Emsworth chef Lawrence Murphy cooks pork belly

  • Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk). Call 01243 377914.
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There are an enormous amount of apples on the trees at the moment, weighing down the branches making them easy to pick.

Our customer Ken brought us 15 kilos to use, so along with plums we’re going to have a good season for English fruit.

Pork belly Ingredients 1 kilo of half-trimmed pork belly 2 tablespoons of sea salt Tablespoon of honey 200ml water 12 cloves 4 cloves of garlic split in two Teaspoon of peppercorns Teaspoon of fennel seeds 1 cinnamon stick Olive oil Method 1. Sprinkle the underside of the pork belly with salt and leave for one hour. Wash the salt off after. 2. Put the water, honey and spices into a casserole pan big enough to hold the pork. 3. Add the garlic and place the belly in the pan skin side up. 4. Rub the skin with a little olive oil, put the lid on and place in a pre-heated oven (130C, Gas Mark 2) for seven hours. 5. Check the pork is tender by piercing with a skewer which should go in easily. 6. Allow to cool slightly, then remove any bones or stray peppercorns or fennel seeds. 7. Sit the belly between two trays and put something heavy on top to press the pork. Place in a fridge overnight. 8. Cut the pork into pieces. Salt the skin and cook for two minutes skin down in a hot pan. 9. Put in a pre-heated oven (200C, Gas Mark 6) for 20 minutes. The skin should be crisp and the meat sticky and soft. 10. Serve with home-made apple sauce.

Julia has placed the apples into trays, allowing air to circulate so they keep better, and I’ve been busy turning some into purée for the freezer. The peeler has taken a bit of a bashing and it looks like I’ll need a new one.

Some of the apples will make their way into crumbles with blackberries, pies, tarts and apple sauce to go with some local pork. I like to make the apple sauce with only a small amount of sugar, allowing the tartness of the apple to cut through the fatty meat.

Pork belly is perfect with apple and with a little planning you can cook this dish at home. It takes a long time to prepare but if you start on a Saturday morning the meat will be ready for Sunday lunch.