I have finally arrived at the launch issue of Delicious magazine. Delicious arrived on the magazine landscape when there was little else in the way of cooking magazines. At least I don't remember there being much. I think that Vogue Entertaining and Living was around and probably Gourmet Traveller but there wasn't much in the mid-range of magazines. that had meals that could easily be made after work with ingredients that could, mostly, be found locally. There do seem to be more recipes now that require ingredients that I cannot get then there used to be. I fell in love with the magazine right from this first issue and I have never really lost that passion for it. I did go through a small period in 2007 when I lost a bit of interest but I quickly regained my interest. I am so pleased that I did and that I have had the opportunity to go through each of the back issues and discover new and wonderful things. I cannot believe that I only have a few issues to go.
I have been busy making a lot of recipes from the November issues but it has taken me a while to get this first post done as I needed a weekend to do the recipe from this issue. I really wanted to make something special out of here since it was the launch issue and all. There were some recipes out of Jamie Oliver's Happy Days book, it would have to be one of my favourite of Jamie's books. Although that is being tested by his new one, Jamie Does..., which I love. I had already made most of the recipes featured so I moved on.
There was a lovely recipe for Hummus with Ground Lamb and Pinenuts from Moro: The Cookbook which looked incredible. I love hummus and the addition of a spiced ground lamb on top sounded fabulous. I am not overly keen on pinenuts although I think that is because they are such a volatile nut and they go rancid so quickly. You really need to be able to get them fresh if possible unfortunately I can only get them from the supermarket here. I would really like to try this dish at some stage, perhaps with some flaked almonds instead of the pinenuts. I think that it would make a really good lunch dish as part of a tapas.
I wanted to make something a bit special and there was really only one recipe that fit the bill for me. It was Jacques Reymond's Crispy Pork Belly with Spiced Lentils. Since using pork belly for the first time earlier this year I have now used it quite a lot. It is a relatively cheap cut of meat to buy and is lovely to do a nice slow roast with. It is certainly becoming quite popular now but back in 2001 it would have been pretty unusual. This is a fantastic recipe and I really enjoyed making it. The lentils are the perfect accompaniment to the rich full-flavoured pork dish. There was only one thing I did that wasn't in the recipe, I made a gravy from the cooking liquid in the pan, which I had strained into a small saucepan and thickened slightly with a flour and water slurry. The crackling was fantastic. I wasn't sure that it was going to crisp up but it did wonderfully. I highly recommend making this one and I plan on making it again for friends soon.
Crispy Pork Belly with Spiced Lentils
- 1 kg fresh pork belly on the bone
- 1 tbsp Maldon sea salt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 star anise
- 5 juniper berries
- 4 cloves
- 12 whole black peppercorns
- 45 g butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
- 100 ml white wine
- 3 fresh bay leaves, 2 sprigs fresh thyme and parsley stems tied with kitchen twine (bouquet garni)
- Pre-heat oven to 160 C.
- Pat skin of pork with paper towel to make sure it is dry, rub with the salt.
- Heat a large oven-proof saucepan or casserole dish over medium heat. (I used my 28 cm Swiss Diamond sauté pan)
- Add honey and spices and caramelise slightly. Add 30 g of the butter and the pork belly, skin side down, to the pan. Cook over a low heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until crisp and golden.
- Transfer pork to a plate, add vegetables to pan with rest of the butter. Place pork on top skin side up.
- Pour vinegar over the top and cook until completely absorbed. Add the wine and bouquet garni. Reduce liquid by half and then add water, up to 1/3 thickness of the pork.
- Cover and roast in the oven for 3 hours adding extra water as necessary. (I uncovered it for the last hour)
- Slice and serve with the lentils.
Jacques' Spiced Lentils
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 2 small red chillies, deseeded (I left the seeds in one of them)
- 4 curry leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 250 g green lentils (I used "French-style" lentils)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 400 ml chicken stock
- Heat oil in saucepan and add garlic, celery, chillies, curry leaves and cinnamon. Stir to allow the flavours to develop.
- Add lentils, orange zest and stock. Season with salt & pepper and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Can be served hot or cold.