LAWRENCE MURPHY: Spicing up the top of this summer's crops

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SPICY COURGETTES WITH PORK BELLY Serves 4

In August we should expect to be eating fennel, runner beans, broad beans, kohlrabi and fantastic salad leaves along with our lovely summer fruits, but this year's bumper crop must go to the courgette.

It may be the sun and rain we’ve had that has helped this vegetable to blossom, but everyone who is growing them has said they have had a great harvest.

I’ve seen Dawn, from one of the local pubs, giving out both green and yellow varieties as she has too many to eat herself.

Many people have experienced an overcooked or poorly cooked courgette and have been put off eating them, but they can be fresh, tender and crisp, bringing something lovely to a plate of food.

If you’ve had just about as much ratatouille as you can eat this year, try this slightly spicy, sweet courgette dish which I served with roast pork belly.

Ingredients

1kg pork belly, scored

2 onions, sliced

8 cloves garlic (6 sliced, 2 finely chopped)

12 cloves

4 star anise

200ml water

100ml apple juice

Sea salt

5 small corvettes, cut into 1cm pieces

Bunch fresh mint, chopped

2 bird's eye chillies, finely chopped

3tbsp light soya sauce

1tbsp honey

Method

1. Put the sliced onion, sliced garlic, cloves, anise, water and apple juice into a shallow casserole dish.

2. Put the pork belly on top, rub with a little oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

3. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for two hours (170C, gas 4)

4. After two hours, remove the cover and cook for a further 90 minutes. Add a little more water if neccessary. The meat will be tender and the skin crispy.

5. Allow to rest whilst you cook the courgettes.

6. Heat a large frying pan and add a little olive oil. Add the courgettes and cook for 30 seconds.

7. Add the chopped garlic and chilli and cook for anther 30 seconds.

8. Add the honey, soya sauce and some of the juices left from the pork.

9. Add the mint and stir, before placing into four warmed bowls. Carve the pork and place on top of the courgettes.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.