Slow-cooked Spiced Pork Belly with Apple and Fennel


You can use a shoulder or leg joint of pork but I prefer to use pork belly for this recipe. I don’t eat pork very often at all but if I do, this is one of my favourite ways of cooking it. It is so succulent, has a perfect crispy topping, packed with delicious aroma and melts in your mouth.

(Ross Dobson’s recipe)


1kg pork belly

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

4  garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 apples, cut into thick wedges

2 fennels bulbs, with feathery tops intact, cut into thick wedges

Salt and pepper


1. Combine the fennel and caraway seeds, garlic and 1 tablespoon of salt in a mortar and pound with a pestle. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

2. Cut 1/2cm deep incisions, spaced 1-2cm apart, across the skin of the pork. Rub the spice mixture into the  incisions and let sit for 1 hour at cool room temperature.

3. Preheat the oven to 140C.

4. Put the pork in a large roasting tin and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours in total. (You will need to remove the tin from the oven 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time to add the apples and fennel.)

5. Put the remaining oil in a bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the chopped apples and the fennel bulbs with feathery tops to the bowl and, using your hands, toss until evenly coated in oil. Thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the pork from the oven and arrange the apples and fennel in the tin. Increase the heat to 220C and return the tin to the oven.

6. Remove the pork from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes. Carve into slices and serve with the roasted apples and fennel on the side.




Spanish – Style Roast Chicken

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Give Sunday lunch a twist with this hearty one-pot roast with sweet paprika, garlic, aromatic herbs and delicious vegetables to match. It is packed with flavour and gives you plenty of meat to make another meal for the following day.



1 whole chicken (about 2.5kg)

50g butter

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 garlic cloves, grated or crushed

zest of 2 lemons

salt and pepper to season (about 1 teaspoon of each)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red peppers, roughly chopped

2 red onions, roughly chopped

2 courgettes, roughly chopped

200g cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

Young potatoes to serve (if your roasting tin is big enough, potatoes can go in to roast at the same time with other vegetables, but I prefer to roast separately, it makes them golden colour and crunchy).


1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Place the butter in a small bowl along with paprika, oregano, grated garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix together until the butter is soft and everything is well incorporated. Rub this butter mixture all over the skin of the chicken and carefully under the skin. To get it under the skin, using your fingers, go in at the neck, and create a cavity between the breast and the skin. With a little patience you can completely free up this skin and create a large pocket for the butter. Spoon it in. (It will keep the breast really moist.) Place it in a roasting tin/wide pot. Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil and put in preheated oven for 10 minutes before turning the oven down to 190C. Do not forget to baste the chicken with the juices and butter , some of which will melt into the tin, every 20-30 minutes.

2. To prepare the vegetables for the roasting, place all the roughly chopped vegetables in a bowl and mix well in paprika, dried oregano, sugar, salt and pepper, set aside.

3. Once the chicken has cooked for 40 minutes, take it out of the oven and scatter the vegetables around the outside. This will be a good time to baste the chicken and to coat the vegetables in juices. After, put it back to the oven and cook for the remaining 45 minutes. If the vegetables look as though they are over-colouring, put a sheet of kitchen foil over the tin  for the final 20 minutes of cooking.

4. When the time is up, check that everything is cooked perfectly before removing the chicken from the roasting tin and leaving to rest for at least 10 minutes. Keep the vegetables warm in a low temperature in the oven. Serve with roasted young potatoes.