I can smell change in the air and I like it a lot. The cherry blossoms have come and gone all too quickly. I wish they would last longer but that's mother nature for you. Elderflowers are starting to bloom and I have a small bowlful of the ones I picked from last weekend's urban foraging trip with Pickling Peckham, drying in my cupboard. I didn't have enough in my stash to make elderflower syrup, so it looks like I'll have to venture out and forage again in the next couple of weeks before the elderflower season vanishes for another year.
All this extra foliage can only allude to the fact that the weather is warming up over here. I wait patiently for summer to make it's way to us so I can wear these sandals. I also have an upcoming trip to Sweden this summer, which I wait patiently for. To tell you the truth, I'm REALLY excited about this trip. Stockholm has been on my bucket list for some time and it will allow me to further fuel my obsession with all things Scandinavian.
For those who know me, know that I love a comforting Sunday Roast. I don't always have the time to cook one every weekend but when I do, I like to make the effort. And so I thought I'd sneak in one more roast before it gets too hot, and it's time to share lighter, summery meals on the blog. This pork belly rolled with herbs comes out tender and the crackling is so, so good. I'm yet to meet anyone who doesn't like crackling.
The apple sauce is also incredibly easy to make. So don't bother buying it from the store, and make it yourself.
Here's to waiting patiently for summer.
FOR THE PORK BELLY
1.5 kg piece of pork belly with the skin on
2 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup sage leaves chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Toast the fennel seeds and cumin seeds in a frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes or until the seeds start to pop. Place the seeds with the peppercorn, salt, garlic, leaves from thyme and rosemary, chopped sage into a mortar & pestle and pound. Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil and continue to pound until a paste is formed.
Score the skin of the pork belley (or you can ask your butcher to do this for you). Place the pork belly with the skin down and rub the herb mixture all over the flesh. Roll the pork into a round joint with the skin facing up and using kitchen string, tie the joint as tightly as possible at intervals about 3cm apart. Cover and leave the pork in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or preferably over night.
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Rub the pork belly skin with 1 tbsp olive oil and lots of salt to cover the entire skin. Roast in the oven for 30 mins. Remove from the oven and pour the juice of the lemon over the skin. Reduce the oven heat to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and roast the pork for 2 hours.
Turn the heat up in the oven to 2200ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 7 and cook the pork for another 30 mins to allow the skin to crisp further. Rest the meat for 15-20mins before carving. Serve with green, mash, gravy and apple sauce.
FOR THE APPLE SAUCE
3 bramley apples
50g caster sugar
Peel, core and slice the apples. Place the apples, sugar and butter into a pan with the lid on. Cook on low heat for approximately 15 mins until the apples breakdown, stirring occasionally to break any lumps. Place into a serving dish.