Pulled pork soft rolls with sweet apple slaw

pulled pork

Normally, pulled pork is a whole joint and, to be honest, the reason I’m using diced pork is because we keep getting sent it in our meat delivery. This recipe takes a long time but is very low maintenance.

Even at the time of writing (as it’s in the oven at lunchtime), I have very low expectations of Bert with the slaw, but you never know and my theory is keep offering till they say yes. (In any other context that approach is a little stalker-y.) He will definitely demolish the meat and the bread and there’s always still-frozen peas as a mysteriously fail-safe veg.

Served 2.5

500g diced pork

Dash olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Handful of sage leaves, snipped into shreds

A little salt

A good grind of black pepper

Soft white rolls (I normally serve wholemeal but I feel this recipe needs white)

For the slaw:

2 carrots, thickly grated

1 apple, thickly grated

1 red onion, thickly grated

A couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 teaspoon horseradish sauce

Briefly fry the spices in the oil, then add the meat and brown it. Season, put a lid on and transfer it all to a very low oven for about 5 hours.

Combine all the ingredients for the slaw, split and butter the rolls and pull the cooked pork apart with a couple of forks and you’re good to go.

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Spag bol

bol

My standard bol recipe used to include red wine, salty bacon, milk and sometimes chopped chicken liver. Sounds a little voodoo when it’s all written down and it was a bit too intensely savoury for a baby. It also involved finely cutting up loads of stewing steak. When you’ve just got a small amount of free time in a day, spending most of it cutting up meat is less appealing.

Serves 6 (we had 3.5 for dinner and leftovers for lasagne)

500g minced beef

300g minced pork

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 carrot, diced

1 stick celery diced

leaves from a spring of rosemary, finely chopped

glug olive oil

500g passata

200ml boiling water

Low salt beef stock cube

Grinding of pepper, grinding of nutmeg

2 bay leaves

Fry (or ‘sweat’) the onions, rosemary and garlic in the olive oil, adding the other veg and cooking for around another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large saucepan or casserole and brown the meat in batches. Add to the veg and then pour over the passata and water, crumble in the stock cube and season, tucking in the bay leaves. Bring to a steady boil and then cook in a very low oven (140 degrees or an Aga simmering oven) for around 3-4 hours. You might need to bring it onto the hob at the end to reduce it a bit.

Golden pesto

goldenpesto

If you’ve got leftover sauce from the sausage and pasta dish, you can use it to make this, just adding the parsley, pine nuts, cheese and extra olive oil and blending. If not, here’s the full recipe. It’s creamier and less strong tasting than off the shelf basil pesto.

We have a very embittered cocker spaniel whose few moments of joy derive from sitting directly below Bert’s high chair with an open mouth. He got no gifts today.

Serves 1.5 with leftovers

glug olive oil

1/2 carrot, grated

1/2 stick celery, grated

small clove garlic, crushed

1/2 can tomatoes

large handful parsley

1/2 small bag pine nuts

handful grated pecorino

another good slug of olive oil

Fry the garlic and veg briefly in a glug of olive oil, then add the tomatoes and cook for around 20 minutes, adding a bit of water from the kettle if it’s drying out. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts till golden. Put it all in a blender (or a Nutribullet – we got one for Christmas) with another glug of olive oil and the cheese and parsley and blend till smooth.

If you’re using leftover sauce it’s even quicker. Babies have a limited amount of patience for your activities if they don’t involve you clapping them or carrying them.

Stir about 2 dessert spoons into overcooked (for your baby) pasta. Grab your pasta a couple of minutes earlier if you care for a more al dente experience. Add salt and pepper to yours after stiring into the pasta.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for about a week. We plan to make a pasta salad with ours for a beach picnic tomorrow.