This week we have a treat for all you real ‘foodies’ out there. Gavin Billenness is a chef, writer and founder of Savoy Truffle Supperclub and he is sharing his wonderful recipe for Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Apple and Fig Chutney and Maderia Jus … a perfect change to your usual Sunday Roast this weekend!
If you live anywhere near Blackheath in south-east London you could sample Gavin’s extraordinary menus first hand at his laid-back monthly Supper Club called Savoy Truffle Supperclub that he holds in his own front room along with his gardener/writer partner and team of guerrilla chefs. I simply love the idea of Supper Clubs and take my hat off to anyone that can pull them off – it takes a lot of hard work and talent. Gavin and his team certainly have what it takes. The Savoy Truffle Supperclub team work in the hip, award-winning London restaurant Acorn House when they’re not at the Savoy Truffle Supperclub and have cooked for the likes of Orlando Bloom, James McAvoy, Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall and Giorgio Locatelli.
This underground and exclusive pop-up restaurant prides itself on their multi-course feast of fabulous locally-scoured food. Their veg comes from either their very own allotment or a farm just seven miles away. The thought, planning and sheer imagination that goes into each night is totally inspiring and promises for an experience that could give any top eatery a run for their money.
For more information about the Savoy Truffle Supperclub visit here and if you’d like to try more of Gavin’s own recipes you will find a great selection on his blog gavinbillenness.blogspot.com
Twice cooked pork belly with apple and fig chutney and Madeira jus
1kg pork belly. [get a good British rare breed, Gloucester Old Spot is my favourite]
1 large onion
3 sticks of celery
100ml cheap balsamic vinegar
2 tbs fennel seeds crushed
2 tbs Maldon sea salt
500ml good quality cider (not White Lightning!)
1 litre good brown chicken/beef stock
For the Chutney…
3 eating apples, diced into 1 cm pieces
1 Large onion, finely sliced
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp black mustard seeds,
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 200g dried figs
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
200g caster sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar
 Pre-heat oven to 150c. Roughly chop the veg and place in a deep roasting tray and pour over the cider and the balsamic vinegar.
 If the ribs are still attached to the belly carefully remove them with a sharp knife [or get your butcher to do it for you] but keep them and put them to one side.
 Crush the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar with the sea salt.
 With a stanley knife score the skin in a criss-cross fashion, about a centimetre apart. Place the ribs on top of the veg and the belly on top of that.
 Boil a kettle and pour over the belly so the scores open. Continue pouring the boiling water over until it’s a centimetre below the skin. The boiling water willl open up the scores you’ve made. Take the fennel seeds and salt and rub well into the skin.
 Cover carefully with foil leaving no gaps and cook in the oven for 5 hours, topping up with water if necessary.
Make the chutney
 In a saucepan sweat off the onion, garlic, chilli in a little oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes and then throw in the spices. Continue to fry for a further 10 minutes and then add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar and cook for another half an hour or until the mixture has reduced and become sticky. Now add the fruit and simmer until the cubes of apple are soft around the edges. Season, cover and leave to cool
 Remove the foil cover from the pork belly and cook for a further hour or until the skin is hard enough to ‘knock’.
 Remove from the oven, leave to cool and then lift off the belly and discard the veg and bones Put the belly in a fresh roasting tray and place another on top placing substantial weight on the belly (I use loads of books) and press the pork — ideally overnight. This forces out the excess fat that can be the off-putting thing about pork belly. When belly is pressed, portion with a bread knife into 8cms squares and refrigerate.
 Make the Madeira jus buy reducing the stock and the Madeira by half and seasoning well. Adjust the flavour with honey if necessary. Keep warm.
 When ready to cook place portions of pork belly in a roasting tray with an inch of good meat stock (to keep the meat moist) and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes on 180
 To finish place pork under the grill until the skin ‘popcorns’ you’ll see what I mean — perfect crackling! Keep an eye on it though, don’t let it burn!
Serve on buttery mash or dauphinoise potatoes and veg of your choice. Pour over jus.