Extras please

As I mentioned yesterday, friends, who used to run a restaurant, are coming over for dinner this evening. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I regard dinner parties as an opportunity to experiment. I am attempting to reproduce the pork belly dish I had the other week at the Michelin starred restaurant in Birmingham and, in my humble opinion, improve on it. 

Pork belly is such an accommodating cut and I enjoy cooking it lots of different ways. Generally, I slow roast it over a bed of onions and apples. This ensures that most of the fat melts and the crackling crisps up beautifully. My youngest sister says I make the “best roast pork in the world”: surely an exaggeration. Personally, I prefer it flavoured with fennel seeds and garlic and, again,  slow roasted. 

This time I have soaked it in brine, slow roasted it in lard (confit), allowed it to go cold, pressed it and cut it into cute cubes which I will re-heat on the hot grill. I’m serving it with a piece of crackling, apple and onion jus and pangratto. 

The pork will be preceeded by a chestnut veloute, followed by the obligatory cheese and then dessert is pears cooked in red wine, with almond thins. I always have at least one cold dish, either the starter or the dessert. I should add that both these dishes are my own versions which I’ve made several times.  As it’s a Monday evening, I’m skipping the nibbles with drinks and petit fours with coffee. One can go too OTT.

Postscript: According to my beloved, the pork was divine. However, I’m already working on how to make it even better. More importantly, our guests enjoyed themselves even though I had run out of coffee. Thank goodness my beloved is coming back via Munich on Friday so he can stock up on my favourite brand.

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