ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Porty Pig

Continuing with the January shopping theme from the other day, I recently found, in Tesco, a sugar-, dairy- and Lord-knows-what-else-free Advent Calendar had been reduced from a couple of quid to a quid to 49p.

And now to just 6p. 

Yep. Sixpence. 

That's 24 tiny shaped chocolates at just a farthing apiece! I think.

At that price, I just had to buy it, even knowing it would probably be awful, and we’d only eat one or two of the things before throwing it away.

And I wasn’t disappointed, in that I was, obviously, if that makes sense. The chocolates were 'bland, yet strange', as many vital-ingredient-free foods often are, and duly ended up in the bin. 

Even if it were still the season of Advent and this was the only chocolate I was eating, I'd probably pass. But it was worth it just for the sense of snouting out an irrepressible bargain!

Another bargain, at just 65 pence (three and six in the old money or something, probably) was a pound of pigs liver, which set the wheels turning in my mind for a new dish – four different bits of pig, slow cooked in a port sauce, accompanied with Stilton mash.

Now, people don’t eat a whole lot of pigs liver in these offal-sceptic times, which is probably why it's so inexpensive, and I’d be the first to admit I wouldn’t want it every day, but it’s probably quite good for you and definitely has it’s place in dishes like this.

While the liver is dirt cheap, you’ll need to buy expensive sausages with a high meat content so they don’t fall apart or absorb liquid and become squidgy, and it almost always pays to buy decent, thick bacon as you probably know already.

I thoroughly recommend Black Farmer sausages, though anything with 90%+ meat content is good for this recipe.

This is a dish you can enjoy at your leisure on a long Winter evening. And afterwards you can choose between Port and Stilton or a 'free from' Advent Calendar chocolate...

Porty Pig with Stilton Mash
Four kinds of pig, Port and Stilton...

Ingredients - makes at least four big portions.

Pigs liver, about half a pound, cleaned, trimmed and sliced into bite site pieces
Lean minced pork, about half a pound
Smoked Back Bacon, 6-8 thick rashers, coarsely chopped
Pork sausages (90%+ meat), 6-8, cut into bite size chunks
Onion, two large or three medium, coarsely chopped
Tomatoes, 3-4, cut into eighths (or twelfths if very large)
Garlic, a few cloves, chopped
Black pepper
Celery Salt
Plain flour or Corn flour to thicken
Worcestershire Sauce

For the mash:

White Potatoes, cooked and mashed.
Blue Stilton

Mix some plain flour with the cumin, celery salt, sage, black pepper and cumin (aiming for a 50-50 ratio of flour and spice) and dust your liver pieces. 

In a big, lidded, pan begin frying your bits of sausage in a little oil on a high heat, adding the garlic and onions after a few minutes. As the sausage starts to brown, add the liver and bacon, ensuring everything is kept moving and is evenly cooked. 

Finally add the minced pork, a good dash of Worcestershire sauce and whatever spice/flour mix you have left. 

Cook until all the meat has seen some heat and is nicely grey-brown, then chuck in the tomatoes and your first dash of port. 

Another few minutes at an high temperature, and you'll be able to turn the heat down, add a little more port and put the lid on. Let it simmer and bubble for a good hour or two, stiring occasionally with a big wooden spoon. 

While the piggy goodness is cooking away, absorbing the richness of the liver and port, you can prepare your mash as you see fit, adding butter and stilton to taste. 

For added portiness, add a final dash to the meat shortly before serving, and if the sauce is too liquidy, a little flour to thicken won't do any harm.



  1. I will be making this dish (without the liver)

  2. Sounds delicious, I've just been quickly frying liver recently, it's been a while since I casseroled it in any way. Now I fancy some stuffed heart. Which I've never done properly ... it's always a cheat, slicing the heart and pressure-cooking it with gravy and packet stuffing!

  3. U Dun good pig. LOL!!



Comments are always welcomed and encouraged, especially interesting, thought-provoking contributions and outrageous suggestions.