24 October 1997

Winning pork recipe is all about flavour and balance

THERES more to pork than a pie and a pint!" the Cotswold Pig Development Company told licensed victuallers when launching the Cotswold Pork Pub Dish of the Year competition and offering a £1000 top prize.

The licensees agreed, and they proved it by sending entries and a wide variety of recipes to the Lincolnshire-based international pig breeding company from as far north as Aberdeen and as far south as Cornwall.

Charged with the task of choosing the best was top chef Anthony Tobin, well known to the public through his appearances on BBC tvs Ready, steady cook. Anthonys criteria included innovation, speed and ease of preparation, nutrition and health, and value for money.

"Pork is a great meat and can be cooked in so many different ways," he said, explaining that he had divided the entries into four groups – starters, loins, casseroles and grills – and cooked all the shortlisted recipes. "We lived on pork for a week," he added with relish.

His top dish was Jake Wrights lemon roasted pork loin with garlic and pesto as served at the Roman Camp Inn, Alymerton, near Cromer, Norfolk.

"Its such a simple dish but chef Jake has used the flavours very well," he said. "Its all about balance."

The Roman Camp Inn is a free house owned by Mrs Vanessa Wright (no relation to Jake) and her father Reg Medler. Vanessa, who also runs the Red Lion in Cromer, took on the Roman Camp Inn just over a year ago. She added a conservatory-style dining room, 10 bedrooms and, with a lot of hard landscaping, has developed a beautiful rear garden where customers can relax with a drink or enjoy an alfresco meal in a sheltered dining area.

Pork is a regular feature on the pub menu, which is not surprising since Vanessas husband, Billy, is a pig farmer with a 500-sow pedigree Landrace herd. However, it was a fellow pig farmer, David Youngman of Laurel Farm, Aylmerton, who brought the competition to Vanessas attention and persuaded her to enter.

The runner-up dishes were chargrilled pork with red onion compote and spring onion mash as served at the New Flying Horse, Wye, near Ashford, Kent; pork and potato terrine from the menu at the White Hart Inn, Moreton, Essex and tangy pork and bacon goulash devised by Mike Mills Roberts for the Bushel & Strike, Ashwell, near Baldock, Herts.

Ann Rogers

Cotswold pork pub dish of the year winners Jake Wright (with trophy)and Vanessa Wright, with Reg Joseph (right) of CPDC and contest judge Anthony Tobin.