Pulled Pork

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This is not the quickest of recipes, but will be worth every second I promise. Juicy succulent pork leg can be difficult to achieve as it doesn’t have as much natural fat as other cuts, so simmering first in a flavoured liquor is essential. Between doing this, and slow roasting at a very low temperature for hours, you will end up with the most deliciously moist and tender meat known as ‘pulled pork’.

Ingredients:
Whole leg of pork (2-2.5kg)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
3 bay leaves
3 star anise
3 large cloves garlic (peeled)
Large onion (peeled & halved)
Inch piece of ginger (halved)
2 tbsp Chinese five spice
2 tbsp tomato purée

Method:
– place the pork leg in a large saucepan, add all the other ingredients except five spice and tomato purée, then cover with cold water so the meat is completely submerged in liquid

– bring to the boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for two hours with the lid gently resting on the top, but not fully closed. Intermittently skim off any white foam that floats to the top

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– at this stage transfer the meat to an oven proof casserole dish. In a small bowl mix together the five spice and tomato purée along with two tbsp of cooking liquor until you have a smooth paste. Spread evenly over the pork fat so it is all completely covered

– add a litre of cooking liquor to the bottom of the casserole pot, and cook in the oven on 150C fan/160C non-fan/300F/GM2 for two hours with the lid off, and a further hour with the lid on

– remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pot with the lid on for an hour before serving

Oriental Style Crispy Skinned Roast Duck

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We had lunch with friends a few weeks back and they mentioned they’d had an Oriental style crispy duck for tea the night before. Call me single minded but I couldn’t stop thinking about it as it was a fave of mine when I used to eat take-aways. Between going primal and being diagnosed with food intolerances (including MSG) it’s safe to say that Chinese food now has to be cooked from scratch. I finally had the opportunity to make this duck last weekend, and am pleased to say that it tasted great.

Ingredients:
Whole duck weighing approx 2kg
Tbsp Chinese five spice powder
2 tsp honey
Tsp sesame oil
Tsp salt

Method:
– if your oven isn’t very clean I would recommend giving it a good scrub as duck produces a lot of fat. Many people actually kill their ovens in the cooking process, so ensuring it’s nice and clean beforehand will put you ahead of the game as it were

– when you’re ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 200 degrees

– get a large roasting tray with rack, and place your duck on the rack. Remove any giblets and give it a once over with kitchen towel

– using a knife or sharp skewer make little pricks in the skin all over the duck

– mix the oil, salt, honey and five spice together in a little bowl and rub all over the duck skin, ensure you have everything completely covered

– roast for 30 mins, then turn the oven down to 160 and continue cooking for a further 90 mins. Baste your bird every half an hour

– remove from the oven and rest for 30 mins before serving