Let Us Cook: Pork Belly

Apart from our occasional dining out, The Husband and I also enjoy spending time in the kitchen. However, seven years of marriage means we tend to revert to the same recipes, food and cooking styles.

On our quest to be more creative in the kitchen and inspire each other, The Husband came up with the idea of a weekly challenge. Each week, we give each other an ingredient that the other person has to prepare a meal with on the weekend. The ingredient itself can be anything - from a seasoning to an herb, a type of meat, a fruit, the choice is endless, limited only by our imagination. The person doing the cooking gets one 'veto', but then will definitely have to cook with the second option offered.

We've only done this for two weekends so far, but already I see so many benefits, which is why I've decided to share our cooking journey here on a new series called Let Us Cook, featuring our 'ingredient' for the week and what we've decided to do with it.

I'll also post/link the recipes if it was inspired by another site, and if it was something we made up, I'll try my best to share that here too.

To start with, the The Husband's ingredient for last week was Pork Belly. He ended up making a delicious Slow-Roast Pork Belly with Celeriac and Apple Puree  which was crispy, juicy, tender and an absolute delight!

Stay tuned to see what my ingredient was for this weekend!

Exactly how a Pork Belly should be!
(Recipe thanks to BakeNoir)

For the Pork belly:

Ingredients
1kg pork belly, skin scored
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice

Directions
Heat the oven to 200°C. Take the pork out of the fridge and pat the skin dry. Brush the skin lightly with olive oil. Crush the salt and fennel seeds together using a mortar and pestle, then rub the mixture all over the pork, making sure it gets into the cuts in the skin. Transfer the pork in a large roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes to start off the crackling. After this time, squeeze some lemon juice over the skin and reduce the heat to 160°C. Roast for further 1 1/2 hours, basting the meat every once in a while with the pan juices. Turn the oven back up to 200°C and roast for 20 minutes to crisp up. Leave to rest on a board for 15 minutes before carving.

For the Celeriac apple puree:

Ingredients
500g peeled and diced celeriac root (about 1 large)
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions
Combine the celeriac, apple and thyme in a large saucepan. Cover with water, season with salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the celeriac is tender.
Remove the thyme sprigs and drain the water, reserving some of the liquid. Puree the celeriac and apples using an immersion blender, add cooking liquid by the tablespoon to achieve the desired consistency. Return the saucepan to low heat, add butter and heavy cream and and cook for another minute. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

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