As per last year, I'll have another go at pointing ya in the direction of some decent home cooking. All for the love of your life! While there are some amazing restaurants in Cork, none of them will sleep with you if you cook the food yourself. Granted, you may not get any action from this either, particuarly if your better half is a veggie!
Pressed Belly of Pork
THIS TAKES 2 DAYS, SO BUY YOUR PORK BELLY SOMEWHERE TODAY OR TOMORROW. BUT TO DO THIS PROPERLY YOU'LL NEED 2 DAYS, OTHERWISE BUY IT AT THE CRACK OF DAWN ON VALENTINES DAY AND SERVE IT UP AROUND 8PM. MAKE SURE YOU BUY IT FLAT, AS YOU DONT WONT IT ROLLED AND MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO RIBS ATTACHED (THERE SHOULDNT BE!!)
Go to a decent butcher, some of the supermarket butchers may have it. Ask for pork belly. Its cheapish and tastes delicious. Make sure you get the fat lair as opposed to the skin lair. Its rare that'd happen anyway! Make sure you get a big square of it, well enough to divide it into four pieces that you can both eat without collapsing! As your out shopping, get some olive oil, salt, pepper, a few cloves of Garlic (if you like the stuff) or an onion. You'll also need a bottle of white wine, tin foil and a roasting tray.
Pre heat your FAN oven to 170, or 185 if your using a non-fan oven.Get a sharp knife and score the white fat of the pork belly up and down, left and right so you have something resembling a grid. Make sure not to cut through to the actual meat, but make a deep enough cut into the fat. Season fat side and meat side well with plenty of salt and pepper and rub all over with the olive oil. Get out your onion or garlic and cut them into sections. Arrange the onion or garlic segments in your roasting tray, so they act as little legs for the piggy belly, keeping it off the actual bottom of the roasting tray. Make sure the fat side is facing up! Trickle with a bit more olive oil and another sprinkle of salt! Horse in a good splash of the white wine, cover the tray with the tinfoil and bake / roast for 1.5 hours. After that time is up, take off the foil and return it to the oven for another 40mins (still on at the same temp) and baste it occasionally with the juices that are in the pan. around 5-7 times.
Using another clean roasting tray, tranfer the pork to that. Leave it cool down for an hour or so.Now get another tray or extremely large plate and place that on top of the pork belly. Weigh this tray down with tins, or what I find great, is an Arogs catalogue! Leave it like that preferably over night in the fridge or a good couple of hours. The pork compresses and takes shape! Now when it comes to serving it....
Heat your oven to the highest setting (230/200 for most ovens). While your oven is preheating its arse off, cut your now pressed pork belly into 4 even squares. 2 each!!!! Place the pork, fat side up in a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of salt. Roast for around 15-20 mins until the skin is nice and crisp. You may need 25 mins, depending on the oven, but keep an eye on it!. If you want to be really fancy, trim the edges off the pork to neaten it a bit, if needs be. Sorted!!!!!!!!!
All you need is a little bit of gravy and some mash! For the perfect mash, for christs sake use a potato ricer. 20 mins of boiling a few spuds, push them through the potato ricer, warm milk and a few knobs (!) of butter. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. I normally do a basic stuffing to rest the pork on. Blitz up some bread or buy some breadcrumbs. Get a decent size lump of butter and melt it down in a frying pan. Dice some onions, mix with the breadcrumbs and get it into the pan with the melted butter. Keep tossing (I know, I know) until golden, add a little bit of time and you have a pretty tasty stuffing!
For dessert if you fancy some, or maybe dessert is made in the bedroom a creme brulee (burnt feckin cream) is pretty nice and light to boot, so if there's any shenanigans later, you wont be struggling getting your moves on! Creme Brulee is fairly simple to make. You make a custard, let it set for a few hours (after baking it in little ramakins) try some sugar on top and using a blow torch or a hot grill, caramelize the sugar. Heres what you need!
300ml double cream
120ml full fat milk
5 larger FREE RANGE egg yolks
60g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod (Tesco have em)
Vanilla EXTRACT (Not Essence) if you want
Slowly heat the cream and milk together in a saucepan. And I mean slowly, a ow-low med heat! Now, beat the shit out of your eggs yolks, vanilla extract (2 little capfuls, what the hell make it 3) and sugar all together in a bowl. Now when thats done, not only will it smell gorgeous, you have a bit of a difficult bit. With the hot creamy milky mixture (heated slowly just before boiling point) mix that into. Do this by trickling it into the bowl with the sugar, vanilla extract and egg yolks (which have now all being combined) and keep beating . I cant stress how important it is to keep beating it, otherwise your eggs will cook and scramble and you dont want this. When all the milk/creme mixture is beaten in, strain through a sieve into a large jug. Skim off any froth from the surface and pour into the ramekins. Well done, you've just made custard! Almost there, get a baking tin, place in your ramekins, and fill the tin with warm water until it reaches around halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 40-45 mins at 140 (make sure oven is preheated) until the custard is lightly set. It should wobble a little in the middle. Remove them and allow to cool and then chill them in the fridge until your ready to serve em up. 1 tsp of sugar over the top of each ramekin, at the table (looks impressive) and whip out your little torch (or place under the grill) and wave it about until the sugar has caramelised. When the sugar has caramelised give it almost a minute until its hard, otherwise you'll get a nasty caramel burn, and trust me you dont want one of them!!!!
So there you go, no starters but a decent main and desert. Inspired from Gordon Ramsay!!! Enjoy. Any questions, post em in the comments section!!!!
Vics valentines vouchers on the way tomorrow!!!