I have never felt this so literally as when I joined Three Sisters Bake, a café/restaurant run by Nichola, Gillian and Linsey Reith, in the picture postcard Quarrier’s Village, Renfrewshire.
We’ve tried to welcome our customers into this extended family, and to create something unique that people want to enjoy and be part of. Come for brunch and you’ll catch one of Dave the Baker’s beautiful sourdough loaves as it comes out the oven for your poached eggs. Or bring your granny for afternoon tea, where every morsel is made on the premises.
With our soul barbecue evening menu, we found that the informal, comforting, Americana-style food that got our chefs excited, also captured our customers’ interest. From our pulled pork, to the tender beef short rib with rosemary and marmalade barbecue sauce, all of our soul food dishes have to be bold, satisfying and make you feel happy.
Peering out of the kitchen window on one of our Soul Session nights is always a kick for me. The cafe is full to bursting, people have travelled from all over, through winding country roads to our sleepy little village, coming together to enjoy good company, great live music and of course, outstanding food.
Here are three recipes for our most popular dishes. Hope to see you in the cafe soon.
2 good quality chorizo sausages
oil for cooking
2 red Rooster potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 clove of garlic
¼ aubergine, cubed
¼ red chilli, deseeded
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 handful of spinach
1 pinch of smoked paprika
cracked black pepper
1kg pork shoulder cut into 2in pieces
1 cup orange juice
tortilla wraps to serve
For the marinade:
2 jalapeño peppers
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
½ tsp toasted coriander seeds
2 white onions
1 bunch coriander
1 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
For the slaw:
1 grated apple
¼ grated white cabbage
2 grated carrots
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp crème fraîche
juice of 2 limes
180g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
225g self raising flour
180g caster sugar
3 free range eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml crème fraîche
zest of 2 lemons
1 punnet of blueberries
For the icing:
150g cream cheese
75g icing sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
CHORIZO, POTATO AND SPINACH HASH
This dish is our take on sausage, egg and chips and makes a fabulous, speedy brunch treat. The natural spiced oils of the chorizo add a flavour to the potato which will well and truly kick away the Saturday morning cobwebs. When the soft creamy yolk combines with the saltiness of the chorizo and the crunch of the fried potato the dish really does become more than the sum of its parts.
1 Slice the chorizo and fry in a little oil. Add the potato to the pan and fry until crispy.
2 Add the garlic, aubergine, onion and chilli. Once the onion has softened and the aubergine is fully cooked, toss in the spinach.
3 Poach the eggs in salted water.
4 Transfer the hash to a plate and top with poached eggs.
5 Sprinkle with smoked paprika and cracked black pepper to serve.
PORK AL PASTOR WITH APPLE SLAW
This is a traditional Mexican dish and food truck staple in the US. It involves a three stage cooking method; first the pork is tenderised in the pineapple marinade which contains an enzyme that breaks down the proteins. The pork is then braised, which gives even softer, more tender meat. Finally, it’s flash fried for crispy, charred edges. The tart pineapple cuts through the fattiness of the pork and the creaminess of the apple slaw.
1 Blitz all the marinade ingredients together, rub over the pork and refrigerate for two hours.
2 Remove pork from marinade and roast for 40 minutes at 230C, Gas Mark 8 on the top shelf of the oven.
3 Add the marinade plus the cup of orange juice, cover tightly with tin foil and cook on the bottom shelf for up to four hours at 180C, Gas Mark 4 or until soft.
4 Remove and discard the outer layer and tough core of the half pineapple. Cut the flesh into chunks and fry on a hot, slightly oiled griddle pan, until the pineapple has charred lines.
5 Heat oil in a pan, throw in the pork with some of the marinade and fry until charred and crispy, adding the cooked pineapple in the final stages.
6 Combine the apple slaw ingredients in a mixing bowl until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
7 Serve the pork in a toasted tortilla with a generous helping of apple slaw.
LEMON AND BLUEBERRY CAKE
This cake makes regular appearances in the Three Sisters Bake cake cabinet and is hugely popular. With a heaped topping of blueberries, it makes a beautiful and mouth-watering centrepiece for a special event or afternoon tea.
SERVES 12-14 SLICES
1 Preheat oven to 160C, Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
2 Place the butter, flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat with a hand mixer for a few minutes until the mixture looks light and fluffy.
3 Add the crème fraîche and lemon zest and beat the mixture for another 30 seconds. Stir through two handfuls of blueberries.
4 Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
5 To make the icing beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir through.
6 Once the cake has cooled spread the icing on top and sprinkle with the remaining blueberries.