As Promised - Some Simple Summer Salads and A Crackling Good Pork Belly

Posted in Recipes / Vegetables / Meat Dishes / Salads / Starters

As Promised - Some Simple Summer Salads and A Crackling Good Pork Belly
OK. If I loathe one thing, it must be a promise made and not kept. I can remember Butch’s mom Bets’ disappointment when a lady at her bible study (nogal) PROMISED to visit and never did. She was profoundly hurt. The person who made the glib promise (as we so often do.. “Oh we must get together, have dinner… when you’re in town, please let us know.. etc.) lost her respect, trust, friendship and nosedived from her lofty perch into a mire. There was no redemption. “Too busy” is another frequent chestnut I abhor.
Eighteen months ago, Butch rocked up at home bearing a gift. A colossal box containing an air fryer. “Nope,” I said, “I’m not a gadget person.” At the same time, flinging open cupboard doors to prove my point. Gadgets we never use. He scooped up the gift muttering, “happy wife, happy life.”
Lise, my daughter, showed me the error of my ways while demonstrating how amazing they are. She also instructed me to eat humble pie, swallow the bitter pill and admit I’d changed my mind. I did. Butch was thrilled, and within a few days, Takealot delivered our air fryer.   We’re in love, and Butch is beaming.
1 pork belly, scored. It’s easier to score the meat when it’s very cold.
Maldon salt
Morrocan Chicken Rub
Olive Oil
Full kettle of boiling water
1.    Score the rind with a sharp knife (I have a box cutter); try a diamond pattern.
2.    Place the meat on a wooden board, keep it at an angle, pour the boiling water all over the rind (fat side). Notice how the cuts open up.
3.    Dry with kitchen towel.
4.    Massage the entire belly with olive oil. Keep the fatty side clean.
5.    Turn the meat over. Season the meaty side with the Morrocan chicken rub.
6.    The fatty side (rind) only gets a generous sprinkling of Maldon salt. You may use any crystal salt, but NOT fine salt.
7.    Place the meat into a 5 minute pre-heated Air fryer at 150°C for 60 minutes. You may need to squash it in a bit, and that’s fine.
8.    Turn the heat up to 160°C for a further 90 minutes.
9.    Finally, turn the heat up to 200°C for 20 minutes, checking the progress of the crackling. When the crackling is at your desired level, switch the heat off. Rest for 10 minutes before removing from the oven. Plate and serve.
10. The roast pork belly should fall off the bone be juicy and succulent with a crispy crackling. Remove the crackling before carving and serve separately.
11. Serve with apple sauce.
1 packet mixed salad leaves of your choice
1 large handful micro saladings
1 tub Bocconcini balls (fancy Mozzarella balls in brine – Feta is a good substitute or a more robust cheese like blue-veined cheese or just Mozzarella ordinaire.)
15ml capers or caper berries
3 nectarines, stoned and sliced
6 slices Parma ham (cold chicken, turkey, rare beef, lamb, crispy bacon are all winners in this salad.)
50g pine nuts, slightly charred in a hot pan
60ml Basil Pesto
Vinaigrette dressing, your choice.
Cracked black peppercorns
On a large platter, layer all the above ingredients keeping the micro leaves and Basil pesto for last.
The nectarines can be substituted with your choice of seasonal fruit, e.g., watermelon balls, spanspek balls,  black and white grapes, mango slices, or apples.
Add any vegetables, e.g., spring onions, chives, sliced red onions, olives, Roma tomatoes, cucumber. Try to steer clear of everyday combinations and play with flavours and textures. Do not add too many flavours; keep it simple. Let your ingredients speak for themselves. 
Drop teaspoons full of Basil pesto onto the salad.
Dress with a glug of Olive oil followed by your choice of vinaigrette dressing.
This salad can be served as a starter.
This salad is the current Taste magazine’s cover story.
Pre-heat an oven to 200°C
1 packet Woolworths’ puff pastry. (Use any commercial or homemade puff pastry). Use two puff pastry sheets layered and slightly rolled, ensuring the pastry sticks together.
Cut the pastry into a large circle
Place on a lined baking tray
Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden
Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and cool down until 5 minutes before serving.
1 tub sundried tomato and Basil pesto cream cheese
10 Rosa tomatoes, halved
2-3 exotic tomatoes sliced
30ml Basil Pesto
4 Basil leaves
A handful of Micro salad leaves to garnish
A good sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
Using a teaspoon cream the cream cheese until smooth and soft.
If the pastry looks very puffed up in the middle, gently touch and push down, the pastry will crack and drop down slightly. Don't do this near the edge you want it to be edgy.
drop teaspoonsful of cream cheese onto the base. 
Arrange your tomatoes on top coverying and overlapping the base.
Drip Basil pesto for flavour
Season with salt and pepper (I find tomatoes need a generous dose of salt)
Sprinkle the micro leaves
Drizzle a glug of olive oil over the tart.
Serve before the pastry goes gooey.
I enjoyed this salad. It’s fresh, cool and quite glam.  P.S I know the plate has a chip. My mother would burst a vein, I go with the French on this one.  If you love it flaunt it.
Lindi’s Aubergine Mini Pizzas in the Airfryer.
Here is the ultimate easy peasy summer supper dish.
2 aubergines
30ml Olive oil
125ml tomato pizza sauce
Basil pesto
Grated white cheese. Use whatever you have stocked in your refrigerator
A sprinkling of Dukkah (if you have)
Slice 2 aubergines lengthwise into thick 2cm strips
Brush a generous amount of olive oil onto both sides of the slices
Preheat the air fryer to 200°C (just enough to heat the cooking tray)
Arrange the sliced aubergines in a single layer on the cooking tray. Keep the slices spaced to make turning, lifting and removing easier. I had 3 slices in our air fryer.
Cook for 3 minutes. Turn—Cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove the slices before the Aubergine is too cooked.

Place the cooked Aubergine on a wooden board. Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the slices, followed by a few drops of basil pesto. Cover with grated cheese and a sprinkling of Dukkah.

Place the dressed Aubergine carefully back into the air fryer and cook for approx. 6 minutes until the cheese has melted and has a lovely colour.

Remove. Plate and serve. This dish can be served as a vegetable with meat, a vegetarian dish layered and baked in the oven, or a starter accompanied by a small salad, a slice of crispy bread or piled onto bruschetta.
NB you can tart your slices up with extra chilli, olives, crispy bacon, or sliced mushroom. I topped mine with a sprinkling of micro herbs (they're in fridge and have to be used.)


Duqqa, du’ah, do’a, or Dukkah (Arabic: دُقَّة Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈdæʔʔæ], Hejazi pronunciation: [dʊgːa]) is an Egyptian and Middle Eastern condiment consisting of a mixture of herbs, nuts (usually hazelnut), and spices. It is typically used as a dip with bread or fresh vegetables for an hors d'œuvre. Dukkah is a lovely addition to salads.

I buy Dukkah at farm stalls, markets, or even grocery stores when made by reputable companies. Why reinvent the wheel?

How about a chilled soup to cool us down while the mercury rises? A beautiful Gazpacho, I think. I’ll tell you next time whether I did.


The last word. If you’re thinking of a kitchen gadget, and you haven’t already succumbed, I do suggest an Air Fryer. This baby ticks all the boxes. Low on energy, a space saver, time saver,  a healthy option, eat all the fries you like healthily. It’s non-stick coated and cleans like a charm. It can go with you on a camping trip too!  As Isla would say "I must have that Mama!"

We have a Phillips XL digital. (they’re on special at Takealot now too).  

For any questions email me.