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Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

These are a nice spin on regular sausage roll. Great for a snack with some ketchup.

Sausage rolls with barberries & dill – makes 16

  • 370g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 350g sausagemeat
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 15g dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried barberries
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Put all of the filling ingredients into a large bowl. Season generously with maldon salt and black pepper, then mix with your hands for a couple of minutes until evenly combined.

Divide the puff pastry sheet in two, lengthways.

Divide the sausage mixture in two, then form two long sausages, almost the same length as the pastry strips. Place a sausage in the middle of each piece of pastry. Brush one edge of the pastry with egg, then fold the pastry edges over to enclose the sausage. The beaten egg will help to seal them.

Turn the rolls over so the seam is underneath, then cut each roll into 8 pieces.

Transfer to the baking tray and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, then bake in the hot oven for 22-25 minutes or until well browned. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving with some ketchup if you like.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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A nice pasta with unusual flavours. Use good-quality Italian sausages for this if you can find them.

Wine Suggestion: As this dish is full-flavoured we’d suggest a full flavoured white like Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, which has a wonderful Californian ripeness combined with a core of fresh minerality and zing from the cooling breezes and fog coming through the Petaluma Gap each day. The subtle oak gives a lovely texture which helps matching this dish too.

Pasta with fennel, sausage and courgette – serves 4

  • 3 good-quality pork sausages (we like Italian sausages)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ small fennel bulb, trim off any green bits and chop finey, reserve any fronds to garnish
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g rigatoni pasta
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 1 medium-large courgete, grated
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)

Take the skins off the sausages and crumble them into small chunks. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the sausages until browned and crispy, breaking the lumps up with a wooden spoon. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the fennel, onion and garlic to the sausage fat in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. You can add a splash of water if it starts to stick.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the timings on the pack. Drain but reserve a mugful of the cooking water.

Return the frying pan to the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, mascarpone, grated courgette and a splash of pasta cooking water. Bubble for 2 minutes, then stir in the cooked pasta and sausages. Season, then serve garnished with fennel fronds, pine nuts and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Apricots are good value now and will only be around for a short time but you could also use a tin of apricots for this when they’re no longer available. You will need to brine the pork the day before you want to cook but it’s a very simple process so don’t let that put you off and the result is worth the effort.

Wine Suggestion: It’s very humid and warm in Dublin, though with very little sunshine this summer, so we’re drinking more whites and Rosé. Tonight was no different with a Grenache Blanc – Grenache Gris blend from 100 year old vines; the Domaine of the Bee Field of the Bee. Capturing the southern French sunshine this feels like stepping back in time with hints of garrigue and wild herbs, while keeping a view on the future with a vibrant freshness and purity.

Barbecued pork with apricots – serves 4

  • 50g sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp treacle
  • 4 large pork chops
  • 6 ripe apricots, halved

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • a big handful of coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp honey

Make the brine by pouring 250ml of boiling water into a jug, then adding the salt, sugar and treacle and stirring until dissolved. Top up with cold water to get 500ml, then leave to cool completely.

Cut a few slashes through the fat on each pork chop. Place them into a freezer bag and pour over the cold brine. Tie the bag tightly and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

Make the sauce by putting the oil, lime zest and juice, coriander and garlic to a bowl and whisk together well. Season and add the honey to taste. Set aside.

Get the barbecue hot.

Drizzle a little oil over the cut sides of the apricots. Drain the pork and discard the brine, then pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle a little oil over these too.

Grill the pork and apricots on the barbecue, turning often. Serve the pork with the apricots alongside and the sauce drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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Pork ribeyes are a bit of revelation for us but they’re excellent on the barbecue and also good value. You cook them low and slow first, then a fast sear at the end. This will give you tender meat with a good browned crust on the outside. You will need a meat thermometer – they’re not expensive and an essential piece of equipment for cooking outside. You also want to start this the day ahead so you can season the meat the whole way through.

Wine Suggestion: We were treated to a gem from the cellar of our friends David & Joyce. The Domaine Tempier Bandol 2006 was at it’s absolute peak. Fresh as a daisy with velvety layers of plums and sloes and a deep, earthy bass note with touches of leather, tobacco and gentle spices. The forceful tannins from the Mourvèdre tamed by time into a silky texture allowing the fruit to emerge.

Barbecued pork ribeye steaks with mushrooms & tarragon sauce – serves 4 generously

  • 4 pork ribeye steaks, about 300g each
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt
  • 10g dried mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 175ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 20g fresh tarragon leaves, picked and chopped

Sprinkle the pork steaks all over with the salt and place on a rack over a tray. Leave uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours (or for as long as you’ve got).

When ready to cook you need to set up the barbecue for both direct and indirect heating. This means piling up the charcoal on just one side. You can then put the meat on the opposite side (without charcoal underneath) and cover with the lid to cook indirect – this will cook the meat slowly. When you want to finish over a high heat, you transfer the meat to the other side.

Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soak until soft, then finely chop the mushrooms and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside.

Put the pork steaks on the opposite side to the charcoal and allow them to cook gently for 30-40 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 50C.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan and add the fresh mushrooms. Fry until soft, then add the garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the wine and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid. Allow to bubble until the liquid is almost completely reduced, then add the cream, tarragon and seasoning. Allow to heat through, then cover with a lid and set aside.

Remove the steaks to a plate and, if you need to, add a bit more charcoal to the barbecue to get it super hot again. Then sear the steaks over a really high heat, with the lid off, turning them every 30 seconds until really well browned. Keep cooking like this on the internal temperature ahas reached 63C for medium or 71C for well done.

Warm the sauce a little if you need, then serve the steaks with the sauce poured over. Potatoes and green veg are good on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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This makes a delicious weeknight dinner. Serve with some greens on the side.

Wine Suggestion: really nice with a dry, artisan cider like the Cockagee keeved cider from Slane. This retains a natural sweetness when first brewed but when aged and because of the apples used it ends up being full bodied and dry with a great bittersweet twist. A cider for food like some of the Breton ciders we’ve tried in France in past years

Baked pork & parsnips – serves 4

  • 4 large parsnips (about 500g), peeeled and cut lengthways into 6
  • 2 red onions, each cut into 8 wedge through the root
  • 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ wholegrain mustard
  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 ½ clear honey
  • small handful of sage leaves

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Put the veg into a large roasting tin, season and toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the mustard. Roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a high heat. Season the pork chops and rub with the last ½ tbsp of oil. Fry for 30 seconds on each side or until just browned – turn onto the sides too to brown any fat.

Stir the veg, then put the chops on top and rub with the rest of the mustard. Roast for another 15 minutes, then drizzle with the honey and scatter over the sage. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, then serve with the pan juices.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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We’re pretty sure we saw somewhere that Polpo, a cookbook by Russell Norman, has just turned ten years old which inspired us to get it out and cook something. We served these, at Russell’s suggestion, with some home-made focaccia but pasta would be good too. It’s an excellent tomato sauce to use for other purposes too.

Wine Suggestion: Given the Italian inspiration to this dish we had to open something to match. The cherry and berry flavours in Pico Maccario’s Barbera Tre Roveri really sing alongside the anise-fennel flavours and the wild herb, leather and truffle flavours lend a base note to the whole dish. Bravo!

Spicy pork & fennel polpette – serves 6

  • 1.5kg pork mince
  • 3 medium eggs (we only had large, all was well)
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • a large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 20g fennel seeds, lightly toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
  • ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ tbsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • a small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

Make the tomato sauce first, up to a few days in advance if you like.

Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli flakes for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and continue to cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, bring to a gentle bubble and simmer over a low heat for 1 hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped oregano. Now taste and season if it needs a litle sweetness (we find it usually does). Blitz with a stick blender until smooth and you can also pass through a fine sieve if you would like it more passata textured (we don’t tend to bother).

Now make the meatballs. Heat the oven to 220C/Gas 8.

Put the pork mince, eggs, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix together well with your hands. Roll in 45g balls and place on a greased baking tray, then roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Meanwhile, bring your tomato sauce up to a gentl simmer. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and poach for 10 minutes. Serve with some lightly toasted focaccia or pasta or whatever else you fancy.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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It’s Chinese New Year tomorrow so we thought we’d post some dinner inspiration for the year of the tiger. This is a good crowd-pleaser and definitely better than take-away. It’s simple too, just prep everything before you get your wok on.

Wine Suggestion: an umami laden southern-French red, like the schist laden Domaine Cébène Faugères à la Venvole. Textural and velvety Grenache with hints of Syrah plums and gravelly Carignan; loads of flavour but not too much weight.

Pork chow mein – serves 4

  • 500g pork fillet
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 200g dried medium egg noodles
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin or dry sherry
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into very thin strips
  • 25g fresh ginger, peeled and very finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 225g tin water chestnuts, drained and sliced

Trim any fat and sinew off the pork, then cut in half lengthways and cut into thin slices. Put into a bowl and add the five-spice powder, ½ tsp sea salt and black pepper, then set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles acording to the pack instructions, then drain and rinse in a sieve under running water until cold, then toss with a 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and set aside.

Mix the sugar and cornflour together in a bowl and gradually stir in the soy sauce, mirin and 100ml water, then set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wok. Add the pork and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes or until browned. Scoop out and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil and stir-fry the pepper and carrot for 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, scallions, peas and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes more until just softened, then scoop out onto a plate.

Pour the last tbsp of oil into the wok and add the noodles. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until some have turned crispy and brown. Add the meat and veg back into the work and toss everything together for 1-2 minutes, or until well mixed and hot.

Stir the soy and mirin mixture again and pour it into the pan. Continue tossing for 1-2 minutes or until hot and glossy. Serve straightaway.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts by Si King and Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

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This is great for using up leftover cooked rice. We also had some leftover char siu pork which was delicious chopped up and stirred through.

Wine Suggestion: This calls for an easy style of Grüner Veltliner, like Forrest Estate’s version from Marlborough NZ. Maybe not quite the same as Austrian versions but very pleasurable nonetheless.

Chinese-style fried rice – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 225g shelled raw prawns
  • 120ml groundnut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 800g cooked rice, it needs to be cooked at least a few hours in advance
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced, separate the green and white parts
  • 225g cooked ham or pork, diced
  • 225g frozen peas
  • 1½ tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 30-45ml stock

FOR THE PRAWN MARINADE:

  • a pinch of salt
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • ½ egg white

Devein the prawns and cut into 2cm pieces. Pat dry with kitchen paper and put into a bowl.

Make the marinade for the prawns by mixing the salt, cornflour and egg white together. Stir into the prawns to coat evenly, then leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Heat a wok until smoking. Add 2 tbsp of the oil, give it a swirl, then add the garlic. As soon as it starts to colour, add the prawns, stirring to separate with a metal spoon for about 30 seconds or until almost cooked and turning pink. Add the Shaoxing wine and as soon as the sizzling calms down, scoop out the prawns and set aside. You will now need to wash and dry your wok.

Lightly beat the eggs with 1 tbsp of the oil and a pinch of salt. Heat a large frying pan until hot, add 1 tbsp of the oil and tip the pan to coat the surface. Pour in half the beaten egg and tip the spread to the edges. When set, turn over and fry for a few seconds on the other side. Remove to a plate and slice into thin strips.

Break up any lumps in the cooked rice. Blanch the peas in boiling salty water for a few minutes, then drain well.

Reheat the wok over a high heat until smoking. Add the remaining 4 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the white parts of the scallions, pour in the rest of the beaten egg, then immediately add the rice. Turn and toss the rice with a metal spoon scooping up the raw egg from the bottom of the wok.

When the rice is hot, add the ham or pork, then stir in the peas and prawns. Finally add the soy sauce and stock, stirring all the time.

Add the green parts of the scallions, then tip out onto a platter and garnish with the strips of egg.

(Original recipe from Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook, by Yan-Kit So, DK, 1984.)

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This is really two separate recipes but they go so well together that we strongly suggest making both. As this is essentially a dry dish, rice on the side is good but the fresh salad really makes it.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with a velvety Pinot Noir like Andre Dezat’s Sancerre Rouge, or Cline’s Sonoma Coast Pinot. The juicy fruit and lightness of expression plays wonderfully with the layers of spice, sourness, sweetness and charred flavours these dishes offer without overwhelming them, and without too many dry tannins which could fight the dish.

Char siu pork with a chilli, coriander & mint salad – serves 4

  • 2 pork fillets (tenderloins), trimmed of fat and sinew

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

FOR THE CHILLI, CORIANDER & MINT SALAD:

  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, halved lengthways, sliced, then finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½-1 tsp palm or caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cos lettuce, cut into thick strips
  • ¼ cucumber, seeds scooped out and discarded and sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • a large handful of coriander leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves

First make the marinade for the pork. Put the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the pork fillets into a large container with half the cooled marinade, keep the rest for cooking the pork. Rub the marinade into the pork and leave for at least 2-3 hours, or ideally overnight, in the fridge.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 230C/Gas 8.

Remove the pork from the marinade (don’t throw the marinade away) and place them on a wire rack over a foil-lined roasting tray.

Roast the pork in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 190C/Gas 5. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, turning and basting with the reserved mainade every 5 minutes, until cooked. You can finish the pork on a hot barbecue for the last 5 minutes of cooking to get a nice barbecue flavour or under a hot grill.

Leave the pork to rest for 5 minutes, before slicing.

To make the salad, put 1 tbsp of the lime juice into a small bowl with the soy sauce, sugar and oil. Add the chilli, garlic, lemongrass and ginger and whisk to combine. Taste and add more lime or sugar if needed.

Put the lettuce, cucumber, scallions, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately with the sliced pork and some steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire MacDonald & Jenny Stringer, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2013.)

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Creamy Pork & Pears

As I type I realise that we’re cooking with fruit more than we usually do. Perhaps Autumn is always like this. This super simple dish is good for mid-week. Serve with greens and potatoes or just some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: With the cider and pears this demands a full-flavoured Chenin Blanc, like a good Vouvray or Saumur Blanc where the richer elements complement each other, and then the backbone of acidity elevates it to reveal the fruit flavours even more. One of our favourites, the Chateau du Hureau Saumur Blanc Argile; especially if you can find one with a couple years on it.

Creamy Pork & Pears – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g pork fillet, cut into strips
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a handful of sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml apple cider
  • 2 medium pears, cored and each cut into 8 slices
  • 100ml double cream

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, over a high heat.

Season the pork with salt and pepper, then fry in batches for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add another tbsp of oil and the onions. Cook for 8 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the sage and flour, stir and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat again, then pour in the cider and bubble for 4 minutes. Return the pork and any juices to the pan, seaon, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the pear slices and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir through the cream and bring to a bubble, then season again and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We were initially attracted to this as it is marinated in Riesling, a favoured grape in our house, plus the unusual combination of three meats plus bacon. Classically country French in style, this has no airs or graces in appearance, but is jam packed full of flavour and richness. It serves loads of people and we’d suggest having a side of greens. Also, like many other long cooked stews this tastes great the following day and freezes well.

Wine Suggestion: Courtesy of a very generous friend who came to dinner, we were treated to a delightful comparison of two old bottles of Rene Rostaing’s Côte Rôtie: the La Landonne and Côte Blonde. Both an excellent match to the dish and lovely wines. The Côte Blond was the favoured bottle, but both showed very well. We’d recommend searching for a good Syrah if something of this calibre doesn’t come to hand. Thanks David for these bottles!

Alsatian beef, lamb and pork stew – serves 8-10

  • 750g boneless pork belly, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 750g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 750g chuck steak, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 250g carrots, sliced
  • 2 leeks, cut in half lengthways, washed and sliced
  • 500ml Sylvaner or Riesling white wine
  • 2 kg potatoes, sliced into 5mm thick rounds
  • 100g unsmoked bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 250ml beef stock
  • a handful of flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

Place all of the meat (but not the bacon), onions, carrots and leeks in a large non-metallic bowl and pour over the wine. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C.

Arrange a quarter of the sliced potatoes over the base of a very large casserole dish.

Drain the meat and veg in a colander over a bowl and reserve the liquid.

Scatter some veg over the potatoes, then add som bacon pieces and chunks of meat. Season with salt and black pepper, then add another layer of potato, more veg, bacon, meat and seasoning. Keep layering like this and finsih with a final layer of potatoes. Don’t be tempted to hold back on the salt as the dish needs liberal seasoning (about 2tsp in total).

Pour over the reserved marinade juices and beef stock, then cover the casserole with a tight lid and put in the oven.

Bake for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019.)

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You need to start this the day before but it’s surprisingly easy and the results are amazing. A great barbecue dish to serve a crowd and most of the work is done beforehand. Ours was too big to fit in the oven so we sliced it into two which made it much more manageable.

Wine Suggestion: Quite often we’d suggest a wine with good acidity to cut through the richness of this dish, and we wouldn’t be wrong, with a number od Chardonnays coming to mind. However, instead of cutting through the richness we tried accentuating it and playing with the phenolics (white wine tannins) and drank Jean-Michel Gerin’s La Champine Viognier from the Northern Rhône valley. Grown on vineyards above Condrieu this is accessible and yet still heady, slightly oily and rich with stone fruit flavours and character. It always pays to think outside the box every now and again.

Fennel and ‘Nduja Spiced Porchetta – serves 6 to 8

  • 3kg belly of pork, boned and skin scored and butterflied, your butcher will do this for you

FOR THE SEASONING:

  • 3 tsp salt
  • 50g fennel seeds
  • 25g cracked black pepper
  • 10 sage leaves

FOR THE STUFFING:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 100g pine nuts, toasted
  • 100g pitted green olives, sliced
  • 175g ‘nduja

Make the sfuffing first as you need to leave it to cool. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions and fennel for about 10 minutes or until softened and golden brown, add the garlic after about 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts, olives and ‘nduja and warm through briefly. Spoon onto a tray and leave to cool.

Lay the pork skin side down on a board and open up flat.

To make the seasoning, mix the the salt, fennel seeds and cracked pepper together in a bowl. Sprinkle the rub evenly over the pork and scatter the sage leaves on top. Fold the belly over to enclose the seasoning, then cover and chill for an hour in the fridge.

Lay the pork belly back onto the board and open up to expose the seasoning. Spread the stuffing evenly over the surface, leaving a border at the edges.

Roll the meat up tightly and tie with kitchen string at 4cm intervals, starting in the middle. You need to tie it firmly but careful not to squeeze out the stuffing. Put onto a tray and leave overnight in the fridge. If your pork is too big you can carefully slice through the middle to give two pieces.

The next day, take the pork out the fridge at least 1 hour before you want to start cooking.

Preheat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C/Gas 3.

Put the pork onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for 3½ hours.

Near the end of the cooking time, get your barbecue on and get it ready to cook on. Transfer the pork to the barbecue and cook for another hour. Roll it over onto the fat side at the end to crisp up the crackling. Transfer to a platter and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes, then carve into thick slices.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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These ribs are cooked in the oven before going on the barbecue so they are meltingly tender. They go great with some coleslaw and a jacket potato.

Drink suggestion: As this dish has a sweetness to it we looked to a lager with a bit of bitterness instead. Taking the recommendation by Justin from our local store (Sweeneys D3) of the Samuel Adams Boston Lager, this was deeply smooth and complex, with a well-balanced hoppy bitterness and clean, lingering finish. The hints of malt added a hint of sweetness which helped accentuate the pork flavours, so well suggested. A beer we’d overlooked for no apparent reason, but one we’ll revisit again.

Barbecued pork ribs – serves 4

  • 2 racks of baby back pork ribs, trimmed and sinew removed
  • 330ml can of beer

FOR THE SPICE RUB:

  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked paparika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

FOR THE BARBECUE SAUCE:

  • 100ml American mustard
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar

Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a bowl, then lay the ribs in a large roasting dish and massage all over with the rub.

Pour the can of beer into the roasing tin and cover with foil. Leave to marinate for an hour or so but make sure they’re back to room temperature before you start cooking.

Preheat your oven to 150C/130C fan, then put the roasting tin with the ribs in to bake for 2 hours. Leave to cool slightly.

Make the sauce by putting the mustard, honey, bourbon, cider vinegar and brown sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir to melt the sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.

When you’re ready to eat, put the ribs onto a hot barbecue and allow to colour for a couple of minutes on each side. Use a pastry brush to glaze the ribs with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. When the sugar starts to caramelise, brush them again and barbecue for another couple of minutes until thoroughly glazed.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking By Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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We don’t make a roast dinner every week but we do like one occasionally, especially in the brighter months when you can lighten them up a bit with some spring veg. Ask your butcher to score the pork skin for you, then leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, which will help with the crispy crackling.

Wine suggestion: Quite often we have an oaky white with roast pork but tonight we had a notion for red and a 6 year old Olga Raffault Chinon Les Pucasses which was just hitting it’s stride and will be drinking nicely for another 10 years we think. Deep , complex and brooding and yet the limestone soils give it an immediate freshness and vivacity.

Roast pork belly with herbs & new potatoes – serves 4

  • 3-4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg thick end of pork belly, bone in, skin completely dry (see above)
  • 300g new potatoes
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of peas or broad bean tops if available (we didn’t have these but we served with some double podded broad beans instead)
  • juice of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind. Score the skin and fat (but not the flesh) of the pork with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn’t done this for you already.

Put the pork into a roasting tray and rub allover with the crushed fennel seeds and some salt.

Put the pork into the oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin, then reduce the heat to 160C/315F/Gas 2-3. Add half a glass of water to the tray and roast for a further 2 hours, until crispy and tender. You will need to keep checking the water and ensuring that the pan doesn’t dry out.

While the pork is roasting, halve the potatoes if they’re big and put into a saucepan with the mint stalks. Cover with salty water and simmer until just tender, then drain and return to the pan, discarding the mint stalks. Add the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Remove the cooked pork from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Add the chopped herbs to the potatoes and stir gently to coat, then spoon onto a warm platter. Slice the pork and arrange on the platter with the potatoes, then skim the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and spoon the juices over the pork and potatoes,.

If you have pea or bean tops, put them into a bowl and dress with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter these over the pork and serve. (We dressed our broad beans with some olive oil and lemon and served these alongside instead).

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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This is nice soup for Spring. It’s filling and definitely tastes better by the second or third day. Ham hocks are still cheap, despite becoming a bit trendy, and they make a great stock. 

Ham hock, pea & scallion soup – serves 6

  • 800g uncooked ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves, scrunched
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 200g frozen peas (or fresh if you have them)
  • 100g small pasta shapes, cooked as per timings on the pack
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Put the ham into a large, deep saucepan and cover with enough cold water to just cover, then bring to the boil. Drain, then refill the pan with fresh water, adding the bay and peppercorns. Bring the pan up to the boil again, skim off any froth, then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, or until the ham is tender the whole way through when pierced with a skewer. 

Remove the ham from the liquid and set aside. Add the peas to the stock and cook for a minute until tender (5 minutes if using fresh peas). Add the cooked pasta and leave on the heat. 

While the peas are cooking, heat the butter in a small pan over a medium heat and fry the scallions and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add to the stock along with the parsley. 

Shred the cooked ham from the bone, removing any skin and excess fat, then add to the soup. Season generously with salt and pepper and add a spritz of lemon juice if you like. 

(Original recipe from Home Cookery Year by Claire Thompson, Quadrille, 2020.)

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Every now and again we take one of Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries off the shelf for a bit of inspiration, and this is what we chose from the February chapter. We like Nigel’s recipes as they’re tasty but rarely require too much shopping. We served this with rice, a few greens on the side would be nice too.

Wine Suggestion: A dry, or just off-dry Alsace Pinot Gris or similar. Tonight Zind Humbrecht’s Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire from the Clos Windsbuhl has all the texture and layers of fruit we were looking for and more; superb.

Pork with garlic & oyster sauce – serves 2

  • 5 tbsp of flavourless oil, we use groundnut oil
  • 350g pork fillet, cubed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 small hot red chillies, two chopped finely with the seeds left in and two left whole
  • 150g mushrooms, roughly sliced
  • 3 heaped tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Heat your wok until very hot.

Add 2 tbsp of the oil and when it starts to smoke, add half the meat. Toss, until browned then remove to a plate and brown the rest.

Add the remaining oil to the wok and heat until smoking hot, then add the garlic, shallots and chillies. Toss for a minute or two until starting to colour. Add the mushrooms and continue to fry until they are soft and starting to colour, then return the meat to the pan. When the meat is hot, stir in the oyster sauce and Shaoxing wine and bring to the boil.

Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for a couple of minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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Here’s a quick fix for midweek. Really tasty and super simple to put together, so you can focus on your online shopping.

Wine Suggestion: Go for an earthy Tempranillo that hasn’t got too much extraction (big tannins!) but still has nice fruit. A Rioja Crianza should give the right balance, some blackberries and strawberries, some tannins but not too much, and only a touch of spices that develop with age. Our choice tonight the Paco Garcia Crianza.

Pork and Paprika Rice – serves 2

  • 2 pork chops, trimmed of fat
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200g paella rice
  • 100ml dry sherry
  • 400ml stock
  • 200g tin butter beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Rub the pork with the paprika and season generously.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the pork chops on one side, until browned, then turn over and add the onion and tomato purée. Fry together for 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice, then add the sherry and cook for 1 minute before adding the stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is just cooked.

Add the beans and parsley, season well, then stand for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, November 2013.)

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A recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi published in the Guardian last October. We were looking for a recipe to use a pork belly joint and this was suitably Autumnal. A rich and complex dish that was full of flavour and umami textures. We put the pork under the grill at the end to crisp the crackling up. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: try a youthful and finely textured Shiraz/Syrah with this dish. Nothing too powerful and rich, avoid burly tannins and look for refinement and persistence on the finish. Two suggestions are the Parker Coonawarra Shiraz from Australia, or the Jerome Coursodon St Joseph Silice. Neither are the top wine from their respective wineries, and both are youthful, but the combination of attention to detail in the vineyard and winery mean that they have the quality of their siblings but aren’t as concentrated and taught … making them so enjoyable in youth. And that is what this dish needs.

Roast pork belly with apple, soy & ginger – serves 4

  • 1 whole boneless pork belly joint (800-900g)
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 40g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 90ml soy sauce
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml unsweetened apple juice (we used Llewellyn’s Premium Irish Apple Juice)
  • 70ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 medium Pink Lady apples, cored and cut into quarters
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 185C/165 fan/gas 4½.

Use a sharp knife to score the pork skin in a diamond patter, your butcher will happily do this for you. Rub a teaspoon of sea salt flakes into the skin and push it into the slashes.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over a medium heat, then fry the onion for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, star anise and bay leaves, and cook until lightly coloured, about 3 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, stock, apple juice, vinegar, sugar and black peppercorns and bring to a simmer.

Take the dish off the heat and set the pork on top, making sure not to get the skin wet.

Put the dish into the hot oven and roast for 90 minutes, then remove and arrange the apples around the pork. Stir to coat them in the liquid but careful not to get the skin wet. Return to the oven for 30 minutes or until the pork is crispy and golden (if you need it to crisp up a bit, put it on a tray and flash briefly under the grill).

Lift the pork out onto a board and rest for 15-20 minutes before carving into 1½-thick slices. Spoon the apple mixture into a large serving dish and lay the pork on top. Sprinkle with the scallions to serve.

(Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in the Guardian, 12 October 2019)

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Barbecued Pork Chops with Mustardy Greens

The veg really make this dish and all in season right now. Blanch all the vegetables individually before you get going with everything else and cook them until just done, then drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop them cooking further.

Wine Suggestion: chosen for no other reason than it was in the fridge –  a bottle of Olim Bauda Gavi di Gavi which we found a little fuller than other Gavi we’ve had recently and a good match. A fortuitous choice.

Barbecued pork chops with mustardy greens – serves 2

  • a knob of butter
  • a small onion, sliced
  • 75ml white wine
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 2 thick-cut pork chops
  • 75g mangetout, blanched
  • 75g green beans, blanched
  • a handful of peas, blanched

When you get home from the butchers, take the pork chops out of their wrapping and season all over with fine sea salt (we use kosher salt). Leave in the fridge but take them out a good half hour or more before you want to cook them.

Heat the knob of butter in a frying pan, then cook the onion until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute before adding the mustard and cream. Simmer for another few minutes.

Heat a barbecue to very hot. Rub the chops with oil and season generously. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Turn on the side and sear the fat also. Rest for a few minutes while you finish the veg.

Reheat the sauce and stir in the blanched vegetables until piping hot. Season, then spoon the veg onto warm plates and top with a chop.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, July 2013)

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Pork Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

A really tasty dish for the barbecue. Marinate the pork for up to 24 hours in advance if you can, or if not put the marinade on and leave out of the fridge for an hour before cooking. The peanut sauce can be made up in advance too. Good served with rice and salad. We served Sabrina Ghayour’s ‘shaken’ sweet quick pickled onions and smacked cucumber salad from her book – Bazaar.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with red wines with easier tannins and tonight we had the elegant Ex Arena by Domaine de Cebene from Faugeres in southern France. 100% Grenache, perfumed, juicy red fruits and refined finish. The fruit complimented the spices and it wasn’t too rich or heavy either.

Pork satay with spicy peanut sauce – serves 4

  • 450g pork fillet, cut into 2cm cubes

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

FOR THE SPICY PEANUT SAUCE:

  • 3 generous tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ red chilli, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 generous tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the meat and toss to coat. Set aside for at least an hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Place the peanut sauce ingredients in a food processor with 50ml of water and whiz until smooth.

Thread the pork unto metal skewers (you can use wooden skewers but you need to soak them first).

Heat the barbecue, then cook the skewers for a few minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, gently heat the peanut sauce in a small saucepan. Serve immediately with the peanut sauce spooned over.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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