Porchetta is the street food of Italy, where no bustling market would be complete without a van selling this fragrant, tender meat stuffed into fresh rolls. Originating in central Italy, porchetta is boned pork which is stuffed with herbs such as rosemary, garlic and fennel then slowly roasted, traditionally in a wood burning oven. The results are sublime – tender, succulent and full of sultry, summertime flavours. The porchetta that sits in my fridge is a special gift from our Italian friends and though they live with fine food in Paris, they regularly receive food parcels from home that are filled to brimming with tasty delicacies such as this.

Vac-packed for freshness, this perhaps is not the prettiest dish, but arranged on a platter and garnished with sprigs of rosemary, its appeal grows. Porcetta is best served at room temperature, so covered it loosely with kitchen parchment and transferred it to a cool larder, away from sunlight and heating.

With an evening meeting at school, my plan was for a ‘convenience’ supper – that is to say, something ready in advance but not out of a packet, for which this splendidly fit the bill, though there is a slight hitch about bread. France is perfect for French bread, but here in northern France it is a tad too far to pop over the border for authentic Italian bread so instead devised an aromatic loaf to devour, fresh from the bread machine. With toasted pine nuts and rosemary reflecting the robust flavour of the meat, but just a pinch of the herb as its flavoursome oils travel far.

Rosemary and Pine Nut Bread

300ml water
1tbs. olive oil
450g white bread flour
1tsp. salt
1tbs. white sugar
1pkt. fast action yeast
50g pine nuts, toasted
spines from a (15cm) sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

Simply follow your bread machine manufacturer’s instructions, baking on its basic white loaf setting. Alternatively by hand, Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and gradually mix together, producing firm dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, kneading well until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and cover. Leave in a warm place to double in size then turn out, knead again then pack into a 750g loaf tin. Leave again to rise and double in size then oven bake……..