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Indonesian Roast Pork with Fruit – do over!!

Now, even though this is a re-do of the Indonesian Roast Pork with Fruit (Indonesian Roast Pork with Fruit – attempt 1) , it’s just as much about The Hungry Giant’s Chinese Style Crispy Pork Belly (Chinese Style Crispy Pork Belly).

The whanau were all coming over for Easter lunch (not that it’s something we always do but we did this year just because) and I decided to dish up pork belly. I figured that I might as well try Allyson’s recipe again but because I would need two pork bellies, I would try The Hungry Giant’s recipe as well. It looked sooooo good and I am suuuuuch a fan of crackling (as are the rest of my whanau) that I had to try it out.

I started THG’s recipe the night before. I know how time can get away on you and so I thought it better to get the more ‘difficult’ part of the recipe done early. (I know in future, when I use this recipe again, I will do the same thing!) It was fortunate that I did because I did run out of time (kinda) and if I hadn’t done the work the night before, dinner (at lunchtime) would have been much later. I pork belly hung out in the fridge overnight and skin was nice and dry the next day.

Allyson’s recipe went much better when I didn’t have to improvise and it didn’t take very long to prep the meat. I was able to put both pork bellies into the oven at the same time (we have a big oven!) THG’s pork belly did need to full hour but Allyson’s cooked (mostly) as per her cooking instructions. I did have to move it to the top of the oven to ‘crisp’ up a bit.

Both pork bellies were very well received and I had asked everyone for their opinions on the two roasts. Even though they all like both, they all preferred THG’s version. The crackling was thin and crunchy and subtle flavours of the ‘seasoning’ came through nicely in the meat. I can’t remember everything that BSSE said about the meal but she did think that the fruit was great but that fruit could have been chopped up a bit smaller. Her hubby, iMel isAf, thought….I can’t remember what he said either – sorry bro! – but we did have a great discussion about what his name would be. iMel isAf ok?

Sista the cool one, who may now have changed her name to Sista of choice, thought the “pork belly wz CRUNCHALICIOUS n dat cucumbr relish wz LIP SMACKING GOODNESS”. I didn’t remember all that, she text me, which helped cos obviously I couldn’t remember all the comments. I may have to make that the new thing, so that I can get ‘proper’ comments from people about the food.

All in all a success with both pork bellies. Allyson’s pork belly was not as pretty to look at (the rubbings went black and gave the pork belly a burnt look) but still tasted great. THG’s pork belly was sublime. If I ever have to cook to impress, that’s what I’ll be busting out. I got so excited with the THG’s pork belly that I forgot to get more than one photo of the whole meal. The only pic, was of THG’s pork belly fresh out of the oven. After that, things got hazy with setting the table, cutting up meat and getting dishes out. Thanks to The Hungry Giant for having the recipe on his blog, which he adapted from Christine’s Recipes.

 

Ultimate Chocolate Mousse – pg 178

Ingredients – Had to buy everything but receipt has already been thrown out. Doh!  Total $??

Cooking – This time I got the right kinda chocolate but forgot to get the Baileys Irish Cream – whoops! Melted things down the normal way (no microwave). May have added the egg yolks in a bit early but it didn’t really matter all that much in the end. I think that I made this up while the Bobotie was in the oven. It was able to set by the time the Bobotie had cooked and we’d eaten.

Eating – Leaving out the Baileys Irish Cream made the mousse quite bitter. Hubby and Father-In-Law both scoffed it down. Neither Miss 6 nor Master 3 finished theirs. Hubby finished one of theirs off. He said that he liked it but I would have preferred it to be sweeter.

Conclusion – I can this being a really awesome dessert and with all the variations Allyson has, it’s gonna be fun trying them all out!! mmm hmmm!

 

Bobotie – pg 28

Ingredients – I was prepared for the last round of cooking but never got around to making everything in it. I also didn’t get the totals up in time, so I’m not sure about the cost. I used Hubby’s homemade zucchini chutney. Total $??

Cooking – This one was quite easy to make up. Only thing I didn’t put in was raisins. Not a fan of it in food but don’t mind them on their own. Thought that bread was a bit weird and wasn’t sure about all the egg on top, not a huge fan of eggs either, but was very happy with the outcome.

Eating – A very tasty meal which I presented to my In-Laws who were visiting over the school holidays. Both enjoyed the meal and thought it was really tasty. Something a bit different! Hubby’s chutney really came through the meal and made it a bit sweeter. Both Hubby n I enjoyed the meal and Miss 6 (she had a birthday during my slackness) & Master 3 both that the meat part of the meal very well, neither were very keen on the eggy top part.

Conclusion – A great easy meal to prepare and a good one to bust out to Pot Lucks. I’m wondering if cheese on the top would be a nice element to it?…

 

Warm Chinese Chicken & Udon Salad – pg 66

Ingredients – As with the Spaghetti with Walnut & Bacon sauce, it was March 22nd when I actually did this one. I’m pretty sure I already had the spaghetti & bacon but can’t remember the rest. I hope to be back up and running with cooking and blogging proper from pay day next week! Total $13.56

Cooking – I thought that this one would be interesting because Hubby makes a pretty good udon noodle soup and I was hoping that this would be similar. I realised that I hadn’t bought dry udon noodles, I bought what we usually buy which was obviously the wrong one. It was reasonably easy to put together.

Eating – Another disappointment. It was more likely my cooking rather than the recipe but knowing how Hubby’s udon noodle soup tastes didn’t help. I will not be offering this version as an alternative. Why mess with a good thing?!

Conclusion – Feels like I’ve lost my mojo a bit. She’ll be right!

 

Spaghetti with Walnut & Bacon Sauce – pg 144

Ingredients –  I have been rather slack lately! I did this so long ago that I can’t remember what I actually had. I know for sure that I already had bacon, still have some too. mmmm bacon! Luckily, I do the pricing first so it saves time, therefore, I only needed to by $6.79 worth of stuff but I’m not sure now what they were. Total $6.79

Cooking – From memory a pretty standard recipe. I kept wanting to follow the carbonara recipe and I don’t think I reduced the port enough.

Eating – From what I remember, not a great one for us. Kept wanting it to taste like carbonara but it didn’t. Even Hubby wasn’t that impressed with it.

Conclusion – It’s trying to be carbonara and I’m thinking it should taste like it but it doesn’t….

 

Yeah nah...

Mini Tiramisu Tarts – pg 170

Ingredients – Only had sugar (didn’t even worry that it was caster) & couldn’t find, then forgot to buy coffee liqueur. Figured I could just make it…which I did! Total $10.03

Cooking – I couldn’t find any pre-made pastry tarts as Pak’n’Save, so just bought the sheets. I had contemplated buying the slabs cos they were cheaper but I honestly couldn’t be bothered rolling it out – neh! I wanted to bust out the new cookie cutters I got from the Tupperware party but thought that they might be too small. My question was soon answered when I discovered that I only had mini muffin trays, I’d lent my regular-sized muffin trays to BSSE – must remember to them off her seeing as she does soooo much baking – NOT! (Give them back BSSE!!) Anyhoo, where was I?, oh yeah, I cut out circles of pastry (small side of the cookie cutter) and thought that they would be too thick in the tray and rolled them out just a tad. (In hindsight, I could have rolled them out a more than a ‘tad’, I think a ‘little bit’ would have been better.) I gently placed them into each ‘cup’ and them pinched them were I could so that they vaguely resembled Allyson’s. Hubby pointed out (as did the pastry packet) that I would have to ‘blind bake’ them which required rice or something like that. Well, that wasn’t so bad, but I was having a bit of a mare getting the rice into these tiny little pasty cups. Then Hubby says that I’m supposed to put some greaseproof paper in BEFORE I put in the rice or something. What the hell?! It was hard enough getting the little suckers in, and then try to negotiate the rice into the little suckers, let alone cutting up 24 little bits of greaseproof paper to gently place into the bottom of each little sucker. I looked at them and thought ‘No Fracking Way!’ I discarded the blind baking and just shoved the little suckers into the oven – she’ll be fracking right! I decided to start prepping the cooking components of the salad I was also making (Salade Nicoise), which would hopefully take my mind off the pastries. It didn’t! When I checked the little suckers, I saw that there were getting too ‘fat’, I wouldn’t be able to coat the inside with melted chocolate, let alone, fit any tiramisu stuff on top. I was pretty close to ‘Screw this, I’ll try it again another day’ but figured I’d come this far, might as well get it right next time. Once the (really cute little) pastries were done, I put them out to cool while I got the rest of the dessert sorted. I had to melt the chocolate the ‘normal’ way cos I don’t have a microwave and it was then that I realised that I hadn’t bought cooking chocolate, just chocolate drops and wondered if it would be any different…neh, she’ll be right! By the time that was ready, the pastry cups were cool enough, and I spooned the melted chocolate into each cup. The recipe says to use  a brush to coat the inside of the cup but I just ended up with a choc-filled cup – see below – that looks ok, right?

Cups - Empty and Choc-filled

I also had to make the ‘coffee liqueur’. Hubby suggested that I make sure I added sugar to it so that it wasn’t too bitter. I used a teaspoon and bit of coffee to two tablespoons of boiled water and, to begin with, a couple of teaspoons of sugar. I had to add more sugar until I felt that there wasn’t too much of the bitterness. At a guess, it may have been about 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar. I put two tablespoons of the ‘coffee liqueur’ into the mixture but it didn’t have enough taste, so I added the rest of the ‘liqueur’ in, too, maybe another tablespoon worth. That helped and the coffee flavour came through. After that, it was a matter of completing the mixture, putting it into a piping back and swirling away. It worked!! I didn’t have enough melted chocolate for decoration, so I just used the chocolate drops. They looked very cute!

Eating – I got Miss 5 to take the first sample. She said “mmmmm, yum!”. Hubby thought they were pretty good and I would have to agree. Between us we managed to eat about half of them and Miss 5 would have eaten more but by the 4th or 5th one, she had had enough of the tiramisu and only wanted to eat the chocolate filled pastry! Hubby obliged with the tiramisu but I decided that she’d had enough, she might not get to sleep!…or me!

Conclusion – I can understand the pre-made tarts and would like to try this again with a bigger muffin tray. It may be too big. I felt that the bit sized versions were really good and much easier to eat that a bigger one. I will be happy to try both versions out, as a comparative study of course!!

The final product....not too shabby!

Salade Niçoise – pg 87

Ingredients – Had to buy green beans, tomatoes, tuna, anchovies & eggs. Total $13.56

Cooking – I knew this dinner was going to be easy to make, so I decided to make dessert as well (Mini Tiramasu Tarts). I cooked the potatoes and eggs together, putting the eggs in the pot the water had boiled and just let it ‘more-than-simmer-but-less-than-boil’ for about ten minutes – I like my eggs hard boiled – and just poured boiling water over the beans. Things were a little bit tense because things with the MTTs weren’t going too well. I got the MTTs all done before I put together the salad. The hardest thing was the mess – all the oil from the tuna as I squeezed it out! I tell you what, the salad bowl filled up pretty quick and looked goooood! Between this and the MTTs, I honestly couldn’t be arsed with the dressing and just served the salad as it was!!

Eating – There was so much going on with this salad. Saltiness from the anchovies and olives, crunchiness and slight bitterness of the beans, warmth and softness of the eggs…it was a food adjective heaven! Hubby thought dinner was “fresh, crisp & yum” but had to add a bit of pepper and mayo to it. Miss 5 only got what I thought she’d eat – potato, egg, beans, tuna and we bit o’ lettuce – she didn’t really eat the beans but I made her eat one and ate the rest. She at it without too much complaint, it’s better than nothing. Master 3 was passed out on the couch (the visit from the girls up the road had wiped him out!), so I didn’t have to watch him agonise over all the veges that would’ve been on his plate.

Conclusion – A successful meal in my books and super healthy. Plenty left over for lunch tomorrow, ohhhhh yeaaah!