"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, June 16, 2008


I was scrapin' bottom
Gropin' in the dark

For one reason or another it’s been a while since I’ve had a typical Dos Hermanos Sunday and even though HS wasn’t available I decided to put things to right today.

First a leisurely walk to Apostrophe for my usual double Macchiato and Cinnamon Swirl followed by a brief wander around the markets in the areas between Spitalfields and Brick Lane.

There are a number of new restaurants being built this year the most notable of which are The Luxe from John Torode and The Bouchon Breton. Less notably there will also be branches of Gourmet Burger Kitchen , Wagamama (groan), and La Tasca (please kill me now). And with that Spitalfields will be well and truly Covent Garden’d.

A swift walk home, The Dan on the stereo and fix myself a Beefeater Dry Martini. I’d shoved all the fixings and stemware in the freezer before going out so everything was good and cold. Nothing worse than a warm DM.

The meat of the day was a Loin of Pork from Northfield Farm in Borough Market. Like cooking steak I’ve got my procedure down pat so it’s pretty failsafe.

First make sure the skin is scored properly – they sometimes don’t do it properly in the butchers. Dry the skin with some kitchen towel and massage a bit of Olive Oil in. Apply a sprinkling of fine table salt that will get in the cracks and rub that in as well. Add final sprinkling of coarser Maldon Sea Salt. I sometimes sprinkle some crushed fennel seeds or juniper berries on as well.

I usually poke holes in between the fat and the flesh and poke in some sage and shreds of garlic but this time I just rested the joint on a bunch of sage and some crushed cloves of garlic. I bunched up some foil to get the skin level so that it crisped evenly.

Following the teachings of St. Hugh of Fearnley-Whittingstall, the patron saint of meat and meat products – the joint went into a hot oven (220C) to get the crackling going then the heat was turned down to about 160C for the rest of the cooking time. Followed by plenty of rest, of course (not for me - for the joint, stupid).

Meanwhile I made a Bramley Apple Sauce which I do without sugar - I like the tartness - but to which I added some shredded sage, cloves and crushed cardamom.

For my greens I had a packet of Pimientos de Padron knocking around (as one does) which made the meal somewhat Iberian.

And that was it. A nice Rioja to go with the pork and some English Strawberries to pick at. A little aguardiente (don’t mid if I do) followed to aid digestion. Perfect, really.

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Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Much as I am enjoying being in Spain for an extended period, it is impossible to get a decent cocktail and they cut all the fat off their pork

I think I am ready to come home soon


Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:19:00 am  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

Looks fantastic - I will have a go myself this weekend I think. My usual question - how much was the meat?

Also, that 'martini' looks like a daiquiri. Or is that just your cameraphone making it look green?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 10:49:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Not very much - just over a tenner I think. I wanted something with a good layer of fat as the joint becomes self-basting and doesn't dry out. Northfield farm always seems to have good pork.

The DM looks green because the lemon twist had a bit of green in it. It's also a bit opaque because I shake my DMs. It clears after a bit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 9:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fine looking piece of meat, HP.

My local supplier (up north - in Cheshire) properly scores his loins of free range piggy. Tasty - very tasty.

And I'm with you on the sugar free apple sauce.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 11:31:00 pm  
Blogger tim_g said...

how long does it go in the oven for?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:43:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

I put it in a high oven for about 20-25 minutes then turn down and do for another hour or so. This was for a joint just over 1kg. Doesn't matter if it's over as the fat should keep it moist (mmmm...moist).

I find this method gives good crackling. If it hasn't bubbled up enough you can always whack the heat up a bit or put the grill on but watch the crackling like a hawk otherwise it will burn.

Resting is important too and you'll get some juices which can be used as a simple sauce or can be added to a proper gravy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 7:54:00 pm  

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