Sunday, 28 March 2010

Hands of pork and purple broccoli salad

I haven't had the best luck recently and today my oven went insane when I was attempting to cook my Sunday roast. When it rains it really pours in my life it seems. I have cooked hands of pork many times before, as they are well priced, with a great potential for crackling. The trick is scoring and cooking for a long time on a very low heat. I usually cook them for about 3 hours at 120 degrees C. Today, after half an hour I noticed the skin was going black and sizzling like crazy! So I had a great time turning the oven on and off for the next 3 hours, trying to get the roast to cook and yet not burn. It turned out quite good actually. But not perfect of course, hence the little bit of black skin you see in the picture down there

I marinated the pork for about an hour before roasting, in honey, chinese 5 spice, garlic salt, pepper and olive oil, sticking ginger bits in the cuts in the skin. Then it needs about an hour of cooking time before you add the apple bits, otherwise they'll turn to complete mush. Unless of course you like that - it's just like apple sauce really


Hands of pork
Chinese 5 spice
Garlic salt
Apples (1 for each person)
Potatoes (King Edward)
Splash of milk
Olive oil


Purple broccoli
Red onion
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Garlic clove

I wasn't sure about using this photo as I realise it may freak some people out, but hey, that's what meat is, and I thought it was important to show you what hands of pork look like, as by hands you could think I mean trotters of something. In fact, it's quite a substantial piece of meat. That fed three people today and there would have been enough for four (instead I've just been snacking on it all evening - yum!). For under a fiver, I say that's a bargain!

Now for the salad - when someone at the butchers or at a fruit and veg stall gives me a recipe, I always listen closely, because I reckon they must know what they're talking about. I am never disappointed by these little gems, and today was no exception. The lady at the veg stall on Bethnal Green road told me how she likes to eat purple broccoli - something I have never tried before - with lamb. I didn't have lamb, but the salad worked well with pork too, as it added a tart refreshing aspect to my roast

I sliced the broccoli into slightly smaller pieces to start with, then blanched it for 4 minutes in salted water. Draining purple broccoli is quite an experience - the water that comes off it is almost turquoise, reminiscent of the soup Brigitte Jones served up at her dinner party!

Let the broccoli cool, then add the chopped red onion and tomatoes, grate the garlic on top and pour over the juice of one lemon, some olive oil and a little bit more sea salt. It turned out really great, though I think next time I may also add capers to the mix, as I think they'd work well, and I'll try it with lamb too, as originally suggested

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