Stuffed Pork Loin with Primavera Salad

Yesterday we had close friends coming over for lunch.  We normally catch up quite regularly but this year has been more frantic than usual and these friends have also done some traveling so it’s been almost 12 months since we last enjoyed each other’s company.

IMG_1575Sunday was a beautiful warm day and just perfect for eating al fresco on our verandah.  I set the table with my new placemats and napkins that yes, I had ironed.  To tie in with the blue theme I bought a cushion covered in the same fabric as the place mats that I placed on the single chair in the corner of the verandah.  It looked lovely but I’m not about to call myself a stylist.

Al fresco dining on the verandah

Al fresco dining on the verandah

I wish I could say I grew the hydrangeas but that would be completely false as I’m quite sure there’s not one flowering plant in my garden.  When I was out doing the final shop for the lunch I saw the hydrangeas sitting in a bucket outside the fruit and vegetable shop and had to have them for their beautiful colour.

IMG_1576I find an incredible amount of inspiration for my entertaining on the blogs I follow.  One of my favourite bloggers is Hannah from Wayfaring Chocolate.  Hannah is Australian but currently living in Canada and last week she posted about a tapas platter she enjoyed that was served to her in a restaurant in Toronto.  And she posted a photo of it!  I thought that looked like a great way to start a lunch and conveniently easy to put together.

Hannah inspired tapas plate

Hannah inspired tapas plate

I went to the Italian deli to buy the lupini beans and was served by a very enthusiastic man from Sardinia who loved that I was serving lupini beans and said they’re perfect with a beer and asked me what else I was serving with them.  I rattled off olives, sourdough bread and smoked almonds and while all of that was fine he was quite definite that something was missing.

Next thing he dragged me off into the freezing cold cheese room.  The girl who had to work in there was dressed like the Michelin Man, all padded-up like she was about to hit the slopes.  In my singlet top, I was freezing.  My Italian friend shaved off a bit of pecorino cheese with truffle slices through it.  ‘This!’ he said, ‘This is what you’ll serve with the lupini beans’.

Orders taken, off I went with my lupini beans and my $20.00 slice of cheese.  We won’t mention the cost to Carl!

So that was our tapas plate that Carl said apart from the cheese was too healthy, but knowing what was coming up for lunch, I thought it completely adequate.

Bashing the fennel seeds, fresh rosemary and rock salt

Bashing the fennel seeds, fresh rosemary and rock salt

For the lunch I bought a boned loin of pork and made stuffing that I took to the butcher and handed over for him to do his tricks and tie it up with string.  ‘That’s what we’re here for’, he said and at the prices they charge, they absolutely should be.  I did ask him to score the rind and he did but he did a pathetic job.  Carl had to sharpen our knife and repeat the process because if you want good crackle, you need the rind well scored and my butcher’s slashes had barely broken the skin.  But if you’re also doing this at home, don’t cut all the way through the fat to the meat because otherwise you’ll end up with dry meat.

Stuffed pork loin rolled and tied with string

Stuffed pork loin rolled and tied with string

Not all of the stuffing fitted into the cavity of the pork so I wrapped the leftovers in baking paper, then in foil and placed it on a wire rack in the oven for the last half hour of the cooking process.

Stuffed pork loin, resting

Stuffed pork loin, resting

With the pork we had roast potatoes cooked in duck fat.  I peeled the potatoes then chopped them into bite sized pieces, added them to a saucepan of cold water, threw in some salt, put the lid on and brought to the boil.  I let it boil for five minutes then drained the potatoes before returning them to the saucepan to be shaken about and ‘roughed up’.

Potatoes roasted in duck fat

Potatoes roasted in duck fat

Meanwhile, I placed a scoop of duck fat into a baking dish and placed it in the oven with some sprigs of rosemary to melt and become aromatic.  When the fat was all melted and the pan really hot I brought it out and added the potatoes and carefully tossed them about.  They were seasoned and into the oven they went for an hour.

The vegetables cooling down in an ice bath

The vegetables cooling down in an ice bath

I made a primavera salad and Alfie was my little helper in the kitchen.  He loved podding the broad beans.  I wanted him to have the joy of podding fresh peas also but unfortunately they are not quite in season.  ‘Two more weeks’, said the grocer.

And yes, there was dessert, but things did not go to plan in the Hotly Spiced kitchen and I’m still traumatised so I’ll leave that post for another 24 hours.

Stuffed Loin of Pork

Serves:   6

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I bought free-range pork and yes, it was expensive but totally worth it.

  • 2.3kg pork loin from the rib end, boned then stuffed and secured with string and rind scored.
  • rosemary stalks (with leaves)
  • 1 tbspn fennel seeds
  • 1 small handful of rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbspn sea salt
  • 2 tbspns olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • small handful of sage leaves, finely chopped
  • large handful of pine nuts
  • 4 tbspns balsamic vinegar
  • 6 slices of sourdough, toasted then torn into pieces

Pre-heat oven to 200C (400F).

Place a rack in a roasting dish and spread rack with rosemary stalks.  Place pork on top.

In a mortar and pestle pound fennel seeds, rosemary and salt until well amalgamated.  Rub this on to the rind and into the cuts of the pork.

To make the stuffing:

Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add onions, garlic, sage and pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until onion becomes translucent.  Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar.  Season to taste.  Mix in the sour dough and scrunch it all together.  Take this to a butcher to stuff for you.  (I always phone my butcher the day before to make sure he can do this for me).

You can stuff the pork loin yourself by opening up the pork and spreading the stuffing along the length of the loin then re-rolling and tying up with string.  Good luck!

Place pork in the oven and cook for an hour and 15 minutes.  Bring out of the oven to rest while you make a gravy from strained pan juices, a tablespoon of cornflour mixed until the gravy turns brown, then add a good splash of white wine or verjuice, then gradually stir in 500mls of good quality stock (I used vegetable but chicken stock would be more commonly used).

This recipe has been adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe out of Jamie’s Kitchen.

Broad Beans, Snowpeas, Asparagus and peas

Broad Beans, Snowpeas, Asparagus and peas

Primavera Salad

Serves:  6

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Very inexpensive when everything is in season.

  • 15 broad bean pods
  • large handful of snow peas
  • 2 bunches baby asparagus
  • large handful of freshly shelled peas
  • small handful of mint leaves, loosely torn
  • handful of slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbspns white balsamic vinegar
  • small tspn of dijon mustard

Shell the broad beans.  Bring a small saucepan of water to boil.  Add broad beans and cook for 2 minutes.  Drain and place in an ice bath.  When cool, drain again and remove the outer skin from the broad bean so they have become ‘twice podded’.  Place the pods in a bowl.

Remove string from the snow peas.  Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil and add snowpeas, asparagus and peas.  Blanch for one minute then drain and place in an ice bath.  When cold, drain again and add to the broad beans.  Toss through mint then scatter almonds on top.

For the dressing:

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and mustard.  Pour over salad.


A Spring salad

A Spring salad

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  1. I’d walk a long way for a go at that crackling you can’t beat it. My American neighbour made my bacon recipe last week and called me to come and pick up the ‘pig skin’ if I wanted it. I told him he had no idea what he was missing out on but he looked at me like I was a mad woman. His loss!! Talking of no idea – it never occurred to me to get your butcher to stuff your meat that’s a great idea.

  2. Ooh don’t keep us waiting Charlie with the dessert story! Loved that last pic-pinned! 🙂

  3. This looks delicious and I would love to dine outdoors at your home in that lovely setting which looks like something out of a magazine. The hydrangea were, indeed, the perfect spot of blue on the table. Well done, Charlie.

  4. Oh my you prepared such a beautiful meal!! ANd it sounds like the uber expensive cheese was totally worth it!

  5. I LOVE crackling, your food is always so beautiful.. I loved the shot of the salad.. c

  6. I love the look of your outdoor dining space–and the look of this food. Simple, yet elegant. Lovely photos as well. And thanks for the kind comments–that was my 23-year-old Zack lurking as a skeleton in the photo.

  7. Looks like the perfect al fresco setting. Everything looks wonderful -a great way to catch up with friends.

  8. What a lovely menu for entertaining! And how nice that you were able to dine outdoors. I’m so relieved it has finally warmed up over here in Perth. I can now throw the cocktail party I’ve been wanting to throw. Out of curiosity do you purchase your duck fat or render it yourself?

    • Hi Lauren, I have rendered duck fat when I have roasted whole ducks – it would be a crime to throw out duck fat! But what I used on Sunday came from a container in my freezer and it was bought! I sometimes cook confit duck and you need so much duck fat that I just can’t cook enough whole ducks to make the volume of fat I need. I can buy duck fat fairly inexpensively from my butcher.

  9. The salad looks fantastic! Love the greens combination! I’m really loving broad beans right now!

  10. I love the setting you have made for this gathering, along with a warm and welcoming menu 😀
    Delicious no doubt!


  11. that pork loin looks absolutely delish – that crackling looks mighty fine 😉

  12. Very delicious indeed Charlie! The truffle cheese is awesome and I bet it was worth every cent 🙂 Duck fat potatoes are wonderful and BigJ’s favourite and you did a fantastic job on the crackle too- yummo!
    I do love your hydrangeas, I have a big pot of blue blooming like crazy but can’t bring myself to pick them 🙂 xox

  13. I’d never think to bring my stuffing to the butcher!! I can’t wait to do this at my little Italian market!! I love those Italian men, most old enough to be my father, so it’s not THAT kind of love! Your table setting is picture perfect, just enough to look classy and the blue reminds me of Tiffany Blue! Lovely, al fresco dining!!

  14. Your table is gorgeous! I would have snatched up those hydrangeas in an instant, too! What a lunch! And can’t wait for the dessert story…

  15. Lovely looking lunch Charlie! I’d never thought of taking my own stuffing to the butcher. What a great idea. I’m always put off cooking things like this because I’m not really sure how to prepare them and there’s no way I’m buying the prepared version at the supermarket.

  16. G’day Charlie, I would some to get some pork (crackling) on my fork right now, true!
    Not everything always goes to plan, but look forward to what happened and what you made for dessert too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  17. What a gorgeous verandah you have and I love that accent shade, just beautiful and it screams summer! I’m in love with that primavera salad! I know I’ll have to make it before the ingredients are in season. I absolutely adore vendors who have such a passion for their product; I bet mr. Cheese man made you excited about buying a $20 slice of cheese (European cheese is very expensive here too). I’m curious about this blog you mention, I’m going to chechnit out right now! Thank you.
    I’d love to be invited for such a beautiful lunch.

  18. Your pork crackling looks to die for with all of those yummy herbs on top. I love spring salads and yours is especially festive. I would love to be sitting at your dinner table tonight! Take care, BAM

  19. You? Traumatised? I can’t wait for the next edition.

    You ARE a stylist – I love your verandah. What a welcoming, friendly table you set.

    I loved the bit about the cold room and the cheese. So, was he right about the cheese? Was that the missing ingredient or did he just want your $20?

    • He was so right about that cheese, Maureen. It was sensational and the first thing to disappear on the platter. Everyone forgot about everything else. I’m thinking of asking them if I can do a blog post on their cheese room – it’s so interesting and they have hundreds of cheeses. But I’ll dress for the ski slopes that day!

  20. please invite me over next time! your lunches and dinners always looks so amazing!

  21. Oh, Charlie-love! You just made me so happy. I am giddy with glee over your words, your kindness, and your perfect recreation of my wonderful Archive tapas adventure. I honestly thought for a second that it was my photo, such is how perfectly you encapsulated the treats! But woah mama, do I need that cheese. (We could have got cheese on our platter too, but my friend is more strictly dairy-free than I am 😉 )

    Thank you for this. It means so much. x

    • You are very welcome, Hannah. You are such a treasure. I do hope you can find that cheese to have with your lupini beans – it’s such an awesome cheese and it was all gobbled up!

  22. What a beautiful table setting. Isn’t it funny how much time can pass by without seeing friends? You menu looks incredible, great job!!

  23. What a gorgeous lunch – that table looked beautiful even before the food arrived. And what a lovely grocer and deli owner you have, it sounds like they are great for a chat!

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the dessert too…

  24. You mightn’t call yourself a stylist, but I will! What a lovely setting!

  25. First of all, your veranda is gorgeous! Second, this meal looks fabulous! That pork looks so flavorful and juicy!! And your potatoes are perfect. I’m going to have to try that method for some perfect, crispy potatoes.

  26. The meal looks great and so does the table setting. I’ve taught myself to tie my own meat now (after the chicken ballotine, it’s a breeze) so I no longer have to buy stuffed and pre-tied meat. My last roast (a lamb loin) was a big disappointment and I had to wait 30 min for them to season and tie one for me last time I went shopping because they were all sold out of the pre-tied ones. I’m saving my duck fat for a confit but those potatoes … ymmy.

  27. That was some lunch that you prepared, Charlie. Love that you served lupini. They once were a staple of ours, with the men snacking on them as they played cards on Sunday afternoons. That pork roast was roasted to perfection. Glad you noticed and had Carl score the meat. It would be a shame not to have had any crackling. I bet your friends enjoyed the meal. I surely would have. 🙂

  28. To be a guest at your table use be a joy indeed. It all looks terrific. I have neve crooked with duck fat but must do so soon.

  29. Agghhh I am drooling over this at my desk.

  30. Everything sounds perfect especially that pork with the crackling but…..oh those potatoes in duck fat would have to be the best ever!

  31. Your verandah looks especially stylish too.

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