Monday, 12 April 2010

Working up an Appetite!

Sunday was by far the most glorious day we have had in a few weeks.  I mean, it has been sunny and warm and all that jazz for the last week or so...but on Sunday I had David all to myself...finally!! No work, no family, no friends...just us us us!!  We went out early, picked up a couple of lattes for fuel and then trudged along the river for a FOUR MILE WALK!...just exploring the River Chelmer, the wildlife and the wilderness. 

I was so surprised to find a series of locks and a whole bunch of narrowboats just on my doorstep! Seriously, it was such a wonderful adventurous walk along the river, exploring our community...and I can't wait to venture a little bit further next time! The whole river walk is 12 miles ONE WAY from Chelmsford to Heybridge (on the sea!!) I doubt we will be able to do a there and back walk...but I would LOVE to make it out there sometime in the future!! We can totally rely on public transportation to get us back home, right???  The only down side to the walk was that the river totally runs through the middle of nowhere!! It doesn't run through the centre of any little pubs to stop off at for refreshments/relief!!!

We totally worked up an appetite, which was all the better since I had planned on making a slow roast pork belly for Sunday Dinner.  I have been itching to try Jamie Oliver's Slow Roast Pork Belly with Fennel recipe from Cook with Jamie...and finally I got around to buying a piece of pork belly during the week.  Originally I had thought that I would be able to just pop it in the oven before we set out on our adventure...but it is actually a recipe that requires attention every hour (BAHHHH)...anyway...we had planned on being home with enough time to slow cook the pork in time for dinner, so I just had to wait until we returned from the walk to pop it in the oven.  The pork belly is rubbed with crushed fennel seeds and then slow roasted ONTOP of fennel bulbs with white smelt tasted amazing...

Pork Belly has a surprisingly rich taste.  Cooked this way the meat is tender and juicy and the fat is crispy and made me feel so greedy and gluttonous...but oh so heavenly!!!  Needless to say...we waited a good 3 hours before serving up dessert. 

Now that I have tried to make my own pastry (and had a positive expereince) I have totally felt my confindence grow and so when I was home alone Saturday night I made this simple and totally tasty French Apple Tart from Raymond Blanc's latest tv series. He calls it Tart Maman Blanc because it is the tart his maman used to make for them.  It was simple, and best of all...the pastry doesn't have to be blind baked!!!  I am a total sucker for french flans...fruit and custard baked in a tart shell...and this did not disappoint!  

But the nicest mum made it too! In Toronto!  But she changed it up a bit!


  1. well look at you two coffee-catting each other!!!! does it count if i made nonna's dead-apple cake???on the same day??? was it clean out the fridge week-end there tooooo?

    hope you&david had treats in your backpack for your "aventure" :) love you, sandi

  2. I am finally coming back to my blogworld! Have to tell you, we came home to a snowstorm and our plane was delayed in Toronto for 2 hours; let me tell you it was a long way home.
    I have been reading all your posts; you have been a busy and industrial girl;wow I am impressed at everything you've been up to; all looks and sounds Fantastic!

  3. What a lovely post! You sound really hapy about the time you got to spend with David :) Well, you deserve it, you've been sooo busy! And I hope you will make it to get to the sea, even if it's 12 miles would be a nice adventure!!!
    Love the pork belly, the way you cooked it looks great!!!
    And what a nice dessert you're becoming a very skilled cook- you already were anyway!!-

  4. I made that tart too - it's awesome, isn't it?
    Well done on the pastry - there's nothing to beat nice home made pastry.