Back when I was a neophyte cook I would peruse my cookbooks and decide what I wanted to cook, then I would go down and buy the necessary ingredients. Now that I am slightly more advanced I do the opposite. Yesterday morning was a nice cold winter day here in the Netherlands, and I headed into the city on foot in the early morning. My primary destination was my favorite butcher, and my goal was to see what they had in stock that would appeal to my winter taste buds.

By the luck of the draw the shop was quiet and I was able to enter without lining up outside, although still having to sport the required Biden flu mask. As always I positioned it below my nose, and as always the boys in the butchery grinned at me when I entered.

The first thing that took my eye was a beautiful long pork loin with the lovely thick skin on the top. This would be my dish of the weekend and I got them to prepare me a good section, tied up with string and with the skin scored in a diamonds are forever pattern. When I got home I had a look through my most reliable cookbooks and I then came up with this recipe after combining a few of the suggestions that I found.

Pork with Apples

Preheat the oven to 180C. Season the pork well and then place in a baking dish with 12 baby onions and 6 cloves of garlic, all unpeeled. Roast for 1.5 hours or until coked through. You want the interior of the meat to be around 135F. Rest the meat for 15 minutes before carving, keeping it and the vegetables warm.

Peel and quarter 4 baby red delicious apples and sauté them in 60 grams of butter. Add a teaspoon of brown sugar and let caramelize slightly. Remove the apples and keep warm. Add a splash of Calvados or brandy to the pan and cook for a minute or so. Add the juices from the pork roast, 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche and stir to make a gravy.

Carve the pork and serve with all the vegetables and gravy. A light red such as a pinot noir is the perfect accompaniment. I also served some Belgium endives which I cut finely, seasoned, and then splashed in a dash of apple vinegar and some good olive oil.

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