The term ‘heath food’ has always left me feeling slightly cold and a little scared. It conjures up images of mum stuffing my lunch box with raw corn and sprout sandwiches and other such things that have absolutely no value when trying to trade for a brilliant meat pie from my mates.
To me, health food has nothing to do with celebration or fun. I used to live in perpetual fear that my mother would serve celery and carrot sticks at my birthday parties while my friends all had fairy bread and chips!
Later in life, once I started to learn about food, I dived head first into the joyful world of selfish gluttony and have stayed there ever since. However, I did realise something rather delightful and quite excellent along the way: Food is very, very good for you!
Food can heal you, it can warm you with childhood memories and remind you of special times and people. Food can tell a story, convey an emotion, show someone that you care, explain a culture or society. Food has magical qualities.
So when eating it is important to note that moderation is as important as conviviality, and the occasional indulgence not only nourishes the soul but can make you happy and offer a wholesome sense of wellbeing. Here’s a recipe that I hope will make you feel just that..
Pork Belly with Kimchi
Aside from the pork belly the main ingredients in this recipe required are Miso and Kimchi. The benefits of including these two fermented foods in your diet are first and foremost because they are delicious but they are also very high in Vitamins A, B, B2 and C (to name a few). Fermented foods such as Kimchi contain Lactobacilli and promote beneficial, healthy gut bacteria – there are also claims of cholesterol lowering properties and proclamations of anti-aging. The scientist list goes on…
However, seeing as I am not a nutritionist but rather an educated observer of the stuff I eat, I can with absolute confidence say that this dish is delicious and after eating I feel warm, sustained and satisfied.
800g piece of pork belly, boned but skin left on, then diced into large 3cm cubes, 3 tablespoons white miso, 1 tablespoon sugar, 110ml soy sauce, 3cm piece of ginger and water.
Place everything except the water in a saucepan and give it a really good mix with your hands. Cover with water, then add about half that amount of water again. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for around 90 minutes or for as long as 2 hours, until the pork is very soft. Skim off any scum that forms at the beginning but leave the fat that rises on top. You can take this off right at the end of cooking. During the cooking process add water as required to keep the meat simmering in a broth.
Serve at the table in the liquid and along side a big bowl of rice, some steamed greens and Kimchi – A brand called Paldo do a Daikon is my preference but it’s really up to you.