Kirstin: We decided to cook this tonight because we love porchetta. We go to Tuscany every year, and we buy porchetta from those vans in the market.
Anna: So this is a nice meal to have now that you’re back in wet England.
Tom: They have a whole roast pig, covered in crackling. And they chop it up and put it in buns. With lots of herbs and salt and oil.
Kirstin: I don’t know who can eat those buns. They are really hard. But the porchetta is so good! And they hack through the entire pig, so you get bits of liver and kidney. You have to go through it and say no, I don’t want to eat the gall bladder.
Anna: It’s a good thing you went to medical school!
Peter: I love a bit of spine.
Tom: How did this compare to other porchetta recipes?
Anna: I’ve done a hybrid Jamie recipe from “Jamie’s Italy”. Controversially. Which is a combination porchetta/slow-cooked pork recipe.
Kirstin: So you’ve never done the mock porchetta recipe from Zuni?
Anna: What does “mock porchetta” mean?
Peter: Is it from McDonald’s? Is it a McPorchetta?
Kirstin: It’s just her version of porchetta. Instead of being a whole pig, it’s just a shoulder. And all the vegetables go underneath. But it’s not as good as this.
Anna: Which other porchetta recipes have you made?
Kirstin: We’ve also done Gennaro Contaldo’s. It was all right. But not as good as this.
Anna: I got a bit thrown, because I was doing the marinating and stuffing yesterday, and my experience is that it’s normally a dry rub, fennel seeds and garlic. So I thought it would be really quick. But Nigella tells you to cook up some onion, and add garlic, rosemary, bay, fennel seeds and cloves, and then let it cool before you smooth it onto the pork. So it all took much longer than I expected. But the benefit is… did you get that sweet onion taste coming through? And it kept the meat moist, even though it was in the oven for four hours.
Kirstin: We had a bit of a worry because Nigella says you should cook it for four hours at 180ºC, which we thought was probably a bit much.
Anna: Normally we’d probably cook it at 150ºC for that amount of time.
Kirstin: Zuni woman says 2-2½ hours at 180ºC. Anyway, it came out a bit burnt. But it may be that our oven is on the blink.
Tom: But it was still yum.
Anna: Oh, god. It tasted like Italy. But you guys have been to Italy more than me. Did it?
Kirstin: It was fantastic.
Tom: So it wasn’t too much of a faff?
Anna: No, not at all. But we’re not using the word “faff” this month. It took longer than I thought, but the results were totally worth it. It’s no great shakes frying up some onions. And I am very full now.
Tom: So now it’s crumble time. Ella, what was it like to make it?
Ella: The crumble was a bit like when you crumble butter, to make pastry, but you have to keep it all crumbly.
Anna: But you don’t like crumble do you?
Ella: Not really. The school apple crumble is so evil it’s put me off all crumbles.
Anna: But will you try this one?
Ella: Mmhmm. Because it’s not the school’s. I got apricot juice all over my fingers, but I licked them and it was really yummy. I love apricots, but not as much as strawberries. Ooh, I like it, but not the nuts! But it’s better than the school crumble.
Tom: I love it. But it feels more autumnal than summery to me.
Peter: I wouldn’t have thought of putting apricots in crumble. I think it might benefit from having another fruit as well. Like pears. But it’s nice and chunky.
Kirstin: Would you make this again, Anna?
Anna: I would, actually.
Kirstin: I wouldn’t. Because if we’re doing summer crumbles, Hopkinson wins every time. With his strawberry crumble. Especially with my addition of balsamic vinegar!