Honey glazed pork with Star Anise

Life motto: When life gives you lemons – make lemonade… and potentially add vodka.

I’ve been doing this all week; making a fuss of myself, taking each day as it comes – and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

After working all weekend I was feeling particularly exhausted and really, really fancied a good, old fashioned pork roast with crackling. I have a recipe (of course I have a recipe!) stored up for these sorts of occasions – it won’t win you any points on the counting-calories front, but it’s a corker to impress a group of friends – perfect if you’re entertaining, or making a fuss of a loved one.

Firstly you need a lovely pork joint. Select one with a good ring of fat around the outside for crackling, and try to make it as organic and lovingly farmed as you can afford.

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Pour some boiling water on it to properly melt the fat underneath the rind – I’d recommend a couple of washes. This means that your crackling will be crisp and delicious rather than chewy and sloppy (no-one likes that!)

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Now to score the skin. You’ll need to go about an inch or so deep – so you’ll need a very sharp knife indeed! Most joints come pre-scored but it’s often not very effective for really good crackling, so get stuck in!

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After you’ve scored the meat, rub some rock salt into the skin to really dehydrate it and slide a generous amount of star anise pieces in the gaps – this will flavour the skin and the meat.

Chop up 2 onions and slide underneath the meat – this will mean you get really succulent gravy from the meat juices, honey and spices.

Pop in the oven on around 220C for 20 mins – after this turn the heat down a little and drizzle manuka honey all over the skin and meat to really make it gooey and yummy…

Leave for around an hour / 2 hours (depending on how big your joint is!)

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And then you’re done. Tender, succulent, crispy, spicy, honey-fied meat. Guaranteed to impress boyfriend’s mums, heal broken hearts and fill you up with enough left for sandwiches for the next day.

Ti” next time!

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Honey glazed Paprika sticky ribs

The weather in London has been absolutely beautiful over the weekend – but I’ve been somewhat of a homebody over the past couple of days, staying in with the windows open. I’m not sure what has come over me as I’m normally the outdoorsy type, but as we’ve got a balcony I’ve been making sure to eat all my dinners there.

Anyway, Saturday had rolled around and I found myself hankering for a good, old fashioned rib ‘n’ burger mashup. Without a to-hand American diner, this was the next best thing. This is a great little recipe if you have a barbeque on the go, but if not never fear – you can use a griddle pan or a wide-bottomed pan with good results too.

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Firstly buy some good quality pork ribs with lots of meat round the bones. I got a good deal on mine from Sainsburys, but if I had my time again I’d definitely walk down to my local butcher, The Ginger Pig.
Cover them with garlic salt, and leave to come to room temperature. If you can, sit them, packet still on, in a warm, shallow bottomed roasting tray full of hot water – this will soften the meat. Garlic salt can be grabbed at most supermarkets, but I’d advise you make your own – mash 2 cloves of garlic with rock salt and a little bit of olive oil.
Next for the cooking. Heat olive oil in the pan (or stoke the barbie) and coat the ribs with Paprika. Wait until the oil is smoking and then add the ribs. Give them the once over so the outside has caught, then turn down the heat.
Next, drizzle Agave Nectar onto your ribs. Coat one side first, allow to cook, then spin over and repeat. Use agave nectar if you can – it’s low GI and doesn’t burn like honey does – not such an issue for barbeque cooking, but I don’t want your kitchen smoked out!
Now leave the ribs to do their funky thing in the pan – or leave a man to, er, ‘man’ the barbeque (nothing pleases a man more than waving a pronged instrument at a smoking barbeque wearing a dodgy apron – TRUST)
Now, ribs aren’t the healthiest thing for your waistline, I’m not going to lie. So we’ll make it a bit better with a healthy salad.
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This is a thai-inspired fusion salad, with mango, rocket, chillis, cherry toms, cucumber and a healthy drizzle of lime juice. It’s zippy and HOT and the perfect partner to the fatty, honey-fied ribs.
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All you need to do now is lovingly plonk the ribs ontop of your salad and serve with a big glas of wine (or in my case, raspberry & cranberry juice as I’m off the booze)

What do you think of my first recipe? Would you like to see more on my blog?

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