Daniel’s birthday dinner – Pork Belly with Beetroot and Avocado Salad, Mango Sorbet

Paleo – serves 2

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Daniel, happy birthday to you! Having a birthday during a paleo challenge doesn’t have to be bland and boring – spice it up with some special meat, interesting herbs and a luxurious rich salad full of good fats and interesting textures. It also helps to have eaten all your cake the weekend before the challenge starts. I really wish I hadn’t chosen to cook this on a 42 degree day – but the meal was well worth the temporary heatwave in the kitchen.


  • 650g pork belly, scored
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds, gently roasted in a small pan for 1 – 2 minutes
  • 1 tbsp celtic sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch baby beetroot, ends removed and scrubbed (or a can of baby beetroot drained and washed well)
  • 1 avocado, cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp basil infused olive oil
  • Cracked pepper


  • In a mortar and pestle, grind fennel seeds and salt together. Score pork belly and rub in fennel combination, getting deep into the skin. Leave to marinate overnight. Before cooking, remove and wipe any additional liquid/salt off the pork
  • Preheat oven to 230 degrees celcius
  • Drizzle the pork belly with olive oil and cook in a baking dish on a rack for 20 minutes at 230 degrees. Remove from oven, baste pork with juices, reduce heat to 170 degrees and cook for a further 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting occasionally. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. If cracking is not as crunchy as it could be, place under the grill (not fan/oven, just grill) watching continuously until the little un-crackled pockets pop
  • Wrap baby beetroot in alfoil and add to oven in the last half an hour. If using canned beetroot, add in the last 10 minutes. Remove, peel, scrub and cut into chunks
  • In a small bowl gently combine beetroot, avocado and pistachio nuts
  • In a small jar mix together basil olive oil, dijon mustard, lime juice and season with pepper. Shake well and pour over salad
  • Slice pork into large chunks and serve with salad



Mango Sorbet

  • Remove skin from 1 mango and 1/2 banana, cut into small piece and place in the freezer for 2.5 hours
  • Mix together in a mixmaster and serve

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