Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Roast Pork With Lemon And Potatoes

My favourite style of cooking is the archetypal lazy bloke method – shove a load of meat and vegetables in a pan, with some other tasty bits and pieces, apply heat and some minimal supervision. The key is the choice of ingredients: not too many, keep it simple stupid, etc. This is a great meal for that: potatoes not even parboiled or peeled, just cut in half and thrown in along with some lemon wedges and fennel seeds. I didn't even know what fennel seeds looked like before yesterday but fortunately A (my better half) is working through a mild fennel obsession so we had some handy. Anyway, preparation time about two minutes. Top stuff.

I actually cooked it for half an hour longer than recommended, due to the roast being a bit slow to cook through (our oven isn't great), but it didn't seem to do any harm. Normally I'd parboil potatoes before roasting but these little new potatoes came out with a perfect texture: just the right amount of waxy resistance, and flavoured beautifully. I'd be tempted to do more than the recipe suggests just because they're so great and work well in salads the next day.

The fennel flavours the potatoes and lemons very nicely, but not so much the meat, as it's not swimming in the fennelly lemon juice. The recipe states that basting the pork isn't necessary but I'd actually recommend it as the flavouring on the pork by the end was perhaps a little on the subtle side, and though the juices left over made a fantastic gravy some could have been spared for the meat.

I ate the lemons as well. I wouldn't recommend eating more than a quarter of a lemon's worth of chunks as they get a bit sour, although the texture is great. Mr Slater doesn't say whether eating the lemons is expected, but this sort of decision is best left to the eater: I liked them, A didn't. Maybe rather than eating them in big chunks they could be chopped up and put in a little bowl as a relish (with the uneaten going in a jar in the fridge).

By the way, the smell from this meal cooking is amazing – if you're lucky enough to have a big kitchen/dining room, make this for guests while they sit around chatting: they will be drooling in anticipation (put some kitchen roll down or something) as the rich lemony aroma pervades the kitchen.

Buy Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchenfor cheap from our Amazon store and make some of this very easy and tasty Roast Pork with Lemon and Potatoes for yourself.

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