Thick end of pork with coffee-based barbecue sauce


I was asked recently what my signature dish is and chose this recipe which uses the thick end, or ribs attached belly joint of pork. You don’t often see this wonderful cut in the supermarket but any decent butcher will have it, and it’s reasonably priced at around £6 per kilo.

Another way to get your hands on rarer cuts is to animal share with friends. This is my favourite way to buy meat, and in our house we regularly buy a quarter of a pig from our local farm shop. They do all the messy work, and it comes to us neatly bagged and clearly labelled ‘thick end’ ‘chops’ ‘leg’ etc. It’s a sight to behold on delivery day and the savings to be had are huge!

This dish couldn’t be simpler to prepare and always provides a suitable amount of wow factor when guests come over. I like to place the meat in the centre of the table and let everyone carve off their own portion, caveman style. Served with a jug of my barbecue sauce (recipe below), some homemade coleslaw and a big bowl of seasonal root veg fries I’ve not had a complaint yet.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours (plus 30 mins resting)
Serves: 6-8

2-2.5kg thick end of pork
Tbsp freshly ground sea salt
250ml water 

– preheat the oven to 200C fan assisted/220C non-fan/Gas Mark 7

– pour the water onto the bottom of large non-stick baking tray and place the pork on top (this will help to ensure the pan doesn’t burn)

– slash the skin several times each way making a criss-cross pattern and cover with the sea salt, this will make your crackling super crispy

– roast for 30 mins then reduce the heat to 150C fan assisted/160C non-fan/Gas Mark 2 and continue cooking for three hours. Check each hour and top up the water if needs be

– allow to rest for 30 mins before serving

Coffee barbecue sauce

Although it sounds unconventional, this bbq sauce really is fab. The coffee gives such a smoky depth of flavour you’ll want to pour it over everything. This recipe is very easy to make, completely natural and doesn’t contain tons of added refined sugar. Why not give it a go and use in place of ketchup?

Tin of tomatoes
180ml freshly brewed coffee
60ml tamari
60ml honey
60ml Dijon mustard

– either whisk or blend together all the ingredients until smooth

– pour into a saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer over a low heat for 20-30 mins until the sauce has reduced to half

– serve immediately

TIP: store leftovers in the fridge, this sauce will keep happily for a month

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Pulled Pork


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’.

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

– 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

pulled pork 26APR13

– 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

Roast blade end shoulder of pork

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We bought another quarter pig from our local Farm Shop on Thursday. They do all the butchering and bag it up for you ready for the freezer, so it couldn’t be easier and it will keep us going for weeks. It works out around £3 per kilo for the most amazing free range meat, I can’t recommend animal sharing enough! This crackling joint has become a tried and tested roast in my house, loved by the adults and kiddies, perfect for Easter.

2kg (ish) pork roasting joint with a good layer of fat at the top – blade end of shoulder is my favourite
6 carrots
small swede
4 sticks of celery
2 med sized red onions
350ml stock
60ml white wine vinegar
Tbsp honey
Tbsp tomato purée
Tsp olive oil

– preheat the oven to 200C/GM7 and grease a large baking tray with the olive oil

– peel your veg and place on the baking tray whole

– score the fat on the meat, and place on top of the veg

– in a small bowl mix together 120ml of the stock, the white wine vinegar, honey and tomato purée then massage into the meat

– blast for 30 mins, then turn the oven down to 150C/GM2 and cook for a further three hours

– check each hour to ensure that nothing is burning, and use the rest of the stock to top up the liquid at the bottom of the tray each time you check

– when it’s ready take the tray out of the oven. Put the meat, carrots and parsnips into a casserole pot with the lid on to rest. It will keep warm for hours, and the longer you leave it to rest the more melt in the mouth it will be when it comes to eating

– to make the gravy scrape the meat juices, celery and onions from the baking tray into your blender or food processor and whiz on the highest setting until combined. Add more stock according to how thin you would like it

– serve the meat and gravy with the carrots, parsnips and other seasonal veggies

Bacon wrapped meatloaf with swede fries


As family life gets busier, my ability to spend hours in the kitchen lessens. Making food as simple as possible, without negotiating on flavour, has become my new mission. This meatloaf takes about ten minutes to prepare, and the veg is cooked on the same tray meaning less washing up. Hurrah, task for the day accomplished!

Ingredients (to serve 4-6):
(meatloaf) 500g beef mince
500g pork mince
4-6 rashers of bacon
Small red onion or large shallot (very finely diced)
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp ground nuts (any you have)
(fries) med sized swede
Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
(veg) large bag of greens or kale
Handful of cauliflower or broccoli cut into small florets

– preheat the oven to 180C/365F

– in a large bowl combine all the meatloaf ingredients, except bacon, and mix together with your hands

– place in the centre of a large non-stick baking tray, shape into a big square, wrap in bacon and place in the oven

– while it’s cooking, peel your swede and cut into thin matchsticks. Put them in a Tupperware box, drizzle over the olive oil and season to taste. Put the lid to the box on and give it a good shake

– when the meatloaf has been cooking for 20 mins, add the swede. Cook for another 20 mins, remove and allow to rest

– add the veg to the tray, incorporating well with the swede and meat juices

– cook for a final 10 mins and serve immediately with thick slices of meatloaf


Hubby’s dinner


My husband is very fit, puts me and most others I know to shame. He’s been doing an evening judo class recently, so I prep him dinner to take to work and he eats it on his way home. Usually this meal is leftovers from the weekend, but this week we didn’t have any. It was also the day before the shopping arrives and our fridge was rather sparse, so I had to be creative. Fortunately we still had lots of delicious pork chops in the freezer so I was able to rustle up this lovely stew for him.

Ingredients (for one hungry person):
Large pork chop
Small red onion (finely chopped)
Large carrot (finely chopped)
3 mushrooms (quartered)
2 large tomatoes or 100g of tinned
Handful of spinach (I used five cubes of frozen)
Tbsp olive oil
Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Tbsp sage

– get a non stick frying pan or griddle really hot over a med-high heat

– coat the chop in the olive oil and sage, sear in the hot pan for a few mins on each side

– take the chop out of the pan and cut it into small bite sized pieces, leave to one side

– in the pork juices add the onion, mushroom and carrot, cook for about five mins over a med heat

– add the pork and rest of the ingredients, stir well. Put the lid on the pan and simmer gently for 15-30 mins over a low heat

– if cooking for more than one person, double or tripple up on ingredients and serve with green veggies


Smoky, slow roasted leg of pork


We bought another quarter of a pig last week, and served up this super succulent slow roasted leg for my in-laws Sat lunchtime. I’ve adapted a barbecue sauce recipe over time, which was used as the marinade, and oh my goodness it was delicious. Everyone had seconds…and thirds… always a great compliment for any cook!

2.5-3kg bone-in leg of pork
Tbsp olive oil
Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Tin of tomatoes
180ml freshly brewed coffee (double espresso & hot water)
60ml tamari
60ml black treacle
60ml dijon mustard

– preheat the oven to 200C/410F

– combine the tomatoes, coffee, tamari, treacle & mustard and set to one side

– place the pork on a large non-stick baking tray, make several deep cuts into the skin across both directions so you have a criss cross

– rub the olive oil and balsamic all over the skin, place in the oven and roast for 30 mins

– turn the oven down to 150C/320F and take the meat out

– pour the marinade all over, put the tray back into the oven and roast for three hours

– check the meat hourly to ensure nothing is burning, add a drop of water to the bottom of the pan if necessary

– remove the meat after three hours and along with all juices from the pan, place into a large lidded pot

– allow to rest in the pot with the lid on for at least an hour, which will create a fab gravy

– serve with green veg and roasted roots


Pork burgers with leek & sage


With both of the kids sick this week, the mood in our house has been rather gloomy. Food always puts a smile on everyone’s face though, and these hearty burgers certainly lifted spirits last night.

500g free range organic pork mince
Tbsp finely chopped fresh leek
Tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried sage
Tsp tomato purée
Tsp anchovy paste

– pre-heat a non stick frying pan or griddle, grease with oil if necessary

– mix all your ingredients together and shape into however many burgers you want to serve up. I made two beasts for hubby & I and a few little ones for the kids but you could definitely get four decent sized burgers out of this recipe

– pan fry for 5-10 mins on each side until cooked all the way through

– serve with salad