Sunday, 11 July 2010

Apple sauce & the secret of crackling

The last couple of weeks I've been practising creating lovely, lovely crackling on different cuts of pork; last week was roast pork belly with coriander and fennel seasoning from my River Cottage Everyday cookbook and this week I had a go at a pork leg joint. Both times I've succeeded in getting nigh-on perfect crackling, and I've got to agree with Nigel Slater, that there's really nothing to it. He says:

There is no great secret, despite what silly people may tell you. Simply get the butcher to score the skin, then rub a little oil and seasoning in it before you put it in the oven. Roast at a high temperature for a while, then turn the heat down a little. No secret.*

And if I can get good crackling in my pokey little oven, then anyone can. Unfortunately, both pork dinners were devoured before I remembered to take a photo, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

I did, however, get a photo of the apple sauce I made to go with the pork today:
You know, just looking at that photo is making me want to go into the fridge and get the leftover apple sauce out and eat it with my fingers...

But, anyway, the recipe is another one from River Cottage Everyday and it is very simple - I used 2kg Bramley apples (cored, peeled and sliced) and 4tbsp caster sugar (the sugar is dependent on how sweet you want it) and simmered it gently in a large saucepan until it looked pretty much as it does above. My fiancé says he would have liked it a bit sweeter, but that was just right for me, as I like to still get some of the tartness from the apples coming through.

I think next time I will make less because I have quite a lot left in the fridge, although the book says it keeps for about two weeks. (It can also be used as an apple compote - so I think I'll be having some mixed with some natural yoghurt over the next couple of weeks. Yummy.)

And while it is a simple recipe, it took a long time to peel, core and slice all those apples. I chose to listen to Aerosmith while I did this - you may have a different rock band you like to listen to while slicing apples, but I recommend something with a good beat.

*Real Cooking by Nigel Slater


  1. Oh, I just got River Cottage Everyday as a present. What else have you made from it?

  2. I've made the booster bars:

  3. Ah, yes, I remember reading about the booster bars. So what is next?? ;-)

  4. The applesauce looks lovely! Don't forget you can freeze it if you have too much (usually for upto 3 months) ;)

  5. I really want to make the rabbit stew! I also forgot that I've made the flatbreads, which were great!

    And thanks for the advice, corsetkitten. I will definitely keep that in mind. :)