Sunday, 8 March 2015


Pascal loves a roast pork so it was only fitting I cooked him one for his last night in the UK. He was starving as we had gone to Borough Market during the day which he absolutely hated! Pascal has a phobia of crowds and the market was so busy you could barely move so we literally grabbed a cheeseburger for Arabella and a salt beef bagel for myself and Pascal decided he would rather starve than eat standing up amongst all the millions of people!! In hindsight I should have realised he would hate it….luckily I redeemed myself by cooking this delicious supper.

Here are the ingredients for 6 people however I only cooked for 4 (my gorgeous friend Ceri joined us) - I couldn't buy a big enough pork belly and instead just had to buy two smaller ones.

Ingredients for 6 people:

Boneless pork belly, 2kg, scored well with a sharp knife
4 tbsp sea salt

Braised Lentils:
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
300g puy lentils
600ml chicken stock (I used beef as I didn't have chicken)
A handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
(I also added a knob of butter to add flavour)

Herb Sauce
A handful each of basil, parsley and mint, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, sliced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 tsp Dijon mustard
150ml olive oil
Salt and pepper

First of all heat the oven to 220 C / fan 200 C / gas mark 7. It's important for the oven to be super hot in order to get the crackling right.

Put the pork in the sink on a chopping board skin side up and pour over a kettleful of boiling water.

Leave to drain and then pat dry.

Make sure the pork is scored well with a sharp knife and then rub over with olive oil and sea salt (getting it into the cracks as well) - it's quite a messy process and the amount of salt I use always shocks me however you need it for the crackling.

Then put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

After half an hour, turn the oven down to 160 C / fan 140 C / gas mark 3 and cook for a further 3 hours. If you are like me and used a smaller piece of meat, just follow the timings on the packet but always cook for 30 minutes at the high temperature. I used 2 pieces of pork which were around 630g and they took 1 hour 50 minutes.

About 45 minutes before the pork is ready, you need to prepare the lentils and the herb sauce. For the lentils cut all the vegetables and make the stock. Then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large saucepan and gently cook the vegetables, garlic and thyme until just soft (about 10 minutes).

Rinse the lentils.

Then add the lentils and red wine vinegar and stir.

Next pour in the stock (you want it to cover the ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave to cook until tender but with a little bite. This took about 25 minutes.

When it is ready, stir in the parsley and I also added a dollop of butter and seasoned to taste.

To make the herb sauce, whizz the herbs, garlic, white wine vinegar, capers and mustard in a food processor, adding the olive oil as you go.

When the pork is ready leave it to sit for 5 minutes.

Finally carve and serve on a bed of lentils and a drizzling of sauce.

I have to say I wasn't too excited about this recipe (I don't know why….maybe something to do with the 2 krispy kreme donuts I had eaten during the afternoon) but I ended up being extremely pleased by it. The pork was cooked to perfection, unbelievable crackling and the lentils and herb sauce went with it like a dream. We all gave it the thumbs up and I even had seconds (even though I was fit to burst). Another great "roast" meal - I would recommend it - plus it was super simple to make.

One little tip - I had quite a few herbs left over from the recipe - instead of leaving them in the fridge to go off, I chopped them and then froze them in ice cube trays. Great for when you only need a tablespoon of parsley or a couple of sprigs of thyme!

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