The British Christmas dinner isn't complete without pigs in blankets. Chipolata sausages wrapped in smoked streaky bacon hold their rightful place alongside roast potatoes and brussels sprouts in the all important category of 'festive trimmings'.

In the run up to the 2019 Christmas holidays, my son was delighted to be able to sample Pigs in Blankets ahead of 25th December, having found them on the menu of his favourite pizza restaurant. Pizza Express' seasoned pork meatballs wrapped in pancetta both caught his imagination and clearly held his taste buds hostage, given his repeated requests for me to serve them at home ever since.

This evening I set about creating a dish that would satisfy his cravings. It received a solid 10 in the ratings (this rarely happens!). I served them with roast butternut squash (to use up what was leftover from Sunday), asparagus and sugar snap peas.

Ingredients

450g of your butcher's best pork mince
14 straight rashers of pancetta
80g fresh sourdough bread crumbs
100g bramley apple, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves (discard the stems)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Salt and pepper to season


Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees / 180 fan oven.

Gently soften the apple in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water over a medium heat for a few minutes. You just want to soften them a little, not become overly mushy. Leave to cool.

I find homemade breadcrumbs are a great way to use up the dried ends of sourdough loaves (I save them especially). Whizz them using the metal blade in the food processor until fine.

Tip the breadcrumbs, cooled apple, pork mince, ground cloves, thyme, and egg into a large bowl and season.  Mix well using your hands to squish the ingredients together until you achieve a sausage meat like consistency.

Form into 14 balls and wrap each one with a rasher of pancetta.

Cook well spaced on a baking tray for 18 minutes.