Pork Chop Week


Back to noshblog site (click here)

Diary and Notes

I threatened I'd do it and now it's begun. A whole week of pork chops for dinner, each dish different, and hopefully tastier than the last. Day one and I thought I'd set myself a hard challenge to beat - an old classic of pork chops with some tasty puy lentils.

"Three quid! You must be off your flippin' rocker mate!" That's what I said when I went into Sainsbury's to buy a half kilo of lentils and you would have said the same. Yes folks, for 500g of little dark pea like thingies they wanted the princely sum of £3.00. That's a whole lot of beans for not many peas.

Like many things the price had been driven not by demand, nor by shortage of supply but by reputation. Adam Smith missed this one, supply and demand are the driving forces of the economy my arse, hype and bullshit rules the waves more like and these tasty little lentils prove the point.

Not long ago I could buy a packet of lentils de puy (the finest lentils in the world) for about £1.00 for 500g. They came, as do other pulses, in a clear plastic bag with the contents written on them and some directions for cooking. Nothing fancy here, just some pulses being sold to hippies who don't care about pictures and fancy advertising. But what have we here? No lentils in a plastic bag but a nice fancy green box with a clear see through front and some fancy artwork. The lentils have gone upmarket and they have trebled in price. Is this price rise because there is a shortage of lentils being produced? (Adam Smith would say this would drive up the price, supply and demand folks, it's what every capitalist swears by.) No, there's been no decrease in supply, in fact the Canadians now produce a lentil almost exactly the same (but called by a different name as Lentilles de Puy are AOC protected). Has demand increased dramatically? Puy lentils have been mentioned on TV programmes by uberchefs - but I know of nobody who buys them apart from me - the French eat them, but then they always have.

The real reason they are now so expensive is because they have gone up-market. The Canadian Puy lentils don't have that caché associated with the real thing and people are stupid enough to pay extorionate prices for the real deal. The growers are happy as they are guaranteed an income, but the people who are happiest of all are the supermarkets who can move the lentils out of the dried pulse section and into the speciality food section next to the truffle oil and fois gras - these are LENTILS, little green pulses, not 50 year old, oak aged balsamic vinegar.

I'm not having a go at the people who grow the lentils for trying to make a decent living by defending their product, ensuring good quality and protecting their livelihood, I'm having a go at the sudden change in image, the artificial mystique which can be generated around something so humble as a lentil. And who ends up paying the price? Me - just to have my favourite lentils I end up paying a fortune.

They were however extremely tasty and I highly recommend you eat them too. Just try to get the cheap Canadian ones and save yourself a few quid.


Ok so I'm still no good at taking photos. I am cursed by shaky hand syndrome which means that I have (previously) not been one for photography (on either side of the lens), so the simple skills of point and shoot that you all learnt growing up are not in my repertoire. My shaky hands also mean that 90% of the photos I take are completely useless. The camera I bought was also very cheap (£50.00) and the focal length doesn't allow me to get up close and personal with my food. I'm not going to upgrade to a good camera until I get the hang of taking shots that don't look all blurry so for the next few months the pictures may not represent the true deliciousness of the food.

Cake Blog

Honey and Date Scones: Doesn't sound good? Then you have no taste - they were delicious and I made them myself. As I'm running out of cake things to buy in Exeter I have been forced to make my own. This week (pork chop week) will also be scone week. I'm going to make a different scone every day. Today's were very good indeed with some Devon clotted cream.


  • Pork Chops with Puy Lentils
  • Fried Potatoes


    Pork Chops with Lentils
    1 Large Pork Chop
    50g Lentilles de Puy
    1 Rasher Bacon
    1/2 Onion
    1/2 Carrot
    1 Stick Celery
    100ml Chicken Stock
    50ml White Wine
    Olive Oil
    1 Clove Garlic
    3 Sage Leaves
    Few Sprigs Fresh Thyme
    1tsp Dijon Mustard
    20ml Single Cream
    Honey and Date Scones (makes 4)
    100g Flour
    1/2tsp Baking Powder
    1 Tbsp Sugar
    25g Butter
    2 Tbsp Milk
    1/2 Egg
    8 Dates
    2 Tbsp Honey


  • First Prepare the Lentils: Dice the carrot, onion and celery and sweat in a little olive oil. Chop the bacon into lardons and mince the garlic, add these to the pan and cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the lentils and the wine. Bubble for a few minutes then add the stock and the chopped fresh herbs. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Check to see if the lentils are soft (puy lentils will still retain a bit of texture and wont go mushy) - if they need more water or longer cooking add more water and cook a little longer. When the lentils are cooked, stir in the mustard and some pepper. Next heat a frying pan to a high heat and put the chop in to brown on both sides. When the chop is brown (no more than 1 minute per side) transfer to an ovenproof dish. Pour the lentils into the frying pan to absorb and meat juice, stir in the cream and pour over the chop. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Scones: Mix the flour and baking powder then rub in the butter. Add the chopped dates, sugar milk, egg and honey and mix, the scone mix should be quite thick and you can add more flour if it's too runny. Back the scones for 15 minutes at 220c. Eat hot with clotted cream.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person - I didn't even weigh out the scone ingredients, it's all done by guesswork and the actual quantities may be significantly different