Recipe: Belly of pork with octopus

HERTFORDSHIRE hosts could soon be offering gourmet meals to their guests without having to lift much of a finger by having the work done by Majestic Catering. The brainchild of former restaurant chef Doug Palfreeman, it focuses on imaginative menus, fresh ingredients and five-star service.Doug says, 'I wanted to do something special in delivering the finest food to the table and for me that means working with the best ingredients you can source, preferably without the constraints of a restaurant's overheads and its associated worries. Getting those raw ingredients right is the key to success.' Doug says he was fortunate to be wined and dined in 'all the best places' during a career in the music business. He became interested in fine food, taught himself to cook and promptly won a competition to cook at The Savoy, London, for the 1997 Chefs' Conference Dinner, attended by Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White, the Roux brothers, James Martin and more.He was subsequently offered a permanent position at The Savoy by executive chef Anton Edelmann but declined as he was involved in other projects, after which he decided to gain wider experience as a chef at various restaurants with the aim of starting his own venture in fine-dining.For his recipe, he chooses belly of pork with octopus, which he freely admits seems 'a little improbable'. However, he says, give it a try and you'll find the unctuous pork and octopus work well together - 'it's a genteel take on surf and turf'.Ingredients: (serves 4)1 fresh octopus1 free-range belly of pork2 carrots1 onionSprig of thyme6 whole peppercornsHalf bottle of white wine2 tomatoes1 clove garlic1 lemonSmall bunch flat leaf parsley500ml brown chicken stock

Belly Pork1. Salt the pork skin and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature.2. Roughly chop the carrots and onion and spread on a shallow baking tray with the thyme and peppercorns then lay the pork on top.3. Pour in the wine and cover with foil and cook on a very low temperature (Gas mark 2) for 1 hours.4. Remove foil and cook for a further -1 hour until meltingly tender. Drain off liquid, keeping it for later.

Octopus5. Roughly chop the tomatoes, garlic, lemon and parsley and spread on another shallow baking tray.6. Trim the beak from the octopus, wash and place whole on top of the tomato/lemon mix. Cover with foil and cook for 1 hours in the same oven as the pork.7. Drain off the liquid and add to the pork's cooking liquid when the pork is done.8. Add 500ml good brown chicken stock and reduce to a sauce consistency. Season if needed.

To serve:Cut the belly pork in to 1inch cubes, chop the octopus in to roughly the same size and serve with the sauce and a selection of steamed baby vegetables - carrot, potato and beetroot work well.

Majestic Catering07858 951377www.majesticcatering.co.uk


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