Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Voracious advent Calendar: Dec 14 and 15

Dec 14: Hot pork rolls and rum

Every year full-grown adults engage in fisticuffs to get to the front of the queue for hot roast beef sandwiches at our friend James' house. He invites everyone over for Christmas festivities, carols, mulled wine, but it's the whiff of prime meatiness from the largest piece of beef you'll ever see that bring 40 clamouring friends to his door.

This year, it was controversial. This year James decided to roast pork. Worrying stuff.

But fears were assuaged when he flexed his muscles and lifted out two huge pork shoulders from the oven, crackling golden and glistening, flecked with fennel and rock salt. Perfectly mottled with fat, and basted in cider for eight hours, the pork met with universal approval.

So here is the recipe from James, who also happens to be the director for the toasty Rum sixty-six.

"I just seasoned it with fennel, rock salt and rosemary (controversial but the butcher assured me it worked), blasted it at 350 [conventional oven] to get the crackling for 45 mins and then cooked it for 8 hours at 125 under foil with a load of cider, topping up if it fried out. Served with the rather excellent Rum Sixty Six!

"I think the real key is getting good pork. 3 things make sure its succulent.

1. Obviously the cider and the foil
2. You need a decent sized joint. We had whole shoulders.
3. Decent fat content, which of course also gives you the flavour."

Serve in baps slathered in apple sauce, your favourite salad leaves and, (the equivalent of crisps in your sandwich) a layer of salty crackling.

Thank you James for a perfect crackling evening!

James buys his pork from Moens near Clapham Common, one of Jamie Oliver's favourite butchers too.

Dec 15: How to Drink, by Victoria Moore

This is a slight cheat because it was reading India Knight's posterous that reminded me how deliciously written Victoria Moore's book How to Drink is.

I could read about shot glasses of chilled sauvignon blanc with crabmeat or oysters, how to drink a rose in winter or the way to make your own cranberry vodka all day. I might even make them one day. And it's not all alcoholic, for the proper way to drink tea, hot chocolate, or just ideas for elevenses, it's worth dipping into this gem.

I wrote about it earlier this year.

You can get it for half price (it's usually £15.99) at the moment, and have a peek inside on Amazon.


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