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 …

Cantonese Roasted Pork Ribs

April 21, 2011

Imagine sinking your teeth into a succulent piece of meat that is perfectly caramelized around the edges with a beautiful dark coating of savoury and sweet sauce.

It’s been years since I had Cantonese Roasted Pork Ribs like this. I know how good it can be but the last time I had it was in a Chinese restaurant in Malaysia. And it wasn’t that great. I found this recipe while visiting Chocolate & Zucchini and she made this with a recipe from another blog, belonging to a Chinese woman who lives in France called La Bouche Plein. The recipe was written in French but thank god for Google Translate.

It was worth braving the automated language translation engine – this recipe is legit. And so easy to do.  read more …


The Overnighter Braised Pork Belly

February 22, 2011

I had 1lb of pork belly in the freezer and I had no idea what to do with it. So I hit up my foodie bestie, Kwok Mun,  and one of his braising suggestions kind of hit a home run. Well, it didn’t help that I had Diners, Drive-ins and Dives playing on the TV as well. It was decided that the pork belly will be braised. Overnight. Yep, you heard me alright. I braised my pork belly overnight in my oven for over 8 hours in a slow and nice heat – 240F to be exact (approx. 120 C) – in a fragrant pool of dark liquid made up of similar ingredients to my other braised pork dish. The end result was delicious. Meat falling off the bones scandalously with an oh-so-tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

You will want this recipe. read more …


Penang Prawn Noodle (Hae Mee/Penang Hokkien Mee)

January 23, 2011

The first post of 2011. I do apologize for the long absence, it has been such a crazy year-end last year I had no time to properly craft a post but there has been a lot of eating. My parents and brother were here for Christmas and New Years, if you can imagine all the restaurants I wanted them to try on top of all the sight-seeing.

Now that they’ve gone back home and we’re about 10 days to Chinese New Year, I wanted to start the first post of the year with a lot of “Har”. So, I made Penang Prawn Noodles or Penang Hokkien Mee. “Har” is prawn/shrimp in Cantonese and auspiciously it sounds like “Ha” of “Hahahaha”. I am originally Hokkien and we call prawns/shrimps “Hae“, you could say it sounds like “Heh” of “Hehehehehe” too.  And so my point being, eating a lot of “Har/Hae” would induce a lot of happiness, one of the auspicious traits you want in your house during Chinese New Year!

Penang Prawn Noodles is a bowl of happiness in my eyes. Its rich broth is made from simmering pork bones and prawn heads until every ounce of their flavour is extracted. And then a necessary blend of spice paste carefully pounded with dried shrimps, chilies, shallots and garlic, which is then sauteed in peanut oil until fragrant and aromatic is added into the broth. It is an absolute delight to slurped on because the marriage of flavours from the prawns, pork and the slick red oil floating on every bowl dances in your mouth like sex.

The most time consuming part of cooking Penang Prawn Mee is the broth, it’s an element that will either make or break the dish so take the time to clean the pork bones and use the freshes prawns you can get. You need A LOT of prawns/shrimps for this dish. Usually, I would used 1500 grams worth of shrimp shells and 700 grams of pork bones for 1.5 liters of broth. If you cannot get as much shrimp shells, you should get a sachet of Tean’s Gourmet Prawn Noodle Paste from your Asian grocery store for a bit of help in boosting the flavour of your broth. You may use other brands but I won’t be able to guarantee how the flavours will turn out. read more …


Braised Minced Pork with Chinese Five Spice

December 12, 2010
A bowl of fragrant deliciousness

This is the ultimate comfort food after a long and hectic day at work. Like everyone else, there are more days than I would like to admit where I was too tired to be bothered to cook. And on these days, I fall back to recipes that are simple, comforting and reminds me of home. This braised minced pork with Chinese five spice powder is easy and so delicious served on rice or even on noodles.

How easy can this recipe be?

Because the pork is all minced up, it doesn’t take too long to braise this dish at all. Go for a shower and by the time you’re ready, dinner is ready too – you just need to remember to also cook the rice before you hop into the shower. If you don’t like pork, this recipe also works well with minced chicken. Or turkey. You can even jazz it up with some vegetables too; preferred vegetables for this dish includes shitake mushrooms, carrots, green beans and potatoes, cut into the smallest pieces you can muster.

Here’s the ridiculously easy recipe: read more …

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