Pork Scratchings, Relish and Other things….

Last weekend for me at least turned into a bit of a food filled weekend.  To be honest its very rare that they are filled with food. But this weekend was more about little experiments, trying things out and also making some old favourites.

It started with me realising that I hadn’t actually made any sweet chilli relish for ages!  And now that the weather is starting to take a turn for the worse, my crock pot and slow cooker are beginning to give me knowing looks.  Autumn/Winter is my favourite time to cook, I’m  a massive fan of the old adage ‘Low and Slow’ and I think for a depth of flavour and melt in the mouth dishes you can’t beat a good 10 hours in oven on slow.

Relish cooking away

With the relish ingredients all cut up eventually… I had to use a mini blender and dice them individually as my big blender was no-where to be found.    I set it onto the hob and left to bubble and pop contentedly to itself for the next couple of hours whilst the flavours intensified and the mixture reduced.

I then got out my experiment for this weekend, Pork Rind.  Now it’s not the most revolutionary thing to make in the world, and I’m sure a lot of people will be a bit ‘so what.’ But I have never made Pork Scratching at home before and today was the day I was going to attempt it.  Personally, I think they are the one and only pub snack, aside from a bowl of left over roast potatoes slid onto your table by the landlord after a busy Sunday lunchtime service. But that is beside the point.  Turns out these pub classics are seriously easy to make, and if like me you have an excellent the rinds are free!  For the Pork Scratching you’ll need:

  • Pork rinds (I had 3)
  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt
  • a baking tray
  • a wire rack

it’s so simple I wonder why I’ve never done it before.  Chunk up the Pork Rind into manageable pieces, then put them into a bowl with the salt. Leave them for 20 minutes to take out some of the moisture (It won’t crackle if it’s not dry).  Then stick the little hog lumps into a hot oven on the wire rack with tray underneath to catch any fat run off, and 20 minutes late you have the most amazing crackling/pork scratching you have ever tried!

Pork Scratching in the making

Next on my list was that evening’s dinner, slow roasted pulled pork belly with an Asian style spice rub.  I’d done this recipe before, but I just wanted a proof of concept and also to try and remember what the hell went into it!  It’s based on a Ken Hom dish I found while flicking through endless pages on the internet for spice rubs.  Its pretty simple but given an almost infinite amount of time in the oven the flavours join together with the sweetness of the pork to create something seriously enjoyable and a little bit indulgent, (well I think so). You’re going to need:

  • 1 Pork Belly, deboned
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp 5 spice
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

Its fairly straight forward the only thing that is any effort is the time it takes to cook.  Put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and give it a good mix. Then, rub the mix into the pork, all over to make sure you have good coverage of the flavour. Finally, put it in the oven on a high heat for about 45 minutes and then turn it down to slow and leave it.  I left mine for about 7 hours whilst I carried on with the rest of my Saturday.  Weirdly, I did pork again for Sunday but this time with a three herb rub.

  • Pork Loin
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Cracked black pepper

With this one I just patted it dry and then applied the rub mixture, stuck it in the oven like before for 45 minutes on high then once again left it to do what I had to do.  Well that’s about it really.


P.S. I realise I have no pictures of the finished products, unfortunately I was too busy enjoying them to get my camera out…

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