James Street South Cookery School: Slow cooked pork with leeks, Polenta and ricotta cake with berries

Who needs Google when you can make your own slow-roasted pork?

I'D love to know the stats around how many Google searches there are for ‘Sunday roast carvery near me’ every Sunday morning, when heads are slightly fuzzy from the night before.

However, now that we are in the swing of Lent, and not a drop has crossed our lips – and won’t – for weeks, we can leap out of bed and look forward to cooking a delicious meal for friends and family... after the three-mile run before 10am, of course. Anyone?

These two dishes are delicious and easy to make at home, and always go down well with guests, and since the cake is gluten-free, any coeliac pals can enjoy it too.


(Serves up to 6)

2kg of boneless pork butt in one piece, tied and rolled

2 tblsp of rapeseed oil

sea salt

ground black pepper

80g unsalted butter

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lemon, zested

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs oregano

250ml white wine

300ml vegetable or chicken stock

2 leeks, sliced on the angle and cleaned

Rub the pork with the rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. In a large casserole dish, add a little more of the rapeseed oil and place a medium heat; add in the pork and seal on all sides. Once browned remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a little more oil in the casserole dish and add the butter; melt over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes; add the lemon zest, bay leaves and oregano.

Pour in all the white wine and reduce by half. Put the pork back in with the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Place a lid on, move to a preheated oven at 170C and cook for two hours. Keep checking that the dish has not run dry; if it does, keep adding small quantities of wine and baste. After the two hours, add the leeks and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the meat rest in the pot with the lid off.



(Serves 8)

175g butter, at room temperature

225g golden caster sugar

100g ricotta or a natural yoghurt

2 lemons, zest only

3 medium eggs

175g ground polenta

100g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

150g blueberries

150g raspberries

To serve:

Icing sugar for dusting

A handful of raspberries and blueberries

Pre-heat the oven to 160C. You can use any cake mould to make this – make sure to grease and line the tin with butter and greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the yoghurt or ricotta, the lemon zest and whisk in one of the eggs. Once this is mixed in, whisk in the second egg, then the third.

Fold in the polenta, ground almonds and baking powder until all lumps and bumps are smooth. Add in the berries.

Pour the mix into the cake tin and smooth over all the ingredients. Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for one hour. Check by placing a skewer in the middle of the tin – if it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and leave to set and cool. Once cooled, turn out on to a plate and dust with the icing sugar. Decorate with berries and serve with a dollop of cream.

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