Slow-cooked pork belly with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and star anise

This recipe is from the wonderful chef, Skye Gyngell and is a deliciously rich and unctuous winter dish. She likes to serve it with braised lentils, but it is also very good with lightly cooked Asian greens, such as pak choi.


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4 to 5lb piece belly of pork
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 tsp cloves
1 red chili
1 1/2 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp chopped coriander roots and stems
4 fl oz tamari
3 fl oz maple syrup
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Put the pork belly into a large cooking pot in which it fits quite snugly and add cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then immediately turn off the heat and remove the pork from the pan. Drain off the water and rinse out the pan.

One-third fill the pan with cold water and place over a medium heat. Add the pork, this time along with the spices, chili, ginger, garlic and chopped coriander roots and stems. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the meat, add some more water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer very gently for 1 & 1/2 hours until the meat is cooked and very tender. If you have the rib end, the meat will have shrunk back to expose the tips of the bone. With a pair of tongs, carefully remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat up under the pan to high and add the tamari and maple syrup. (If you don’t want the sauce to taste ‘hot’, remove the ginger and chili at this point.) Let the liquid bubble until reduced by half – this will take about 20 minutes. As the sauce reduces, the flavors will become very intense, forming a rich, dark sauce.

In the meantime, slice the pork belly into individual servings – one rib should be enough per person. Season the ribs with a little salt and pepper. Place a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and add the oil. Heat until the pan is starting to smoke, then add the pork ribs and brown well on both sides until crunchy and golden brown on the surface. Strain the reduced liquor.

To serve, lay a rib on each warm plate (or soup plate) and spoon over the reduced sauce and warm braised lentils. Serve at once.


Thai meatball coconut curry

What could be better than the comfort of meat balls surrounded by Thai flavors and swimming in coconut broth? Very little, if you ask me. I am sharing this recipe from “Delicious” magazine as there is nothing I would do to tweak it.You can freeze half of this for another time, which is perfect!

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Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
4 to 5 tbsp Penang curry paste (You can use Thai kitchen Penang curry paste, if available)
2 x 14 oz cans coconut milk
1 each large red and green chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely shredded
6 scallions, (spring onions) thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and inner leaves finely diced
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges to serve
5 to 6 oz ground almonds
Steamed rice, to serve

For the meatballs
2lbs ground pork
5 scallions, finely diced
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, inner leaves finely diced
good bunch of cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 medium free range, organic egg

In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the meat balls. Season and with wet hands, form into about 40 walnut-sized balls. Put on a large plate and chill for 15 minutes or until needed.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry for 10 minutes until cooked through and browned. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the peppers and fry for 2 minutes until softened, then add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, chillies,scallions, lemongrass and lime juice. Gently simmer for a few minutes then add the almonds and cook for a few minutes to warm through (add a little water or chicken broth if the curry sauce seems too thick)

Add the meatballs to the curry sauce and heat through. Divide half the curry among 4 serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve with rice and lime wedges.

** Cool the remaining curry and spoon into a freezerproof container. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, then transfer to a saucepan and heat until the sauce and meatballs are piping hot.

Slow-braised pork shoulder with cider and parsnips

Don’t you just love those long, slow braises when the house fills with the wonderful aroma and you can just leave the dish to cook itself slowly? The parsnips add a wonderful earthy sweetness to the dish too.

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Serves 4 to 5

2 tbsp olive oil
2lb 4oz pork shoulder, diced. (Sometimes this joint of meat is called Boston Butt)
2 onions, sliced
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
3 parsnips, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp plain flour
12 fl oz (330 mls) bottle of cider
28 fl oz (1 1/2 pints) chicken or pork stock
a good handful Italian parsley, chopped
mashed potato and greens, to serve (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F or 180C.
Heat the oil in a large lidded flameproof or Le Creuset braiser and brown the meat in batches, then set aside. Fry the onions, celery and parsnips with the bay leaves for 10 mins until golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour and give a good stir, then add the pork and any juices back to the dish.
Add the cider and stock so that the meat and vegetables are covered. Season and bring to a simmer, then cover and put in the oven for 2 hrs.
Serve sprinkled with parsley, with mashed potato and greens, if you like.

** One nice tip is that if the braise is too liquidy, take out the solids and boil the liquid down to reduce, then return the solids to the pan.

Maple mustard slow roasted pork

Here’s a recipe from BBC Good Food that you won’t forget in a hurry. This meat just falls off the bone, is so succulent and tasty. Served with a winter coleslaw, that’s all you need.

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Serves 6 with leftovers
Takes 8 hours minimum and must be started the night before for the marinading.

7oz sea salt
11 oz dark brown sugar, or light Muscovado sugar
4lb 8oz piece of pork shoulder
4 fl oz pure maple syrup
4 oz wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp English mustard powder, like Colmans

Mix the sea salt and 7 oz of the sugar in a large food bag, add the pork and coat it well. (If you don’t have a bag, rub over the pork in a dish and cover with plastic wrap) Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove the pork and wipe down the meat with kitchen towel.
Heat the oven to 275 F (140C/120C)
Mix the remaining sugar, the maple syrup, mustards and some ground pepper. Rub half the mixture over the pork and sit it on a rack in a roasting tin. Roast for 6 hours.

Spoon the remaining maple mixture over the pork and roast for 1 hour more.

Remove from the oven and rest the meat for 30 mins on a platter loosely covered with foil. To serve, tear the pork into big chunks and after skimming the surface for fat, spoon over any juices from the roasting tin.

Easy Thai pork satay

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As you probably know by now, I am an Asian food freak, especially anything with coconut and lemongrass.
This is so tasty and tender with super flavors and is pretty simple to to throw on the bbq. Ideally a charcoal fire would be better, but if you have a gas bbq that is fine.

Makes about 10 skewers
1 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp chopped fresh lemongrass (outer leaves pulled away, and only the tender inner stalks used)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp chopped galangal or fresh ginger if you don’t have galangal
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 & 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I roast my own)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1lb  pork fillet, cut into 1/4″ thick sliced (silverskin removed)

Puree 1/2 cup coconut milk, the lemongrass, coconut oil, galangal/ginger, sugar, turmeric, coriander, salt, cumin and cayenne in a food processor.
Toss the paste and pork slices in a bowl, coating well and chill for 4 hours or more.
Thread 3 slices pork each on to 10 skewers, spoon the remainder of the coconut milk onto the meat and grill, turning until charred, about 7 minutes.





Thai ginger lettuce wraps

Thai ginger pork lettuce wraps


This is a really easy dish to make and can be such fun to serve with a big platter of sturdy small lettuce leaves and a big bowl of the spicy, gorgeous Thai ginger pork.
Stick it in the center of the table, whether for starters or a main course and everyone can help themselves. It certainly cuts out the formality of dining with guests. Very low carb and inexpensive to make too

Serves 3 – 4 but can be easily doubled.
3/4 lb ground pork (you can use dark meat turkey, if you don’t eat pork)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp grapeseed oil, or canola oil
One 8 oz can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
24  Boston Bibb lettuce leaves, baby romaine lettuce leaves or a small lettuce leaf strong enough to hold the meat filling.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat with the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and 1 tbsp of the grapeseed oil. Mix well.
In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil until shimmering.
Add the ground meat mixture and stir fry over high heat, breaking up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce and cilantro and remove from the heat.
Spoon the ground meat mixture into bowls. Stack the lettuce leaves on plates.
To eat, spoon the meat onto the lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!

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Creole jambalaya

Gorgeous and so flavorful.

Serves 6
12 oz ground pork
1 tbsp olive oil
5 oz Spanish chorizo, diced
1 onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
7 fl oz white wine
14 or 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 3/4 pints chicken stock, and more if required
12 oz brown basmati rice
4 oz shelled raw prawns, tails left on if you like
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
4 scallions, sliced
sour cream, optional

Season the ground pork and roll it into bite sized meatballs.
Heat a large pan, add a dash of oil and brown the meatballs for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the diced chorizo, onion, garlic and peppers to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaves, turmeric, paprika and cumin and stir for 1 minutes more before pouring in the white wine and tomatoes.
Meanwhile, heat the stock separately.

Add the rice to the pan and stir well. Pour the stock into the rice and meatball, and bring to a simmer.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook over the lowest heat for 30 to 35 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Add more stock if it is getting too dry.

Stir in the prawns and cook for 4 to 4 minutes or until they turn pink.
Before serving, stir in the parsley and scallions, then season to taste.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if you like.