Pork belly is a favourite of mine; if I had to choose a favourite cut of meat from any animal then this would be a strong contender! I bought a whole belly the other day, used half of it to make some dry-cured bacon and planned to cook the rest of it, slowly braised to create that unctuous melting texture that only pork belly can give. Indeed as pork belly is a tough part of the animal, it must be slowly cooked like this in order to tenderise it. Unlike many other braising meats (beef shin, for example), pork belly tends not to dry out when being cooked as it contains a lot of fat. And as far as I’m concerned, lots of fat means lots of flavour! I have done pork with ale before, in my pig’s cheeks recipe, and this dish is quite similar, but worth trying as pork belly has quite a different flavour from cheek. I cooked the belly in water, with the ribs included so that the cooking liquid turns into a pork stock, ready to reduce down and thicken to make the gravy. The crunchy crackling skin is a highlight here, something unobtainable from a cheek! To contrast the texture of the crackling I garnished it with humble yet excellent mashed potato. Seasonal vegetable choice today was brussel sprouts, which I adore, and they add a nice contrast in colour on the plate.