I am so lucky to have such generous community around me, especially being a single income family. Quite often an aunt will pop in with oranges and sugar loaf cabbages from her garden, I'll swap carrots for broad beans with a fellow gardener at our community garden or like today, my cousin calls to say she has a pork shoulder roast we can share (but you have to cook it, she says... haha thanks)
Sharing is an important part of life, we learn it from a very young age and to share food with others is the best type of sharing, it makes us feel warm inside to nourish another. Currently being processed through the government is the Food Bill. The Food Bill could effect people like me and my community, community garden plots won't be allowed to share or barter surplus vegetables with anyone, farmers markets will be heavily controlled and roadside stalls of produce will be a distant memory. Some people believe that this Bill will pave the way to a country similar to America where swat teams raid health stores, seed banks are eradicated and major corporations control what is grown for the public to eat by GE seeds.
Questions and answers regarding the Food Bill are here. If you would like to sign a petition against it, click here. More information is here.
Now I've had my rant, I'm going to cook my roast pork with home grown cavelo nero, broad beans and cabbage given to me by a friend. To achieve optimum crackling, start this recipe a day ahead.
Roast pork shoulder with fennel and apple gravy + sauteed spring vegetables
1 pork shoulder
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp flaky sea salt
2 apples, cut in half horizontally
1 bottle of cider
500mls hot stock (chicken or beef) or 250ml stock, 250ml hot water
Spring vegetables of your choice like;
sprig of thyme
sea salt and pepper
Take pork out of it's wrapping and pat dry with a paper towel. Score the skin in long strokes and place on a plate uncovered in the fridge until ready to cook. Ideally more than 4 hours.
Now prepare your seasoning, grind fennel seeds and chilli flakes in a mortar and pestle, until coarsely ground and fragrant. Add the sea salt and stir together.
Once your pork has dried out, rub the seasoning into the scored skin, and all over the meat, use most of it, don't be scared of the salt!
Leave the pork out while your oven heats to the right temperature. Turn oven to 230 degrees. Pour a little olive oil into a large roasting pan, place pork on to pan and put in oven for 15-20 minutes to get the crackling going. Then turn your oven down to 160 degrees, add the halved apples and about half the bottle of cider and slow cook for about 4 hours. Drink the rest of the cider.
While your pork is cooking, prepare your vegetables, peeling, trimming etc
When the pork is done, take out and place aside on another warmed plate to rest. Do not cover with tin foil, otherwise the crackling will go soft. Put the roasting pan on to your stovetop element and set the two that are underneath to medium heat. Once the fat and juices from the pan is hot, add enough flour to soak up the fat and juices, stirring to incorporate and to cook out the flour. You are making a roux similar to a white sauce except no milk, instead stock. Once you have done this for a minute or two, start adding your hot stock, a cup at a time, whisking or using a fork flat side down to smooth any lumps of flour. Keep adding until you have a smooth, pouring gravy. Turn the heat down and cook at a gentle heat for another couple of minutes, stirring the whole time. Season with sea salt and white pepper. Pour your gravy into a dish and set aside in a warm place.
Heat the butter in a large pan, add the vegetables that need the longest cooking time first, and saute your spring vegetables until tender. Season and set aside.
Carve your pork, pour over the gravy and serve with the vegetables.
Fattening but who cares?