Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Best Ever Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is one of the holy grails of all-American real style barbecue cooking and we've been working on our method for about a month or so. Naturally you get the best results with super long, slow cooking over a low bbq but that requires constant tending for at least 10 hours and a Sunday is only so long... I can't claim credit for this wondrous dish, but here is how we did it: Preheat your oven to just around 50 or 60C, then smother your piece of rolled, boned shoulder of pork with brown sugar, salt, pepper, a mixture of spices such as ground coriander, paprika and chilli. Put on a trivet over apple juice and create a tent with foil so it essentially steam cooks. After around 30 minutes you can remove the crackling and set to one side to crackle up later on. Leave to cook for about four hours, testing once in a while with a well judged prod - it should be yielding and soft.
If you think it's getting too hard then you can always turn the oven down. Give it a blast at 180C for around 5-10 minutes before the end of cooking, then remove to rest. Reserve the juices in the pan for later. Take the crackling and roast in a really hot oven (200C) until bubbly and delightful. Now the laborious bit! To achieve perfect 'pulled' pork, you have to separate all the fibres of the meat by hand. If you cook over a bbq you can do this with a fork as it yields much more tender meat. Shred the meat finely, and add the cooking juices with apple juice. At this stage you can add bbq sauce if you like but we tend to reduce the cooking liquid down instead. Stuff into white pappy rolls and enjoy with home made coleslaw. Yee ha!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Pork chops with black pudding and apple

Finding myself at home with black pudding, pork steaks, granny smiths and an onion I came up with this one-pan wonder... 2 x pork steaks or chops 1 red onion 1 granny smith or cooking apple 1/2 black pudding ring 4 cloves of garlic olive oil salt and pepper Preheat the oven to 180 C (150C for fan assisted) Quarter the onion and the apple (after de-coring)and scatter in a baking tray Skin the black pudding and cut into 2 inch pieces Don't peel the garlic cloves, simply squash slightly with the flat of a heavy knife and add to the tray Place the pork chops on top of the onion, apple and black pudding, drizzle with a little olive oil and season generously Depending on the thickness of your steaks or chops, it will be ready in around 15-20 minutes. Take the pork out to rest and give the rest of the ingredients a final blast. The juices make a nice sauce if you drain off and reduce slightly Enjoy!

My search for the perfect pig

The other half and I made the decision to dedicate the rest of our lives to the pig in all its glory. This is the story of our piggy odyssey, I hope you'll join me in our pursuits. June 2010 - my search for a viable pig Inspired no doubt by The Good Life, about six months ago we decided to up sticks to the sticks to create our very own piggy pleasure palace - a smallholding with a litter of piglets. Both of us have busy jobs in London, so this is going to be a huge lifestyle change. I find myself wondering if a dedicated city girl like me (what, you mean the off licence shuts at 5pm?!) will be able to cope in the rural back of beyond, but I'm inspired by the thought of a cosy kitchen with an aga, my very own pig run and a calmer, happier pace of life. I'm sure the path to this idyll is littered with the good intentions of many a city-dweller, but I'm convinced that I'm really a country girl at heart. Just substitute wellies for stilettos and we're halfway there... I've started looking for my perfect pig already - I know it's slightly premature since we're still in our house, still in London and still employed, but this is the fun part. I've narrowed it down to rare breeds pigs as they tend to yield a good amount of fat and will sell for more at the end of the day. After watching Gordon Ramsay's The F Word and watching Janet Street Porter wrestling with the curly-haired mangalitzas, I'm intrigued. Not only do they look lovely but their meat is supposed to be excellent. They originated in Austria and Hungary and are very hardy so can withstand bad weather. http://www.mangalitzas.co.uk/ The other breeds I'm thinking about are the Middlewhite; excellent flavour and fat, and a firm favourite on the menu of my firm favourite restaurant, St John in London, and the Duroc which is a lovely deep auburn colour. A breed that stands out however is the British Lop, which originates in the South West of England on the Cornwall/Devon borders. www.stjohnrestaurant.co.uk www.britishpigs.org.uk http://www.channel4.com/food/on-tv/f-word/