There are few greater delights in the spring and summer months than village fetes. I have a whole collection of favourites which I drag the family along to each year, from the vast spreads of Rowledge Village Fayre (26 May) and Medstead Fete (14 July) to the more compact and parochial venues of Shalden Fete (22 June) and Dockenfield Day (7 June).
The first of the year was, as usual, the East Meon County Fair on the first bank holiday in May. After the lengthy walk from the car park field to the village green, we found ourselves lavished with such joys as a circus, a bouncy castle, live owls (which pecked me), live crafts and all the usual games and activities. What made this event extra special, however, was the hog roast. Or rather the TWO hog roasts! Unfortunately, I was too busy looking for my lost children to stand in the queue and sample either of them. Instead I got to watch as David, my eldest, wolfed his way through his hog roast helping in typical teenager style.
And it got me thinking.
I keep pigs.
Why don’t I have a hog roast?
Apart from the fact I don’t have one of those huge spits or a whole pig to put on it, there was no reason I shouldn’t give it a go. So here’s what I did.
From my freezer full of ‘bits of pigs’, I selected a hand. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about a human hand here, this is simply the name given to a particular cut of meat, as shown in the picture below.
It’s not a popular cut as it’s fiddly to skin and bone , but it works perfectly as a micro hog roast. The key is to put it in a low oven (120°C or so) for a long time. I had mine in for six hours before rounding it off with a 30 minute, 240ºC, blast. By the time it was done, the meat could be teased off the bone with a fork and the crackling shattered like glass!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper hog roast without apple sauce, and while the stuff you buy in jars is okay, nothing beats homemade. And it’s so easy. Three ingredients: Bramley apples (just a couple since they only come in one obscenely large size) peeled, cored and chopped, 50 grams of caster sugar, 50 grams of butter. Chuck it all in a saucepan on a medium heat and, with a little time and stirring, you’ve got your apple sauce.
Slice open a roll (preferably homemade too), spread on a thick layer of the apple sauce, fork as much pork in as you fancy, and you’re done: Microholding Hog Roast!