Friday, December 19, 2014

Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly Recipe

Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly

This is the nicest crackling I ever had. Really crispy, no chance of breaking my teeth. And the meat had a fantastic flavour. Soy, garlic, miso and five-spice powder all worked well together and produced a good result.

I have made crispy pork using different methods but the method suggested in the recipe, pouring boiling water over the skin, did miracles.

Adopted from Kylie Kwong’s recipe, posted on The Guardian

Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly

800g boneless pork belly, skin on and scored
500ml boiling water
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon salt flakes

For the marinade
2 tablespoons brown rice miso paste
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1.      Place pork belly, skin-side up, on a wire rack over the sink. Pour over boiling water to scald the pork skin. If possible, try to avoid hot water getting on the meat as it will cook it slightly
2.      Dry the skin with kitchen paper and place pork, uncovered, in the refrigerator for two hours.
3.      Remove pork from fridge and place, skin-side up, on a chopping board. Using the tip of a sharp knife, stab the pork skin repeatedly until the surface is covered with holes, being careful not to go all the way through.
4.      Make some horizontal slits on the sides of the belly, then insert each garlic and push them deep in so they don’t burn.
5.      Turn the pork belly over and make cuts about 2cm apart and 1cm deep.
6.      Combine marinade ingredients. Rub marinade evenly over the flesh side of the pork (not the skin) and massage well into the cuts.
7.      Place pork, skin-side up, on a wire rack (this same rack will be used for roasting the pork, so make sure it is ovenproof and fits inside a roasting tin) and place over a tray or large plate to catch any drips. Place in refrigerator and leave pork uncovered overnight
8.      The next day, bring pork to room temperature and heat oven to 150°C/300°F
9.      Transfer pork and wire rack to a roasting tin. Rub skin well with the sesame oil, then scatter salt all over. Roast for 1½–2 hours or until tender (to test, pierce the meat with a skewer – you should meet no resistance).
10.  Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/430°F and continue roasting for 15 minutes.
11.  Remove pork from oven and allow to rest, uncovered, in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Texas Quorn Chili with Spinach Recipe

Texas Quorn Chili with Spinach

Recently I received a bag of Quorn mince to try. Quorn is a meat substitute. According to the Quorn website, “Quorn products main ingredient is Mycoprotein which is a nutritionally healthy protein source. Mycoprotein is produced by a process of fermentation similar to that used in the fermentation of yeast in bread.” This didn’t make too much sense to me, so I consulted Wiki. Here’s wiki’s explanation:

“Quorn is made from the soil mould Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684. The fungus is grown in continually oxygenated water in large, otherwise sterile fermentation tanks. Glucose and fixed nitrogen are added as a food for the fungus, as are vitamins and minerals to improve the food value of the product. The resulting mycoprotein is then extracted and heat-treated to remove excess levels of RNA. The product is dried and mixed with egg albumen, which acts as a binder. It is then textured, giving it some of the grained character of meat, and pressed either into a mince resembling ground beef; forms resembling chicken breasts, meatballs, and turkey roasts; or chunks resembling diced chicken breast.”

So Quorn is produced by growing fungus in water, then it is mixed with egg whites. I suppose Quorn is quite different from laboratory grown beef.

I decided to use the fungus and egg white mixture (aka Quorn) to make Texas chili. It turned out OK. The Quorn was too soft. It felt slightly mushy but held together, if that makes sense. Quorn definitely looked like minced meat, but didn’t really feel or taste like it. However strong sauces will mask the taste, so you won’t know whether you are eating Quorn or meat.

Quorn, or other meat substitutes, don't necessarily have to taste or feel like meat, as long as it tastes delicious on its own. For example, tofu's texture is nice (debatable). Unfortunately Quorn's texture was not appealing to me, I would rather eat tofu, other vege or meat.

Adopted from

300 g Quorn mince
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
200 g crushed tomato
100 grams spinach, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon soya sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 tablespoon vegetable fond
1 tablespoon Hickory liquid smoke
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili spice mix
0,5 lime (juice)
Salt and pepper

1.      Heat olive oil in a casserole over medium heat
2.      Add all vegetables, except spinach, and cook until softened
3.      Add the rest of the ingredients, except the Quorn and spinach, and cook covered for 10 - 20 min.
4.      Add Quorn, reduce heat and simmer for maximum 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, add spinach. Add water if it looks too dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Texas Quorn Chili with Spinach

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cheesy Tuna Pasta Casserole Recipe

It is often said that fish and cheese don’t go well together. Mornay is mentioned is an exception. This cheese tuna casserole is another exception. The dish is hearty and delicious, great for cold weather.

The list of ingredients below is really long. Don’t get alarmed or put off by. And the recipe is quite simple, even though it may seem complex. There are a number of processes involved but all simple and well worth the effort.

I will upload photos of the dish in a week when I have access to my camera.

12 oz. dry pasta (any pasta will do)
1 cup onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 med carrots, diced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
6 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup + 2 tablespoon flour
4 cups milk
1 cup low sodium, nonfat chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more or less to your liking)
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2-5 oz. cans of tuna, drained and flaked
15 crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon oil

1.      Cook the pasta according to package directions, but two minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Drain and set aside.
2.      In a large nonstick pan over medium high heat, add one tablespoon oil and saute onion, celery, and carrots until soft. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for a minute.
3.      Add frozen peas and thyme, take off heat and set aside.
4.      To make the sauce, melt butter on medium high heat in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk. Cook for one minute while whisking. Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Add chicken broth. Cook until it thickens, stirring constantly. Take off heat and season with salt and pepper.
5.      Add mustard and cheese to the sauce and mix well. Add tuna, pasta and vegetables and stir to combine.
6.      Pour the mixture in a greased 13" x 9" baking pan. Sprinkle with crushed crackers. Bake at 190°C/375°F for about 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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