Relaxed Fine Dining at Friend’s House on 20Nov2013

slow-roast chuck tender (1hr) salad with fish sauce

slow-roast chuck tender (1hr) salad with fish sauce

a friend’s wife did a wonderful 6-course homegourmet dinner at their lovely home for a few of us last year, so my wife & i were really looking forward to the invitation to their home last evening on 20.11.2013. 🙂

their house sits on difficult terrain but is very well designed with good layout, quality finishes & furnishing. we had a relaxed pre-dinner wine chat (barolo red not that i knew what it was) at the sitting area before moving to dining, which had pool & water feature on 2 sides & LED downlights. 🙂

it was a very relaxed dinner, good food nicely paced, conversation, sharing & chill. 🙂

the first course was a delightful slow-roast chuck tender (1hr) with cabbage & tomatoes. the slight saltiness brought out the flavours of the tender beef (chuck is not an easy cut to make tender). i thought of “chimcharlo” but it was just fish sauce (which i use for my dry wok garlic prawns also with great results of a very “pang” dish). 🙂 the treatment to create a tender meat out of chuck is similar to my chuck pot roast.

cream of mushrooms with chicken dumplings

cream of mushrooms with chicken dumplings

the cream of mushroom was smooth with intended mushroom bits & not too creamy (health reasons?), and had the added treat of  tasty chicken dumplings.

slow-roast oven pork ribs (5hr at 100degC) with pasta

slow-roast oven pork ribs (5hr at 100degC) with pasta

next was a very tasty tomato sauce pasta dish with fork tender pork ribs (5hrs at 100degC). i tried number of times & my only decent dish was a pork rib arabiatta (spicy tomatoes) but had yet to do such tender ribs. will probably try again soon.

crackling belly pork with fresh apple compote

crackling belly pork with fresh apple compote

next was a crackling belly of pork with a lovely fresh apple compote, the slight sour sweet matched & enhanced the flavour of the tender belly pork. i had tried couple times gordon ramsay’s pressed belly of pork & loin of pork recipe. it was very difficult to get right (& i still didn’t & gave up trying, so i gravitated to my own miso belly pork recipe, and before that my japanese chashu recipe). my friend was talking about the touch & go situation with the crackling skin, this time a little less successful than what they had last. well, i am not fussy or specially enamoured with crackling skin (bonus if have) & that’s why i did not pursue the GR pressed pork belly & in fact my miso belly pork is done sans skin. 🙂

cake & strawberry mousse

cake & strawberry mousse

the cake with a sweet jam & the strawberry mousse was wonderful curtain closing to an excellent homegourmet dinner, the slight sour strawberry balancing the sweet cake. 🙂

these dinners are really fun for me, food, company, conversation, sharing of knowledge, views & perspectives. i will be doing one soon. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Oven Slow-roast Pork Belly

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oven slow-roast pork belly

I have NOT been too successful when it comes to cooking belly pork. First, it is really not so healthy to be eating belly pork often & my family members are not really crazy over it. The more successful pork belly dish I have made is kakuni – Japanese slow-braised pork belly.

Anyhow I wanted a wider selection of dishes for my homecooked makan (meal) gatherings, so I still somewhat doggedly try out different cooking methods for pork belly. I find GR (Gordon Ramsay)’s crackling skin pressed pork belly too difficult to make, so I try out various slow-roast to get a dish that is good enough for my purpose.

The best version I have created is in the top picture. I did that when my youngest 19-year old daughter invited 14 friends to the house for lunch on the 3rd day of the recent Chinese New Year, 2013.

I use a square-cut block of belly pork, place it in boiling water for like 10seconds, then place it in cold water, wipe it clean & dry with kitchen towel or airdry in fridge. I then rub the belly pork with white sugar (but not the skin), place it in a baking dish skin-side up, drizzle Chinese old shaoxing wine (陈年绍兴酒) & then olive oil over it. I cover the baking dish with aluminium foil & place it in a preheated 175degC oven for 1/2 hr. I remove the dish from the oven, turn over the belly pork so it is skin-side down & drizzle 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, & letting the oven cool. I then preset the oven to 90degC on the low heat function and leave it for 3/4hr, turnover once again for another 3/4hr. So the total time is 2hrs.

The end result is the picture above, though the belly pork is looking pretty with a nice pink, it is fully cooked. That is my best production with this method so far.

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oven slow-roast pork belly

I tried it again for my recent gathering of friends, with a slight variation. Instead of the low heat function, I use the normal function still set to 90degC. The result is the one below. The texture of the fat & meat is still as good & soft, the skin is just very little bit tougher. One addition I made is the Spanish spicy mustard sauce. This is a really nice concoction & together with the original sauce from the belly pork (after passing through a sieve) made 2 very nice dipping sauce for the belly pork. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 1 block square cut belly pork (about 350g)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Chinese old shaoxing wine (陈年绍兴酒)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

For spicy Spanish mustard sauce:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cut chilli padi
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Prepare the belly pork – place it in boiling water for like 10seconds, then place it in cold water, wipe it clean & dry with kitchen towel or airdry in fridge.  rub the belly pork with white sugar (but not the skin), place it in a baking dish skin-side up, drizzle Chinese old shaoxing wine (陈年绍兴酒) & then olive oil over it.
  2. Cook the belly pork – cover the baking dish with aluminium foil & place it in a preheated 175degC oven for 1/2 hr. remove the dish from the oven, turn over the belly pork so it is skin-side down & drizzle 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, & letting the oven cool.  preset the oven to 90degC on the low heat function and leave it for 3/4hr, turnover once again for another 3/4hr. total time is 2hrs. remove from oven, rest & serve.
  3. Make spicy Spanish mustard sauce – put a teaspoon of dijon mustard in a small bowl, add 1 cut chilli padi, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, and 2 teaspoon olive oil. mix well.