There’s usually some kind of a commotion in the wee small hours around here. We’re well used to a bit of rowdiness. Last night the kids took it up a gear, and we were jolted from our slumber in ways I don’t care to dwell upon. Consequently I started the day already feeling a bit jaded, and generally unenthused. Schlepping round the supermarket when feeling unenthused isn’t a brilliant plan, but with four hungry kids in the house you can’t just mince around in your jammies waiting to feeling inspired.
In lieu of an actual plan for dinner I started by making something that looked pretty. Sliced plums, star anise, a cinnamon stick, fresh ginger, garlic cloves, bay leaves, olive oil. Sometimes in a house full of boys you really just need to take a moment to admire the purple flesh of a plum .. if you have boys you might know what I mean, or you might think that I am having one of my slightly strange days.
So I’d made my bed and I decided to slow roast a pork shoulder upon it. Covered tightly in foil and starting in a hot oven (around 220) then turning the heat straight down to a slow 140degrees and cooking all afternoon. I think I got that idea from Jamie Oliver or Nigel Slater or a hybrid of the two and seem to remember it being a successful endeavor a while ago. It could have been fabulous again, had I just paid it slightly more attention. If i’d actually covered it tightly in foil, rather than slung some over in a slapdash fashion.
As it was, the pork was pretty good – kept moist by the thick layer of fatty crackling. The pan, however, was crucified. The plumy, saucy, gravy of my imaginings, was just a crisp black smear, an idea of what the flavour might have been,clinging to the bottom of the joint.