Sunday 29 January 2012

Feeding the hoardes

With four growing children, and three adults with hearty appetites, much of my time seems to be in the kitchen preparing food.  Especially the evening meal as most have been out all day with limited amounts of food (ie their lunch boxes), and usually come home and raid the kitchen sometimes before even taking coats and shoes off!  With increasing food prices feeding everyone is becoming more of an eye opener.  Our favourite meal, fish pie is more of a rarity now, as it is so very expensive to get enough fish to feed all seven of us. 

I do not usually blog about food, but last night I felt quite a sense of satisfaction, feeding everyone with a hearty meal, and only spending £7 on the meat!  I know there is a whole argument for not eating as much meat, but this is a family that is very keen on traditional, meat and two veg type meals.  And I am a cook who likes to source the food very carefully, which tends to mean local, free-range and sometimes organic, but which also tends to bump up the price a fair bit!!

Anyway, onto last nights meal.  Stuart had been talking to someone at work about pork belly, and it reminded me that I had a recipe that had made it into my little black book, ie a tried, tested and enjoyed recipes that I hand write out into a notebook for easy reference.  So I paid a visit to our local farm shop and bought 9 slices of free range pork belly for £7.  Now that in itself should bring a smile to anyones face!

Anyway, all week it sat in the freezer, as it takes a good three hours to cook, and that is difficult to fit around our school evenings.  Plus, the thought of cooking the really fatty pork belly was, to be honest, putting me off.  Well, I eventually took the plunge and cooked it last night.  Oh my goodness!!! It was delicious!!  The aromas wafting through the house for 3 hours were mouthwatering, the succulent, melt in the mouth meat, the crispy, honey basted skin, and juicy roasted onions.  It is fair to say it was a resounding success (ok Alec and Ethan weren't that keen, but 5 out of 7 who adored it is good in my books!)

I was trying to think where I got the recipe from, I thought it was a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe, but can't find it in any of the books I have. 

I would love to hear of any family favourite recipes you have using cheaper cuts of meat, because there is such a sense of satisafaction turning something that is felt to be inferior into something spectacular, plus saving money!!


  1. We use pork belly to cook a spicy pork n' bean dish. You can find it in "Economy Gastronomy" by Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett. The whole book is full ideas on how to cook cheaply :)

  2. I surprised myself recently by roasting a beef brisket joint, after being shocked by the price of other cuts. It took 3 hours on a low temp, and I think it was also Hugh's calculations. It turned out to be the tenderest, most flavoursome roast beef I've ever done. Brisket from now on!

  3. I have a Hugh recipe for pork belly that we love. Beef shin is a great cheaper cut. A long slow casserole with chunky carrots and onions. the little bits of connective tissue just dissolve and give this fantastic gelatin rich gravy that is so good for you and delicious as well. xxx

  4. I need this recipe Claire, sounds fab...Ben loves pork belly anyway but I need a bit more persuasion :) Great idea using a little black book, must start one of those here x


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