Since this is our last week living in the UK we have been taking the kids around to all our favourite spots and one of them is a rope swing by the Arun river. But the rope swing was broke! So this little outing turned into a foraging walk instead. The elderberries were ripe and we picked as many branches as we could carry. I have thoroughly enjoyed walking through the South Downs for the past 10 years since we have been living here but this spring has been special. Maybe because we knew we would be leaving or maybe because we started running last year and on these runs started noticing where all the edible things grew. I feel like I have been watching nature more closely this spring and finally started to forage little more.
I was looking for ways to use elderberries as I have never cooked with them before. We have eaten a few off the trees in autumn but until now they have just been on the periphery of my pantry. I had some pork belly… The two seemed a good match. They were! I like to roast my belly on low heat for hours, 150° for 4 hours this time. I put slices of onions, plums, apples, garlic and elderberries in a roasting tray and plonked the well salted pork on top. I kept topping the tray up with a little water for the gravy and for the tray not to dry out and burn.
Separately I made a little reduction of more elderberries and some really good aged balsamic to add to the cooking juices once ready. I din’t want all the elderberry juice to cook for hours in the oven as I thought it would dull the colour and reduce the nutrients in the berries too much. Once ready I mixed the two together, strained and poured over the meat.
I served this with rice and fried green garlic beans but it would work nicely with potatoes too. If not in season you could use dried elderberries. I wonder where I’ll find them in Hong Kong…
- green beans