OUR favourite release this week book-wise is Cooking for Chaps, a smart collection of classic English recipes by Gustav Temple, editor of The Chap magazine, and chef Clare Gabbett-Mulhallen. I’d recommend everyone buy this well-photographed tome.
From that book we present this wonderful and very slow recipe for pork belly.
24-Hour Glazed Roast Pork Belly in Cider
IN some countries, spending a couple of days cooking a great feast for the whole village is something that casually happens every couple of weeks. In this country, we baulk at spending more than half an hour in the kitchen to prepare lunch or dinner, believing that there are ‘more important’ things to do -like watching television or looking at things to buy on the Internet. This prime piece of pork gets to spend a full 24 hours in the oven, lucky old thing – but guess what? The amount of time we actually need to be in the kitchen yourself amounts to a paltry twenty minutes or so!
Large ovenproof dish or roasting tin
Serves 10–12 (good for leftovers)
2kg pork belly – use free-range good stuff
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
scraping of nutmeg
450g cored apples – any sort: large Bramleys or even eating apples
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the glaze
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
Put the pork into a large dish that will fit in the oven and rub it all over with the spices and some salt and pepper. Pour around the cider. Cover with a layer of baking parchment and then a layer of foil, sealed well around the edges.
Put the whole lot into the oven and bake at 100°C/gas mark ¼ for 23 hours. Check from time to time and baste the meat.
You can bake the apples whole, if you have a separate oven, at 190°C/gas mark 5 for approx. 30–40 minutes. Alternatively, an hour before serving, add the apples to the dish with the pork and return to the oven to cook through.
Twenty minutes before serving, take the pork out of the oven. Turn up the temperature to 220°C/gas mark 7. Drain off and reserve the juices. Pat the pork dry with kitchen paper and paint it with honey, brown sugar and salt. Return it to the dish and put back in the oven to colour and crisp for 10–15 minutes.
Let the juices stand for a few minutes and tip off any fat that collects at the top. Taste the juices – they should be delicious. Reheat in the microwave or a small pan until piping hot. Serve in a jug alongside the pork, which should be brought to the table on a beautiful dish surrounded by the apples. The meat will be so soft that you can serve it with a spoon.
From Mr Temple’s introduction to Cooking for Chaps
A CHAP’S approach to cooking is as traditional, practical, thorough and sensible – with a little dash of the decadent – as is everything else in his life. He looks to the recipes his forefathers used; if he is lucky, he may even have a few of them, handwritten by some long-deceased retainer of his great uncle. He does not approve of contemporary cookbooks because the celebrity chef does not entice him (not owning a television, he doesn’t know who they are anyway). He may own the classics – Elizabeth David, Constance Spry, Rosemary Hume – and he also owns a few first editions of fairly obscure though well-thought-of-at-the-time cookery writers, such as Colonel Kenney-Herbert.
And what would a chap have to say about etiquette in the contemporary world? Perhaps he would concur with the advice given by Edward Turner in The Young Man’s Companion (1866): ‘Never at any time, whether at a formal or a familiar dinner party, commit the impropriety of talking to a servant: nor even address any remark about one of them to one of the party. Nothing can be more ill-bred. You merely ask for what you want in a grave and civil tone, and wait with patience until your order is obeyed.’
Absolutely not – far better to follow the example of Edward VII, who, while entertaining a well-known guest from India observed that, when consuming asparagus, his guest was hurling the discarded stems over his shoulder on to the floor. Without batting an eyelid, his majesty followed suit, and the rest of the party soon joined in, all throwing their asparagus stems on the floor.
AS our dining habits have evolved, so have our notions of etiquette. Today, far more common causes of dinner table discomfort are whether to accept the last sausage on a serving dish or whether to help oneself to a top-up from the wine bottle. In the absence of rules of etiquette, we have made up new ones of our own, just to ensure that meals are conducted with enough snobbery and awkwardness to make us feel like we’re in a restaurant. No need for any of that nonsense, as we will explain in between the recipes in this book.
Cooking for Chaps is not designed for the reader to give posh dinner parties as a novelty. Overall, these are recipes for perfectly practical meals for any time of the day or evening. We will not be instructing you to go and purchase a bottle of very costly extra virgin olive oil and vegetables in baby sizes; you will, however, be given a list of much cheaper stores with which to fill your pantry that will ultimately aid you to create many of our recipes.
Where possible, we have indicated which particular season is the most likely to yield the produce required from the shortest distance from your home. In this way, our recipes will encourage the purchase of local victuals, as well as satisfying the palates of a nation that has become rather difficult to impress. So, rather than trying to foist on you the cuisine of a South Sea Island you have never heard of, we offer you the cuisine of Great Britain that you have never heard of – and we guarantee your taste-buds will be pleasantly surprised.
Cooking for Chaps by Gustav Temple and Clare Gabbett-Mulhallen is published by Kyle Books