Friday Food Forum

It was lovely to be part of the wonderful and dynamic food team in the Irish Times as part of their Food Month Friday Food Forum, thanks for having me.

An hour just isn’t long enough but some great questions and recipes as a result.

Here are the two recipes I promised.

Do let me know how you get on.

Happy Friday!

Enjoy the weekend

Catherine x

p.s. Still wondering about that Christmas present idea? Dont’ worry we have it all wrapped up for you right here

For Frank from today’s Friday Food Forum.


Perfect for a Slow Sunday Roast

Pork is a wonderfully versatile meat and we have really excellent quality pork in Ireland. I have a lovely Crispy Pork Belly with Chilli Ginger Caramel and Sweet Potatoes. Tip is to start cooking the pork early, allowing the lovely aromas to fill the kitchen but the pork will be soft and juicy too with the crackling crispy. I suggest serving with plum compote (as we have lots from the garden and they blend well with fennel which works so well with pork and then the ginger… This can be served formally with Sweet Potatoes or casually in a soft bread roll while watching a match or weekend movie…


1.2kg boneless pork belly, skin scored

2 tsp salt extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp dark brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

For the fennel and chilli rub:

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp sea salt

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 x 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the sweet potatoes:

Extra virgin olive oil

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces

1 x 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into fine julienne

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the rub, toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for about 30 seconds. Grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar with the garlic and sea salt. Transfer to a small bowl and add the chilli, ginger, brown sugar and oil. Retain 2 teaspoons to sprinkle over the pork at the end of the cooking time. Rub the rest over the skin of the pork belly and allow the flavours to develop for a few hours or even overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
  3. Place the pork belly in a roasting tin and rub the skin with the salt and some oil. Roast the meat for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Mix the brown sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle over the pork. Return the meat to the oven and roast for a further 1 hour 30 minutes, basting from time to time.
  4. About half an hour before the end of the pork belly’s cooking time, drizzle a large roasting tin with a little extra virgin olive oil and heat for 2 minutes in the oven. Add the sweet potatoes and the ginger julienne and toss well, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20–25 minutes, turning from time to time. Once cooked, remove from the oven and keep warm.
  5. Increase the heat to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7 and roast the pork for a final 15 minutes to finish the crackling, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle over the reserved 2 teaspoons of the chilli and ginger rub and allow to rest for 10 minutes loosely covered with foil. Carve into thick slices and serve with the ginger sweet potatoes.

And here is a lovely article on Tarte Tatin from the Guardian, what a delicious recipe and definitely to be tried this weekend in the Fulvio Household…

Guardian Article on Tart Tatin

Felicity Cloake’s Perfect Tarte Tatin

Serves 6

7 medium apples: 4 Cox, 3 Granny Smith 200g white sugar 50g butter 175g ready-made shortcrust pastry OR 225g plain flour 2 tbsp caster sugar 120g cold butter 1 medium egg, beaten

  1. Peel, halve and core the apples, then put in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.
  2. Put the sugar into a 20cm heavy-based ovenproof frying pan along with 50ml water and leave to soak for a couple of minutes, then cook over a medium heat until golden and fudgy. Take off the heat and stir in the butter, and a pinch of salt, until well combined, then carefully arrange the apples in the pan, round-side down, bearing in mind the caramel will be very hot, and put back on the heat – you may need to cut some of the apples into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Cook for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. If making the pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Grate in the butter, then rub together until it is coarse crumbs.
  4. Mix the egg with 2 tsp cold water and sprinkle over the mixture. Mix together into a soft but not sticky dough, adding more water (if required) very gradually. Shape into a ball, and then cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry (you’ll probably have some left over if you’ve made your own) to 5mm thick, and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan. Put back into the fridge to rest.
  6. Put the pastry on top of the pan and tuck in the edges around the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate, slightly larger than the pan, on top and then, very carefully, using oven gloves, invert the tart on to the plate. Best served warm, with crème fraîche.

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