Category Archives: The Everyday Table

The Everyday Table: Roast Pork with Apples

A few weekends ago we celebrated two birthdays by making a celebratory Sunday lunch.

2016-10-09-14-33-12I went to Beeston after work on Friday specifically to visit a local butcher (JA Barnsdale). They had beautiful pork so I bought pork belly to roast on Sunday. I got up early, whilst everyone else slept, to smother the pork in thyme and garlic and begin it’s three-hour roast. To accompany the pork there were roast potatoes (made using my killer method mentioned here), cauliflower two ways (which we made with Jen in South Africa and was just as good a second time), apples and onions cooked in the pork gravy, and a beetroot and carrot salad with ricotta. It was spectacular. We drank an Italian red wine brought by Sarah (our family wine nationalities are expanding) and afterwards there were long naps and the reading of books, and cake.


Three Hour Roast Pork

Adapted from Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi’s recipe uses rosemary (which I did not have) and white wine. I changed it to use thyme only and apple cider, because I love love love pork and apples.

1 piece pork belly (ask your butcher to score the skin and get enough for the number you’re feeding. You can also get the butcher to remove the bones.) I used approximately 2kg

a bunch of thyme

head of garlic, divided into cloves

125ml olive oil

sea salt

500ml apple cider

2 cooking apples (Granny Smith or Bramley)

1 onion

Preheat the oven to 250C.

Strip the thyme leaves from the woody stems. If you’ve got young thyme, you can use the stems too. Roughly chop this. Peel the garlic cloves and roughly chop.

In a pestle and mortar (or a blender, if you’re in the 21st century unlike me) place the thyme and garlic. Add in a pinch of salt and the bash until it is roughly mashed together. Add in the olive oil, a little at a time, to loosen and create a paste. Place the pork belly skin-side down in a roasting tray and smear the paste onto the meat. Massage in. Carefully turn the pork belly over. Dry the skin and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour, the crackling should have started to develop. Turn the oven down to 170C and add in the apple cider. Roast for another hour. In the meantime, peel and slice the onion and apples into quarters. Turn the oven down to 110C. Add the apples and onions to the cider surrounding the pork. If you crackling is starting to darken, you can cover it with foil. Continue to cook the pork for another hour.

After three hours, remove the pork from the roasting tray and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing into pieces.


Remove the onion and apples from the juices and place into a serving dish. Pour the roasting juices into a pan and rapidly boil to reduce. Serve this alongside the pork. Devour.




The Everyday Table: Spanish pisto


This is the dish to eat when you are mostly in need of vegetables. Although Andrés would disagree, this is like the Spanish version of ratatouille. It is simple to make: dice the vegetables you want to use into small-ish chunks, about 1.5cm. You don’t want things so small that they disappear in the sauce. We used aubergines, courgettes (zucchini), onions, carrots, tomatoes and peppers. Cook these all separately until soft and tender. Heat a carton or tin of tomatoes in a large pot. Add all the vegetables back in and bring to a simmer. Serve with a fried egg and some bread for dipping, glooping-up the sauce. Voila!

The Everyday Table: An Epic Feast

So not quite an ‘everyday’ table but one that we should endeavour to undertake now and again: feeding a crowd. As it is Friday, you can plan your weekend around a feast like this one.

There is little that gives me more pleasure than feeding others but I understand that for some, the prospect of feeding a large number of people is panic inducing. It needn’t be. The recipe for success is: 1) equally mad friends also willing to cook (or bring some part of the meal with them); 2) fantastic ingredients; 3) stuff that you have made before (key!) and 4) wine. Because if all else fails, you’ll be relaxed enough not to worry too much about it. And as Julia said, never apologise! People are always grateful that you are willing to cook for them. Even if it hasn’t turned out quite as you planned, they don’t know that!


This Everyday Table’s meat dish was Ottolenghi’s roast pork with oranges. Our pork came from Merrivale butchery and was truly spectacular, cut and boned for us by the loveliest butcher, scored, and the perfect amount to feed our hungry friends. Whilst I am the biggest fan of Sunday roasts, the sides we made were spectacular enough to hold their own, if you didn’t want to cook any meat. For sides we made red cabbage with apples; cucumber salad with ginger; butter carrots; cauliflower two ways (from the August Taste magazine and outstandingly good); and roast potatoes (following guidance from my aunt Trudie). We bought our vegetables at Karkloof Farmer’s Market and our wine choices were from Meander Fine Wines (a truly wonderful wine shop).




We hadn’t really planned a starter, but served slices of cold roast sirloin on a bed of rocket, with many shavings of parmesan, drizzles of balsamic glaze and olive oil.


For dessert I made blueberry tart, from The French Kitchen: A Cookbook. It is one of my favourites, written by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. It is a wonderful wonderful book, and I packed it into my suitcase so I can cook from it more. We served the tart with a mascarpone cream.


The meal was some effort but hugely satisfying. Lunch lasted well into the late afternoon. Afterwards there were naps and dog walking.

The Everyday Table: Rachel Roddy’s bursting tomatoes with tagliatelle

I made this on our first Saturday back, after our holiday. It is something I would normally make for dinner (being completely incapable of being functional before noon on the weekends), but Andrés was working in the evening, so I made it for our lunch (the things you do for love!) The pasta is super duper easy, and captures the sunshine bursting in the last tomatoes of the season. Rachel says you can eat it with whichever pasta you like, but we hardly ever have tagliatelle so it felt like a treat. And really now, how can anyone not be tempted by a recipe for ‘bursting tomatoes’? I am in love with the name. I served it with pork chops, salted, peppered and fried in the pan.


The Everyday Table: Slow-cooked Lamb


This is slow cooking for a lazy (and cautiously autumnal) Saturday afternoon. It was inspired by Felicity Cloake’s latest ‘perfect’ article in The Guardian this week – on kleftiko lamb. I love the idea of a one-pot meal but don’t have too many in my repertoire. I marinated the shoulder of lamb (only 800g necessary for the two of us for several days) in cinnamon, oregano, juice of half a lemon and garlic, as suggested by Cloake. But I only had three hours before it needed to go into the oven. Next time I will be organised and marinate it overnight. I cooked the lamb in a crock pot on top of a bed of potatoes (cut into chunks), the ends of several peppers that were on the out in the fridge (there are always portions of peppers in my fridge. I never really believed in cultural staples until Andrés moved in and brought with him tins of tuna and peppers), a few bulbs of garlic sliced in half, half a lemon squeezed, a red onion cut into wedges, a handful of various tomatoes I had, and of course, the lamb. I baked this all (with some water, as suggested), covered at 160C for nearly four hours. Then I added in sliced carrots and peas. I followed the instructions to turn up the heat for the last fifteen or so minutes and cook without the lid on.The meat was succulent and falling off the bone. The vegetables soft and tender and amazingly fragrant. Definitely going to make this again.


The Everyday Table: Tomato Galette and Lentil Salad

2016-08-17 21.48.24-1

Wednesday evening dinner: inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s lentil salad and The Violet Bakery Cookbook’s tomato and marjoram tarts. I used the flaky pastry from Violet, which I swear is the best and easiest flaky pastry I have made in forever. I bought loads of tomatoes at the weekend and simply filled the tart with these, all sliced in half. I brushed the folded edges with egg wash and then baked it at 200C for approximately 35 minutes. It could probably have done with some more time in the oven (just to crisp it a little further) but we were hungry. (We didn’t eat until 10pm because I had a meeting at 7pm so I prepped everything before I left and came home to finish it off.) For the salad, I followed the instructions on SK – using the same amount of lentils and courgettes. I used a banana shallot and one clove of garlic. I didn’t measure the dressing ingredients, choosing to just wing it to taste. We fried cubes of halloumi instead of burrata and added in tinned red peppers that Andrés found in the cupboard, unlabeled. This is one of my favourite summer dinners. It is a little bit of work to throw together but is delicious and most of it can be made in advance.

2016-08-18 09.06.23

The Everyday Table: Hummus, Shakshuka and Pita

2016-08-13 20.11.52

Dinner inspiration this weekend came from two sources. First from Molly Yeh and her post on humshuka (hummus and shakshuka). I served my shakshuka and hummus separately as I fancied a multi-flavour, pick and choose sort of vibe. Then, I made broad bean puree from Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite which I bought because a) I love her writing and b) I was looking to expand (!!!) the cookbook collection to some more everyday cooking-type books. We are currently very heavily weighted in favour of baking and dessert books, which is awesome but not practical for everyday dinner inspo. (My mom messaged me last week to say she had unpacked 13 chocolate recipe books. A cookbook store is in my destiny I tell you.) I even made the pita breads from scratch (it was Saturday after all). I served it with some feta (sprinkled with za’atar), a fresh tomato salad (tomatoes, Greek basil, olive oil, salt and pepper) and olives.

2016-08-13 20.15.102016-08-13 20.12.182016-08-13 20.12.13