This cider braised pork belly is pure heaven on a plate – the poaching step is all about making the meat as moist and succulent as possible, while frying it up on the day ensures the skin is crisp to perfection! Reducing the cider broth to a delicate jus works wonders to bring all the rich and earthy flavours together. It takes a bit of planning to get started the day before, but each step is super easy and the end result is truly michelin star quality!
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
4 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
500ml good-quality cider
1l fresh chicken stock
1-1.5kg piece unscored boneless pork belly
1. Heat the oven to 160C. Place onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in an oven proof casserole. Cover with stock, cider and bring to the boil. Slide the pork into the liquid making sure it’s totally submerged, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3 hours.
2. Once cooked leave the pork to cool for a bit in the stock. Line a flat baking tray with cling film, carefully lift the pork, get rid of any bits of veg & herbs and place it skin down onto the tray. Cover with another flat tray or dish, weigh it down with something heavy place in the fridge overnight. This step is really important to ensure the pork’s skin is perfectly clean, flat – ready to be trimmed and crisped up the next day. Strain the cooking liquid into a jug cover and place in the fridge to chill.
(on the day)
3. Pour the braising juices (now jelly) into a saucepan and reduce down by two-thirds until thicker and syrupy.
4. Place pork on a clean board, skin-side upwards. Get a sharp knife and trim off any uneven edges so that you have a neat sheet of meat and cut into equal pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan and reduce to medium heat. Sizzle the pork skin side down for 5 mins until the skin is perfectly crispy and flip it over for another couple of minutes until warm and browned all over.
Serve with cauliflower mash, mustard cabbage or any other earthy/wintery sides and drizzle the jus next to the pork on the plate. I also like to sprinkle a few bits of fried chorizo over it for extra texture!
Definitely give this dish a go for your next dinner party, pork belly is a very affordable cut of meat too, so no need to spend a fortune to impress!
This is the perfect winter comfort food, rich and flavourful mix of fresh herbs and spices, with the perfect balance between sweet and zesty. If you take the time to marinate the meat the day before and cook it slowly for at least 2 hours, the meat will literrally fall off the bone. Serve with cous cous for a complete meal.
Ingredients: Serves 4
4 lamb shanks, excess fat trimmed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 onions, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
1 bunch of coriander
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
6 chat potatoes, peeled and cut in half
4 vine ripened tomatoes, thickly sliced
75 g dried apricots
2 tbsp clear honey
3 bay leaves
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Couscous (to serve)
Lemon (to serve)
Greek yoghourt (to serve)
1. Place the ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder into a bowl and mix together. Season the lamb shanks with a splash of olive olive oil, a good pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper and rub in the spice mix. Set aside for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge if you can.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees. Place the garlic cloves, coriander stalks (save the leaves), 2 onions and 2/3 of the red chilli in a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add lamb pieces to brown and set aside. Add the spice paste to the remaining oil and fry gently for 3 minutes.
4. Add carrots, the remaining onion, potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and turn over a few times in the spice mixture. Season with Salt and pepper.
5. Transfer the mixture to a Tagine dish if you have one or a large air tight and over proof dish. Place the lamb on top, add the bay leaves, honey and enough stock to almost cover the meat. Cook in the oven for 2 hours.
6. Serve with couscous and sprinkle with coriander leaves, red chili, a couple of lemon wedges and a dollop of Greek yoghourt.
Click here if you would like to see the Nibblish Beef Tagine Recipe!
This traditional French recipe makes a wonderful side for roast chicken, pork or lamb and is for sure the tastiest way to prepare peas. Try it, you will be surprised!!
Ingredients: (serve 4)
2 onions, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp oil olive oil
2 bacon rashers, finely sliced
500g frozen peas
1 cup chicken stock
1 bunch watercress, leaves picked
1/2 small bunch of mint, chopped
50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat butter and oil on medium heat in a large non stick pan. Cook the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes until soft. Stir in the bacon and cook for 5 minutes until nice and crispy. Season with salt & pepper.
2. Add the frozen peas and half the watercress to the onions and bacon. Add stock and sugar and cook over a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes – or until they are cooked through but not too soft.
3. Stir in the remaining watercress, the mint and most of the grated parmesan. Serve immediately, topped with a sprinkle of the remaining parmesan and a few extra mint leaves on top!
Blue cheese is a great addition to a gourmet burger at home, but imagine if the cheese wasn’t on top but inside…the creamy cheese leaking of the burger as you bite into it. Absolutely delicious!
Ingredients (serves 2):
300g beef, freshly minced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper & sea salt flakes
2 tbsp Worcester sauce
30g blue cheese
2 soft bread buns
1/2 small onion, finely sliced
2 slices lettuce
1/2 tomato, finely sliced
4 cornichons or 1 large pickled gherkin, finely sliced
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
1/2 red chili, finely chopped
1 tsp Pesto (optional)
4 slices of Gruyere cheese (optional)
1/2 avocado, mashed (optional)
2 flat mushrooms (optional)
1. Place mince into a large mixing bowl, add the egg, chopped onion, garlic, coriander, worcester sauce. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Shape a patty with a fourth of the mixture, place half of the blue cheese on top and place another thin patty on top of filling. Press lightly to seal. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to cook.
2. Pre-heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the burgers for 3 mins on each side. Season with a pinch of salt & pepper.
3. To prepare the sauce, combine the ketchup and mayo, add the fresh chives and chili.
4. Cut the bread buns in half, spread a spoonful of sauce, slices tomatoes lettuce leaves on one side and cheese, cornichons and any other toppings on the other one. Place burger on top and serve immediately.
Make sure you choose the freshest ingredients for the best results, but don’t use lean beef as a bit of fat is better for juicy burgers!
Ragù is a beautiful alternative to a bolognese sauce, especially during the cooler months of the year. I like to make it with lamb, but you could make it with beef instead. While it take a little while to cook, it’s actually really easy to make and it will taste delicious!
Ingredients (serve 4)
400g lamb, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 parsley bunch, finely chopped
2 sage leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 courgette, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat 2 tsp. of olive oil on high heat in a heavy non-stick oven proof sauce pan and fry the garlic, chili and sage for 30 secs before adding the onion for 5 minutes or until nice and soft. Add the meat to brown and then the red pepper and courgette for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In the meantime, start pre-heating the oven at 200 degrees.
2. Add tomatoes, parsley, wine and cook in the oven on low heat for 4 hours, checking the texture every hour or so to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
3. When the meat is tender and soft, shred any remaining chunks of meat. Taste and season if necessary with additional salt and pepper. To serve, mound the pasta in individual bowls and top with plenty of the ragu and a sprinkling of cheese and chopped parsley.
As an alternative to chunky pasta you can also serve it with mash or polenta. I managed myself to change my mind between the time the ingredients were shot and the dish was ready! You can also transfer the mix to a slow cook dish at step 2 if you’re not using an oven proof pan. The lamb ragù can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Duck Liver parfait is really economical and easy to make, but it tastes luxurious and looks really fancy too. My French compatriotes would probably hate me for saying that, but I see it a little bit like a Green peace foie gras – similar in taste and texture but without the arrogance, cost or cruelty! You can also make it up to 48h ahead and save it in the fridge as an early start of a fancy meal. You can also double the measures and serve it as the master piece for a party.
Ingredients (serves 4 people)
400-500g fresh duck liver, fat, strings and green patches trimmed
20ml olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1 slice of bacon, chopped
50ml cognac or brandy
250g butter, diced
6-8 fresh sage leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cornichons, Brioche and salad to serve
1. Soak duck livers in the milk for 1.5 hours at room temperature. If you are using frozen livers, simply allow them to defrost in water for 1h and then soak in milk for another 30 minutes. After soaking, drain, rinse under cool water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
2. Heat a bit of oil and a nut of butter (5g) in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, bay leave, thyme leaves and bacon. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and starting to colour.
3. Add your duck livers to the pan with an extra small splash of oil and season with a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook on a high heat for 2 minutes or until the liver pieces start to plump up. Add 50ml brandy or cognac to the pan and cook it off.
4. Transfer everything to to the food processor and blend it until smooth. Add the remaining 120g of butter to the food processor, bit by bit, and season with another good 2 good pinches of salt and pepper. Pass through a fine sieve if you have one and spoon it into a serving bowl and place in the fridge to start the setting process.
5. To make the clarified butter, place the remaining 125g of butter on low heat and cook slowly until the white dairy and clear oil are separated. Clean any impurities off the top and pour the clear liquid into a separate pan, before placing it on medium heat. After a couple of minutes, add the sage to the butter to fry and take the pan off the heat. Let it cool down and pour over the cooler pate mixture. Refrigerate the finished parfait for at least 4-5 hours or until the top layer looks hard and thick.
6. Serve the parfait with cornichons, fresh butter, freshly toasted brioche and a green leave salad.
Some people like to eat the sage flavoured clarified butter with the parfait, but you don’t have to. Even if you decide not to eat it, it’s still playing a key role to locking in the flavours and keeping the parfait fresh. You can save it up 4-5 days in the fridge when sealed. If you can’t find duck liver, replace with chicken liver. /em>
Click here for a Valentine’s version of this dish!
Once you’ve tried this recipe at home, you will never order gyoza from the restaurant ever again! It’s really fun to make, super tasty and it looks very impressive too!
Ingredients: (30 dumplings)
200g Pork mince meat (lean)
6 uncooked prawns, deveined & chopped
2 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp chinese shao hsing wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
30 gyoza wrappers
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp coriander, chopped
4 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
4 tbsp spring onions, finely sliced
4 tbsp mal vinegar
1 red chili chopped
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1. Start with the filling. Combine all the listed gyoza ingredients (except the vegetable oil and wrappers!) in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 mins.
2. Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each wrapper and shape as per below:
– Wet the edge of the wrapper with one finger
– Fold the wrapper in half and bring the edges to stick together
– Pinch the bottom edge closed and fold the edge 4-5 times to the top
3. Steam for 10 mins, and set aside. In the meantime, mix all dressing ingredients together.
4. pre-heat vegetable oil in a large non stick pan and pan fry the gyoza until nice and golden brown.
Place on a serving plate and dizzle with the dressing!
If you want to prepare the gyoza ahead, stop at the steaming stage and refrigerate or freeze as is and pan fry before eating. I would actually suggest that you make enough to freeze some extra too as you can just pan fry it from frozen on a lazy night!