Match of the week
Slow roast pork belly with a ‘Gardener’s Old Fashioned’
Pork and apple is, of course, a match made in heaven but the pairing was taken to new heights for me by mixologist Jack Adair Bevan of The Ethicurean who invented an Old Fashioned cocktail with a twist to go with a dish of slow roast pork.
The recipe had a few clever bells and whistles of its own. The Saddleback pork had been roasted for 12 hours to a fall-apart texture and was accompanied by pickled shitake, apple and chipotle crackling salt (pulverised pork crackling, seasoned with chipotle)
But the drink was something else - an Old Fashioned made with 3 y.o. Somerset cider brandy infused with toasted oak chips, and stirred with toffee apple syrup left over from the restaurant’s signature toffee apple cake, vanilla (to make the brandy taste more like a bourbon), Angostura and orange bitters and a chipotle tincture - served with an apple and chipotle tuile. Rich, appley, spicy and utterly delicious
Normally I’m not mad about cocktail dinners - too much alcohol, too much sweetness - but where the cocktails are made from ingredients produced in the same kitchen as the food and designed to go with a particular dish it just seems a seamless extension of the menu.
Jack and his colleagues chefs Matthew and Iain Pennington have a really lovely book coming out next month called The Ethicurean Cookbook where you can find most of their recipes (except the pork and the toffee apple cake - drat!) and a lot about their preserving, curing and smoking techniques. There's a really nice video which explains their philosophy on YouTube.
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