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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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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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Rainy day lamb chops

Here is an easy way to prepare lamb chops on a rainy day. I say a rainy day because my husband is a purist and if it had not been bucketing down outside these chops would have been barbequed outside on the Weber to perfection. He is very good at what he does my husband and his lamb chops on the barbeque are to die for.

That being said, yesterday was raining, a lot, so I was free to try something new. We are all glad that I did because these were lovely. Not that it will change anything when the sun comes out again, but I don’t mind, there are times for barbeques and times for casseroles.

Spiced Lamb Cutlets
Serves: 4

2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons barbeque sauce
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6-8 lamb cutlets

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Combine all ingredients, except cutlets, in a bowl.
Arrange cutlets in a shallow ovenproof dish.
Cover with sauce mix and cook for approximately 1 hour, turning after 30 minutes.

(mine marinated in the sauce for half the day before cooking)

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Fruity Lamb Chops

A change from lamb barbequed ‘just as my husband does it’. I put them in the marinade in the morning and we had them for dinner. Sweet and Sourish for want of a better description.

Fruity Lamb Chops

8 lamb midloin chops
1 x 450 g can crushed pineapple
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chilli sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce

Combine, pineapple, garlic, chilli, soy and tomato sauce in bowl. Marinade chops for few hours.
Heat barbeque or frying pan and cook chops to taste.
Remove chops, add marinade to pan and simmer until it bubbles.
Pour sauce over lamb and serve.

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Beef Chow Mein

So, its been a while…
Life has been a bit frantic, and frankly, with everything else going on I really didn’t feel like writing in my (very limited) spare time.

Christmas has been and gone. Immediately prior to that we moved into a new home, well new for us… frankly, well lived in and left less than clean by the previous owners. Lots of elbow grease and vanilla scented cleaning spray later things have come together quite nicely. The best bit is my bottom draw, where I keep my glass bowls, mixers etc, after 5 weeks it still smells of vanilla each time I open it. It immediately gets me in the mood for baking even if I wasn’t to begin with.

So what with moving, cleaning, house guests, Christmas, house guests, cleaning, studying, job hunting and life in general I am a walking migraine with a spell check dependence. Actually my head has been behaving itself lately, up until the past 2 days. It gave me a terrific break over the festive season which I appreciated by working myself half to death squaring the house away. Anyway, thank you Microsoft, for spell check, it is the only thing keeping my post from being completely undecipherable.

I have cooked lots of new things recently, with varying degrees of success. Last night was Beef Chow Mein. Super simple and not too shabby on the tastiness meter either. Enjoyed even by my husband, even though he was warned about the high cabbage content (a vegetable, and green to boot, therefore to be despised!). I shall put this in the ‘possibly again’ pile. By the way, it doesn’t look too appetising, but hey, you are just going to chew it up and swallow it anyway, this almost looks like someone has done the chewing for you already… Urrrk!

Chow Mein
Serves: 4

500 g mince meat
1 packet chicken 2min noodles, crushed
3 cups hot water
½ teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons uncooked rice
½ cabbage, shredded
1 cup French beans (I left them out, didn’t have any to hand)
2 onions, sliced (I used 1 onion)
1 carrot, diced
Salt and pepper (*seemed to need tons of salt which surprised me)

Brown the mince in a large pan.
Add water and noodles, including seasoning packet, and bring to the boil.
Add all other ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender.

*I say ‘tons’ because I rarely cook with much salt and only add a little if required. I had to add a little 3 times to this recipe for it to taste right to me. It was probably the sweetness of the tomato sauce that made it so hard to judge.

*Update: Talking of even the cabbage despising husband tucking into this, he actually reheated some the next day and made toasted sandwiches. What a winner!

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Simple Fare

This is Bacon & White Wine Sauce over spiral pasta. Maybe not my most inspired recipe (and it looks REALLY yellow in the photo) but it tasted like pasta with pizza, so the kids thought it was a winner. Also it took me mere minutes to whip up, once the pasta was cooked it was ready.

Served with lots of black pepper (and tomato sauce in the husbands case) it was a meal I’d make again if I was in a hurry.

Bacon & White Wine Sauce

1 Tbls butter or oil
125g bacon, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbls tomato paste
1/3 cup cream
1 egg, beaten

Heat butter or oil. Fry the bacon until crisp.
Add wine, tomato paste and pepper.
Simmer gently for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
Pour tomato mixture over cooked pasta.
Mix cream and egg together and pour over pasta.
Mix and reheat very gently.

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Awesome Hotdogs

My husband fancied hotdogs last night for dinner.

Now I watch TV, so I am well educated (the public education system has nothing on Discovery channel!) and armed with all sorts of erroneous facts and titbits of information that I don’t need. I also have access to the internet so I am a virtual font of offsite knowledge with Google at my fingertips.

One thing that TV has done for me is introduce me to American food. I watch ‘Man v’s Food’ regularly, you know the one, where he travels around America and finding the best eating places, whilst frequently over indulging in massive platefuls of food that would down a masterdom. This is good food, maybe not necessarily good for you but wholesome and hearty and made with care and pride. We just don’t have places like that where I live, or maybe we do and I just haven’t found them yet.

I review restaurants in my spare time. I eat there, gauge the service, the food quality and the ambiance and then go home and write about it. I don’t get paid to do it, I do it because I am searching for really good food here and I want other people to be able to use my experiences to help them find somewhere decent to eat. My experiences have been varied to say the least. All I want is somewhere that makes me excited when I think ‘let’s go out to eat’, I haven’t found it yet.

Anyway, back to the hotdogs. I know, from experience not to go out looking for a hotdog. They will just be better if I do them myself. Now my husband is a mustard and tomato sauce (ketchup) kind of guy. That is all he wants, not interested in variation. I on the other hand find that a little mundane and was looking to make myself something a bit more special.

Now those people who live in places that have a ‘man v’s food’ eatery nearby will probably find this laughable but I had the BEST hotdog I have ever had last night and I just want to share it. Of course I first spent some happy hours on Google searching out other people’s recipes, then grabbing a handful of ideas that appealed to me I discarded all the recipes and ran to the supermarket for supplies.

Hotdog Frankfurters
Soft Rolls
Cream Cheese
Sweet Onions

Of course I had butter, tomato sauce and mustard in the cupboard

I sliced an onion thinly and fried it in the tiniest bit of butter until it was soft and caramelised.
I added half a block of cream cheese and stirred it up until it was soft.
I spread this on my buns and squeezed on some tomato sauce and slapped in a frank.

I sat and experienced hotdog nirvana!
It made enough for 3 buns and I am not ashamed to say I ate the lot. I have never had a hotdog so good.

My husband had sauce and mustard and was happy as a pig in mud. In fact he is off fishing today and took a six pack of franks in buns dressed just the way he likes them, just to tide him over until dinner.

Anyway, laugh if you will. If you live anywhere you can get really good food then go out and get some and think of me on my never ending quest for food made with love, and give the hotdogs a try, they really are good.

Sadly for now my motto is: The more I eat out, the more I wish I had eaten in.