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The Queen of Gastroporn writes in her new book Kitchen:

There are a few meals I can say I’m making that will make my children excited (or pretend to be), and this is one of them.

Alongside there must be ‘pie insides’ (which is what my daughter has always called leeks in white sauce) and for ultimate gratification, roast potatoes. Although I usually use goose fat for roast potatoes, I feel the pork belly allows, indeed encourages, the substitution of lard. I’m not convinced that with all that fabulous crackling you do need roasties as well, but I like to provide what makes people happy. I actually prefer noodles or a bowl of plain, steamed brown basmati rice, and urge you to consider either; and I love to sprinkle a little rice vinegar on my own plate of pork as I eat.

This is another of those recipes that you can get done in advance and then have the afternoon off, unworried. I have advised an overnight marinade, but if I’m making this (as I tend to) for Sunday supper, I often prepare it in the morning and leave it in the fridge loosely covered with baking parchment, or midday-ish and leave it uncovered in a cold place (but not the fridge) for a few hours.

SERVES 6-8

1.75kg pork belly, rind scored
4 x 15ml tablespoons tahini
4 x 15ml tablespoons soy sauce
juice 1 lemon
juice 1 lime

Get out a shallow dish in which the scored pork will fit snugly and in it whisk together the tahini, soy sauce, lemon and lime juice.

Sit the pork on top, skin-side up. You should find the marinade covers the underside and most of the sides, but doesn’t touch the rind: that’s what you want.

Leave the pork in the fridge to marinate overnight, covered with foil, and then take out to return to room temperature before it goes into the oven. Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Get out a shallow roasting tin and line with foil.

Transfer the pork to the roasting tin and cook it uncovered for 3½ hours, then turn the oven up to 250°C and cook for a further ½ hour to let the skin crisp to crunchy burnished perfection.

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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