Requires: Mortar and pestle
Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional oven/ 160°C fan-forced (350° Fahrenheit/Gas 4).
Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the pork belly diagonally in a criss-cross pattern, without cutting into the meat.
Place the fennel seeds into a mortar and pestle and crush. Stir in the chopped rosemary and olive oil.
Use paper towel to pat the skin of the pork belly to remove moisture. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to rub half of the extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon), salt and pepper into the skin. Rub the remaining olive oil, fennel and rosemary into the sides and bottom of the pork.
Place the pork belly, rind side up into a baking tray and roast for 2½ hours.
To make the fennel and apple puree, place the fennel, apples and chicken stock into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the fennel and apples are tender. Remove the pieces of fennel and apple using a slotted spoon to drain the liquid. Set aside the saucepan with braising liquid. Transfer pieces of fennel and apple to a food processor or use a stick blender to puree until smooth.
Remove the pork from the oven. The skin should be golden and crunchy while the meat of the pork belly lovely and moist. Transfer the pork to a chopping board and allow to rest, uncovered for 30 minutes before carving.
Add the roasting juices from the pork belly to the saucepan with braising liquid. Cook over medium-high heat and reduce the cooking liquid until it reaches a thick and rich gravy consistency (approximately 20 minutes). Strain the sauce through a sieve into a gravy boat. To serve, divide the pork into 4 servings. Place a piece of pork onto each plate with a serve of fennel and apple puree and gravy poured over the top – buon appetito.
2 large fennel bulbs, cut into 4|2 green apples, peeled, cut into 4|500ml hot chicken stock