And … we’re back … with crispy pork belly!
Yes, that’s right, I’m back after a bit of a blogging break. It wasn’t necessarily intentional – but my mind was telling me I needed to stop talking and just knuckle down and get on with life.
Over the past two weeks many things have happened. I have eaten lots of yummy food, had a lot of fun, exercised a lot, and spent quite a bit of time planning for our wedding. As of today, it’s six months and four days away – to be precise.
Last weekend, I finally got measured for my wedding dress! It’s been ordered and will probably be here in early September. I have to say, despite enjoying the process of venue shopping, entertainment selection, buying the most amazing shoes and chatting to my fiancée about everything from table decorations to wedding music selection, the ceremony and … of course … our excitement about getting to select and taste our menu for the day – hearing that my dress was on the way made me think – “yup, I’m excited”!
Losing 18 kilos and being able to stand on a little box in a wedding dress shop and look at the reflection looking back – and not feel repulsed (no, it’s not too stronger word – that’s how I used to feel) – was a great feeling. Not only that – I felt beautiful. I felt happy and like I had really achieved something. It was a pretty cool feeling, to say the least! I have been waiting to feel that sence of achievement and happiness. It was worth the wait 🙂 Sadly, I can’t share a photo with you as my future husband does sometimes read this blog. I’ll have a ball sharing my dress photos – from first trying it on in September of 2010 at 112 kilos – through to now after losing 18 kilos … who knows here I’ll be when our wedding day arrives! One thing I do know is that I will be 100 per cent focused on marrying Matt – and not on being paranoid about how I look. That will be a first!
I have also taken up swimming over the last few weeks, and I’m going great guns! While I’m still uncomfortable parading around in a swimsuit (which is getting loser and loser) it’s worth it. At the end of my swim I jump in the sauna and steam room, both which help relax my muscles, and I have found my recovery from my two personal training sessions each week has improved incredibly! I’ve also started walking, and my fasciitis has improved as well. Go me!
However, one thing that has suffered a little is my food intake. No, I haven’t fallen off the rails and started drinking coke and binging on evil things – but I have become more relaxed. I ate brie cheese at my friend’s house, and some chips too. I go to Matt’s parent place and enjoy a glass or two of bubbly, sometimes I drink too much coffee and I feel like my portion sizes have been increasing since the weather has turned bitterly cold. My committment to exercise almost everyday has helped combat any dramatic weight gains – but in saying that, I haven’t lost anything dramatic either. But hey – it’s ok. This isn’t a race to starve and deprive myself. So, I have been a bit more relaxed … I don’t feel guilty about that.
But, I do feel like it’s time to look at my food again and just tighten up. I need to get to that 20 kilo goal and keep moving! The 90’s, like the 100’s before them, are getting old. It’s time to get into the 80s!
But, before we go tightening our belts – here’s the recipe for crispy pork belly, inspired by Jamie Oliver, which I cooked for my mum for Mother’s Day dinner. It went down a treat with roasted beetroot and braised cabbage. YUM!!
Crispy Pork Belly
- 1.5kg pork belly
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 red onions, halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped in half
- 1 bulb of garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
- a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 600ml water or stock
- 1 tbs of flour
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Place your pork on your chopping board and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat. Chances are you will buy it from the butcher or supermarket already scored … and if so, you can skip this step!
Rub a generous amount of salt into the scores on the skin and then brush off any excess. Season the underside with salt and pepper and pop the belly in a baking tray, skin side-up and place in the oven.
Roast for about half an hour – you will hear it sizzling away in the oven and after half an hour, you will see it start to puff and crackle. Turn the heat down to 180 and roast for another hour. I found half way through that the bottom of the pork was getting a bit dark – so I popped some of the onions I had cut up under it to just lift it off the hot pan.
After the hour, take the pork out of the oven, remove it from the pan and pop it onto a plate. Add all the veg, garlic and thyme to the tray and then place the pork on top of everything and put it all back in the oven.
Cook for another 45 minutes to an hour, keeping an eye on it to ensure that the crackling doesn’t burn. Carefully move the meat onto some foil. Wrap the bottom, but leave the crackling visit. You don’t want to steam from the foil to soften it, but you want the meat to keep warm and rest.
To make the gravy – spoon away any fat in the tray, put the tray on the stove top over a medium heat and add the stock. Sprinkle with the flours and stir, using a whisk until all lumps are gone and bring the sauce to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to scrape up all those lovely sticky tasty bits on the bottom of the tray.
When you’ve got a nice, dark gravy, pour it through a sieve into a saucepan and continue to reduce until you are happy with the consistency. Take this opportunity to skim any impurities from the top as well.
Taste it as this point and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, as required.
Serve the pork with the crackling, gravy and a bit of Dijon mustard on the side.
I also served this with braised cabbage and roasted beetroot with a balsamic vinaigrette. I’ll post these recipes soon, but until then, enjoy this special little treat. Your portion sizes need not be huge – pork belly is very filling!
This is me, my mum and my brother enjoying our evening together for Mother Day:
I might only be a mummy to three furbabies – but my wonderful fiancée still did the dishes for me. I’m just luckier than most women – Matt almost always does the dishes, it doesn’t need to be a special occasion. Spoilt!
Hope all the mothers out there had a wonderful day!
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