Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze

Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze
Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze

I may have mentioned that Matt and I went to the UK last summer and ate a lot of pork belly.  It was consistently one of the best dishes we had all over several parts of England and Wales. If there’s one thing the British know, it’s how to make excellent crackling (that sound you hear is Matt furiously listing all the other things British people are excellent at. (So far;  crackling, funny shows, more funny shows, chicken keeping). I’m sure there’s more but we’ll leave it at that for now.

This was pretty much a nightly conversation on our trip. Emily: “We have to make this when we get back” (distractedly tries to figure out recipe). Matt: “Stop looking at me like I stole all the crackling!” (whilst licking crackling-glazed fingers).

Well, we’ve been back for six months and our local shop now has lovely local pork belly and we thought we’d finally try to make it in our local stove. In England, it was often paired with bubble and squeak, and a hard cider sauce but I really wanted  to try a soy and honey glaze combined with the crisp crackling we found on our trip.

If you can get (good quality, ethically raised) pork belly with the skin still on – you’ll need the skin to get truly crispy pork belly – it’s definitely worth seeking out. It’s a very affordable cut and it’s also very rich, so you’ll want small portions. That being said, I wouldn’t bother cooking a piece smaller than about 2 pounds because it will shrink a lot in the oven and could dry out. There’s also so much you can do with the leftovers.

It’s absolutely lovely paired with a fried egg and this Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad (really any crisp, vinegary greens would be great). I also really love it with Sesame Roasted Pears and a tart kale salad. But my all time favorite use of pork belly is Bánh mì sliders. So, so good.

Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze

Easy scones

What ho, and all that, spiffing readers. I’m being especially upper-crust because I wanted to tell you about the scones I made a couple of weeks ago. Let’s take a gander at them first. Have a good look, there you go, feast your eyes.

Easy scones

 

Alright, that’s enough. Put your eyes away now.

On our spring trip to the UK, I wanted to take Emily out for a right old afternoon tea, with really nice sandwiches, scones, cream, jam, and all that. (You know, the sort of thing that Americans imagine that we Brits have every day, presumably as a break from striding around our castle grounds and whipping peasants.) We managed to find one at Huffkins in Burford (if you visit their site, do look for the amusing “About Our Employees” section) – all piled up on a proper tiered cake stand.

Anyway, I had picked up a jar of clotted cream at our local health food store last week (just let that sink in for a moment. Clotted cream. Health food store. Hm.) and decided on a whim to make scones. After some cursory research, and quickly realising I didn’t have any buttermilk (a requirement for many recipes) I settled on this version from Rachel Allen. I’ve adapted for US volumes and temperature. You can fuss with biscuit cutters and the like, but I like the country-style triangles simply cut from the dough with a knife.

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Orange-Maple Glazed Chicken (inspired by Withnail and I)

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You’ve seen Withnail and I, right? Of course you have. It’s a classic fil…wait, WHAT? You haven’t? You must see it! Right this minute! Go on, we’ll wait. *Taps fingers on table sternly*. Cut to 5 hours later (because you had to watch it twice and have a nap because you were tipsy). Now… don’t you feel better? Something was missing, wasn’t it?

For years, every time I’d roast a chicken, I’d be tempted to stand it up in the oven, just for giggles.

chicken_upon_a_brickNow, I know cooking chicken on a beer can is a thing but I am way too accident prone to try to balance a large, slippery chicken on a tallboy . Then I saw this, noticed it was only $20 and decided that I must have it. I have to tell you, it actually works incredibly well and, more importantly, your chicken will look hilarious as it hangs out, sitting up, in your oven.

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I imagine this will be me, Matt and one of our chickens very soon.

withnail-and-i-1987-paul-mcgann-richard-e-grant-pic-6

 

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Zucchini Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Zucchini Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Ok, one more zucchini recipe. I’m not obsessed, I swear, we just have a lot of zucchini growing in the garden. Matt’s sister Hayli made this zucchini cake (AKA courgette cake) for us when we visited her in France (I know you’re feeling SO sorry for us right now) and it was fantastic. Very summery from the lemon curd and the zucchini keeps the cake extremely moist. I adapted it from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. We usually make it with green zucchini which gives the cake delightful green flecks throughout, but we’re growing yellow zucchini so that’s what I’ve used.

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