Sunday 24 December 2017

Gin and Tonic Pickles

Gin and Tonic Pickles
  • 1 medium size kilner jar
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • ½ cup gin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 slices of lime
  • Tonic water

Trim the ends from the cucumbers and cut them into half and then quarter them (or more depending on the size!).  Place the cucumber into the kilner jar along with the lime slices, add the salt, sugar, gin and lime juice, close the jar and give a good shake to combine everything.   Open the jar and top up with the tonic water, making sure the pickles are completely covered, re-seal and leave for a couple of days in the fridge, once opened they should last in the fridge for up to a month, I say should, however I doubt they will be around long enough!

I have literally just made these - so I have yet to taste them - however as big gin lovers what’s not to like?  These pickles should be perfect for that Boxing Day buffet, I can’t wait.  Recipe is courtesy of

Sunday 10 December 2017

Six Hour Pork Belly

Six Hour Pork Belly

  • 3 onions sliced in half
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 300ml dry sherry
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1kg pork belly
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tbsp sea salt
  • For the relish
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp sherry-vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 20g bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 20g bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 240 degrees/220 fan.  Put the sliced onions into a deep roasting tin with the garlic, sherry and stock.  Place the pork on top, skin side up, pat dry with kitchen roll, then rub the fennel seeds and salt into the skin of the pork.  Roast the pork for 15-20 minutes until the skin starts to puff up and looks like its about to crackle.  Turn the heat down to 140 degrees/120 degrees fan and cook the pork uncovered for 5 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart.  Take the pork out of the oven, drain the stock/juices from the tin into a saucepan, along with the onions, then set aside.

Turn the oven back up to 240 degrees/220 degrees fan, put the pork back in and cook for a further 30 minutes to ensure the crackling is nice and crispy, if the fennel seeds brown you can brush them off the top of the pork.  Whilst the pork is in the last stages of cooking, make the relish.  Put the red onion into a small dish with the vinegar and sugar and set aside.  When the pork belly skin has finished crackling, remove the tin from the oven and put the meat onto a lipped plate and leave to rest for 20 minutes.  For the gravy, bring the reserved stock mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon.  Add a glug of sherry to give acidity, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Just before serving, stir the chopped fresh herbs into the relish.  Add any resting pork juices to the onion gravy then carve the pork into chunky slices.  Serve with the relish, sherry gravy and your favourite potatoes and greens.

This recipe is a perfect winter comfort dish and just right for a Sunday roast.  I adapted the recipe slightly from Delicious magazine, adjusting the stock and sherry levels as the original recipe had too much to fit into the oval roasting tin that I used, also my recipe serves 4 as opposed to 6-8 in the original recipe. 

Whilst I have included the recipe for the gravy I will be honest and say it didn’t turn out all that well and given that a large percentage of it was made up of rendered down fat, I wasn’t actually too keen on eating it in the first place!  That’s when that store cupboard staple of Bisto gravy granules comes in super handy as a last minute substitute! 

Overall a nice tasty dish and the relish really did go well with the pork, going forward, I wouldn’t spend 6 hours cooking this again it could be cooked for half the time on a slightly higher temperature and leave you with the same result!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.