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Christmas alternative: Rolled pork belly with herby apricot & honey stuffing

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If you’re looking for an alternative to Turkey this Christmas and you’re a huge crackling fan you’ll love this idea for roast dinner – drying out the skin gives great results.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2.5kg piece pork belly, boned, skin on (from Waterall obvs)
  • small bunch parsley chopped
  • small handful thyme leaves picked
  • 10 sage leaves, chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumb
  • 140g dried apricot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp flaky sea salt
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

Method

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 10 mins until golden. Trim off about 100g of the pork, from the meaty side – but if the butcher has left a chunk of meat on one side where the ribs have been removed, leave this on as it will help you roll it. Whizz the pork trimmings in a food processor, then tip into a bowl with the herbs, breadcrumbs, apricots, onion and 2 tbsp oil, season and mix well.
  2. Turn the pork belly skin-side up. Using a sharp knife or Stanley knife, score the skin at 1cm intervals and rub the sea salt all over. Turn the pork belly over and season a little more, then brush the honey over the flesh. Lay the stuffing down the centre, then bring the 2 ends together and roll tightly. Flip the pork over so the ends meet underneath. Tie the rolled pork with kitchen string to secure. Put the meat on a wire rack in a roasting tin and transfer to the fridge, uncovered for a few hrs or up to 24 hrs, so the skin has time to dry out and the meat takes on the flavours from the stuffing.
  3. Heat oven to 220C/180C fan/gas 6. Rub the pork with the remaining oil and a little more sea salt. Roast in the centre of the oven for 30 mins. Turn the oven down to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and continue cooking for 2 hrs. Finally, turn the oven back up to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 to crisp up the skin for another 30 mins – don’t worry if your pork looks dark on the outside, it will still be juicy and delicious in the middle. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 45 mins before carving. If your skin does not turn crispy, pop the joint under a hot grill for a few mins, rolling it onto its side to get the sides nice and crispy too – just keep an eye on it as it will burn easily.

Bacon Garlic Gougères Recipe

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Bacon Garlic Gougères are perfect for when you need an easy appetiser. These bite-sized cheese puffs are made with cream puff dough that is loaded with Gruyère cheese, bacon, and garlic. They are so delicious, you won’t be able to stop snacking. Read more

Bradford school bans sausage rolls from packed lunches

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A school ban on sausage rolls and other “unhealthy” foods in pupils’ lunchboxes has divided opinion. The new policy at Shirley Manor Primary Academy in Bradford states parents will be called if banned foods are found in packed lunches.

Steve Fryer, whose son’s sausage roll was confiscated, said the school should “stick to teaching kids”. Others have praised the school for healthy eating, according to comments on the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

The policy says pupils are encouraged to show their packed lunches to staff before and after they have eaten. It states pork pies, sausage rolls and pepperoni sticks should not be included and neither should fruit squash or flavoured water.

It says this is because they are high in salt and saturated fat and the school is keen to promote a balanced diet. Mr Fryer said his son’s sausage roll was removed last Monday and given back to him at the end of the day.

“He was given a ham sandwich instead but he hates ham so there’s no way he was going to eat it. “He ended up eating a dry crisp sandwich. How is that any healthier?”

‘Furious’

He added: “It’s my job as a parent to decide what my child eats, not the school’s. “The school won’t even compromise and allow us to send sausage rolls once or twice a week. I’m furious.”

Head teacher Heather Lacey said the vast majority of parents supported the ban and there had been a big increase in the number of children bringing in healthy lunches. Although schools are legally required to provide meals that comply with the government’s School Food Standards, they are able to set their own policies on packed lunches.

Pig Prices Continue Recent Upward Surge

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Pig prices have continued their recent surge with the SPP up by 1.43p to 153.13p, weekly contribution prices are also tending to improve and spot pigs remain in very short supply and it is quite hard to sell an empty pen, but where there were a few spare pigs about prices were in the 160p/kg region and more in places, writes Peter Crichton in his “Traffic Lights” commentary for 7 April 2017.

This week saw another significant increase in German producer prices rising from 1.54 Euro to 1.79 Euro over the past six weeks underlining how short pigs are compared with last year’s glut, which brought many producers to their knees. Read more

Pork, Lemon and Potato Kebabs Perfect For The BBQ

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Pork kebabs make a fantastic addition to any barbecue and they’re great because you can mix them up in so many different ways. You can add different flavourings, sauces and meats to make your kebab taste truly unique. How about adding baby new potatoes into the mix? Like the sound of that then read on. Read more

Bacon Performing Well; Roasts Continue to Decline

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During the 12 weeks ended 18 June, the primary pork volume sales decreased by 3 per cent on a year-on-year basis, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel. However, a 5 per cent increase in the average retail price meant that overall spend was up by 2 per cent, writes Rebecca Oborne, AHDB Analyst. Read more

UK Not Ready for Brexit’s Impact on Food, Report Warns

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The UK is unprepared for the most complex ever change to its food system, which will be required before Brexit, according to a new briefing paper published by SPRU, the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. Read more

Bacon Myths, Busted: Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that bad for you

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Bacon is a rather personal taste, and people get really defensive about it—whether someone likes it extra crispy or thick and fatty says a lot about who they are as a person.

But regardless of preferences, when the World Health Organisation linked the consumption of processed meats to cancer in 2015, people freaked out and starting spewing a lot of nonsense about the beloved breakfast meat. Those of us who still cling to our adoration, therefore, are plagued by misinformation and wishful thinking—so we did some digging for you to divulge the truths. Here are five bacon myths, busted. Read more

Demand for UK Pigs Continues to Reflect Hot Weather

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Demand for UK pigs continues to reflect the weather (hot) and, although the SPP only moved up by 0.15p to stand at 162.43p, spot prices have continued to reach for the sky with bids generally between 172p/kg and 175p/kg according to spec, with no shortage of takers, writes Peter Crichton in his latest “Traffic Light” commentary.

Most, but not all, weekly contribution prices have stayed at similar levels, although the odd penny increase was available here and there, and the overall range is between 160p/kg and 170p/kg. Read more