Pork belly with a crackling moment and dumplings
The past week went by so fast I am not sure what happened to time. The weather turned colder, we even had a few snowflakes but mainly it is the icy winds. It has been clear and there were some lovely long walks on the beach, all wrapped up in my winter gear, a woolly hat, the warmest scarf, the thickest jacket, gloves on and well, you know! As the wind is pinching my face the dogs seems to perk up and run around like crazy. Coming home I like to warm up with a cup of tea and sometimes a crumpet. The dogs love to curl up on the sofa and get cosy, today the little one decided to snuggle up under my arm and promptly fell asleep, it had been a good walk.
After the dogs nap and my cup of tea it was time to start thinking about dinner. For once I had a request for a “Fantastical dinner”. I have never even heard M use the word fantastical before so I thought I had best give it a little thought.
Besides cheese, if there was something I could eat lots of and if it wouldn’t be bad for me it is crackling. There is just something so nice about biting in to the crunchy, slightly salted crackling, here with a kick of cayenne pepper and it makes the long cooking time well worth while. I bought a pork belly and thought it might qualify as fantastical.
Cayenne roast pork belly with crackling
preparation time 5 minutes to prepare + 3 hours (over night if you can) to leave uncovered in the fridge
cooking time 2 1/2 hour cooking time and 20 minutes resting time
oven 250C or 480F for 25 minutes and then 180C or 360F
serves 2 for a main course or 4 as a starter
- 1 boneless pork belly, 500 gr or 17.6 oz
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp sea salt
Boil water and pour over the skin of the pork belly. Dry it as much as you can and place on a plate, skin up. Make sure it is scored and put in the fridge uncovered to dry out. Keep it there over night if you can, I did three hours and it worked fine.
Before cooking it rub the pork belly with the salt and the cayenne pepper. Rub is all around, the skin as well. This will give the crackling a great flavour.
Place in an oven proof dish with some tin foil underneath. It will save you a lot of cleaning. Place in a hot oven for about 25 minutes. This will colour and start to crisp the crackling. After the 25 minutes turn the heat down and roast for another two and a half hours. Then take the pork belly out and let it rest, for at least twenty minutes.
Whilst the pork belly was cooking I started the other dish. I had a piece of salmon, prawns and wonton wrappers I set about making dumplings.
Salmon and prawn dim sum
preparation time 15 minutes
cooking time 7 minutes
serves 2 as a canapé/starter
- 12 wonton wrappers
- 50 gr or 1.7 oz salmon fillet
- 6 prawns, I used cooked but uncooked would have been better
- 1 tbsp soft cheese
- 1/2 avocado
- 50 gr or 1.7 oz feta cheese
- 1 garlic clove
Chop up the salmon and the prawns. Mash the feta cheese and mix with the soft cheese. Cut the avocado in to small cubes. Mix everything, crush the garlic and add to the mix, add pepper and start with the dim sum. A tea spoon of filling is just perfect for each dim sum. The mixture makes for a lot more but I only made 12 as the pork belly was cooking in the oven.
Heat a little oil in a heavy based pan. Add the dumplings and fry them golden. Add water to steam for about 5 minutes.
For the dipping sauce I used lime, lemon, a pinch of sea salt and chilli flakes.
Add the soy sauce and serve with the dumplings. I saved the rest of the filling and used it the following day with pasta.
I had some quails eggs and thought I would make some quails egg dumplings as well. I didn’t add anything but the egg as a filling. It was a little fiddly and I made the pot sticker style as well and they cook in about 3 minutes or the yolk will go hard. The shape was a bit flat but the taste was there.
I roasted broccoli and asparagus whilst the pork belly was resting and I served it with the Brussels sprout slaw. It is so easy to make, discard the outer leaves and slice thinly.
Mix with a little mayonnaise with 1 tbsp grated ginger and 1 clove of garlic. Mix everything in a bowl and set aside until you are serving. Brussels sprouts have a lovely flavour when raw and is perfect for a slaw.
The crackling was, I have to say amazing. There was the lovely crunch when I cut the pork belly up and I just knew it was going to be good. Once served that was a golden moment that made me laugh when all you could hear was crackling being eaten with reverence. The salt and cayenne pepper added a wonderful flavour. I am not sure it it was a fantastical dinner but we happily ate all of it.