Summer is in full swing.
It’s muggy AF and I am chancing mosquitos to sleep with the window open. So far so good.
I haven’t left Auckland this summer, instead, I’m enjoying local day trips. I’ve hit 70k steps every week so far – it’s only been 2 weeks – and regularly include Mt Eden summit in my daily walks. I’m a little obsessed with my FitBit and doing well with my “more steps” resolution.
Yesterday, The Koala and I explored Duder Regional Park, enjoyed ice cream truck treats and swum at random beach on our way home. We usually stay central, or head north or west so exploring east is new for us. I hope to discover more of Auckland’s regional parks this year.
My first recipe of the year is fiercely seasonal and embodies the kinds of food I love to eat. A shit-ton of vegetables (another resolution) and some beautifully cooked free range meat. Yes please! I usually order pork belly if I see it on the menu so it makes sense for me to cook it more often at home.
This one-pan dinner with fresh summer peaches and summer vegetables is lovely roast for summer. Use vegetables that you like or what is easily available. I’ve been eating less potatoes lately so I opted for baby carrots instead. With a little prep work, you can have everything prepped to bung in the oven a couple of hours before dinner. Great if you’re having guests over or after a day at the beach. Fill your pan with vegetables and serve with a salad on the side for a fresh crunch.
Pork belly comes in slabs starting from 800g up to 1.5kg. Aim for a 1 kg piece for this recipe and allow 250g of pork belly per person. Though this can vary depending on appetite. Any leftovers can certainly be sliced thin for sandwiches.
Five spice roast pork belly with peaches
- 1 kg (2 lb) free range pork belly
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Coarse salt
Peaches and vegetables
(allow half a plate of chopped vegetables per person)
- 3-4 fresh peaches
- Your choice of baby carrots, baby potatoes, onions, courgettes (zucchini), mushrooms, eggplant, capsicum (bell peppers)
- …And quick cooking vegetables such as green beans or asparagus.
- 1/4 teaspoon five spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A handful of chopped parsley or coriander
- Chutney, mustard or plum sauce
- Pat dry the pork belly with a clean tea towel. Score the skin with a sharp knife and then take a sharp point such as a metal skewer or fondue fork and poke the skin side all over. Mix together the five spice and sugar and rub into the meaty side of the pork belly. Flip over and season the skin side generously with coarse salt, rubbing into the skin. Place in a container or dish, uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two to dry out. Dry pork is best for crispy crackling.
- To prepare your peaches and vegetables, cut peaches in half, discarding stones. Prep vegetables and cut into pieces. For baby potatoes and baby carrots, halve or leave whole for full size potatoes and carrots, cut into large chunks. Onions, courgettes, and capsicum can be halved and cut into wedges/strips. Beans and asparagus can be left whole (add only at the end of cooking).
- Place peaches and vegetables (except quick cooking vegetables such as beans and asparagus) in a plastic bag, bowl or zip lock, add 1/4 teaspoon five spice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and massage or mix until well combined.
- Remove pork from fridge, place skin side up on a large roasting tray and preheat oven to 220°C (430F).
- Roast pork for 30 minutes at 220°C (430F). Turn down to 180°C (350F) and roast for a further 45 minutes.
- Arrange the peaches and vegetables around the pork belly and continue at 180°C (350F) for 30 to 45 minutes until done. If using quick cooking vegetables such as beans or asparagus add these for the final 15 minutes only.
- Divide vegetables to plates or a platter. Remove pork belly to a chopping board and slice into thick slices. Scatter with fresh parsley or coriander and serve with your choice of fruit chutney, mustard or plum sauce.