Monthly Archives: May 2009

Recipe: Roast belly pork (best crackling EVER!)


People keep asking me for my belly pork recipe (well, it’s not so much a recipe as a method), so I’ve decided to let you in on the secrets :D

Belly pork is a really under used cut of meat, with most people avoiding it because it’s quite fatty. HOWEVER if you cook it right (low & slow) that fat renders right down and keeps your meat moist and delicious, giving you great juices to create the best gravy too! As an added bonus, because it’s an under used cut you’ll be able to find belly pork really cheap!

How to Roast Belly Pork

For this method it’s better to use a slab of belly pork rather than the slices that you generally get, although if you can’t get a slab these will also work fine (you’ll just find some of the steps a little tricksy). You can get belly pork cut to your liking at a local butchers.

If you’re scared of bones, the slices may be best for you, as generally the slabs come with their bones left in :O I actually prefer to cook meat on the bone, especially with something like this, as it helps keep the roast moist and gives the cut some support in the tray.

You need to do preparation the night before and leave the meat in the fridge over night, so make sure you leave time and have space on a shelf in there!

First things first, if your butchers says ‘d’ya want it scoring, love?‘ say yes. Otherwise, it’s time to whip your your stanley knife and criss-cross the skin with 1cm deep cuts. It’s good to work in a lattice, so you’re left with diamond shaped bits of skin. Here, have a sketch:

score belly pork

My butcher scored my pork, and didn’t do the criss-crossy thing like I’ve illustrated above, everything still worked out well, but I really think the crisscrossy-ness gives you better pieces of crackling in the long run.

raw pork belly

Righto, done that? Next step, this is a bit of a weird one, and a way that my mum told me to prepare pork for good crackling. Put the kettle on! You’re gunna scauld the hell out of it.

Put your pork on a wire rack (if you don’t have one, just put it in your roasting tray). Carefully pour the boiling water over the skin until you’ve used the kettle full. If you’ve used a roasting tray, quickly empty out the water before if starts cooking the meat! You’ll notice that the edges of the scoring will have contracted, pulling away from each other and widening the gaps – perfect stage for adding the seasoning. Transfer your belly pork into a suitably sized tray for roasting.

Using rock salt and black pepper, get that seasoning right into the gaps and all over the skin. Turn the meat over and repeat the seasoning on the underneath.

raw pork belly

It should look kinda like it does above now. Time to put it in the fridge over night, this lets the salt do it’s work of pulling any moisture from the skin and helping towards getting the best crackling!

Cooking time can vary, but I’d say put aside at least 2 hours (perhaps 3 if you can!) for roasting. Preheat the oven on it’s very highest setting. Put your pork in on the middle shelf, and wait until you see the skin & top layers of fat puff right up (thanks, Jamie Oliver!), as soon as the skin looks like it’s bubbled and puffed as much as it’s going to, whack the heat right down low to around gas mark 3 (160ºc).

roast belly pork

After about an hour, baste the pork with it’s juices. Your roast will be ready when the skin can pull away from the meat, and before anything starts burning ;) If you are in a rush, increase the temp to gas mark 4 and you should be ok.

Break up the crackling, serve with gravy made from the remaining juices & mash potato. Yum!


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Bedroom progress

Whilst we were away, our workforce put the new carpets down in the bedrooms. The carpets are pretty plain, due to the fact that we wanted to keep the rooms bright and not fussy with permanent decor (read, we’re hanging lots of art), also because the house has bled us dry we managed to get two fabulous roll ends for the small sum of £180. These have covered both the bedrooms with extra bits left over (which may or may not go into the small room, depending on how much may be left from the stair carpet).


bedroom with carpet

Complete with ikea kitchen drawers. Also, that cabinet used to be in our lounge, but I think the wood colour goes really well with the blue, don’t you?

light fitting

New landing light fitting. It’s bigger than we thought, and quite fussy – I like it though!

bathroom bath

New bath! With tap, wow, taps are expensive! We bought the bathroom tiles this weekend, too. But that’s an exciting secret :)

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Kitchen progress

Just a quick post on this bank holiday eve, we started painting the kitchen over the weekend, and today I finally got to see the orange! Check it out…

orange kitchen wall

orange kitchen

The bottom photo is more true to colour, it’s super nice and bright. Can’t wait until we have actual cabinets in there! Also, we move in on friday :D

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Petite Disneyland

Wow, we just got back from an epic days adventure in Disneyland HK! It’s the smallest disneyland we’ve ever been to, but we still managed to have so much fun. Like the rest of the week, it was an incredibly hot day, so we ended up riding space mountain 3 times and going on random kid’s rides like Winnie the Pooh. The space mountain there is much better than the others, too, because it’s pretty new so goes super fast and has bunches of sharp turns without making you feel like you’re gunna fall out. I have photos, which I’ll post tomorrow, but I just wanted to say Hello.

Ohhh and I bought a Minnie Mouse oven mitt and matching apron! Also, the High School Musical show made an amazing effort at defeating the language barrier, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better english/cantonese mash-up, although they did overuse the word ‘Awesome!’

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Chicken or Sushi?

When it comes to pillows, it’s a tough decision! The chicken leg pillow was totally amazing, but I’ve always wanted a prawn nigiri one… so I went for that. (I might yet get the damn chicken leg!).

Sushi pillow

What weird things have you bought for you house? I hope I’m not the only one who thinks rocking a chicken leg pillow would be amazing. When I get home I might make more sushi pillows to match this one!

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