Monday, 31 October 2011

Random Recipes Round-Up - #9



... welcome, welcome, one and all to the wonderful sights, sounds and smells of Random Recipes Number Nine!... and what a month it has been.  Yes, I had the cheek to pair you off with fellow food weirdo's but look at what you all produced, you clever, talented folk...

... i'm posting early today and I know there are a couple of you who couldn't get it in in time this month, and that's cool... you can always send it to me later and i'll add it on... but now onwards and upwards... reading glasses on...

first to deliver her entry this month was Karen from Lavender and Lovage,  quickly becoming another keen favourite blog of mine, with this lovely Cream of Onion Soup from the Women's Institute Book of Favourite Recipes


Karen was teamed with Ruth from Makey-Cakey who has made this Green Bean and Parmesan Soup taken from The Soup Bible... I have this brilliant book and would have been glad of any of the recipes!


Victoria from 21st Century Urban Housewife made these Minted Peas, chosen from Jamies Ministry of Food... she didn't like them but she made them none-the-less... now that's RR dedication!


Victoria was teamed with Michael from Me, My Food and I, who made Bubble and Squeak with Bacon and Egg taken from Economy Gastronomy by Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett


Manu from Cooking Manu made this stunning Arrosto even though she doesn't eat meat, she made it anyway and gave it to the family, who loved it! The arrosto was teaken from Today You Cook by Anna Clerici and Antonella Morini


Manu was teamed with Sid from Spontaneous Euphoria who has a bit of a recipe fail when she made these adorable Orange and Ginger Satined Glass Biscuits taken from 101 Cupcakes and Small Bakes by  BBC Food


and on to the more Random of Recipes... Lucy from The KitchenMaid overcame her fear of frying and really went out guns blazing with this incredible dish of Egyptian FishBalls in Tomato Sauce taken from New Pleasures of the Jewish Table by Denise Phillips


Lucy was teamed with Gary from Exploits of a Food Nut who made this incredible Scallop, Squid and Fennel taken from James Martin's My Kitchen


next we have the self titled Alan Overlord, or RR Overlord as I like to call her, Kate from What Kate Baked who go little old me as her partner and I picked these rather nice Chocolate Florentines from Mrs Beeton's Complete Book of Cakes and Biscuits... lucky cow...


Kate was lucky enough to be teamed with the exceptionally handsome Dominic from Belleau Kitchen who made this delicious Trout with Hazelnut Butter... not quite what was chosen for him but the page next door...



Alice from Italian Inspiration cooked something she's never cooked before and she was very happy with it, as were her flat-mates... not bad for a student really... she cooked these amazing Fennel a la Grecque from the lovely Jane Grigson's Vegetable book


Alice was paired with Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen who cooked a double recipe from a double page spread with this divine Cracked Wheat Pilaff and Vegetable Curry taken from Casserole Cooking by Pamela Westland


Sarah from What I Baked This Weekend made these very unfortunate Banana Turnovers taken from the 'cheese and oil' section of Dr Oetker's German Baking Today... is Dr Oetker a fictional character like Betty Crocker?... great post, well worth a read and a chuckle


Sarah was teamed up with Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog who made  Chocolate Brazil Cookies from Green and Blacks Unwrapped a book I feel I really must purchase!


I think Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops really lucked out this month for her first ever Random Recipes challenge with this really lovely looking dis of Moroccan Meatballs with Peas that came from Just One Pot by Lindsay Bareham


and slipping in at the very last second was Vanilla Cloud's partner and blogger who's home i'd most like to visit, Susan from The Spice Garden with this rather scrummy Chocolate Sabayon Torte taken from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America.



Lou from Please Do Not Feed The Animals made these very retro but bloody lovely Creamy Coconut Ice taken from Tempted, 150 Very Wicked Desserts


Lovely Lou was paired with unlucky BrownieVille Girl, who made Haggis (yes Haggis!!)... or not haggis but Black Pudding... well it was a kind of fry-up with apples taken from the Really Useful Cookbook by Ruth Watson.


Steve, Lou's dear husband from Please Do Not Feed The Animals made this very very simple but very very delicious mint chutney taken from The New Penguin Cookery Book by Jill Norman


Camilla from Little Macaroon went out all guns blazing with this stunning crispy duck taken from Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef... glorious isn't it?


Camilla was paired with Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves who, with such utter dedication made this outstanding Chocolate and Whisky Charlotte... twice!


next we have Jean from Baking in Franglais who very bravely cooked the marathon that was Gerarda Minichiello's Meatballs taken from the Hairy Bikers Best Loved Recipes... it turned out to be two recipes, poor love, although the finished result is astounding!


Lucy from Vanilla Frost was taken way out of her comfort zone with these very cute Thai Cucumber Cups taken from Complete Thai Cooking by Carol Bowen, Cara Hobday and Sue Ashworth.


Lucy was paired with the quite bonkers Phil from As Strong As Soup who made a lovely Indonesia Satay Bread taken from Sonia Allison's Complete Bread Machines Cookbook


and now onto Gill from the excellent Tales of Pigling Bland who, even though she didn't take part last month, went out there into blog-land and found a partner who wanted to play and ended up with this rather nice Panzanella


Gill's brilliant new partner was Sarah from Scrumptious Sally who made one of my favourite breads, Pulla, taken from the Nordic Bakery.


next up we have Nicola from 41Feasts who made my least favourite thing ever Risotto Rice Pudding, taken from Nigella... looks lovely... i'm sure x


another random recipes newbie was the Cake Fairy from Cake Fairy Blog who made this lovely Banana Loaf from the Hummingbird Bakery 


Cake Fairy was paired with lovely Jac from Tinned Tomatoes who made these very sweet Richmond Maids of Honour from Delia's Vegetarian Collection


and it's with Jac and a HUGE thank you for taking part this month, that I leave you... 
... until tomorrow weary Random Recipes travellers... x

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Edible Garden - a book giveaway


last weekend I was fortunate enough to meet a food hero of mine, the very lovely Alys Fowler... she may not yet be an international food celebrity but she is most definitely an inspirational speaker and a forward thinking food-lover who I believe, any of you who are interested in food... which I assume is all of you... will find fascinating.

Alys was speaking at the Louth Riverhead Theatre as part of the Wolds Words Festival 2011. It was a very intimate affair which added to her aura of inspiration.  She trained at the Horticultural Society and Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, has worked as a journalist, an author and TV presenter on the excellent Gardeners World as well as her own show The Edible Garden in which she turns her humble suburban garden into a place which after only 6 months she can rely on to supply vegetables for her household and not have to rely on any supermarkets... a feat which i'm sure you'll agree in both honourable and enviable!

her ideas and methods are not the norm... she is an advocate of permaculture, which, in essence, is when you seed your vegetables in a big old mess in the garden, mixed with other plants and flowers instead of in neat rows of single vegetables (monoculture)... it's an excellent theory which I will be attempting next Spring... don't worry, The Viking is a HUGE fan too...!


clearly I need to read up on how to make the most of my burgeoning permaculture adventure and there can be no better help for me than reading Aly's book, The Edible Garden, packed with hints and tips, guides and know how, as well as some yummy recipes too!


Alys has very kindly given me a copy of this book as well as her brilliant new book The Thrifty Forager to give away to one lucky reader! ( I know... it's give-away heaven this month at Belleau Kitchen!)


Carrot and Sultana Tea Loaf
and in honour of her inspiration I have baked this divine and perfectly seasonal loaf... carrots freshly plucked from the soil at Gunby Hall... its a great dense loaf cake because it's not quite carrot cake yet not quite proper bread...

200g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs - separated
200g finely grated carrot (you can use pumpkin or squash if you have some around at the moment)
finely grated zest and juice of  lemon
100g sultanas
100g ground almonds
a handful of chopped walnuts
200g self-raisong flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground all-spice

- pre-heat the oven to 170c, lightly grease a large loaf tin

- beat the sugar and egg-yolks together for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy and then lightly stir in the carrots, lemon zest and juice, sultanas, walnuts and ground almonds

- then sift the flour, spice and salt into the bowl and fold them in gently

- in a large clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed - fold this very gently into the cake mixture

- pour the mixture into a loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour on until a skewer comes out clean.

so you have 3 chances to win the books:

1: leave a comment here telling me who inspires you
2: tweet the following: i've entered the @belleaukitchen Edible Garden book give-away: http://belleaukitchen.blogspot.com/ and then leave a comment here that you've done so.
3: say hi on the Belleau Kitchen facebook page and leave another comment here that you have done so.

The competition is open to an international audience.  Good Luck!

eat and of course, enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

smoothie operator - Breakfast Club


it's odd because I love a smoothie, I just never seem to make them... but they are a genius way to use up fruit that may be on the turn and they really are very fast to make... I think that in the past I would throw anything in there without thinking about compatibility but I have a feeling it can be a fine art to get something that isn't just fruit sludge and I believe the trick is not to overload with stuff just because you've got it...

this months Breakfast Club theme, hosted by Susan at Not Just Any Old Baking, is American.. and let's face it they really know how to do breakfast... many a time The Viking and I have been stateside and planned whole days around what we were going to have for breakfast and where we were going to have it!


strawberry, banana and pear smoothie
I've added pear in here as it's appropriate for the season and it's really added an extra certain something to this classic and also a teeny pinch of black pepper for a bit of hidden depth... i've added a little extra indulgence by using single cream... naughty but ever so nice.

a handful of strawberries
1 banana - roughly chopped
1 pear - peeled and chopped
a splash of fresh orange juice
a couple of glugs of fresh cream
a grind of fresh pepper

- whizz it all up and drink... did I need to tell you that?

eat and of course, enjoy!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

soups and stews are the rock gods of the culinary world!


... and you'll be seeing a lot of them from me over the coming weeks as I prepare to eat healthier on the run-up to 'pig-out week'... I think some of you may call it Christmas...

... soups are filling, tasty and best of all cheap ...especially if your veg come from someone else's garden... and they make an excellent heathy meal, storing many of your five-a-day in one pot...

carrots are the big show-stoppers at the moment but I fear they're about to have their day so i managed to get this soup in before they disappear entirely.  ive added my favourite vegetable Mr Fennel into the mix as I simply cannot get enough of that nutty aniseed taste and I roasted the whole lot before turning into a soup which has turned that flavour notch up by about a billion!

Roast Carrot, Fennel and Garlic Soup
I realise i've made a fair few orange soups over the past few weeks but this one takes the biscuit for best in flavour... it truly is an astounding bowl of orangey Autum-ness!

roughly 4 large carrots - chopped into battons
2 fennel bulbs - roughy chopped
4 garlic cloves - unpeeled
1 medium leek - chopped
1 onion - chopped
2 pints of good quality vegetable stock
salt and pepper

- roast the carrots and fennel on 160c in a little olive oil, for about an hour. season them subtly with salt and pepper as you don't want to over-do it at this stage, which can be easily done. the veg should be starting to turn dark brown at the edges but don't worry if you have lots of burnt bits, they just add to the flavour

- in a pan, saute the onions and leeks in plenty of butter

- once the carrots and fennel are done, add them to the pan, cover with the stock and let it simmer for 20 minutes

- blitz like a mad man and then serve with a swirl of cream... bliss!

eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

simply roast chicken


another glorious Sunday, another rather glorious roast and for me perhaps the most classic of all Sunday roasts, the humble roast chicken... you may be wondering why i'd bother posting a recipe for roast chicken, surely its as simple as bunging it in a hot oven and letting it do its thing and yes, it really is... but over the years it's the method that i've developed for a perfect roast that i'm going to share with you today...

The Chicken
i'm sure I really don't need to tell you but come on now and do us all a favour and buy a decent free-range chicken

Prepping and Dressing
just a couple of little things to help improve the crispy-ness of the skin and final finish of the chicken...

... firstly boil the kettle and whilst you're waiting for it to boil roughly chop some celery, carrots and onions... in my opinion these are the three vegetables that enhance the chicken the best... I used teeny little globe onions today, which caramelised beautifully, really enhancing the final gravy...

... once the kettle is boiled, place the chicken in the sink and carefully pour the boiling water over the chicken, it does something to the skin... not sure what but it works every time.

...pop the chick into the roasting pan, letting it sit, breast side up, on top of some of the chopped veg... place some of the onion into the middle of the chicken along with some rosemary...

...next, gently work your fingers between the skin and the breast, slathering plenty of butter in there as you go, I also place an un-peeled garlic clove in there too...

... today I have also added some roughly chopped new potatoes to the dish and thrown in a whole garlic's worth of garlic cloves... plenty of salt and pepper too

look at those potatoes!

Roasting
I used to whack the heat up and just roast the bugger out of it but after doing Gwyneth's 10 Hour Roast Chicken and knowing how amazingly well that came out I thought a quicker version could work well...

... heat the oven to about 160c and roast the chicken breast side up for 40 mins, then carefully turn the chicken over, pour on a little water if it's looking dry and roast again for another 40 minutes...

... now turn up the heat to 190 or even 200, turn the chicken back onto it's back and roast for another 10 minutes or until gloriously golden and crispy...

Eating
... drain the gravy off and then let the chicken sit for a good 10 minutes before you tear into it, I cover it with a little foil and a tea-towel whilst I steam my veg... I promise you'll be in roast chicken heaven!

the chicken that keeps on giving...
... if you're anything like me you'll have cooked an extra large chicken so that you'll have glorious left-overs... you may even have roasted two chickens because, let's face it, the oven is on anyway...

... the left-over possibilities are endless and I wont bore you with them now but I insist you keep some of the wonderful chicken juices and carcass to make a soup... I use the chicken juices to saute an onion, then add the carcass, vegetable stock, another roughy chopped carrot and a teaspoon full of whole black peppercorns and simmer it for 30 mins or so for an intensely chicken soup...

eat and of course, enjoy!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

caramelised pear frangipane


a little sweet treat for this sunny Lincolnshire Saturday... there are a lot of these pear frangipane tarts around at the moment but I think this one takes the biscuit because of the caramelising stage which adds a nutty depth to the finished tart... the original recipe called for using pair halves but i've used eighths placing the sharp edges face up which has created this interesting pie-section effect... I also used Comice pears which are divine at the moment and fresh from the orchard at Gunby... the pear has nearly melted during the cooking process making for a really moist gunky cake... divine!

... I also think there was a typo in the original recipe as it recommends you use a 20cm tart tin and 4 pears but I had both a lot of pastry and a lot of frangipane mix left over as well as using only one pear (albeit very large) ... although I made a little loaf cake out of the remainder mix, which mad a delightful midnight snack last night!


caramelised pear frangipane

to caramelise the pears
2oz butter
2oz caster sugar
4 pears, peeled and halved (I used 1 large pair and divided it into eighths)

to make the pastry
8oz plain flour
3½oz unsalted butter
1oz caster sugar
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp milk, to bind, if required

to make the frangipane
8oz unsalted butter
8oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
1 lemon, zest only, finely grated
2oz plain flour
6¼oz ground almonds

Melt the butter with the sugar in a large frying pan and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has become a golden-brown caramel.

- Add the pears and cook, turning once, until caramelised all over. Remove from the heat and set aside.

- For the pastry, place the plain flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and pulse together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and pulse until the mixture just comes together as a dough. Add a little milk if required.

Remove the dough from the food processor and roll to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes.

- Preheat the oven to 180C.

- Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap. Roll the pastry out on a clean, floured work surface to line a 22cm tart tin. Transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until golden-brown.

- For the filling, mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy.

- Add one egg at a time to the butter mixture and mix well, before adding the next (this can be done in a food mixer) until all the eggs are mixed into the butter and sugar.

- Add the lemon zest, plain flour and ground almonds and mix well to combine

Spoon the filling into the baked pastry tin and press the caramelised pear into the filling, so that they are half-submerged, if you want to copy my technique simple lay each eighth of pair opposite each other with the sharp side up.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is cooked through.

eat and of course, enjoy!

Friday, 21 October 2011

a lot of fat bottoms squished together in a tin...



... or a cluster loaf to you and I...

... I wasn't too happy with my recent Pumpkin Cluster Bread, even though it looked so good it suffered from the curse of the pumpkin... blandness... I was under the misguided impression that the added parmesan would give it the saltiness it needed but I was mistaken.  The pumpkin is such a dull vegetable it really needs extra salt and sugar to enliven it and even though Victoria from 21st Century Urban Housewife made it recently and said it turned out perfectly fine, I was not happy with mine...

... I really love the whole cluster bread idea though so I thought i'd try again but this time with a normal loaf without the added vegetable... I had a little of the delicious wholegrain flour left over from my last loaf which i've added to some regular strong white bread flour... and it was a great success... it's one of the most satisfying breads to make... so soft and doughy and the end result really does look like a lot of fat bottoms squished into a tin...


Cluster Loaf


500g strong white bread flour
250g wholegrain flour
1 sachet (7g) of instant yeast
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
half a pint of milk

- combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, drop in the honey and oil

- warm half the milk in the microwave and whisk the yeast into it, set aside for 10 minutes

- add the yeasty milk to the flour and start to combine (I use a rubber spatular and then my hands) and add more milk until it forms a dough - you may not need all the milk.

- tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 minutes until nice and soft, then place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and let it rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size. (mine goes into the airing cupboard)

- once the dough has risen, tip it out onto your work surface and whack it around a bit, then gently roll it out into a fat sausage, with a sharp knife, cut it in half, then in half again and again until you have 8 even sections, roll these into balls

- grease and line a 20cm loose bottomed, springform cake tin and place the balls into the tin, starting with one in the centre and the rest around the outside.

- cover with clingfilm again (oiled this time) and let it rise once more for at least 45 minutes

- bake in a hot oven (190c) for 20 minutes or until it is golden... you may want to remove it from the tin after 20 minutes and place it back into the oven for a crusty crust

eat and of course, enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

tea with bea - a book giveaway


... a couple of weeks ago I was invited to take part in series two of Perfect, a cookery show from the producers of Market Kitchen in which two chef's go head-to-head to create the perfect food for different themed occasions whilst a panel of 'food experts' judge their attempts at culinary stealth... I was one of these food experts and had a wonderful day whilst Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett made 6 wonderful dishes under the theme of 'Food for Friends'...

... alongside me on the panel was the terrifically talented and ridiculously too-young-for-his-own-good Ben Ebrell from Sorted Food, a most excellent and enviable food website for students... and the delightfully charming Bea from Bea's of Bloomsbury fame.  If you don't know (and you really should) Bea's of Bloomsbury is a chic little tea room in London offering a wonderfully sweet line in tea, cakes and fancies... it should be your only destination for tea next time you're in the big smoke.

meeting both Bea and Ben was an inspiration, I always find it both exilirating and slightly intimidating meeting successful foodie people and often come away feeling like a cheat but Ben and Bea were both so lovely and very open to offer ideas and suggestions for me and my burgeoning attempt at world domination...


... Bea was kind enough to give me a copy of her book Tea with Bea... it is utterly delightful with both photography and recipes a triumph in teaography... really worth the purchase, not only for the intriguing cakes and obsession over tea but also for the recipe for her infamous doughnut muffins... sublime!

Described as the Ultimate Afternoon Tea Scones,  I had my suspicions but they really are a cut above the rest, light, airy, perfectly sweet and just the right side of crumbly... and you know how I am about my scones... let's just say its all about keeping the butter cold between each stage... and it bloody well works!... and will work for your own scone recipe too...

600g plain flour
75g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons baking powder
240g butter - cubed and chilled
2 eggs
120ml milk
150ml whipping cream

- put the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined (i did this with a large balloon whisk)

- add the cold butter and rub it into a sand-like consistency, then pop in into the fridge for 10 minutes

- put the eggs, milk and cream in a bowl, beat lightly and again refrigerate for 10 minutes

- pre-heat the oven to 180c

- fold the egg mixture into the and mixture until just combined and no dryness remains, do NOT overwork it, fold gently... the dough will seem very wet but this is ok, and again refrigerate for 10 minutes

- flour your work surface, your hands, oh heck flour everything and then tip the dough onto the work surface and liberally flour the top of the dough

- gently flatten the dough to the depth of your scone cutter... you could use a rolling pin but what's the bother?

- dip the cutter into the flour and then cut out the scones, placing each one on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  keep going till all the dough is gone and you've re-balled and re-flattened the dough

- put the scones into the oven for 8 minutes, then turn down the heat to 170c and let them bake for a further 9 - 10 minutes.  The scones are done when they are a lovely golden colour, will have risen quite a bit and will spring back when pressed lightly... divine!

... and i'm fortunate enough to be able to give away a copy of this lovely book to one of you lucky bloggers...


... there are a few chances to win... all you have to do is leave a message below telling me if you say 'scone like gone' or 'scone like cone'...

... you can also follow me on twitter and then tweet the following message: 'i've entered the Tea with Bea book giveaway @belleaukitchen http://belleaukitchen.blogspot.com/' and then leave another comment here to let me know you've done so.  You can also enter via facebook, simply become a member of the Belleau Kitchen facebook group and then let me know you've done so. A winner will be picked at random in 7 days time.

Good luck and don't forget to eat and of course, enjoy!

Monday, 17 October 2011

roasted tomato, chili and coconut soup


the humble tomato can be both dreadfully dull and fabulously fruity... get it wrong, from a huge box in a supermarket, you know what I mean... those pale orange, rock hard balls... and it tastes of very little more than water.  Get it right and with one bite your senses erupt with the essence of summer... fruity and tart with that heady scent of vine that should be distilled, bottled and sold as Eau de Maison-Vert!

... and its application is endless, from it's natural state as a gem in a salad to the very depth of a classic Italian Pasata...

The tomato is the vegetable of the month over at lovethegarden.com where, each month, they encourage us bloggers to make a vegetable a hero, to be in the chance of winning fabulous prizes... the deadline for entries for the tomato is tomorrow but details for next time can be found here.

... i'm hoping this very tasty soup will see me take the prize, it's such a fabulous combination of sweet and chili but also has a hidden depth from the pre-roasting of the tomatoes... eat your heart out Mr. Heinz!

Roasted Tomato, Chili and Coconut Soup
there's also some sunshine squash in here too, which adds a further creamy thickness to the soup.

6 medium vine tomatoes - quartered
1 sunshine squash (you could use any squash or even pumpkin) - skinned and chopped into large chunks
1 medium onion - finely chopped
1 medium red chili - finely chopped (hotness level of your choice)
half a regular can of coconut milk
1 pint of good vegetable stock
olive oil
rosemary

- place the tomatoes and squash into a roasting dish, drizzle liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and a pinch of salt and bung it in the oven to roast for 1 hour on a low 150 until gently roasted

- saute the onions in some olive oil and a little butter over a gentle heat until tender (5-8 minutes), add the chili and saute for a further 3 minutes

- add the roasted tomatoes and squash and let them all sweat together for a moment or two before adding the veg stock and the coconut milk.

- season to your taste and let it simmer gently for roughly 20 minutes and then whizz into a frenzy with a hand-held blender

eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

roast pork belly with apple and fennel


i love those lazy Sunday's when time seems to slow down slightly and the autumn sun streams in through the windows highlighting dust motes that dance like fairies in the draft as The Viking or Holly shuffle past... I could spend countless hours curled up with a good book and a cup of tea knowing that the chores I have yet to do are my favourite kind such as chopping wood ready for the approaching colder nights or slamming a pork belly joint into the oven... ahh, if only every day could be this day...


...on another topic entirely, there are one or two little things yet to be completed in my kitchen and then I promise I will reveal all... truth be told, I would be happy to show you now but The Viking wants every last detail complete... picture perfect before we reveal the perfect picture ... but here's another sneak peak for all of you who have been so patient..


roast pork belly with apple and fennel
there's something about the aniseed quality of fennel that works in perfect harmony with the apples in this classic roast pork dish... simple, clean and perfectly slow roasted to compliment my slow roasted Sunday!

1 small joint of pork belly - ask your butcher to score the fat, unless you have a particularly sharp knife... all mine are bloody useless!
2 medium cooking apples - quartered
2 small onions - halved
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
olive oil
salt flakes

- pre-heat your oven to as high as it will go, 220C or so

- liberally salt the fat side of the belly, really rubbing it in to the score marks

- roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes until the skin is crackling perfection

- take the joint out of the oven and set to one side, turn the oven down to about 160C

- place the apples and onions into the dish (you could put potatoes in at this stage too, or any other root veg and sprinkle with olive oil and fennel seeds, then place the pork joint back on top of the apples

- slow roast in the oven for another hour and a half

- let it stand for about 15 minutes before carving and scoop up the apples, which should now be fluffy and moist, for a delicious ready-made apple sauce.

eat and of course, enjoy!

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