Town on a Plate – Pork Belly

The Red Peppa story

Owner and operator of Red Peppa Restaurant, Sheree Allen packs an awful lot into life as well as running a very popular and busy restaurant.  Having been in hospitality for 24 years, she manages to juggle running the restaurant, caring for her family and run a 20 acre property with all sorts of animals and especially horses.  The words ‘super woman’ come to mind and she seems to always do it with a smile.  She couldn’t do it all though without the support of a talented team of chefs and front of house staff.  Head chef, Isaac Johnson has garnered a lot of experience in his 27 years and is constantly learning new techniques and flavour trends.  As he says “The food scene in Ballarat has taken off like a rocket and you really need to be on your toes to keep up.” Their dish of pork belly is a regular on the menu, but they are also known for their spectacular gnocchi.  Just another reason to try this intimate and stylish eatery in the heart of Ballarat at 34 Sturt Street.

Owner Sheree Allen, Chef Isaac Johnson
Owner Sheree Allen, Chef Isaac Johnson




1          Pork belly
4          Celeriac bulbs
2          Large carrots
2          Pears
3 tbs    Honey
1 lt       Apple cider vinegar
1 lt       Apple juice
500g    Caster sugar
Duck Fat
Toasted pepita & sunflower seeds (for garnish)



Melt duck fat till liquid.
Place pork skin side up in a deep tray, pour duck fat over pork – should be submerged in fat.  Cover with foil and place in the oven at 80 degrees for 12 hours.  Remove pork from fat and place between 2 flat trays, press (using something to weigh it down) and place in fridge.  When cold, cut into desired sized pieces.
Place celeriac on a tray of rock salt and bake at 180 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove and cut off skin, place in food processor and blitz until smooth.  Season to taste.
Place apple cider vinegar and juice in a pot and bring to the boil.  Reduce by half, add sugar and reduce by half again, until thick.
Peel and halve pears, place on tray, add oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.  Flip pears over and cook for another 10 minutes.  Remove and drizzle with honey and roast again for 10 minutes until golden.
Peel carrots into ribbons.  Place in a non-reactive tray.  Pour over 60 ml. of red wine vinegar and mix.  Leave for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave in vinegar till ready to serve.
Finishing off:
Oil and salt pork skin and place skin side down on a tray with pears and cook for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees until skin has crackled.  Warm celeriac and smear onto plate.  Place carrots, pork and pears on top, lightly drizzle with apple reduction.

Mica Grange