Pork belly baby!

A good diet is a varied diet. There are so many things you can eat as long is you don’t eat some of it too regularly and not too much of some of it. With pork I am always doubting how it fit’s into a healthy diet. Yes, there is lean pork, but I tend to go for the bacon-variety of pork. As does the next dish. This recipe I have for you most definitely does not fall into the lean pork category… But I’ve only made it once, and that was during the holidays. So we indulged ourselves and I have hardly eaten any fatty pork since. Starting to think of it, it’s about high time to get me some…

So I have been wanting to post this recipe since Christmas, no kidding! I just didn’t get around to it. Prepare for this showstopper: Oven roasted pork belly. And let me tell you, it was worth the wait. We had never made anything like this before so we took kind of a risk, my mother and I did, picking this for our Christmas dinner. After seeing it being cooked on Australian Masterchef several times I just had to try this myself. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. We bought a kilo of pork and it took us 2 to 2,5 hours to prepare. There is not much cooking involved, just some preparation and then lot’s of oven time.

Let’s cut to the chase: It worked out fabulously! Of course, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have posted it on this blog… Or at least would not have featured it like this. We were happy, family was happy, and we were all extremely stuffed ;-). And no pork belly leftovers. I am thinking I am not waiting for Christmas 2015 to try this again. Remember a healthy diet is a varied diet no…

The ingredients are straightforward:

  • Nice piece of pork belly from you local butcher
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • A few sprigs of fresh thymeIMG_1259
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • Some cloves of garlic

Put on a kettle and bring some water to the boil. Put your pork belly on a rack over the sink. Once the water boils, pour it over the pork. Why yo ask ? By scalding the pork skin, you’ll help the skin crisp up into crunchy crackling.

Then start working on cutting the fatty top. I made a simple pattern as you can see. My mum actually ran upstairs for a sharp stanley knife because our kitchen knife could hardly cut through the fat. So get out your sharpest knife and carefully cut incisions on the top. Only cut the fat, that is the white part, do not cut into the rest of the pork.

Now we give it a good rub with a mixture of freshly ground salt, pepper and fresh herbs. I used rosemary and thyme straight from the garden. Remove the herbs from their stalks, chop these up roughly,  and use your hands to rub the mixture onto the pork.

Place the pork on a roasting tray and into an oven of 150 degrees Celsius. Underneath the pork place an oventray filled with water, bay leaves and the garlic gloves. No need to peel or cut the cloves.

There is really nothing to do here now but to open that bottle of wine and start on your pre-dinner cheese platter or something of the sort. We had it in the oven for two hours (1 kilo of pork) so if your piece isIMG_1294 slightly bigger or smaller it probably needs a bit longer or shorter! We checked if it was nicely done, then gave it another 15 to 20 minutes under the grill, to create a nice crust.

Do not leave it under the grill too , as things burn too easily under the grill and that would be such a shame!

Take it out, have a taste to check if it’s soft, tender and tasty and, then, well, it’s done!

IMG_1295Serve with side dishes of your choice. We went for an Italian dinner, so my mum had made fresh gnochi, and my additions were panzanella (an Italian bread salad), Caprese salad (Mozzarella cheese baby!) and a fresh orange and fennel salad. And that was our Christmas main meal for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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* Yes there’s a CD in the first photo, that’s what my mother used to cut the gnochi!

 

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Red Lentil Spread

Here I got a sweet little recipe for you. It was all made with things I had in the pantry and fridge so that’s always a plus. Plus it’s healthy AND I can use my new foodprocessor to make this!!! That was really the most important reason to create this recipe. We ordered this foodprocessor a few weeks back and I have been using it non stop. It does everything! Grate, cut, blitz, juice, grind… loving it! Especially the juices me and my boyfriend Bas now drink daily makes us happy and feel super good and healthy. So it’s a win win it seems. It only takes a little time to clean all the elements afterwards, but that’s ok.

So this spread or dip is delicious in many ways. I had it for lunch on a piece of toast, topped with some avocado and some melted cumin cheese over the top. To die for! It’s also a  great addition when you are creating a little cheese and/or charcuterie platter. Or on a wrap, just add some crunchy greens and spicy chicken strips and you’ve got yourself a dinner!

Let’s cut to the chase:

  • 1 small cup of red lentils
  • One small or one half a clove of garlic
  • Bottom tip of a chili pepper
  • Ridiculously big spoonful of Turkish/Greek yogurt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • fresh or ground coriander
  • fresh parsley
  • pinch of paprika powder
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Half  of a vegetable stock cube
  • Zest of half a lemon (can be replaced with a dash of vinegar)

You’ll need a food processor or blender for this. :D.

Add the lentils and stock cube to a pot of boiling water and cook the lentils until soft. Meanwhile start adding your ingredients to the foodprocessor. I felt half a clove of garlic was enough because you add it raw. I also cut of the bottom tip of chili pepper for a bit of a kick. (ofcourse add more if you desire a bigger kick!). spoon in some yoghurt, the herbs and spices. Don’t forget to add a little sourness, like lemon zest or vinegar. Add the lentils and a dash of olive oil. Then start processing! Should take you but a few minutes.

Taste it and add more spices and/or herbs if you like. I always like to ground over some fresh black pepper. Be careful with addaing any extra salt because when you cook the lentils in stock they become a little salty. Sometimes that can be salty enough.

Enjoy again guys. Next week I am definitely posting something with meat muhahaha.

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