It’s been a big week for the little guy who has so many interests and activities that result in a very tightly-packed schedule. One of the things he was most looking forward to this week was his appointment with the orthodontist. Because for the last 12 months Alfie has had to wear a contraption on his face every night when he goes to sleep.
How he was able to sleep with this stuck to his face with elastic bands still has me puzzled. As the 12 months progressed Alfie’s resentment for the contraption grew but four weeks ago the orthodontist said that if he could do his best to wear it for another month, he could probably say goodbye to it.
And so he made a big effort and I think we only missed two nights in the last four weeks. We went to the orthodontist this morning and he checked Alfie’s teeth and jaw and joy of joys, he can now throw away his contraption.
But now the front teeth need to be pulled together so it was out with the contraption and on with the braces. As I dropped him at school he let me take one photo of him and that’s when I was reminded that he also needs to urgently see a hairdresser. There’s always something else to add to the schedule.
At the family dinner we didn’t just have praline torte; there was a main course of savoury dishes so we could say we eat a balanced diet.
It had been so long since I’d cooked pork that I decided I’d roast a pork loin. I made a stuffing and popped it in a container and took it down to the butcher who cut a pocked into the loin and stuffed it with my stuffing. Then he rolled it up and tied it with string and handed it to me ready for the roasting dish. While I do like to take on challenges in the kitchen, some jobs are best out-sourced.
I asked the butcher for the bones from the loin so I could use them on the bottom of the roasting dish to elevate the meat and give some flavour to the pan juices for the potential gravy.
The recipe for the pork loin is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe. I served the loin with gravy and apple sauce. The side dishes were roasted duck fat potatoes and red cabbage braised in a sherry vinegar with apples and walnuts. The crackle was highly sought-after and no one left the table hungry.
This is a fairly easy dish to prepare and once it’s in the oven, it takes care of itself.
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- 2 red onions finely sliced
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1 bunch sage, leaves only, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsns balsamic vinegar
- 2.2kg pork loin
- 1 tbspn rosemary leaves
- 2 tbspns fennel seeds
- 1 tbspn sea salt
- bones from the pork loin
- 1 tbspn cornflour
- ½ cup verjuice (or white wine if no verjuice in your neck of the woods)
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil, onions, pine nuts, sage and garlic.
- Cook until onions are transparent and the pine nuts toasted.
- Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar.
- Season and set aside to cool.
- Take pork loin and unwrap it and cut a pocket for the stuffing (or take stuffing to your butcher and get him to do this for you - much better idea).
- Stuff the loin then roll up and tie with string to secure.
- Score the rind or ask the butcher to do this for you - easier option.
- Bash the rosemary, fennel seeds and salt in a mortar and pestle until well combined and very aromatic.
- Rub rind with a little olive oil then rub rosemary mixture over the rind and in all the cuts.
- Pre-heat oven to 220C (430F).
- Place pork bones on the bottom of a roasting tray. Place loin on top of bones.
- Place pork in oven for 20 minutes. Check the crackle. If crackle is still soggy, cook for a further 10 minutes. Keep your eye on it.
- When crackle is sorted, turn down the oven to 175C (350F) and cook for 1 hour. (Total cooking time shouldn't exceed 1 hr 20 minutes).
- Remove pork from oven and place on a platter in a warm place to rest.
- Discard bones from roasting dish. Drain off all the fat except for about 1 tbspn.
- Place roasting dish on the cooktop over medium heat. Add cornflour and stir until browned.
- Add verjuice and stir until thickened. Gradually add chicken stock and stir until gravy has reached desired thickness. Strain gravy and pour into a gravy boat or jug.
- Slice pork and serve with gravy.