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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Italian Pork Tenderloin

The last of the pork tenderloin has been used. It was delicious and I don’t regret buying 7 trays of it and freezing them one bit, even though I had never cooked pork tenderloin previously. Sometimes you just have to take an opportunity when it presents itself and trust that you will make something good out of it.

This was the last of it and I wanted to make it count. This was a super tasty meal that I will make again should the opportunity present itself in the form of more tenderloin on sale. I might even try it substituting chicken, it should still hold up well.

Italian Pork Tenderloin
4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped bacon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
750g pork tenderloin, cut into strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute the bacon, sage, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and onion 5 minutes, until onion is tender.
Mix the pork strips into the skillet, and brown about 10 minutes, turning once.
Stir the broth and heavy cream into the skillet, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.


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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)


Pork Belly Rub

So, nothing much happening in my life that is noteworthy. Just eating and sleeping and working. Any other time is spent pottering in the garden. I did repot a mint plant this week that took ½ hour to remove from its current pot, mint is tenacious. Despite its reluctance to move it should be much happier in its new pot with plenty of room to expand.

While I was struggling with my stubborn and ungrateful mint plant my dinner was roasting away in the oven. I fancied trying a new dry rub on some pork belly strips (I actually fancied lamb chops but there were none to be found in the freezer, so I settled for pork). I found a recipe here that sounded good and then changed it because I didn’t need that amount of dry rub that I’d never tried before and I like to change everything anyway. Having made some and tasted it, I think I will make myself a batch and keep it handy as I found it pretty enjoyable.

Pork Belly Rub

1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp Mexican chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients and rub over 5 pork rashers.
Place in a 200C oven for 1 hour or until cooked through with crispy skin.

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BBQ pork belly strips

Here is a recipe that I hashed together from several online ideas and what I have in my pantry. The measurements are pretty subjective I, as usual, just kind of bunged in a good blob of this and a spoonful of that until it tasted good to me.
I have added brown sugar to the recipe below although I didn’t use it myself. I have a sweet sticky soy sauce that negates the need for sugar, I actually added a little salt to balance it out.

The rest of the crew ate these with rice, I had broccoli because I like it and I am trying to eat more vegetables (broccoli is my favourite vegetable just in case you were wondering).

BBQ pork belly strips

500g pork belly slices
4 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ready-made barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon cider apple vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon prepared Horseradish
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger

Mix all sauce ingredients together.
Marinate pork belly in sauce overnight.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Place pork and marinade into oven proof dish and cook for 45 mins.
Turn once during cooking.
Try for some crispy burnt edges on the skin, it turns caramelly and good.


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Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

Lunch/Dinner today was amazing. I write it like that because I ate it like that. We had a pork roast flavoured with thyme, onion powder and garlic salt, great combination. With rice and roast potatoes, broccoli and gravy (I am not an apple sauce fan) for lunch around midday and then had dessert around 6pm for dinner because we were all so stuffed with lunch there was no room for dessert at the time.

I don’t often make desserts these days but this was one of those ones that just begged to be made. Every time we stop somewhere for coffee my husband orders a mocha so when I came across this recipe in my database I just had to try it out right away. Heaven knows how long I have had this recipe but once it saw the light of day it played on my mind until I made it. It was delicious. I ate an enormous piece and will go back for more in the ensuing days. It is richly coffee flavoured with enough chocolate to give it a mocha bent but not to overpower the coffee. Mmm fabulous!

Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

1 Tbs instant coffee granules
1 Tbs hot water
200 gm chocolate ripple biscuits
125 gm butter melted
200 gm milk chocolate coarsely chopped (gives you a couple of pieces from the block to gobble)
2 x 250 gm cream cheese brought to room temperature
395 gm condensed milk
250 ml thickened cream

Release base from 22 cm pan and line base and sides with foil.
Combine the coffee and hot water and set aside to cool.
Crush the biscuits into a fine crumb, blend in the butter and then transfer to the pan.
Use the back of a spoon to spread and press firmly into base. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave on a low heat until the chocolate melts and is smooth, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
Place the cream cheese, condensed milk and 250 mL of cream into a bowl and process until mixture is smooth.
Add the chocolate and coffee mixture to the cream cheese mixture and process until well combined. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface.
Place in freezer for 8 hours or until firm.
Remove cheesecake from freezer and cut immediately (if you live in Australia and everything melts in seconds flat) or leave out to soften slightly to make cutting easier.
Serve with extra whipped cream and grated chocolate if desired or just indulge in more than you really should then hide the rest back in the freezer and try (unsuccessfully) to forget about it (I swear it is calling my name!).


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Leftover inspired Soup

Chinese Pork, the day after…
So what do you do when you have a good chunk of Chinese Pork leftover in the fridge? Of course you make an Asian inspired soup from it and anything else you have lying around that seems to fit.

So, as this was completely made up as I went along there is no real recipe to share. However I will do my best to remember what I did.

I had two chicken carcasses, with stuffing intact from shop bought BBQ chickens in the freezer, so those went into a big pot of water. After boiling for a good long time I strained all the solids out of the broth and put the broth back on the stove.

A packet of dried Chinese mushrooms was lurking in a box at the top of the pantry so they went in also. A good bunch of silver beet from the garden was washed, chopped roughly and added. The Chinese roast pork was sliced thinly and added also.

Once the mushrooms were tender I added a block of frozen udon noodles to the pot and tasted the results. A blob of oyster sauce, a splash of fish sauce and things seemed to taste just right.

Served up in a nice deep bowl with all the utensils needed (I use a fork and a spoon, I am hopeless at chop sticks) plonked on the couch with an episode of Bizarre Foods to entertain me while I ate. Best leftovers ever!


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Chinese BBQ Pork

What does my brain immediately dream up when I see pork fillets displayed in the meat section of my local grocery shop? Chinese BBQ pork that is what! I saw these two fillets for sale and that was my first and only thought, this would be a plan that would NOT be waivered from.

So pork in hand I began preparations. I marinated the pork overnight, just to get that flavour and the redness into the pork (the flavour is great but I wanted that red ‘take away Chinese’ visual component also)

This was cooked in our hooded BBQ outside and aside from the whole thing catching alight in the process, it cooked beautifully. Bit of a fat fire in the bottom of the BBQ, nothing to really worry about although it did give me a few anxious moments hoping that my carefully prepared meal wasn’t going to end up as charcoal.

Chinese Barbeque Pork

1 kg pork fillet
2 star anise, crushed
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 large clove garlic
1½ teaspoons red food colouring

For the marinade, combine all ingredients together and mix well.
Pour over pork, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally if possible.
Barbeque pork, brushing with marinade, for around 15 minutes.

1 tablespoon of Chinese five spice powder can be substituted for the star anise.

I also put the marinade on the stove and reduced it, stirring in a few chopped green onions while the pork was cooking. We poured this over the pork and rice when we served it up.