Friday, December 31, 2010

Slow Roasted Pork Belly With Braised Lentils - Christmas Lunch 2010 Part 2

For our second course I prepared a tried and tested dish that didn't require too much attention from me as well. Pork belly was the obvious choice when I was doing my last minute shopping on Christmas eve as everything else was either sold out or way out of my budget. The pork belly turned out extremely moist and tender after 2 hours of slow cooking in the oven and I was relatively pleased with the resulting golden crackling. Everyone was satisfied and happy after the dishes were cleared but wait we still have our third course coming! Please come back tomorrow to check out our third course and my very first pudding for the blog. 
P.S We are moving to Carlton North after more than 10 years in Fitzroy. I am extremely excited about the move; a new suburb (only a block away :)), a bigger garden, a much larger living area and a brand new kitchen. Excitements aside; packing will be my new best friend for the next 2 weeks but I will continue to have regular posting and will visit all my favourite blogs whenever I need a break from my new friend. I hope you are enjoying the holidays as much as I have been so far.

serve 4 as a main or as a very satisfying one dish meal
oven pre-heated at 200C
you'll need;
1.2 kg of pork belly (ask for female pig)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
light olive oil
1 tbs of fennel seeds, dry roasted and set aside
2 onions, cut into half
1 bunch of spinach, washed and trimmed

for the braised lentil;
250 g of puy lentil, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
2 carrot, peeled and finely diced
3 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic clove, chopped
2 to 3 bay leaves
1/2 cup of white wine
2 cups of chicken stock
olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
a small knob of butter

Wash and dry the pork thoroughly with kitchen towel. Score the rind with a very sharp knife (or get your butcher to do that) at 1cm intervals but do not cut all the way to the flesh. Lightly oil the pork rind and rub with sea salt. Season the meat side with sea salt, pepper and fennel seeds.

Place onion halves in a roasting pan and place the pork belly on top, this will stop the pork from burning and drying out during the long cooking process. The onions will caramelized and also absorb all the juices and fat rendering out from the pork belly. These can be served with the meat later. Place the roasting pan into the hot oven at 200C for 20 minutes before turning the oven down to 160C and continue to roast for another hour and 40 minutes. If the crackling is browning too quickly, loosely wrap a foil to cover the pork. 

While the pork belly is roasting - saute chopped vegetables with a little olive oil until soften then add in the soaked lentil, stock, wine and bay leaves. Mix well and simmer gently for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

When the lentils are ready throw in the butter and combine well. Do a final seasoning with salt and pepper.

After 2 hours - remove pork belly from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 25 to 30 minutes before carving. While the pork is resting saute spinach with a little olive oil and season well. 

Serve pork belly on a bed of braised lentils with the sauteed spinach and caramelized onion. We served this with a beautiful rosé that one of the tummy had brought over.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Poached Prawns With Garlic And Chive Aioli - Christmas Lunch 2010 Part 1

None of us actually celebrate Christmas but we did get together to celebrate the spirit of tolerance and giving on the day so important to many of my friends. I prepared a very simple 3 course meal and had a nice low key afternoon with the other 2 tummies. We started with poached prawns with garlic and chive aioli; ground breaking no, simple and very delicious yes! Please come back tomorrow to find out what I served as our second course. 
P.S Reserve the poaching liquor and the prawn heads and shell for a perfect laksa base.

serves 4 to 6 as a first course
you'll need;
1 kg of whole prawns, poached* whole, chilled until needed
*to poach the prawns - bring the poaching liquor to a boil then add the prawns and poached very gently for 45 to 60 seconds.

poaching liquor;
1 tsp of peppercorns
salt and pepper to taste
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 l of water

garlic and chive aioli;
2 very fresh egg yolks
2 garlic cloves*
1 tsp of English mustard
1 tsp of white wine vinegar
3/4 cup of light olive oil or sunflower oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of chopped chives
*cook garlic gently with milk until tender, sieve and set aside.

Blend egg yolks, garlic, vinegar and mustard in a food processor and slowly add in the oil drop by drop until you get a thick emulsion. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped chives to the aioli just before serving. 

Serve prawns with aioli and wash down with a glass of Champagne or good Aussie sparkling. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spicy Prawn Salad With Stone Fruits And Corn

Day 18 of our carbless diet - It was a hot and humid day in Melbourne, one of the very few hot days we experienced since summer started. I walked into the supermarket without a dinner plan but when I saw the beautiful stone fruits on offer I knew just what I can do with the prawns I had in the freezer. This is summer on a plate and I might even make this for our Christmas day lunch. Feel free to replace the stone fruits with other fruits, I think a mixture of mango, papaya and avocado would work very well too.
P.S Thank you for all the well wishes and I am feeling a lot better today. One more crazy day to go and I  am looking forward to the holidays!

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 4 as an entree and 2 as a main
you'll need;
1 kg of whole prawns, heads removed* poached and shelled
1 punnet of mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
1 white peach, stoned and cut into cubes
1 nectarine, stoned and cut into cubes
1 peach, stoned and cut into cubes
1 lebanese cucumber, cut into half lengthwise and sliced at an angle
2 corn, grilled and removed kernels
1 bunch of coriander leaves (3/4 cup), roughly chopped
1/2 cup of mint leaves
2 shallots, sliced
a handful of roasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
*save the prawn heads for laksa , Ipoh hor fun or prawn noodles.

for the dressing;
juice of a lime
2 tsp of castor sugar
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
1 tsp of fish sauce
2 tbs of olive oil
a pinch of hot pepper flakes

Cut stone fruits into cubes and tomatoes into halves. 

Grill corn on a hot griddle and when they are cool enough to handle, slice off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Prepare the dressing.

Have everything ready and it is time to assemble the salad.

Mix everything and half of the chopped cashew nuts  in a large salad bowl, finally sprinkle the rest of the nuts over.

It was a success and I will certainly be making this over the summer months! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dry Tossed Wonton Noodles 乾撈雲吞麵 - “Malaysian Monday 22"

I did a post on dry tossed char siu noodles a while back and this is just another variation of what can be ordered at a wonton noodles stall in Malaysia. To make this a halal dish, I have substituted pork with veal for the wontons. As usual dry tossed (we prefer the dark version generally found in central Malaysia) is my first pick but you may serve the noodles in chicken broth together with the dumplings. Add some slices of char siu  to the noodles and you will have an even tastier meal. Again this won't be complete without our beloved pickled green chillies! 
P.S I haven't been feeing to well for the last few days and I can't wait to check out all your tasty posts in the next day or two.

recipe per serve
you'll need;
fresh egg noodlesallow 1.5 noodles per person
choysum or bokchoy, washed and cut into manageable lengths 
spring onions, chopped
pickled green chillies in soy to serve
bird chillies in soy to serve

dressing for the noodles;
1.5 tbs of shallot oilgarlic oil or chicken oil
1 .5 tbs of light soy
1.5 tbs of caramel sauce
1 tbs of oyster sauce
1 tsp of castor sugar
dash of white pepper

makes 40
for the wonton;
wanton wrappers
500 g of veal mince (pork is normally used and chicken is a good substitute too)
200 g of prawn meat, minced
2 spring onions (white parts only) minced
2 tsp of minced ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
dash of Chinese cooking wine
dash of light soy
dash of oyster sauce
dash of sesame oil
salt and white pepper to taste
2 tbs of corn flour
hot chicken stock to serve

Prepare the choysum, chilies in soy and chopped spring onions.

Place all ingredients for wonton (except the stock) and mix well.

Place 11/2 tsp of filling in middle of the pastry, gather all edges together to form a plump dumpling.

Make enough dumplings and set aside (allow 6 to 8 dumplings/person)

In a pot of  boiling water, boil wantons til they float to the surface, takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain wontons and warm the dumplings up in simmering stock just before serving. 

Return the pot of water to a boil, meanwhile prepare the sauce for the noodles. Cook noodles in a pot of boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and rinse in a big pot of cold water. When the pot of water returns to a rapid boil, return the noodles and cook for another 15 seconds or til al dente. Blanch choysum or bokchoy briefly. Mix noodles in the prepared sauce/dressing.

Serve noodles immediately with wonton in chicken stock and pickled green chillies. This is often served with some char siu as well.

I will be hosting MMM for the month of December. Please send all your entries to me at To find out more please click  HERE.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Grilled Asparagus With Poached Eggs And Parmesan

I decided to make a separate dish as I wasn't sure if the stuffed sardines were sufficient for the both of us. It was also a good excuse to savour the asparagus while they are still cheap and plentiful. This is great as an entree or a light lunch served with some crusty bread for the non dieters. It has been a crazy week and I am looking forward to doing a bit of reading and blog surfing on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend and happy cooking!

serves 2 as a side dish or one as a light meal
you'll need;
2 bunches of asparagus
3 very fresh free range eggs
a dash of white vinegar
a handful shaved parmesan or pecorino
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Trim and blanch the asparagus for 30 seconds. Refresh under cold running water and drain well.

Grill asparagus on a hot griddle or bbq.

To poach the eggs - add a dash of vinegar into a pot of simmering water and crack the eggs in carefully. Let the eggs poach gently until the white is barely set, remove with a slotted spoon.

Place poached eggs over the grilled asparagus; drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter the shaved parmesan over.

The moment of truth - pierce the yolks and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sicilian Stuffed Sardines

Day 17 of our carbless diet - When I saw the tray of beautiful sardine fillets at the fish monger, I had in mind just what to do with them. Despite not growing up with an Italian nonna, cooking authentic Italian food is not difficult with all the cookbooks and informations around. This is an Sicilian classic that I had laid my eyes on day one when the other tummy brought home The Italian Cookbook Collector's Collection (by Australian Goumet Traveller). The stuffing bit is a little bit fiddly for me but the end result is definitely worth doing it all over again. 

Recipe adapted from The Italian Cookbook Collector's Collection
oven preheated at 200 C
serves 2
you'll need;
8 to 10 sardine fillets
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
40 g of pine nuts
50 g of breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
10 fresh bay leaves
2 bamboo skewers, soaked for at least an hour
dressed rocket to serve

for the dressing;
1 tsp of castor sugar
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
*whisk in a bowl until well combine.

Start with making the stuffing - Mix onion, garlic, sultanas, pine nuts and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Add enough olive oil until the mixture comes together. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a little stuffing on each fillet and roll it up from top to tail. 

Fix 4 to 5 roll to each bamboo skewer, dividing each with a fresh bay leaf.

Place skewers in a baking dish, scatter the remaining stuffing over and spoon the dressing all over. 

Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Serve immediately with some dressed salad leaves of your choice and perhaps a glass of light Italian red.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rare Beef, Asparagus With Tonnato Sauce

Day 16 of our carbless diet - I had a piece of beef rump that was meant to be turned into another Thai salad (neua yam nam tok, waterfall grilled beef salad) but changed my mind as soon as I saw this recipe by Jill Dupleix. I think I made the right decision as we were both blown away by this wonderful Italian classic. I am pretty sure this will reappear on our dining table quite often throughout the long hot summer.
P.S We are now into the 4th week of our diet and there are plenty more delicious summery meals without carbs that have yet to be posted. 

recipe adapted from Summer Food by Jill Dupleix
oven pre-heated at 180 C
serves 2 as a main or 4 as an entree
you'll need;
500 g of beef rump
100 g of mixed leaves
1 bunch of asparagus, finely sliced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
1 tsp of red wine vinegar
1 tsp of capers
chopped parsley
shaved pecorino or parmesan

for the tonnato sauce;
95 g of quality tuna in oil
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 tbs of lemon juice
1.5 tbs of homemade or good quality shop bought mayonnaise
1/2 tbs of horseradish cream
1/2 tbs of capers
50 ml of chicken stock

For the tonnato sauce - whiz all ingredients (except the stock) in a food processor until smooth. Add stock gradually until it feels pourable. Refrigerate until needed.

Slice asparagus finely.

Rub beef with salt, pepper and a little olive oil and brown it all over in a hot pan. Place the pan in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Remove beef and rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Slice beef thinly across the grain.

Dress salad greens and shaved asparagus with olive oil, red wine vinegar, pecorino, salt and pepper.

Place roast beef atop some salad, spoon the sauce over the and scatter with capers and chopped parsley. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

press me

3 hungry tummies

My photo
melbourne, victoria, Australia