Nicholas (8): Did you make this?
Maureen: Yes, of course I made it. This is from the new Jamie cookbook and we’re all on duty, so get ready to be articulate.
Nicholas: I don’t mean the rice, I mean the bread.
Andrew (Now 12! Happy Birthday!): Mom never makes bread for fear that Paul Hollywood will come knocking on the door and say, “Those bubbles in the bread are too big!”
Maureen (laughing): We’re off topic now, though I did love watching “The Great British Bake Off.” Even if it did mean I spent a lot of time yelling at the television. What does everyone think of this rice salad from Jamie?
Tim: I’m confused. How is this a British dish?
Maureen: I think it’s the combination of pork and apples with Caribbean flavours. Hang on. I don’t want to misquote Saint Jamie. Here’s what he said: “The great Caribbean classic, rice and peas, inspired me to create a really exciting rice salad of my own, because when done well, it’s a truly wonderful thing. The flavours in this one are like a roast pork dinner meets a rice salad… Tossing the pork with the rice helps lighten the dish up a little– so it’s perfect hot or cold for a more summery vibe.”
Tim: I’m not convinced.
Maureen: The bread is French, and from the fine bakers at Paul Rhodes, so isn’t at all relevant here. What don’t you like about the rice?
Nicholas: I think the flavours don’t stand out.
Andrew: I just don’t think it’s very nice.
Tim: I still don’t see how it’s English. Apples? Yes. Pork? Yes. But once you add spring onions, you’ve left England.
Maureen: Spring onions definitely seem more oriental, particularly after our month of eating Asian food with Bill Granger.
Tim: The way I look at it, is if I wanted pork and rice, there would be other flavours and recipes I would like more than this one.
Tim: No, it is not.
Cook’s Notes: I really had an issue with how he wanted us to cook the pork. First, you fry it for 25 minutes, and then roast it for an additional 20 minutes. Given that the pork is cut into small chunks, I think surely this is way more cooking than it needs. Indeed, I didn’t fry or roast it for either of those lengths of time, and I still thought it was too overcooked. His instruction for when to take it out of the oven is: “Basically you want to be almost getting nervous that it’s going to burn and then you’re at exactly the right point.” This is what mine looked like coming out of the oven. I’m not sure if that’s what he meant, but wanted to show what I did, hoping it will help you if you make this.