It’s the second week of December and it’s about time I posted a festive recipe, don’t you think?! Having said that I’d better take the decorations out of their storage boxes before the end of the year. I have been busier than usual for the past few months, to the point where I have neglected C&T. I’m proud though that I have managed to be quite consistent and post something for you at least once twice a week. My dream is to post three days a week but planning good content isn’t easy. The philosophy behind this blog has always been quality over quantity and that has been my game plan for the past five years. It will continue to be that way I promise.
I find Christmas to be too hectic a time, and I’m sure most of you feel that too. Especially when it comes to planning the dinner. Gone are those days where you find everything cooked and ready for you to eat. I loved my Christmas morning ritual as a child, waking up to the smell of sweet and savoury spices of my mum’s cooking. Now I’m in charge of all the main prep and sometimes I admit, it is a headache. Luckily there’s so much help out there on the internet these days that picking and choosing doesn’t feel like such a chore anymore. I do a fair share of browsing, but during these times, I turn to my beloved cookbook collection. I write a list of recipe options, choose and eventually write a list of ingredients with quantities to make grocery shopping easier. I go through loads of pens, highlighters, pencils….the lot. Yes, I do it the old-fashioned way. Be kind.
Here’s what I made as a main for the first Christmas back on the rock. Traditionally I don’t think many people here cook turkey.
I could do some research on this, perhaps a poll on this blog? I made it once when I had guests over for the day, but I find it to be bland. So I ordered a 3kg pork loin from the butcher. Having said that you will find top-quality pork meat in Malta, so it seemed the right choice for the Christmas table. (To be honest, this was a bit lost on my family, who like a more traditional meal, although there’s no doubt that this is!) Here’s to another festive season!
- 1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 7 cloves
- 6 garlic cloves, bruised
- 125ml olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 500ml red wine
- 100ml red vermouth
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
For the pork:
- around 3kg tied pork loin, weighed without any bones or rind, ordered from your local trusted butcher
Whisk well all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl or measuring jug.
Place the pork loin in a deep container and pour the marinade over it. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of days before Christmas day or whenever you wish to cook it. If you use a bowl like I did, make sure to turn the meat at least once a day to make sure every part of it is being soaked in the marinade.
On the day, take the loin out of the fridge for around an hour to let it come down to room temperature. In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.
Carefully remove the pork from the marinade and place it in a roasting pan, lining the pan beforehand if you wish. Pour around 500ml of the marinade onto the meat and bake it for about 2 hours. Keep a 100ml of the marinade back for basting the loin as it cooks once in a while.
To check if the pork is cooked through, pierce it with a skewer and check that its juices run clear. Also the pork will shrink a lot when it’s done so don’t worry about that.
Leave the meat to rest while you have any starters or finger food before the main meal. Carve and serve, and ladle some of the marinade in each plate. You will have enough for 8 to 12 people.
(Recipe loosely adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)