As promised, I thought I’d slip in a recipe more in keeping with the Siberian winds and sheet ice outside. In this harsh climate, the thing to do is embrace your inner cave woman, abandon cold cutlery and devour plates of piping hot meat on the bone with your bare hands. I seem to have misplaced all my winter clothes and thick-soled shoes so a big batch of these and a tea cosy hat are the only things keeping me warm at present.
My amazingly meaty English pork ribs came courtesy of the new Brazilian butcher on Market Row who has a fine selection of cuts and a very friendly smile. I asked him to divide the rack into individual ribs to make things a little less fiddly.
Fennel and ginger glazed ribs. Serves 4.
Allow 3-4 ribs per person, depending on their size and your hunger. Stack the ribs in your largest pan and cover with boiling water. Throw in a roughly chopped white onion, a few bay leaves (dry or fresh), a handful of black peppercorns and 2-3 squashed garlic cloves. Bring to the boil then simmer for about an hour or until the meat comes away easily when pulled. When they’re ready, lay the ribs in a shallow baking tray and leave the liquid to cool – once you’ve skimmed off the fat you’ll be left with fantastic pork stock which you can freeze and use at a later date.
For the glaze, heat a glug of groundnut oil in a frying pan, add one large, sliced onion and fry until soft. Slice 3 garlic cloves and 3-4 bird’s eye chillies (a mix of red and green, with their seeds) and add to the onions along with a generous tablespoon of fennel seeds. Once the seeds have started to brown and release their aniseed scent, squeeze in the juice of half an orange and pile in 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar. Once the sugar’s dissolved, add 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 3 of soy sauce. Let the mixture bubble and thicken for about 5 minutes then blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor.
Cover both sides of each rib with a generous helping of the glaze then finely grate a large thumb of root ginger over the top. Roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes until black and sticky. Serve with rice and peas and napkins.