It's been a long time,
I shouldn't have left you,
without a strong recipe to... oh well, that's not going to work.* Let's get onto the recipe.

Meat! Love it. I mean, I know that it's not the healthiest option and to save the planet we all need to go raw vegan, but it tastes so good. Especially pork ribs.

I remember them from my Mother's delicious home cooking: split into individual ribs; seasoned well; served with a delightfully volatile hot pepper sauce. After leaving home however I hardly ate them until requesting ribs at a vaguely pretentious gastropub back in the noughties. I was rather shocked at what they served: a whole rack of ribs that would normally feed a whole family. And chips. And a pint. Shock, then an insane delight passed through me as I went to work...

That said, I hardly ate them again until I was taken for a wonderful birthday meal last year at the W Hotel in Austin, Texas. Delicious ribs, slathered in an unctuous sauce: I was hooked. Since then, I've ordered ribs in a variety of restaurants, from high end to budget. Then I thought, "can't I make this at home? Mum certainly did."

I scoured the 'Net for recipes, coming across suggestions for slow cooking (for up to eight hours!) and barbecuing, but none grabbed me. However, a recipe by Jamie Oliver showed promise, even though it entailed putting the ribs on a hot barbecue for the last stage. I couldn't be bothered with that, and as you'll see, I wasn't so fussed about following the recipe to the letter: just as long as I had ribs and coleslaw on my plate, I would be happy.

I started with the coleslaw. This is from the how to make perfect coleslaw page in the Guardian newspaper: as you'll see, there are a variety of suggestions on what achieves perfection. I took:


some sweetheart cabbage leaves
a portion of a savoy cabbage
one carrot
three spring onions
one teaspoon of salt
one teaspoon of caster sugar
one tablespoon of white wine vinegar
four tablespoons of mayonnaise
one tablespoon of horseradish sauce

I sliced and diced the cabbages and shredded the carrot with a peeler before placing them in a colander, which I then placed in a bowl. Adding the salt, sugar and vinegar to the sliced vegetables, I tossed them all for a few moments before leaving the lot to drain into a bowl (you can use the sink), undisturbed for an hour.

For the ribs, I took:

a rack of pork ribs
olive oil
salt and pepper
two green chillies
150ml apple juice
100ml white wine vinegar
two tablespoons of tomato sauce
one tablespoon of dijon mustard
100ml soy sauce
100g soft brown sugar


The oven turned onto 200 degrees centigrade, I drizzled olive oil on the ribs then sprinkled salt and pepper over that before rubbing it all into the ribs. I then put the rest of the ingredients into a pan and turned on the heat, stirring until the sugar had melted then simmered for ten minutes. I poured the resulting marinade over the ribs, before covering the cooking dish in foil and placing in the oven for an hour and a half. I basted the ribs every half hour.

I squeezed the rest of the liquid out of the vegetables after an hour then put the whole lot in a bowl, adding the chopped spring onions, mayonnaise and horseradish sauce. I then mixed them around like a maniac. I let the ribs cook uncovered for the last half hour then brought them out to meet their accompaniment.

Getting there...

As for the marinade, I wasn't too sure. It had come into contact with raw meat (boo! Throw it away) but it had been cooking for over an hour (hooray! Serve it with the ribs). The first time, I did cook the remnants on the hob for five minutes, which made an amazing sauce, but this second time I couldn't be bothered and threw the lot away. The sauce that stuck to the ribs was good enough.


The result? A fabulous rack of ribs with coleslaw as back up. A rack could normally manage three servings, so one can work out how many to cook for a certain amount of people. It certainly lasted me a few days, happily.

(* respect to Eric B. and Rakim's I Know You Got Soul ['Cos I'll be in the kitchen if you ain't controlling' it: drop the colander, you shouldn't be holding it... oh, I give up.])

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