Boneless Pork Shoulder Steaks, with lemon and sage gravy

Boneless Pork Shoulder Steaks, with lemon and sage gravy

Rainbows and roundabouts. That’s how it feels. When I started to blog it was merely to record recipes I had on file, and also those I might just cook in the meantime. And to push myself into photographing the results – regardless. The latter has turned out to be the most difficult aspect of photography I’ve ever tried. Partly as the light is as dull as the depths of winter right now. That aside, this is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? The fact I’m even raising doubts and questions about blogging speaks, for me, far louder than any answers could. And there isn’t, ultimately, an answer – certainly not one that I would be happy with. However, what always fascinates is the creative process behind particular recipes. Last weekend is the perfect example where I had cooked a very firm peach in a little water to test if it would be possible to go with within a dessert I’m developing. Yes, it tasted great. So, that was nonchalantly chucked in a salad I was having for sups, only to bite into a stem of rocket (arugula) with a chunk of cooked peach – seriously, who knew they were so good together? Unlike me and blogging!

Boneless Pork Shoulder Steaks, with lemon and sage gravy




  • 2 x carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 1 or 2 x celery stalks/ribs, washed, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 3 x organic garlic cloves, root end cut off and discarded, garlic kept whole
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 x teaspoon dried sage + the same again (see instructions)
  • 5 x whole black peppercorns
  • 400ml (0.84 US pt lqd) x cold water
  • 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube


  • 2 x tablespoons plain (AP) flour
  • 2 x tablespoons oil, half olive oil and sunflower
  • 1/2 x lemon, freshly juiced
  • 1 x tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 x teaspoon set honey


  • oil
  • 2 x boneless pork shoulder steaks, about 200g (7.05 oz) or more for larger portions, marinade in the lemon juice overnight or for at least a couple of hours
  • 1/2 x lemon, freshly juiced
  • 1 x tablespoon cold water



  • Add all stock ingredients to a large saucepan and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and  simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes. Set aside.
  • Before marinading the steaks rinse them and pat dry. Place them in a non reactive bowl or container and add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, pouring that through a sieve if necessary to collect pips and pith. After the steaks have marinaded put a heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 3 to seal the meat. When pan is hot add a little oil, then carefully place the steaks in. Do be careful with them at this stage as the lemon can cause the steaks to spit hot oil. Give them at least 5 minutes each side to get them golden in colour, and longer if necessary. Add the tablespoon of cold water, reduce heat to No 1, cover with a lid and cook for up to an hour, depending on the size and thickness of the steaks. When the meat starts to fall apart you’ll know it’s cooked.
  • Using a small saucepan add the oil and flour and put on heat No 1. Stir often, and if any bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool before putting back on heat to cook out the flour. Repeat this process several times, without allowing the flour to turn brown.  When flour is cooked out set aside.
  • Add the extra half teaspoon of dried sage to the stock. Put back on heat No 3 and slowly add the flour mixture, stirring constantly. With most stocks I would strain them and then continue with the gravy. This time I decided not to and go with a more rustic approach, which I’m glad of as I actually enjoyed eating the carrots and celery within the gravy itself. If making this do what you think is best. When the stock, now gravy, starts to thicken heat can be reduced to No 2. Add the sour cream and stir through. Then add the honey. My advice is not to season the gravy at this stage. Wait until it’s ready to be served before tasting and adding any seasoning as there’s already black pepper within the stock itself. When the gravy is needed pour it into the pan with the steaks and stir through slowly, trying not to break up the steaks. This will allow the gravy to darken slightly and grab all of the sediment from the pan as well, leading to a much more flavoursome gravy. At this stage do taste and add more dried sage if necessary. It’s flavour can be very pungent and overpowering so only add a pinch or two, allow to infuse before adding any more.



  • 2 – 3 x medium peaches (firm or otherwise), washed, cut in half, stone removed and discarded
  • 1 x bag rocket (arugula) leaves
  • Feta cheese, small cubes – optional
  • extra virgin olive oil – optional


  • oil
  • 300g (10.58 oz) x onions, halved, peeled, trimmed and sliced crossways into quite thin slices
  • 1 x teaspoon dark muscovado natural unrefined cane sugar
  • 300g (10.58 oz) x radish, washed, topped and tailed
  • about 8 – 12 or more x whole pitted dark Morello cherries

All measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Put a heavy-based saucepan on heat No 3 and when hot add some oil. Add the onions, put on a lid and allow at least 15 minutes to cook, stirring through very occasionally. Any signs of scorching then do reduce heat. Continue to cook, adding a little more oil if necessary, until the onions are nicely golden. Sprinkle over the sugar, stir through and lower the heat to No 1 to keep them warm.
  • If peaches are firm then do allow at least 15 – 20 minutes (if not longer, according to size) for them to cook. Simply add them to a pan with a little oil on heat No 3. Pan-fry on both sides until they start to turn golden.
  • With the radishes, put them on heat No 2 or 3 with a little oil. Pan-fry those until golden on both of their cut sides. They should be soft enough to be able to pierce with a fork.
  • Prep the rocket leaves if necessary and set aside.
  • When the salad and side are needed simply combine individually, as in salad in one bowl and side in another.
  • When steaks and gravy are cooked serve with creamy mashed potatoes and the salad and radish side.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. Don’t be discouraged, your blog is inspiring for me, your recipes,and the photography are all stellar. You make it seem effortless, which is a talent because I know you work very hard at this. I love the pork steaks and gravy, comfort food at its best and with the mashed potatoes, wonderful. Your simple peach and rocket salad is divine as is the radish and cherry saute.


    • Thanks for that. If WP actually worked properly, instead of driving me up the proverbial wall backwards, I probably would still enjoy blogging. As it is I’m merely going ahead headless.
      – The salad and radish side were good. The latter I’m going to try with pinto beans or something. Not sure yet. They’re surprisingly spicy with a nice crunch when pan-fried. As for the gravy, it started out as difficult. Then, came together right at the last moment – delish!


  2. Sounds like you’re having a rather frustrating week of it… but just wanted to say that I agree whole-heartedly with apuginthekitchen’s comment that your blog is always inspirational and each aspect so well thought out and beautifully presented. It really is such a pleasure to read! Your dish looks delicious too by the way and those caramelised peaches… superb!


    • Ah, this weeks connection problems have been exasperating. However, the probs with WP have been going on and on – ad infinitum. If there was another platform that was more stable I’d be using it. Hours are literally wasted trying to upload photos. Which is why I very seldom bother with step-by-step. It’s just not worth the aggro. And the only web site not to load properly, if at all, the past few days? WP :/
      – Yes, the pan-fried peaches are superb! I learnt that from . Really good way of using unripe peaches or nectarines. So good with salads.


  3. What browser do you use J? For me, the ‘gremlins’ in WP mostly (correction: very often!!!) appear when I’m using Internet Explorer, whereas I’ve never had any problems with Google Chrome or Firefox. If you’re using Explorer, I’d suggest downloading one of the other browsing engines as it might help with the text problems etc. As for the quality of your work? I definitely agree that your photography, styling etc is always impeccable, regardless of the difficulties you’re experiencing. Don’t get disheartened! Hopefully your summer sunshine will hit soon and you’ll have plenty of natural light to play with! (by the way, this pork dish looks amazing)


    • Disheartened, no. Disillusioned, always. Bored with WP right now? OMG-don’t-even-start-me!
      – I’m using up-to-date versions of both F and GC, both open simultaneously and uploading differing photos. Within both photos upload 100% and end up not getting crunched. I don’t have the same problem with uploading to Flickr – only ever WP. 99% of the time photos won’t upload, and I’m only trying to upload file sizes of around 450 px!?!
      – Interesting to find out from two Mac users, neither of whom are experiencing problems. Ah, call me cynical but Pinterest only very recently started working properly on GC. Before it would only load using IE. Supply and demand preferable for Mac users, then? Suppose so.
      – If WP had improved over the last six months then I would care less. It hasn’t. Stalemate. Super yawn!


      • Hm, I need to add that I’m also a Mac user (MacBook Pro, I can’t remember the specs). My husband has a desktop PC with IE and I experience all problems with WP on there. I’m not going to tell you to buy a Mac (argh!) but you’re possibly right… they may be investing more of their time into developing the software to suit the growing community of Mac users. Sorry to hear that these problems have remained unresolved for so long!! 😦


        • Ah, you Mac users – always to blame! No, interesting though that Mac users aren’t experiencing the same problems that have haunted me for months now. Going to read up on pros and cons of other platforms as it’s just not possible that I’m going to encounter the same mundane probs with a differing one that I’m having to deal with here on a regular basis.
          – And, no! I’m not likely to buy a Mac. I’ve tried typing on several differing Macs, including books, and I can’t touch-type without the backspace key! And writing is ultimately of more importance for me.


          • Definitely understand your reasoning for not joining the Mac trend Johnny. We bought a Mac as my husband is an animator (Macs have fantastic graphics capabilities) and I also dabble in art stuff. Hope that you manage to fix the issues with your present computer. I think I would’ve given up out of frustration if I’d had as much difficulty as you 😦 Complain loudly to WP, I say!!


            • Don’t even think it’s the fault of WP. Things, as you know, are changing so fast online these days it’s impossible to keep up. What with the continual bombardment of updates I’m surprised I’m not even greyer than I am!
              – Going through a process of changing and tweaking – which I love to do. I’ve put off certain things, like changing the banner to reflect seasons (until today), as I’ve been so bogged down with trying to sort out issues. Perhaps if I sorted priorities I’d look less like Anne Widicome.


  4. Peach in salad sounds right up my street! Have been meaning to tell you for ages that I really admire that you make your own gravy. I love gravy but never make it myself (even though I own a special cookbook for it…). I tend to have gravy when I’m invited at my parents, or when I eat out. Maybe making gravy should go on my to do list…


    • As it sounds like you enjoy gravy then I would definitely recommend your trying it as it’s a lot easier than most people think. I used to always have a canister of instant veg gravy in my cupboards until I realised just how easy it is to make from scratch. So flavourful, even if meat isn’t involved. And usually fairly nutritional.


  5. I´m lucky I haven´t had goblins (fingers crossed), though on one hand I probably haven’t been in this long enough to be graced (or disgraced) by such experiences. On the other hand fortunately I have a Macbook and use Safari. I dont know if that has anything to do with it, because my (evergrowing) geekiness has not reached that point yet… I can tell you though that ever since I discovered your blog I love it (definitely one of my favourites) and I dont see weird things when I look at it. On the other hand I dont know what fonts etc are supposed to be here. Your pork looks fantastic by the way.
    PS I made a dinner the other night inspired by one of your recent salmon posts. If the pictures are acceptable I´ll post it!


    • Thanks for your comment. Interesting that neither you nor Connor, both Mac users, are experiencing the same problems. The probs I have to put up with every time I want to blog on here have been going on and on for months now. With absolutely no improvement, nor respite. It’s become a chore, to say the least.
      – Hope your photos are okay to go with. If they are I’m looking forward to your post 🙂


  6. Hi Johnny, I use Chrome on a Mac and I never have any of the problems you mention. I do have a few with spammers and such like but uploading never causes an issue nor does type management. Could the upload difficulties be either connection speed or browser? On the fonts etc, could it be the theme?
    Stick with it.


    • Interesting that both you and Sofia are Mac users and not having the same problems. I suspect certain sites are aiming for the I pad, phone and tablet users rather than anyone else (Pinterest has only recently started to load properly using Google Chrome). As for uploading, ever since WP changed their Add Media feature the problems for me have become even worse. Yet, I don’t have the same difficulties with uploading the same photos to Flickr – go figure that one.
      – No pun intended, but if you can get your hands on finger chillies they really are the best I’ve had the chance of cooking with. They’re far more consistent in their heat, with a Scoville rating of 50,000. Both M and T superstores sell them over here.


    • I’d love to find out how you cooked yours so we could compare. As gravies go this was a toughie, in that it didn’t taste as if it was going to be good until near the end of cooking time. In fact, I thought it was going to be my first gravy disaster!


      • sorry to reply so late. I marinated my pork in a dash of white wine, a dash of lemon, 2 sprigs of rosemary and a few cloves of garlic. Then I tossed it in the oven – mine has a cool function that will brown the meat first and then reduce the temperature down to the chosen cooking heat, and cooked it low for a good while. I just thickened the juices and added some seasoning for a sauce – very minimal effort…


        • Ah, I was hoping you would have gone with a post! Presumably yours was scoffed too rapidly to even grab photos 🙂
          – Must buy in a rosemary plant as I can’t buy it cut here. Shame to keep it inside and on my window sill, though.


          • There are nights in my house when it just isn’t safe to put a camera between the food and the starving family members! A basic recount was my limit this time! I wish I could grow any herbs – but possums eat everything edible in the garden, so I am reduced to buying them… Next time I will try to provide a more impressive response!! jen


            • Hah, I bet a camera isn’t safe anywhere near your table as your food always screams, second helpings – please!
              – Have you thought about growing certain herbs indoors? All that’s needed is a south-facing window. Perhaps for next spring…


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