Doritos scotch eggs!

Doritos scotch egg oozing yolk

GET IN MY FACE

DORITOS SCOTCH EGGS! Yes they really are as good as they sound too!

Well it was April since I last posted anything as it’s been a rollercoaster of highs and lows here at the cottage. I had a nasty head injury and struggled to work so any recipe development went on paid work for Metro, (see my stuff here)¬†BUT, I’m back again, revamping the site and hoping to put more time and effort now I’m pretty much back to a half functioning adult ūüôā

So to kick things off here is a little recipe I did for National Sausage Week the other week, it involves crunchy cheese Doritos, sweet chilli sausage meat and a perfectly runny golden yolk, what’s not to love?

The recipe for these beauties are in this handy little film I made…

Doritos Scotch Eggs

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Wild Garlic and Pistachio Pesto Stuffed Roast Pork Belly with Cider

wild garlic stuffed pork belly

Yes more ace wild garlic praise in the form of this wonderfully easy roast pork belly recipe. Pork belly is probably my favourite cut of meat when it comes to cooking for a crowd as it’s layers of tasty fat keep it moist during cooking and the skin crisps up to crackled piggy perfection.

Last year I made this for my friend Jess whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years, I basically rocked up with a crate of cooking gear at her gorgeous farmhouse in Dorset and we got hammered on wine, reminisced about our time at school in Colwyn Bay and cooked together, it was heaven. Jess has a big Aga which is perfect for cooking this in, just whack it in the hot oven for 30 minutes or until the skin crisps up then add the cider, cover and move to the gentler oven and leave for about 5 or 6 hours whilst you drink lots of wine. You can pretty much forget about it as it pootles along doing its own thing. I think I cooked for about 12 that night, none apart from Jess I had met before and we had the most fabulous boozy feast that lasted until dawn when Jess accidentally picked up a tube of Veet hair remover cream instead of toothpaste and brushed her teeth, OUCH (you can read more about Jess’s escapades in Dorset in her column for Dorset Life or on her the uncensored versions on her hilarious blog The Dorset Chronicles- Diary of a Farmer’s Wife). ¬†The pork however was triumphant, it was an Oxford Sandy & Black pig reared by Jess and her husband Jasper, my god it was without a doubt the best pork I’ve ever eaten, I’ll never forget it.

Tilly, fox, bandit and frog hanging out by the Aga

Everyone gets to hang out by the Aga at Jess’s house, dogs, ponies and foxes…

You could use my recipe for wild garlic, hazelnut and smoky chipotle pesto for this, it would be all kinds of wonderful….

Ingredients: (serves 8)

  • 2kg pork belly (if you buy on the bone then remove the bone and use it as a trivet during cooking)
  • Sea salt flakes
  • bottle of good cider

For the Wild Garlic Pistachio Pesto:

  • 100g fresh wild garlic leaves, washed
  • 70g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 3 ‚Äď 4 tablespoons good olive or rapeseed oil
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, grated finely on a microplane
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 100g freshly grated grana padano
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt flakes

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to its highest temperature (around 230C). Using a sharp blade score the skin making sure you don’t go right through to the meat as it will cause the meat will dry out during the cooking process.  Pour a kettle of boiling water over the skin of your pork belly then dab dry with kitchen roll, rub in a good pinch of sea salt flakes and leave whilst you make your pesto.
  2. For the pesto simply pop everything into your food processor and blend until the pesto has a coarse but well mixed consistency.
  3. Lay your pork belly skin side down then spread your pesto over the meat. Roll and tie tightly using butchers string every 2 inches.
  4. Lay your joint in a roasting tin (on the bone trivet if you have it) and roast for 20-30 minutes to get the crackling nice and crispy then turn your oven down to 150C, pour the cider around the joint, cover with foil and continue to gently cook for a further 3 hours. If your crackling needs crisping up a bit just whack the oven back up to full for the last 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the joint from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Bubble the pan juices on the hob to reduce and concentrate, season if need be then pour into a jug be served with dinner.

Psychedelic Meat Treat – Ham Hock, Beetroot and Horseradish Terrine

Ham hock beetroot and horseradish terrine

I love making terrines, you can take a few really cheap ingredients and turn them into something pretty impressive looking that tastes ace and feeds loads of people with very little effort.

Normally I make a pig head terrine with edible flowers¬†one but I fancied something a bit different so picked up a lovely gammon hock from my butchers, Derek Jones (Just ¬£1.38), and a few trotters and I was good to go. Unlike most people’s versions I always like to include quite a bit of the jelly in the terrine as it’s packed full of flavour and when spread over hot toast it makes the perfect butter substitute as it instantly melts into loveliness in a way that butter just can’t live up to.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x gammon hocks
  • few sticks celery
  • 1 red onion, halved
  • ¬†few carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • bouquet garni (few bits from the garden: bay, thyme, sage etc)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • few peppercorns
  • 3 pigs trotters
  • 200g cornichons, chopped
  • 1/2 beetroot, peeled and V-sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoon grated horseradish (I used a Polish horseradish and chilli mix that has no cream)
  • handful chopped parsley

ham hock beetroot horseradish terrine

Method:

  1. Put your hocks, trotter, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and herbs (except parsley) into a big pot. Cover with cold water, add the fennel and peppercorns and bring to s simmer, and cook very gently for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling away from the bones when gently pulled.
  2. Remove the meat and reduce the stock by about half and strain.
  3. Pick the meat from the hocks and trotters and allow to cool.
  4. Ina big bowl combine the meat, chopped cornichons, parsley, horseradish, beetroot and plenty of pepper, taste and see if it needs a bit more horseradish.
  5. Put the mix in your moulds, I used a big silicon loaf tin and silicon cupcake tray.
  6. Pour over the reduced stock and chill in the fridge overnight.

*Any excess stock you can just pop in a jar and keep in the fridge, spread it on toast, add it to risottos, soups, stews,gravies, whatever takes your fancy. It’s packed full of flavour and is just absolute kitchen gold.

ham hock beetroot and horseradish terrine

Slice and look how pretty it is

mini ham hock beetroot horseradish terrines

Pine Needle Duck Egg and Bacon Sandwich

pine needle duck egg sandwich

The best start to your day

There is no better start to your day than a bloody good bacon and egg sandwich and today I can happily declare I have made the best one I’ve ever tasted. ¬†Each year I insist on getting the biggest Christmas tree that will fit into my living room, they’re always locally grown, cost just ¬£20 (for an 8ft tree) and hold their needles really well despite being attacked by cats/me after a few too many sherries.

Once I’ve finally accepted that the Xmas decs need to come down (usually around February) the tree normally moves from my cottage into the chicken pen for the girls to explore. This year however it’s been bloody freezing so I’ve been snapping bits off to throw on the fire. This has made the house smell amazing and whilst tucking into breakfast one morning the flavours and smells all came together and the idea for this was born.

In the past I’ve infused eggs with the flavour of truffles simply by popping the eggs in a sealed Kilner jar with a few bits of truffle (Mr Truffle sells bits of truffle as well as whole ones which are perfect for this). Before the branches are burnt the pine needles are shaken into a big tupperware box.¬†Due to the selectively permeable shell of the egg it absorbs the surrounding aromas (hence why you should never keep eggs in the fridge) so I decided to pop a few duck eggs into a container with some pine needles and leave for a few days.

The gentle pine flavour in the rich duck yolk just rocks my world. If left infusing for too long the pine would be overpowering so just around 3 days has been perfect . ¬†I’m leaving some more eggs in for an extra day to make a pine duck egg ravioli next, if it’s anything as good as this sandwich then I’m in for a real treat.

pine needle sandwich

 

Ingredients:

  • pine needles
  • duck egg
  • your favourite bacon
  • your favourite ketchup
  • mayo
  • rocket leaves
  • white bread

Method:

  1. Pop your duck egg into a tupperware box that contains a handful of pine needles, seal and leave for a few days.
  2. Fry your bacon in a pan until crispy, move to the side then fry your duck egg in the rendered fat.
  3. Mayo and ketchup your bread, add a layer of fresh rocket leaves then add the crispy bacon and top with your duck egg, season then pop your bread lid on and tuck in.

Christmas Ham Salad (for when it’s all become too much)

christmas ham salad

Happy Christmas! Full yet? Boxing Day is probably my favourite food day of the year – no pressure, no rules, no timescale (and in my cottage you will now have been wearing pyjamas for about 36 hours), just grazing and making magic happen with leftovers.

This year we’re on quite a frugal budget so we opted for a big smoked gammon on the bone for Christmas dinner, it cost just ¬£10 and will feed us for well over a week. I simmered it in cola and pickling spices for a couple of hours yesterday before glazing it with rose hip jam and a mix of fiery English and sweet wholegrain mustards before blasting it in the oven for 20 minutes to caramelise.

What with the rich indulgence of yesterday still heavy in my stomach I fancied something altogether lighter with at least some sort of nod to freshness and health. I threw together this salad that not only used up some of the ham but also commandeered some of the leftover mustard and dill sauce from our homemade gravadlax to make the perfect dressing.

The sweet and salty smokiness of the ham, the sour cranberries, fiery rocket leaves, earthy crunch of toasted almonds and the drizzle of dill dressing ticks all the right boxes for me with this salad. Pile it high on a platter and let everyone dive in.

Ingredients:

  • rocket leaves
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • leftover smoked ham
  • pumpkin seeds
  • dried cranberries
  • orange zest
  • toasted almonds
  • dill and mustard dressing

I used Azelias Dill Sauce recipe as inspiration for my sauce and cobbled one together using what I had to hand:

  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch Halen M√īn smoked sea salt flakes
  • roughly 200ml Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil (it’s wonderfully nutty)

Just put the first 6 sauce ingredients into a blender or processor with the sauce attachment fitted and blitz then drizzle in your oil in a slow stream, taste and adjust seasoning and add more fiery English mustard if it needs it.

For the salad:

Just throw everything together and drizzle with the dressing then sit back and drink a nice glass of wine and put your feet up.

Fragrant Roast Pork with Herb Couscous, Rose Infused Sheep’s Curd and Rhubarb and Apple Sauce

I was all set for a roast pork dinner: the oven was pre heating, the pork shoulder joint was coming to room temperature, the wine was open and The West Wing was playing on my laptop in the kitchen. Yes I was all ready to get cracking except for one small thing – I’d forgotten to buy potatoes from Bridget at this morning’s car boot, bugger. Be they mashed or roasted, the humble spud is an integral part of our Sunday Roast.

Veg wise I had just 1 carrot, some celery tops with leaves and a couple of onions, I also had a packet of couscous in the larder, that’s a good start I figured and after a bit of garden foraging this dish was born. This method of roasting pork ensures really crispy crackling and meat that oozes juice and is so tender it can be cut with a spoon, well except for the crackling which is perfectly crispy.

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  • pork shoulder joint
  • Halen M√īn spiced salt
  • fennel seeds
  • sumac
  • cumin seeds
  • 1 packet Spicentice Moroccan Lamb Tagine mix (found at back of cupboard, went out of date 3 months ago!)
  • 1 large white onion finely sliced
  • 3 handfuls chopped rhubarb from the garden
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 600ml cloudy apple juice
  • 5 apricots (once dried but have been steeping in brandy in my cupboard for 8 months or so)
  • 1 tablespoon wildflower honey

For the couscous:

  • 1 packet couscous
  • 1 carrot,¬†grated
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • tops and leaves of one head celery
  • chopped garden herbs: lots of various mints, fennel, parsley, chives (plus a few flowers from everything to garnish)
  • skin from 1 preserved lemon, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Essential Cuisine chicken stock powder
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • handful dried sliced garlic

For the rose infused sheep’s curd:

Just before it goes in the oven, after 30 minutes and after the full 90 minutes

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to hottest setting. Make sure pork is at room temp, rub the spiced salt and fennel seeds into the scored and scorched skin then sprinkle with sumac.
  2. Put your sliced onion, rhubarb, apple, cumin seeds, tagine mix and cinnamon into a roasting tray, pour over the apple juice, mix then put your pork on top. Roast at the highest setting until the crackling is lovely and crispy then cover with foil and cook for about an hour or until the centre of the pork is cooked. Remove meat and leave it to rest covered in foil.
  3. Finely chop all your couscous ingredients. Put your stock powder, dried garlic slivers and couscous in a big bowl, stir then add boiling water (as much as the packet says – I usually aim for the water to be 1 inch higher than the couscous). Stir, cover with foil and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Then remove foil, fluff with fork then stir in all the remaining veg and herbs.
  4. Mix your rose water into the sheeps curd.
  5. That’s it really, to assemble just put your herb couscous on a plate, place a slice of juicy pork on top, a bit of crackling, a couple of spoonfuls of the wonderful gravy, dot with the rose infused sheep’s curd and scatter a few of your herb flowers over.

Pig’s head terrine with edible flowers and crispy pig’s ear scratchings

Whilst the process of making pig’s head terrine (also known as brawn or head cheese) may not be for the squeamish, sometimes in order to make something beautiful you have to get your hands dirty.

The idea of combining pig face with flowers is not simply a visual one. Although using the violets does make it look very pretty I wanted to use the flowers of herbs such as sage, thyme, chives and parsley to create little bursts of intense herbal notes through the dish.

I had a look online for various recipes, but none of them really worked for me in terms of flavour so I turned to Fergus Henderson‘s Nose To Tail Eating as a rough guide and decided to make it up as I went along using whatever I had to hand in the veg rack and garden. ¬†¬£3.30 worth of meat from the butcher made 2 big terrines. Bargain.

Washed thoroughly and in the pot ready to go

My butcher provided me with 1 split pig’s head (¬£3) and 2 trotters (30p).

Ingredients:  Makes 2 terrines

Stock pot:

  • 1 pig head
  • 2 trotters
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 leek, cut in thirds
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 2 onions, quatered
  • 2 bulbs garlic, halved
  • handful of fennel seeds
  • tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 6 sage leaves
  • stems from a bunch of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • handful dried sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lapsang souchong strands

Then:

  • bunch of chopped chives
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped fennel fronds
  • saffron strands
  • chive flowers
  • sage flowers
  • thyme flowers
  • parsley flowers
  • violets
  • Halen M√īn salt flakes
  • freshly ground pepper

Method:

1: Rinse the head and trotters thoroughly and remove the ears (if you are making the crispy pigs ear scratchings) and clean the wax out (I have a little brush that’s only reason for existing in my kitchen is to clean the wax out of severed pigs’ ¬†ears) then put in a massive pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil, lots of scum will rise to the surface. Drain of water, refill pot with fresh water, add the rest of the stock pot ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Head, ears and trotters at the bottom then veg and spices added

2: After about 2 hours remove the 2 ears and set aside to dry thoroughly.  Continue to simmer the head and trotters for about another 2-3 hours or until the flesh is starting to fall away from the skull.

3: Remove the head and trotters and set aside. Strain the stock through a sieve ( I usually do it a few times) to remove all bits and return to the pot and reduce by about two thirds. Taste and add salt and saffron.

4:  Remove meat from the head.  How much of the head you use is entirely up to you.  I only had 2 terrines to fill so used the meat and skinned the tongue and used this too but some use the snout and fat also.Chop your meat and combine with chopped herbs and black pepper.

5: Line your terrines with cling film and place a few violets and chives on the bottom.  This will of course become the top, it makes it look pretty. Add your meat then fill with reduced stock. Bang the filled dish against the worktop a couple of times to get rid of any bubbles and make sure your stock gets to the bottom. Cover with cling film and chill overnight to set.

6: The following day just gently turn it out, admire your amazingness then make some toast, slather it in butter and top with your terrine.

Pig Face and Flowers version 1 with less flowers

Crispy Pig’s Ear Scratchings:

These are seriously good! Once the ears were cooked in the stock I just treated them as I would when making regular pork scratchings. ¬†Just whack the oven on full, make sure the ears are completely dry (they will be really sticky though) then using sharp kitchen scissors cut them into strips and put on a grill tray over a roasting tin, sprinkle with Halen M√īn salt, cook until crispy and serve with a kickass dip.

Next time I make them I will probably braise the ears in a chinese broth first if I’m not making a terrine at the same time.

Dip:

  • Chopped coriander
  • chopped mint
  • chopped chilli
  • 1 red onion, microplaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • Thai fish sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Filipino spiced vinegar
  • lime juice
  • Tony’s Ginger and chilli sauce

Sweet and Smoky Ribs (but without a BBQ)

For me the whole charm of ribs is the sheer filthiness of them. ¬†Sticky, sweet, meaty morsels conveniently wrapped around a flavour packed bone to gnaw away at. ¬†All hopes of daintiness and decorum are thrown out of the window, pretty eating this ain’t ¬†– ribs are dirty and I love them.

But lets not stop there, ribs are cheap too, these 2 sets cost just £3 from my local Farmers Market.  Yep ribs are cheap and dirty food my friends which is all kinds of right in my book.

The intention had been to BBQ these bad boys, but once confronted with the BBQ still full of rainwater and coals leftover from 2011 this quickly became an indoor operation. ¬†I still wanted a smokiness though so decided to throw some Lapsang Souchong tea leaves into the coffee grinder for a few seconds to blitz them up (big strands of tea aren’t necessarily nice on a rib). ¬†I had some homemade tomato sauce leftover from making the whey pizzas to use as a base so in the smoky tea powder went.

Now for the Southern spices. ¬†I’ve blogged about Laissez Chef before and if you haven’t sought him and his amazing New Orleans Spice Blend out yet then fear not, you can still do it now and buy through his website. ¬†It tastes like nothing else you will find around on the market and is so good you can literally just dip your finger into the beautifully presented box of spices and eat it! For added sweetness and stickiness out came the treacle, oh how I love treacle!

Normally I would just marinade the raw ribs for a couple of hours then put them in a roasting tin, cover with tin foil and slow roast but I found that I had rather inconveniently ran out of tin foil (I will never learn) so used this method instead.

Ingredients:

  • Pork ribs
  • Poaching liquor (same as the fried chicken wings)
  • homemade tomato pizza sauce (you could use ketchup jazzed up with some tomato puree, garlic and onion powders and celery salt though for a shortcut)
  • 2 tsp blitzed Lapsang Souchong (must be a good quality really smoky one)
  • 1 tblsp Laissez Chef spice blend
  • 1 big heaped tblsp treacle

Throw your ribs into a pot of simmering liquor until just cooked through then remove, pat dry then coat in your marinade and leave for a couple of hours (you could cook them straight away but its nicer if they have had time to soak up all the lovely marinade).

Ribs marinading away

When you are ready just put them in a roasting tin, pour over any excess marinade and roast on high for about 20 minutes or until they are nice and caramelised on the outside.

sweet, smoky pork ribs

They turned out to be my favourite homemade ribs to date. They kicked serious meat filth ass and they will be without a doubt making many more appearances over the summer, and if I get my ass into gear and clean out the BBQ then I reckon they will be even better!

All kinds of filthy goodness

Kick Ass Salad

Last November I headed off to The BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham where I was able to sample Womersley Food‘s infused vinegars. ¬†I was photographing the show for Great Food Magazine so promised the lovely guys on the stand that I would be back to buy a bottle of their Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli Vinegar once I was done. ¬†Alas I got waylaid ¬†*ahem* ¬†at the Compass Box Whisky stand and ran out of time (lost all sense of direction). ¬†Head honcho at Womersley is Rupert, he’s one of those lovely people on Twitter who always takes the time to chat to you and reply to your messages and well worth a follow if you use it. ¬†Anyway, lovely Rupert very kindly sent me a bottle of the Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli along with his Lime, Black Pepper and Lavender vinegars to play with.

Last night turned out to be a bit of a late one involving rather large amounts of wine and beer. Such indulgence combined with an early morning walk to the train station to pop an equally hungover mother-in-law on the train home had left me feeling somewhat fragile. ¬†Normally at this point I reach for an emergency bacon sandwich but the sun was shining and I had my Womersley Vinegars to play with…perfect!

Creamy, salty feta and smoky bacon are fantastic together but throw some fresh zingy herbs into the mix, a nice hum from the red onion and the amazing sweetness and kick of the vinegar and it turns this from something nice to something really, really good. ¬†My fella is not a fan of salads at all and has proclaimed it “seriously tasty”, from him thats pretty high praise indeed! ¬†If you needed any more reasons to give it a go then I should mention that cheese, bacon and chilli are a sure fire hangover cure too…

Kick Ass Salad:

  • 250g feta cheese
  • 1/4 red onion
  • handful smoked bacon lardons/panchetta
  • mint leaves
  • coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli vinegar
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • few pomegranate seeds

Method:

  1. Fry off the lardons until crispy and drain on kitchen towel.
  2. Roughly chop the herbs, microplane the onion and combine with the vinegar and seasoning in a bowl.
  3. Break the feta into chunks, add to the bowl and mix gently.  Leave to infuse for 20 minutes if you can bear it then add the crispy bacon, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and dive in!

This salad kicks serious ass!

24 hour slow roast wild boar and flatbreads

Every Sunday I head to the market across the road to pick up my meat and veg for the week. ¬†I never know exactly what meat my man is going to have that day, it all depends what has been shot, slaughtered or finished hanging that week. All his meat is free range and fantastic. ¬†Guinea fowl, roosters, rabbits, muntjac and wild boar are often available, his wild boar bacon is really good and his mutton is always hung for 3 weeks so it’s tender enough to cook pink. ¬†Last November we were chatting away about his Southdown mutton that he had coming up when his mother mentioned that he should show me what he had in the chiller. ¬†“Its a bit hairy”, he said as we went out back, “people are funny about the hair so I can’t sell it like this and I haven’t had time to prep it.” ¬†I still wasn’t sure what I was about to be shown as he opened up the chiller box and for a split second as he opened the lid I thought he was trying to sell me half a dead dog! ¬†Luckily it was a 2 year old wild boar. ¬†Having told me a bit about her, yes her (not so important for the front end but apparently the males tend to wee all over their stomachs which over their 2 year life time affects the belly meat) I was instantly sold on the hunk of meat, handed over my tenner and went off in search of a heat gun to de-hair her.

The wild boar as I bought her and after I had removed the tough hair

Once I got home I immediately set about prepping the wild boar removing the tough bristly hair with a heat gun and a stiff brush.  It took a good half hour to do in the garden and it smelt really good! I was really happy with my huge hunk of meat and popped the above photos on my Facebook page.

*skip to next paragraph to avoid a bit of a brief rant

There were a great deal of people who instantly wanted an invite for dinner but I was really surprised that a couple of people found it really offensive, so much to the point that they complained to Facebook and had the pictures removed. ¬†I still don’t know who this was and I really hope they have not only “unfriended” themselves but that they also spend every spare minute of their time covering butcher’s windows with paint and covering up all the supermarket meat shelves with white sheets if the sight off meat offends them so greatly. But they probably eat meat and just don’t like to associate the meat they stuff in their faces with animals. Yes I know, I’m ranting. Rant over.

Anyway, once fully prepped it went into the freezer ready to make a grand future appearance.

24 hour roast wild boar

Once the boar was thoroughly defrosted I made a marinade:

Good couple of pinches of smoked tea to get that deep smoky flavour

2 heaped dessert spoons Spice Ways Heavenly Herbs (wonderful blend of of herbs and spices including coriander and rose petals that I discovered whilst in Bath)

glug of oil to mix.

The marinade ingredients were all mixed and rubbed into the flesh and skin of the boar.  Wild boar skin is very tough and is not eaten but I wanted all the flavours of the smoky tea, herbs and spices to infuse the meat and then the juices reduced at the end for an intense sauce.  The meat was put into a large roasting tin, covered in tin foil and placed in an oven set to 130C for 20hours.  During this time the meat was gently turned and basted a few times.  For the last 4 hours the foil was removed and a huge amount of juices and marinade poured off into a jug.  The skin was now able to crisp up a bit like a protective coat.  Once the juices had separated the very top layer of fat was removed and the remaining liquid reduced gently in a pan until it reached a thick sauce consistency and it packed a real punch in the flavour department. This was the most amazing sauce!

The skin is simply peeled back to reveal the most incredibly moist meat that just melts in your mouth.  Easiest way to serve is simply to stick 2 forks on the table and let everyone dig in.  I made flatbreads and smoky turtle beans to go with it and served it with homemade cucumber, onion and mustard pickle, coleslaw and some very hot pickled red chillies.

Flatbreads

This recipe was just made up on the spot and worked really well.  The sourdough starter is used a a seasoning as I love the flavour.

500g white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp Halen M√īn salt flakes

2 dessert spoons sourdough starter

2 dessert spoons oil

About a mug of warm water

2 good pinches each of black onion seeds, white sesame seeds and fennel seeds

Just combine all into a dough and knead for about 5-10mins until nice and smooth and elastic. Leave for 5 mins whilst you heat a flat bottomed large griddle or frying pan until really hot.  Divide your dough into about 8 pieces then using a rolling pin (or I just use my hands to stretch and shape)  roll each one out flat until nice and thin whilst making sure it will fit happily into your pan.  One by one cook the breads, they will bubble up and colour very quickly, so keep an eye on them and turn only once.

Smoky Turtle Beans

This is a great recipe and always proves to be a winner.

1 pack dried turtle beans that have been soaked overnight and rinsed.

2 large onions thinly sliced

1 tin tomatoes

1 dessert spoon New Orleans Spice Blend from Laissez-Fare (hunt this out its really fantastic!)

2 tsp brown sugar

few grinds black pepper

1cup vegetable stock (or more to cover the beans if required)

2 tsp smoked tea.

glug of oil

Very gently fry the onion in a glug of oil until it starts to caramelise then add the New Orleans Spice Blend and brown sugar and stir gently for a few minutes.  Then tip the onion mix into a slow cooker and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and pour this into the slow cooker too.  Add your turtle beans, tinned tomatoes, black pepper and smoked tea, make sure the beans are all covered by liquid, top up with more stock if needed and then cook on high for about 6 hours or until the beans are soft.  I usually thicken the mix slightly by removing the slow cooker lid and letting it cook uncovered for the last 30mins. Taste and add salt and pepper if required.

This is the basic veggie recipe, I also do a meaty one by adding sliced chorizo and using chicken stock and sometimes add carrot, celery, cocoa, cumin and paprika depending on my mood. ¬†It’s really versatile and like everything I make it’s pretty hard to screw it up.

To serve I just placed the boar on a large serving platter, pulled back the skin and let people dig in and add whatever dips and condiments they wanted in order to make the most amazing wild boar kebabs ever!

Pulled boar kebabs, amazing!