with rib sauce! Oh and that their chips were really good, too.

Since then I’ve tasted ribs in many different places (including the three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy). And I’ve cooked them lots of different ways, too – they are so versatile they lend themselves to a myriad of flavours and cooking styles.

This is my latest recipe, using Sainsbury’s tamarind paste as the main flavour. The key here is to cook the ribs really slowly on a low temperature. The meat should just fall away when you pull at it.

I served the ribs with new potatoes and spinach, nice simple flavours to go with the tangy tamarind, and zesty ginger and lemongrass.

A juicy half rack of ribs begging to be eaten

Serves 2

1 rack of pork ribs

3tsp Sainsbury’s chopped lemongrass

2tsp Sainsbury’s chopped ginger

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3tbsp ketchup manis (Indonesian soy sauce)

200ml white wine

2tsp Sainsbury’s tamarind paste

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the ribs into a roasting tray. Make sure they get a good covering. Cover and marinate overnight.

Heat the oven to 120C. Place the roasting tray in the oven, covered tightly with foil, for about 2 hrs. Check and baste the ribs every 20 minutes or so.

Serve with new potatoes and spinach.

The whole rack of ribs marinading

The indgredients

The magic ingredients

Tagliatelle with pancetta, peas and peppercorns

So here’ s my second recipe, this time using the green peppercorns from Sainsbury’s Speciality Ingredients Range. The aromas were stupendous while I was cooking this dish – it’s such a heavenly match of ingredients. You have the sweetness of the peas, the herby flavours of parsley and mint, the saltiness of the pancetta and finally, the beautifully peppery bite of the green peppercorns. And as fate with have it, the main ingredients are alliterative, too…tagliatelle with three p’s – or even four p’s – pasta, pancetta, peas and peppercorns!

The dish is also very quick to make, as well as being light and healthy. Vegetarians out there, just leave out the pancetta and use vegetable stock and you’ll have a lovely dish to enjoy. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

The finished dish – simply stunning

Serves 2

3 shallots, chopped

160g pancetta, chopped into cubes

100g fresh peas

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

150ml white wine

300ml chicken stock

1 tbsp green peppercorns

250g fresh tagliatelle

Grated parmesan, to serve

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Fry the pancetta until it begins to color. Add shallots and fry until softened.

Stir in peas, parsley and mint, and continue to fry. Add wine and reduce. Stir in chicken stock and add the peppercorns. Simmer until the peas are cooked.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle according to the instructions on the packet.

Drain pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.

The key ingredient – green peppercorns

As I was using the green peppercorns from Sainsbury’s,
I decided to get all my ingredients there – here they are.