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Food, general thoughts, food…


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Oven Baked BBQ Pork Belly

I have house guests so I am cooking a lot recently but have not been very good with keeping up the posting. I will try to catch up over the next few days.

My house guests are incredibly brave people who have immigrated to Australia with a suitcase each and a dream of a better life. I cannot but wonder at their bravery and support their hopes and dreams. I was fortunate enough to have been born here, if not for that accident of birth I may have been in their position. I am grateful every day for the fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to walk freely in the streets without risk of attack, injury or death. We, in Australia, are indeed lucky and I have seen enough of the world to know and appreciate it.

Oven Baked BBQ Pork Belly

4 Tbls tomato sauce
1 Tbls ready made BBQ sauce
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls oil
1 Tbls cider vinegar
1 Tbls sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbls Kecap Manis
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger

500g pork belly strips

Mix all sauce ingredients.
Place pork in a baking dish.
Pour over sauce and marinate for a few hours.
Preheat oven to 200C
Cook for 45 mins or until cooked and crisp.
Serve with rice or vegetables.

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillet

I was fortunate a while back to procure a large amount of pork fillets on special. I stocked the freezer with them and have been cooking them this way and that for the past few months. The recipe (found here at the gourmet garden) gave me the idea for the recipe below which is very similar to the original. The only changes are the use of fresh herbs rather than packaged ones and I never peel my potatoes, also I just stirred the flavourings through the potatoes, I didn’t feel like mash.

It was all fabulous.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillet

500 g pork fillet
12 slices bacon
1½ Tbls fresh Parsley minced
½ Tbls Garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Cracked pepper

1 kg starchy potatoes, cut into 2 cm chunks
Butter
2 Tbls Basil pesto

Combine parsley, garlic, pepper and mustard in a bowl.
Butterfly the pork fillet.
Stuff with the mustard mixture then wrap pork with bacon one rasher at a time, overlapping the ends.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
Cook each side of the pork slowly until light golden brown.
Pour 100 ml of water into the pan, cover and let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off and let the fillet rest in the pan for 5 minutes before cutting it into 1.5 cm slices.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain potatoes well and stir through butter, salt and pepper.
Stir in the Basil pesto.


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Chicken Vesuvio

There is a phrase (winner, winner, chicken dinner) that has gained sudden popularity or regained, I imagine, as it seems to have originated in the 70’s or there abouts. I hate it, it is one of those nonsense things that should not bother me but it really does and then I get annoyed at myself for being annoyed, vicious circle….

anyway, while I struggle with my little neurosis it at least brings me to todays meal…

Chicken Vesuvio

8 chicken drumsticks
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 large potatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 180C.

Sprinkle chicken pieces evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat
oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add chicken; cook 3
minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Add potatoes to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Return
chicken to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt,
broth, white wine, fresh oregano, and minced garlic; bring to a
simmer.

Cover and bake at 180C for 40 minutes or until chicken is done and
potatoes are tender.
Makes 4 servings.


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Spinach Rice with Cheese

I hate to waste food and rice in particular always seems to be leftover in our house. I often make a quick, stove top rice pudding out of it but sometimes there is that much that I need to make a main meal just to use it all up. Being on my own for a few days again I was able to consider using a few ingredients that wouldn’t have been appreciated by my husband, such as an entire bag of spinach (I used fresh because I had it, even though the recipe called for frozen). I also used up a tin of cream of chicken soup that was lounging in my cupboard doing nothing useful but working its way steadily towards the use by date (I hate canned soup on its own but it makes a handy ingredient for a quick and easy recipe or two so I normally have a can or two in the pantry)

It is not necessarily pretty to look at but this could be a tasty side dish with a steak or sausages. I was happy to have it for dinner on its own and it made enough for several meals if you have company or don’t mind eating the same thing for a few days.

Spinach Rice with Cheese

1 1/2 Tbls butter
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 chopped green onions
1 can cream of chicken soup
280g package chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Melt butter. Stir fry garlic, rice and onions until onions are tender, stir often , about 4 minutes.
Add soup and simmer until heated through.
Add spinach, simmer until wilted. Remove from heat, add cheese.


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Easy Pork Bulgogi

Needing something warm and comforting, Asian inspired because I was craving that special blend of spices, a teeny touch of heat because that seemed to be in order also. I did a quick search on the net and came up with the following from Best Recipes. (link to the original here Easy Pork Bulgogi)

Kecap Manis is my newest favourite thing in the world. I spied it on my supermarket shelf and was running low on soy sauce so grabbed it on impulse. I was taken aback by the sweetness of it, it has a strong molasses like flavour and I find it much nicer than traditional soy sauce. I still have both in the cupboard but if a recipe calls for soy sauce and sugar I substitute the Kecap Manis most of the time. It has a depth of flavour that I really enjoy.

Easy Pork Bulgogi

300 g pork belly sliced
5 tsp soy sauce (I used kecap manis and added a bit of salt and ommitted the brown sugar)
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp chilli paste (use sweet chilli sauce if you don’t like the slow burn of straight chilli)
1 spring onion chopped
1 tsp garlic minced
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs rice wine
1 tsp brown sugar (didn’t use it, kecap manis is a molassasy thick soy sauce and quite sweet)

Mix all ingredients, except pork, together, then stir pork slices through.
Marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Cook in frying pan until cooked and lightly blackened on both sides.
(my frying pan didn’t get hot enough to blacken the pork, it was damn tasty though)


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Spicy Chicken Roulade

Thanks to The Greedy Foodie for the inspiration for this recipe!
Of course I changed things from the original, I have never been able to follow a recipe.
Here is link to the original recipe at The Greedy Foodie. 

This was super yummy, one of those meals that when you have finished and you are full you are totally disappointed that you don’t have enough room left for more. I just wanted a second, third and fourth helping of this chicken. In danger of actually exploding, I stuck with the one helping and made plans to make this again very soon.

Spicy Chicken Roulade

2 boneless chicken breasts
Oil  spray
1 Tbls finely chopped jalapenos
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 cup of grated cheese (any kind you like)
Salt and Pepper
Breadcrumbs 

Butterfly the chicken breast. Use a meat mallet to flatten slightly.
Salt and pepper the chicken.
Mix other ingredients, barring the cheese, in a bowl.
Spread the filling on the chicken breast and press cheese over filling.
Roll chicken tightly then press on breadcrumbs.
Place seam downwards on an oven tray and pour a little oil over each breast.
Bake at 200C in the oven until cooked through.


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Chicken stuffed with Fetta and Spinach

I have mentioned in passing that I was overseas for a period of time recently. I went to South Africa again and travelled around a bit.

Firstly we stayed a few days in a self-catering cabin the mountains in a farming community, beautiful, misty mornings, green grass, cool weather, rocky gardens, horses, dams stocked with bass, just lovely. Not very ‘African’ though, more like England.

We moved on and spent the second half of our visit at a game lodge with much more of an ‘African’ atmosphere. It was called Shayamoya .

Visit the Shayamoya web page!

There were game drives and boat cruises, tigerfish fishing trips or even in house massage available all of which was very enjoyable (except the massages, I don’t go in for all that touchy feely stuff, I am sure if I did they would have been wonderful though, everything else was). The rooms were comfortable and private (with private outdoor showers, which I loved. There is a bath inside if you are not so inclined)

But of course the one thing that I would take note of over all others was the food and it was well worth the notice! The kitchen staff, under their head chef, outdid themselves night after night. Everything that came out of that kitchen was amazing, even on the night that a snake took up residence under the refrigerator and put a real scare into the staff, they danced around it and still managed to prepare a meal fit for kings.

The gardens that the cabins were set in were beautifully maintained and contained a very interesting collection of aloes and other plants, clearly marked with their names and the view over the wetlands was amazing from our balcony.
It was honestly one of the most relaxing and enjoyable holidays I have ever had and I have to shout out a big thank you to Lindy and her staff for making it so lovely and enjoyable. Trust me, I will be telling everyone, if you want somewhere great to spend a holiday that is relatively inexpensive (at least compared to Australia) book yourself into Shayamoya, you won’t regret it for a second. And the food is fabulous!

Chicken stuffed with Fetta and Spinach

2x chicken breasts
Baby Spinach
Chili Marinated Fetta
Parmesan Cheese

Cut a pocket into each chicken breast. Stuff with as much spinach and fetta as it will hold.
Sprinkle with parmesan and pour a little of the fetta oil over each breast.
Bake in a moderate oven until cooked through.

Garlic Butter Beans

Green beans
Butter
Garlic
Salt & Pepper

Cut green beans as desired (slicing them lengthwise is nice if you have the patience)
Boil or steam to your preferred crispness.
Drain and stir in butter and garlic.
Salt and pepper to taste.