When making gravlax, it’s important to first remove the small pin bones that aren’t attached to the main skeleton of the fish. Some fish mongers will have already done this for you, but to check, place the fillet skin-side down on a work surface and run your fingers along the centre of the flesh. You should be able to feel them. Using a pair of tweezers (straight-edged ones work best), pull the bone out following the natural curve of the fillet. If you find the flesh is tearing as you pull the bone out, chances are you’re pulling it in the wrong direction.
If your pork crackling fails to rise to the occasion, once the pork roast is cooked, remove the crackling in one large piece and place on a wire rack placed over an oven tray. Place in a very hot oven or under a hot grill until done to your liking. A domestic blow torch can also come in handy when the crackling needs a helping hand. Once the pork is cooked, gently brown and crisp the crackling with the torch.
In a pickle
If you want to pickle your own fish or cucumbers, it’s essential your jars and lids are properly sterilised before sealing to avoid spoilage. Preheat the oven to 120°C and line a baking tray with a clean tea towel. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, then place in a large saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Using metal tongs, carefully remove the jars and lids from the water and place upside down on the lined tray. Place in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until dry. Alternatively, place the jars and lids in the dishwasher and run on the hottest cycle. This is a good option if you’re using rubber seals or plastic lids. As a rule, hot preserves should go into hot jars and cold preserves into cold jars.