I must admit that I never thought this house move/renovation project would be so all-consuming! It really does seem that all I am doing is liaising with the builder, popping round to the house to see what the tiler/plasterer/carpenter are up to, notifying banks, utility companies etc. about the change of address, talking to the shipping company in South Africa about sending our stuff, packing up our current abode, trying to clean all the neglected corners… it's just never-ending! And there will be more upheaval in the new house when our furniture finally arrives. Until then, we'll be sleeping on the floor and living out of suitcases. Joy. Maybe I'll just sleep in my beautiful kitchen
Thanks to all of you who have wished me well in my new kitchen. Sadly, I haven't been able to use it for the past 10 days as there is no running water till the bathroom renovation is done. But with a bit of luck, the contractors will finish up at the end of the week and we will move over the weekend. And especially for Mark (and all you other renovations voyeurs out there!) I have put up a Flickr album of the work in progress – browse at your leisure – I will be adding more as work progresses
Even amidst all this upheaval, you need to maintain some sort of order. Despite Nick spending most of Sunday painting and me spending most of the day preparing the potplants for their big move and packing books and clothes, I still found time for a proper Sunday roast. And it's a recession-friendly one, no less! Whereas our pork purchases are usually limited to pork chops or pork loin, the other day we came across a pork neck fillet joint at Sainsbury's – marked down to a shade over £2 for 0.8kg. It was tied up in netting to keep its shape and looked just the right size for the two of us so into the basket it went.
As you will see below, I prepared it simply so that I could carry on packing while it cooked – and I have to say that it was a roaring success! I felt that the meat had more flavour than pork loin (rather like a comparison between poultry dark meat and light meat) while still retaining tenderness. Paired with mustard mash and steamed broccoli, our Sunday roast was a delicious little island of comfortable familiarity in a sea of upheaval around us.
PORK NECK FILLET ROAST WITH CUMIN AND APRICOTS (serves 2-3)
1 pork neck fillet, preferably rolled into a roast and tied in netting to keep its shape during cooking
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3/4 cup of chopped dried apricots
a little olive oil for brushing
1 tsp ground cumin
Maldon sea salt (or koshering salt)
Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Place the roast in a suitable roasting tin and brush with a little olive oil. Rub all over with salt and ground cumin.
Arrange the onions and apricots around the meat and pour enough water into the roasting tin so that the apricots and onions are almost covered.
Cook uncovered in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 30 minutes. Every half hour or so, spoon some of the cooking juices over the meat to keep it moist.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving, during which time you can pour the cooking juices, apricots & onions into a small saucepan and reduce. Serve with mustard mash and steamed brocolli, with the reduced cooking juices spooned over the meat.
TIP: You could also use pork neck fillet to make my mustard-glazed pork.