For this forthcoming Father’s Day, rather than be waited on hand and foot, it is highly likely that I will be in the kitchen, cooking away. And to be honest, I really don’t mind. Whilst it would be lovely to swing in my makeshift hammock in the garden and have two little minions bring a selection of grapes, snacks and cold beers every time I ring a little bell, that is not going to happen. The twins, who are growing up far too fast, will be far too busy tearing up the lawn on their bikes or listening to Katy Bloody Perry or generally turning their rooms upside-down.
Whenever I do get into the kitchen on a Sunday, for some culinary me time, intrigue always gets the better of them and they are often to be found by my side, issuing a thousand questions about food. Like “Does cheese come from Africa?”
The saving grace is that throughout it all, because it will be Father’s Day soon (my day) I will have the ultimate say in what we have to eat and that will be something rich, meaty, comforting and yielding; like pork cheeks, braised in stock, with herbs and wine.
It might seem odd to suggest slow cooking in June, what with all the wonderful weather we are having (ha!) but there really is no other way to treat these beautiful and inexpensive nuggets of porcine joy. They might appear overworked and turgid at first but give them a few hours bathed in simmering liquor and the melting vein of gelatin that runs through the cheek will do wonders for the meat, making it all silky and soft. The sauce, built upon the building blocks of Essential Cuisine chicken stock, passata and a fruity red wine, compliments the pork perfectly and the cheesy polenta, again using Essential Cuisine vegetable stock, ramps up the savoury factor to 11. The rocket is an interesting addition as Iike to use it every now and then as I would spinach, just wilted for colour and an extra dimension of pepper. Add a pinch of crispy bacon lardons across the plate, with some earthy fried mushrooms and a scattering of gremolata to season and envigour and well, this is my idea of the perfect meal to eat on Father’s Day.
The main point being, that once the preparation is done and everything is gently cooking away, this is the best sort of dish because it allows me to spend some quality time with my family. At least four hours of fun and frolics I’d say, before all gathering back around the table.