Please click on the image to see enlarged version of the finished recipe.

Our crab apple trees were weighed down with fruit this autumn with the result that I have a quantity of crab apple jelly in the larder.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a crabapple tree, it is easy enough to get the jelly on line – or another reasonably tart jelly, such as quince, would work as a substitute in this recipe.  It is only worth using pink champagne in the sauce if you can get one of those mini bottles – otherwise rosé wine or a dry white wine will work perfectly well.  Because this recipe is designed for a romantic evening, I have deliberately made it quite simple – so that the cook has not been reduced to an exhausted wreck by the time (s)he comes to eat it!  The jewelled rice is very easy to do but is delicious – and gives the whole dish a nicely festive appearance. 
I have given quantities for two people but there will be two extra servings of the meat – which is excellent cold with the jelly. 


  • Middle White Suckling Pig with Crab Apple Jelly
    Half loin of Middle White suckling pig
    100ml chicken stock
    150ml (pink) champagne/roséwine/white wine
    Seeds and juice from half a pomegranate (some are for the jewelled rice)
    250ml double cream
    1tbsp crab apple jelly (or similar) plus plenty more for serving
    Light olive oil for roasting
    Sea salt and black pepper
    Set the oven to 220℃ so that it is really hot before you put the meat in.  Dry the meat very thoroughly with kitchen paper, slather with a light olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. After half an hour, baste the meat and check that the crackling isn’t burning – you may need to reduce the heat slightly for the remaining half hour of cooking so that the meat is nicely moist and still just pink in the middle. 
    Meanwhile remove the seeds from the pomegranate, retaining the juice.  When the meat is cooked, remove from the pan and leave to rest in a warm place.  Tipoff the fat and place the roasting tin on the hob.  Add the stock and boil until the volume has reduced by two thirds.  Tip the reduced wine through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.  Add the crabapple jelly, the pomegranate juice and all but a tablespoonful of the champagne to the pan and reduce by half.  Add the cream and bring to the boil.  Taste for seasoning (if the stock was unsalted, it will need a good pinch of sea salt and I gave a couple of grindings of black pepper too).   Finally, add half the pomegranate seeds and the retained spoonful of champagne and serve with the meat, jewelled rice, plenty of crab apple jelly and a green vegetable.

  • ‘Jewelled’ Rice
    200gm Basmati or other long grain rice
    Large bunch of parsley
    Zest of one lemon
    The rest of the pomegranate seeds (i.e. seeds from a quarter of a pomegranate)
    Light olive oil for greasing
    Sea salt and black pepper
    Cook the rice in well-salted boiling water (about 12 minutes from when the water returns to the boil).  While it is cooking, chop the parsley finely and zest the lemon.  Use a light olive oil to grease a receptacle which the cooked rice which fill to the rim (I use a small pudding basin). 
    Strain the rice and add the parsley, lemon zest, remaining pomegranate seeds and a couple of grindings of black pepper. Taste for seasoning – it may need a bit more salt.  Tip the rice into the greased bowl and press it down firmly.  If you are not going to eat it immediately, cover with greaseproof paper and put in a warm oven.  When you are ready to eat, turn the rice out onto a plate and decorate with more pomegranate seeds/parsley if you wish.