The Cottage Smallholder

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Nigel Slater’s Pork ribs with honey and anise recipe

star aniseStar Anise look so pretty. When I spotted them in herb and spice section of the Daily Bread Cooperative I had to buy them. I’d never used them before so had no plans for their future.

I tossed four into some 10-minute soup that I was making.
“What are these?”
Danny peered into his bowl and lifted one up with his spoon. The soup tasted vaguely reminiscent of spiced aniseed balls in gravy. So they have stayed in their jar in the larder door waiting to make an entrance in someone else’s recipe.

Last night I found a cut price rack of mini ribs in Tesco and discovered Nigel Slater’s wonderful recipe on the BBC food site. As Danny is still away, it was the perfect recipe – he hates honey in cooking too, or at least he used to. My rack of ribs were a third of the weight of the ones in the recipe and I made half the sauce. I baked them for 50 minutes in a foil covered dish and then browned them for a further ten minutes under the grill. The sauce didn’t taste of aniseed or honey – just sweet and exotic.

The ribs and the sauce were unbelievably good. Wolfed down in a few delicious sticky minutes with steamed white rice to soak up the juices. I’m going to make these for D, he’ll love them if I don’t mention the ingredients.


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  1. samantha winter

    We had this for tea tinight with jasmin rice and a mushroom & veg stir fry.
    Very nice.

  2. I always throw a couple of stars in when I’m cooking rhubarb. They seem to get on rather well.

  3. I wander thru your blog occasionally so I know you love soup. I saw todays star anise posting and thought of my all time favorite soup recipe, a Vietnamese beef and noodle soup that uses star anise. Based on some of your food comments, I think you’d really like it – and it’s all afternoon simmer in the slow cooker, very inexpensive soup. The recipe’s a bit long to post here but I’d be happy to email it to you if you’d like to give it a look.

  4. You’re right, they look great. I like the look of them so much that I bought my sister a sterling silver star anis pin for her birthday a couple of years ago.

  5. Like you I have always been attracted to Star Anise because of the way they look but have never come across a recipe which uses them. This sounds delicious, I might just have to give this a try if there is something suitable left at the butchers on the market this morning. I was teaching first thing but my bed was just too cosy to get down to the market by 8.

  6. I made something very similar for dinner last night – pork, honey-based sauce, slightly different spicing. I agree with you, it’s difficult to find good uses for lovely star anise, although it’s good to infuse in tea – so long as you like that aniseed taste


  7. magic cochin

    That sounds delicious! I love using star anise – they look so pretty. Throw them in to a stir fry of veg and left over pork or chicken fried in oil flavoured with garlic and ginger for a super quick light meal.

    Another tip from somewhere (I think it was a TV cookery show) add star anise when you’re browning mince for a lasagne or bolognaise sauce. It adds a subtle flavour than really enhances the meat. Great for winter suppers as it adds a subtle warmth.

    Hey – I’m all up and connected to the world again!!! after being in broadband hell for weeks! “It was the router what done it” something about packets and MTU settings.

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