The porchetta recipe with cherries and pine nuts is the sort of dish I think would get people tempted at a dinner party and who does not like belly pork – I know I do!

Serves 6-8

Porchetta Recipe

Ingredients

1.5 kg bone-out pork belly
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda

Salt rub
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 tablespoon sea salt

Stuffing for the porchetta recipe

500g pork mince
extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
tsp coriander seeds
Slice of sourdough, ripped into small pieces
100g cherries, pitted and halved and chopped
tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange
tablespoon of lemon juice
handful of toasted pine nuts
freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg, beaten

Method

Score the skin of the pork belly with a very sharp knife in a cross-hatch pattern, being careful only to score down to just before where the skin meets the fat, rather than the fat itself. Bring a large saucepan of water to simmer, and add the bicarbonate of soda. Place the pork belly in the water and poach gently for 5 minutes. Remove it from the water and leave to cool to room temperature.

While the belly is poaching, roast the spices for the salt rub. Place the fennel and chilli flakes in a dry frying pan (skillet) and toast over a high heat for a couple of minutes, until they are fragrant. Watch them so they don’t catch or burn, then transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Once the pork belly has cooled, turn it skin-side down and stab it all over the underside with a knife – don’t be shy here, this will help it absorb all that lovely seasoning. Grind the cooled spices in a food processor, spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add them to the salt and mix.

Rub the underside of the belly all over with the spiced salt rub and pop it in the fridge while you make your stuffing. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the chopped onion. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper and sweat together gently for ten minutes, until the onion is soft and fragrant, add the coriander seeds and garlic and cook for a couple more minutes before adding the mince. Cook for a few minutes, until the mince is browned. Set aside and leave to cool.
Transfer the mince and onion mix to a bowl, add the sourdough, pine nuts, orange zest, cherries, herbs and squeeze over the lemon. Season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg and mix up thoroughly with your hands. Add the beaten egg and incorporate.

Take the pork belly and lie it, skin side down, on the worktop. Form the stuffing into a sausage running all the way down the middle of the belly. Wrap the sides of the belly around the stuffing sausage and tie with butcher’s string. Place stuffing-side down in a baking tray, uncovered, and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. You want the skin to completely dry out so that it crisps up nicely when you roast it.

To cook the pork, remove it from the fridge and leave it for at least 1 hour to come to room temperature before you cook it. Preheat the oven to 180°C (280°F) and cook the pork for about two hours, turning the tray every 30 minutes or so to ensure it cooks evenly. After two hours, turn the heat up as high as it will go, to 220 and cook for 20 more minutes. Check its core temperature and if the thermometer reads 77 degrees it’s ready. If the skin looks in danger of burning, cover it with foil – but only do this once it has crackled.

Once the pork has cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Carving

When you’re ready to carve, clear a big chopping board. Remove the twine from the pork. Take a knife and gently trace the blade underneath the crackled skin, removing it from the fatty bottom of the belly. Cut the meat with a very sharp carving knife; it should fall into nice slices. Place the crackling on the board and use a big knife to chop it up into bite-sized chunks. Serve the pork and stuffing and crackling.

Do you use pine nuts  in your cooking?

Porchetta recipe with cherries and pine nuts perfect for dinner parties and gives the wow factor

 

What are the best bits of BritMums Live?

Yesterday I told you all the worst bits of my BritMums Live weekend so here goes with the really good stuff in no particular order.

Best Bits Of BritMums Live

1. I got a night away with Him Indoors whilst the little darlings went to stay with my step-daughter.  So whilst other bloggers were out to dinner, I was making the most of the hotel bedroom and remembering why we got together in the first place and hoping the walls were thick.

2. I got to meet Ruby Wax and she signed my book and spoke my name.  Be still my beating heart.  How wonderful of BritMums to put Ruby and the issues of mental health right up there at the start of the event.  A brave decision and one I applaud.

3. I started to see that there are many opportunities in blogging that I may not have quite understood before.  The future starts here and I think it may turn out to be rather marvellous.  I learned a lot from the panel session on the first day.

4.  I worked out that I want to start making proper strides in my writing.  Attending the Getting Published and E-Book sessions proved fruitful.

5. I got ever so slightly squiffy at the  Brilliance in Blogging Party and met and fell in love with  that Hayley one before she became world famous with her keynote the next day.  I am putting her autograph on ebay as we speak.

6. I did not win a Brilliance in Blogging Award which I was so pleased about as did not feel I deserved to do so having seen the other finalists.  Plus I would have tripped up the stairs in my drunken state and the pink Crocs wellies I had won.

7. I saw some of my fave bloggers and Penny Alexander and Mummy Whisperer  in particular get their awards and was very pleased for them, huge warm feelings of thrilledness.

8. I discovered Katy Hill and found her so funny, engaging and true.  She tells it like it is and I love anyone who does that particularly about the challenges of parenting.

9. I started to understand more about social media and search engine optimisation.  

10. I heard the wonderful Sarah Brown and she changed my life right there and then. 

11. Despite myself, I moderated the Blogging for the Greater Good session with what appears to be quite a degree of success.  Working with the lovely Michelle from BritMums made it that much easier.

12. I spent a lot of time over lunch with Polly Gowers from Give As You Live.  She speaks so much sense and I have that chat as one of my absolute highlights of the conference.

13. The food was amazing and sustaining as the whole event really too it out of you in terms of over-excitement, nerves and the rest.

14. I joined Ellen Arnison and Mammasaurus for the Sod the Stats!  Blogging for Happiness session.  Having survived the first speaking engagement in the morning, I felt much more chilled.  I managed to be me warts and all.  Whether that was a good or bad thing is for others to decide.

15. Although I had plenty o f wobbly moments, I pushed through them and spoke to people and did not sit shyly at the back in workshop sessions.  I also remembered that other folks would be shy too and when I spotted people who looked that way went up and spoke to them. 

16. I laughed and cried in the blogger keynote sessions with several stories resonating deeply with me particularly Karin’s about post-natal depression and Ellen’s about not slating ourselves for being bad mums when actually we do out best.

17. Someone said to me “Oh, you are one of them, aren’t you?”  Turned out they meant I was part of the BritMums team.  I am never quite sure how I managed to become part of that wonderful team but am really glad I did.  Susanna and her lovely colleagues have truly changed my life for the better and I thank them for that.

18. I met some of my blogging heros but also learned that there are a lot more out there to get to know better.

19. I felt like a somebody rather than a nobody.  It is so easy to lose sight of yourself as a mum.

20.  I hugged.  Yes, me, the most hung-up person in the world found herself fuelled by wine throwing herself on unsuspecting bloggers.  What can I say?  It was emotional.

What do you hope are you best bits of BritMums Live 2017?

 

What are the worst bits of BritMums Live?

There is so much to say about BritMums Live but, for today, I thought I would talk about the worst bits of my weekend.

Worst Bits Of BritMums Live

1. The journey down from Yorkshire was a nightmare with bad visibility and so much rain.  Despite getting up at 5am and setting off before 6am, I was badly delayed.

2. My dress on the first day which I had not worn before blowing up at even the slightest breeze.   Marilyn Monroe I am not.

3. Walking into the Brewery venue and my glasses steaming up.  Susanna from BritMums seeing my Milly Molly Mandy like entrance came womanfully to the rescue.

4. Not being able to find my badge on the table for speakers and wondering if being asked to speak was indeed an April Fool.

5. Sitting on a small croc and wondering if I really had **** myself.  It was actually a clue that I had won a pair of Crocs Wellies.

6. Having so much free wine that when I linked up with Him Indoors all thoughts of our planned romantic dinner disappeared and I crashed on the bed.

7. Seeing myself in the bathroom mirror in the hotel on emerging from the shower.  Why was the lighting so unforgiving?  Why is my tummy such an over-hanging, lumpy, bumpy let down?

8. The moments before my first speaking session at BritMums Live.  Think I was not the only person who thought I was going to bottle it completely.  Thank you panel members and Michelle from BritMums for somehow getting me through it.  Shout-out to Sarah Brown too for possibly the best advice on public-speaking I have ever heard.  A big emphasis on being yourself and not trying to be perfect.  Being myself I can pull off was my mantra throughout my sessions.

9.  Being reminded of why law was never the right career choice for me in one of the workshops.

10. The moment when on getting up from my panel member seat at the Blogging for Happiness session, I realised a boob had escaped from my maxi dress and worse I was not wearing a bra.  Hoping nobody noticed as imagine it was not a pretty sight.

So there you have the bad bits of BritMums Live a lot of which were good in some ways.  Tomorrow, you get my best bits and no boobies.

I was recently asked to share my tips for attending a blogging event.

Does Blogging Make You Feel Less Alone

“Dear Kate on thin ice,

This will sound really silly but I have blogged for a year or so and made some good online friends. I have seen the adverts for blogging events like BritMums Live 17. I would love to attend one day to meet people in the real world and to learn more about blogging. However, I get really anxious in social situations and just think I will be left standing on my own feeling isolated and stupid.”

Dear Bricking It Blogger,

Thanks for getting in touch. The first thing to say is that your feelings are completely normal and opening up about them in a brave first step. You obviously really want to go deep down or you would not have put pen to paper about the situation. Here are my top tips based on personal experience and from talking with other bloggers.

It’s not all about you!

1. Instead of focusing on what ifs which involve you having a terrible time or making a fool of yourself, focus on the what ifs that see you making a new friend, having a giggle and just feeling like a person in your own right for a change.

2. Read about the experiences of other bloggers and you might realise just how many feel like you or have done so in the past.

3. Could you reach out to a blogger that you could travel with or at least meet up with to enter the venue together? It’s a courageous step but you could be doing that blogger a huge favour too.

Seek support

4. If you really want to go for it. contact the event organisers and ask if you could have a role at the conference perhaps on reception or even hosting a workshop. Often if we have a role, we can hide behind that label a bit.

5. Read up the facts about social anxiety and find out how you can take baby steps to overcome it.

The event itself

6. On your way to the event, perhaps read an inspirational book. I find “Feel the Fear” by Susan Jeffers very simple but also very powerful.

7. When you get to the event, look out for people who are on their own or trying to merge into a wall. A really good place to find the nervous tribe is in the loos! That is why they get so crowded!

8. If it all gets too much for you , build in breaks where you can go somewhere just to breathe and take things in a bit. You do not have to attend every aspect of blogging events.

9. Reflect that whatever your fears, it has to be worse to be sitting at home reading the social media updates from everyone who is there and having an amazing time.

The really great thing is that WHEN you go, you can come back here and say what worked best for you thereby helping others in the future.

Can anyone else share their tips for attending a blogging event to help a anxious blogger?



Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Cuddle Fairy
3 Little Buttons