Porchetta with proper cracklings

August 25, 2013


Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve had the pleasure of eating Meat and Bread’s porchetta sandwich. I saw the guy at the counter chopping up this big hunk of porchetta and that picture stayed in my mind. That was two months ago.

So yesterday, I hosted a small dinner for my friendly neighbours. It was the perfect opportunity for me to make porchetta because in this household where vegetarianism is more of a norm, I rarely get the opportunity to make roasts for dinners (unless it’s roasted vegetables, which I also love but that’s not the point). This was my chance! Merrily, I went to Big Lou’s Butcher Shop to get myself some pork loin and belly. The guy at Big Lou was like, “Ohh..we might have a cut where the pork belly is still attached to the loin”. That is the cut  Meat and Bread uses for their porchetta! I was elated. Five-point-five pounds of porkage later, I was home and ready to start. I realized that the butcher didn’t exactly cut the pork properly for me. The pork belly end’s width was smaller than the loin end so I cut about 70% of the pork belly section out and rolled it as a separate roast.

I had the taste of the M&B’s porchetta in mind but I needed some guidance on the temperature and method. So I found iamafoodblog.com’s porchetta recipe and boy, did her porchetta looked good. I checked out her method, found out the temperature she used and decided I’m going to adapt the recipe a tad bit but keep the same cooking method. It was similar to my aunt’s roast pork method anyway so it made sense.

This recipe feels like it’s a lot of effort but active time is probably only 30 minutes if you get the butcher to score the meat for you and the rest is refrigeration, waiting and cooking the porchetta. It’s slow cooking goodness 🙂

Before you start

  1. Please note that you need to start preparing the pork 24 hours before serving for the best results.
  2.  You will need twines to tie the pork up (ask your butcher for them).
  3. Paper towels to dry the pork skin.
  4. Toast all your spices first before pounding them.
  5. To maintain a lovely green pesto, blitz the herbs, seasoning and lemon juice first and then stir in the oil.
  6. Make sure your porchetta is not fridge cold when it goes into the oven.
  7. If you have convection setting in your oven, use it.

read more …

Beets in Tagliatelle is a lovely pink!

June 9, 2013


You know that lovely pink-coloured pasta you see in fancy grocery stores with really fancy sounding Italian name brands? They sometimes costs more than you’d like to pay for noodles and well, I’m happy to say that it’s actually something that is quite achievable at home. I had a mid-sized, organic red beet sitting in my pantry since my previous grocery shopping spree and it needed to be used because it’s actually taking up too much space! I wasn’t really in the mood for roasting it, much less eating it in a salad but I did like the idea of pureeing it into a smooth paste and converting it into tagliatelle.

This post is a recipe on how to make pink tagliatelle with beets and you can easily use this recipe to create other pasta shapes as well. But the general rule is that the thicker the pasta strands, the heavier your sauce should be. So meat sauces like vegetarian ragu would go really well with tagliatelle. And I make a mean ragu, you won’t even miss the meat! Yes, I said it, meatless ragu. And let’s see how long this post gets. Maybe I should honour my ragu with a post of its own. Let’s see.

Before you start:
Remember to cook your beets, it takes 45 minutes | You will need extra flour handy | Beets stain, so be careful | It will take some kneading to make the dough smooth, so use your bread machine or a food processor if you’d like | Make sure you cook your pasta in boiling, salted water | If you let your pasta dry out a little, it retains its vibrant colour better

read more …

Butternut Squash, Chevre and Spinach Ravioli

April 17, 2011

Ravioli are big bites of deliciousness. You can have all your food groups in that nicely sealed pocket of pasta, or at least the essential ones. That’s why I love eating ravioli with a simple herbed butter sauce. How did you guess that I coincided this post just because I posted a homemade pasta recipe last week? *wink* Ravioli are best homemade – ask any Italian.

This recipe is inspired by the leftovers in my kitchen. I had a slightly wilted looking pre-washed spinach, some chevre (goat’s cheese) and a lone butternut squash that’s been sitting in the dark for at least 1 month. You can use any cheese you want but it is preferred if you pick soft mild cheeses like chevre, ricotta, and cream cheese – and nothing too strong either.

And before I give you the recipe, a haiku:

White, green and orange
Deliciously stuffed for Spring
Slathered in butter

I didn’t say it was going to rhyme but this recipe will taste fine 🙂 read more …

How to make pasta from scratch

April 12, 2011

Making pasta from scratch is easy. I’m a pasta fiend since I learned how to make pasta from good ol’ Jamie Oliver. Homemade pasta doesn’t taste like the package stuff you buy from the store at all. There is a freshness to it that makes it delicious to eat even on its own. Honestly, there is no precise science to making pasta. I’ve given the standard ratio of flour and water a hike since discovering the weather can affect that ratio. So the best thing to do is to feel your way through the dough while you knead – and start small.

You will be amaze that 1.5 cups of flour can make enough pasta for two person for two meals, if you knead it well and roll it out properly. A pasta machine is helpful. If not, good ol’ elbow grease works just as well with a rolling pin.

When making pasta, use only the best grade, large eggs. And room temperature water. And a lot of courage. read more …


Tagliatelle, Peas and Orange Tomato Sauce

April 11, 2011

If you’ve noticed, the site looks slightly different. I’ve move to WordPress and it’s still a work in progress. And if you’ve also noticed, spring has sprung. Yesterday, we walked to the Maisonneuve market without our winter jackets and felt happiness like no one who’s never had to endure 6 months of cold will ever know. We bought a bunch of vegetables too, of course. So last night I made tagliatelle from scratch (because pasta making is my obsession right now) with orange tomato sauce and peas. It was a nice reminder that summer is around the corner and it won’t be long before we’re given local options to these types of produce.

The sauce was great and this is what this post is about. Orange pasta sauce that’s a little different from your regular red, from scratch.

This recipe makes for 2-3 servings. read more …

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