August 2009

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pork and fennel[a later reconstruction of the dish]

I found a lovely piece of free-range pork down at the Herdsman. It was a piece of pork belly with the skin removed and then rolled and tied into a roll. Very cute – looked like the kind of roast you could munch on while driving down the road with your elbow out the window.
Lovingly tied as it was, I ended up removing the string and wrapping it in prosciutto – unfortunately it burst its smallgood chains half way through, but no harm done.

6 inches of rolled pork belly
150 g of thinly sliced prosciutto
1 tbs truffled mustard
8 sage leaves
salt and pepper
fennel leaves
EVOO

fennel bulb, quartered and halved
purple-skinned sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
bunch of broccolini

Rub a line of mustard along the top of the pork. Roll it a quarter and then place the sage leaves on top. Season well and wrap with the prosciutto.
The pork is roasted with the vegetables and I kept them nice and tight in my nice Raymond Loewy cast-iron pot. The addition of ingredients is staggered over the hour or so of cooking as follows
0 min – good splash of olive oil and in with the sweet potato into a 190C oven.
15 min – fennel and pork added with a few fronds of fennel – another splash of olive and a pinch of salt
25 min rotate pork to ensure all-over crispiness
30min turn down to 170C
Cooked minus 10 min – broccolini and another splash of olive oil.

When the pork is done, allow it to rest and then serve on top of the vegetables. Didn’t bother with a sauce.
It’s a lot of oven opening but as the temperature heads down over cooking, no biggie.

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The Garden

Had it not been for the recent rains, this might have played out like the desert scene in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with Eva as Eli Wallach and the carrots as Clint Eastwood.

I’m happy to say that my vegetable garden is coming along well. It’s a modest size, taking up part of the side garden, originally reserved for the hills hoist. What I wanted was something that I could potter around for 10 minutes in after work and it fits that bill perfectly.

It features a lemon tree and a lemonade tree. The lemonade tree has coughed up a couple of edible lemon-like fruit this season and we’re hoping for a big year next year. The lemon tree went much of the way for providing for a giant jar of preserved Moroccan lemons.

Herbs are parsely, thyme, coriander, sage, rosemary and fennel. A Holden 186 straight 6 engine block is doing a great job a a herb planter. I’ve also just got some Mexican paleo-coriander seeds that I’m going to plant.

Vegetables; the carrots are the go. Grown from seed, they’ve been enthusiastic enough to require thinning. Next to them is baby beetroot. Apparently the leaves are great in a salad but I always worry I’ve mixed it up with rhubarb, which has deadly leaves. Rocket’s rampant. Snowpeas, are also away and working their way up the trellis, and broadbeans, grown from seed, are just popping up. A nifty trick I got from the telly is to use an empty egg carton as a seedling box.

It’s not going to get us through a famine but it fies my soul and fills the spot.

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