Friday, 7 February 2014

Slow cooker pulled pork

I've been quite distracted recently with the move, handing over some work things, sorting out the house. 

The Husband is already in Wales during the week, and single parenting is HARD WORK. I know there are plenty who do it on a permanent basis and in far less comfortable surroundings than I am fortunate enough to live in, and I have lots of friends around who have been fantastic, but it's the feeling of responsibility that lies heavy on my shoulders, being the only adult in the house.

As we creep ever closer to moving day - actually, the creeping is turning into a rather fast jog - there seems to be a never ending list of jobs to be done. Removals companies, letting agents, working out who needs to be notified of our new address... On a practical level, I've also been clearing out the house. It's a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge. I open a drawer, chuck most of the stuff out, and feel satisfied, only to find that it's full up again a couple of days later. How does that happen? I know it's probably me that filled it up again, but WHEN? I am starting to think that I'm sleep walking, my subconscious propelling me round the house, restoring the clutter that is my natural state, while my wakeful self realises that there is absolutely no point moving all this stuff with us...

I gave up with an actual list of jobs because it was too long, and ticking something off just looked pathetic instead of satisfying. I pick 2 or 3 things (at random, from my increasingly leaky brain) that need doing every day and usually manage to achieve them, but I have a distinct feeling of things being just slipping ever so slightly out of reach. I've forgotten the dog twice now on the school pick up - I've got up to school, secured him outside, gone to find Pink (Blue is far to old to be seen in the company of his 'REALLY embarrassing. You are REALLY EMBARRASSING' mother - which is what I appear to have become since he turned 10 - how did that happen?), and then headed home, only realising that I've left the poor, patient dog tied up when I've got to the bottom of the really steep hill that the school is at the top of...

Most of it will just get done. I can only do so much, so I'm just doing what I can and hoping for the best.

The other thing I've been conscious of is trying to see my friends before we go - all the lovely friends who have been such brilliant support. While I'm really excited about the move, we do already live in a lovely place and I feel as if I have made really good friends here. I am going to miss them on many levels. I know that I'll keep in touch, but realistically, we are moving a pretty long way away, and it's going to be tricky to see people. For this, Facebook is indeed a wonderful thing - but not everyone is on Facebook - and it's no substitute for actually sitting down and spending time with someone. In many ways, Facebook is an extension of the school gate - snatched comments, random observations that you make as you pass each other. It means you can have a 'conversation' of sorts with a number of people without the added 'Mummy, mummy, mummy, I need you to do THIS NOW' (or, for me at the moment 'Mummy can I tell you a joke' *screams in head*) that any attempt at conversation with children present is always interrupted with, but it's not the same as actual face to face interaction. And yet, I know that I am guilty of forgetting that every so often - as the advert goes, 'it's good to talk' - meaning it's good to sit down and actually face to face talk, have a laugh. Commenting on someone's status update is not the same as asking them how they are in real life. It really isn't - but I can be guilty of thinking that it is, and I've been very conscious of the fact that I only have a limited amount of time to see my friends for real, before commenting on their status updates will be the reality of how I'm keeping in touch with them.

If you are going to have friends over for dinner in order to have a good catch up, you might want to do something like this - super easy given that you just slap on a marinade and bung it in the slow cooker for the day. Given how distracted I am, it probably wasn't a good idea to embark on cooking something for some friends that I've never made before. (I've mentioned this before. Suicidal Suppers, the Husband calls them, before slinking off to the Shed to wait for the swearing to pass). I'd seen this slow cooker pulled pork on Lavender & Lovage - a recipe Karen had adapted from The Ginger Pig and decided that it was definitely worth a shot, and the whole slow cooker thing appealed, especially as, unlike a casserole, the only prep was a marinade. Of course, in my distracted state, despite reading the recipe 2 or 3 times I completely missed the bit about 'marinade for 24 hours or overnight', and didn't have half the ingredients Karen used for the marinade, so I just made it up as I went along, slapped on the spice mix, bunged the meat in the slow cooker, and hoped for the best. A bit like moving house, really...

Spicy Slow Cooker Pork 

2 kilo boned shoulder of pork
1 onion
2 fat cloves of garlic
1/2 long red chilli
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Fleur du Sel du Rousillon (a rather intriguing little pot of spiced salt that a French friend bought me. I used this in place of the smoked sea salt Karen used).
1 tsp coriander seed
2 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp hot smoked paprika
lots of fresh ground black pepper
4 tbsp demerara sugar
4 tbsp sherry vinegar

Heat the slow cooker to high.

Bash together all the marinade ingredients apart from the vinegar, then when everything is crushed together, stir in the vinegar.

Smear the marinade all over the pork.

Peel the onion and slice into circles, and use this to line the bottom of your crock pot.

Place the smeared joint into the crock pot, put on the lid and leave for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, turn to low and leave for another 4 hours or so.

Take the joint out of the crock pot - there should be lots of juice and the meat should be cooked.

I did cut off the fat at this point in order to crisp up the skin to make crackling, but put the meat back in the pot for another couple of hours. I failed to crisp the crackling - I gave up when the kitchen began to fill with acrid black smoke - so we just had some more wine instead. 

I know it looks a bit like road kill, but it tasted delicious.

The meat was lovely and 'melting' - despite the lack of overnight marinading - and the juice the pot had filled up with during cooking was delicious poured over the meat, and the couscous salad that one of my guests had brought.

There was lots left over too - watch out for spicy pulled pork hash, coming to a dinner table near you soon!


  1. I've really got to try this - I love pulled pork and I'm just not using my slow cooker enough. It sounds delicious. I share the same compulsion to try something new when cooking for guests. I've no idea why I do it. I hope the move goes as smoothly as a move could possibly go.

    1. Thanks Phil. I'm also guilty of neglecting my slow cooker - I tend to only think of it for casserole and nothing else, which is silly as it's good for loads of other things too. Must try harder!

  2. I must try this too.
    We are in a similar position, trying to make our house look like a show home for the agent's photos. After twenty nine years in the same house we do have an awful lot of stuff to try and hide in the cupboards.
    So I can understand you feeling your brain is a little addled, trying to do all that, look after the kids, keep body and soul together AND try to remember the dog!
    How wonderfully forgiving and understanding dogs can be!
    This looks like the perfect dinner to come home to after a long and frazzled day.

    1. Gosh - 29 yrs - we've only been here 8... Good luck - are you going to France permanently, I wonder? Yes the dog is very forgiving. He just gives me the "I didn't really think you'd forgotten me" look...

  3. Lol at suicidal suppers ;) will have to try this, it sounds lovely!

  4. Those last few days in a place go far too quickly for my liking... But it will all come together... A wise friend of mine once told me that if you still have boxes unpacked after 6 months, chuck (or donate) the boxes as you obviously don't need them, and can't remember what's in them! :D That pork looks delicious too! :)


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