Sunday dinner – slow roasted pork belly with arugula & fennel salad


It’s been a week already, I still haven’t got my last Sunday dinner blogged! That’s so bad, not because I am lazy, I am just too busy and no time to write. Well, the good thing is, I still have time to cook, which is more important!

Last Sunday, I cooked a roasted pork belly, I’ve been thinking to cook that one for quite some time, and I’ve finally made it last week. I should have cooked more, but just because the piece that I’ve found is quite pricey, so I ended up with this small piece. 

Make sure you give the pork belly a good wash, and dry it before starting to cook. We need to score the skin of the pork belly with a sharp knief to create this diagonal checks pattern, not too deep, something around 5mm. Cutting like this helps to have a crunchy skin, which is important and you don’t want the skin ended up like a piece of rubber. Season the pork belly with salt, pepper, fennel seed, and maybe some herbs that you like, such as oregano or thyme.

Use a bake tray or a pan that you can put in the oven later on, hit it up with olive oil, then put the garlic, one whole fennel bulb that chopped into strips, let them fry a bit and season them with fennel seed, the herbs at your choice, salt and pepper, place the pork belly in the pan with skin side facing down, until the skin is slightly brown. Flip the pork belly over, pour some white wine in and let it cook for few minutes. Now, pour in some pork stock or vegetable stock to cover 2/3 of the pork belly, put it into the a pre-heat oven under 160C to slowly roast it for 2.5 hours. 

I found it a bit too burnt for the skin, it is crunchy, just I wonder if it will help if I can wet the skin every now and then with the sauce / oil to keep it moist. I will try it out next time. I serve the pork belly with arugula and fennel salad, I think to tie back with the fennel in the pork belly.

Refreshing spaghetti with lemon, prosciutto and arugula – perfect for Summer!

Continuing my Summer dishes idea for hot Summer here in Hong Kong, I was thinking to cook a simple but refreshing pasta. Pesto pasta could be a good option, but seems too regular and kind of boring. Trying to get some inspiration…  browsing on internet to see if there is anything to reference to? Found this recipe, spaghetti with lemon! This is quite new to me, I would never think of doing pasta like this, maybe I should give it a try.

The ingredients are pretty simple, spaghetti, lemon, prosciutto, arugula, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, red chili and butter. First of all, you can start with boiling a big pot of water, and get ready for cooking the spaghetti. While waiting for the boiling, let’s get the lemon ready, get some lemon zest from one lemon, then get the juice out of it. Take another lemon or half lemon, depends on how much acidity you want to add to your dish, cut the lemon in slices. When the water is up to boil, add salt and cook the spaghetti according to the cooking time on the package, then drain them but save some pasta water for later. Put all spaghetti back to the sauce pan, pour some pasta water into the pasta and add butter, a bit of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic and some red chili or red chili flakes, give it a good mix, and feel free to add some pasta water if you feel is needed. Then, add lemon slices, prosciutto, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley into the spaghetti, and finally mix them nicely, then serve them with a touch of parsley on top as garnish.

My husband think this dish is a bit too sour, you definitely can adjust the dish with the amount of lemon juice and lemon slices to make it less sour. But I kind of love the freshness from the lemon, especially for Summer time!

Orange Pork Rib with Orange Salad

We’ve done a small party at home on Saturday night, and I was cooking for 8 of us. Nothing new, just trying to re-cook some dishes, as some of my friends would love to try my cooking. I was planning to cook two different salad as starter, but I ended up with making only one. Having the ingredients ready at home, it’s good to cook something that can go with this salad. Since the salad is with oranges as one of the key ingredient, I am thinking to cook something with orange as well. How about pork ribs with orange? I think taste wise should go very well together, so let’s do it!

First of all, season the pork ribs with salt and pepper, let them sit for a while. Put some butter in a hot pan, then fry the chopped onion until they turned brown. Place the pork ribs in the pan and fry each side of the ribs, then cut one entire garlic in half and let it sit on the pan. You can switch off the fire now and start preparing all ingredients for the grilling part, of course you also need to preheat your oven with 210C. Place ginger slices and orange slices in the pan, get them evenly distributed nicely in the pan. Then, put the sauce in, make sure the sauce is on every single rib. The sauce is a mix of light soy sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place the pan in the oven and grill for 30-40 minutes under 210C, or until the pork ribs turn golden brown. You might need the turn the ribs in the middle of the way.

For the salad, it’s super easy! Just place arugula in a big salad bowl, then cut the fennel bulb into thin strips, and the orange in slices without skin. Mix them well and serve with the salad dressing with olive oil, mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon juice.

The taste of the salad and the pork ribs go really well together, as they are both with orange flavour and the sauce for pork ribs vs the salad dressing are very similar. I’ve also tried the orange from the pork ribs, also taste very good with the ginger flavour with the rich taste from the marinated sauce.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shank with Potato and Green Bean Salad

I remembered one Italian dish that those Italian love to eat so much, it’s the veal knuckle, Osso Buco.  I was thinking to look for a recipe of that online, but then I ended up with this lamb shank instead. Looks yummy and would love to try, as I love slow cooking that seems more healthy. So I found this recipe of Gordon Ramsay, let’s try it out.

Since this is a slow cook dish, that means it will take long time for cooking, so I better get the grocery shopping done as early as possible. Back home and try to get the lamb shanks marinated first, as least let that sit there for half an hour. Marinate the lamb shanks with salt, pepper, dry oregano, cumin seed, paprika, garlic, red and green chilli, cinnamon sticks and a bit of olive oil. Let them sit there for at least half an hour, meanwhile we can work on getting the onion and carrots chopped and ready.

Heat up the sauce pan with olive oil, fry the lamb shanks, make sure to fry the entire surface. Then, add the chopped onion and carrots and some bay leaves in the pan. Pour half to a full bottle of red wine, bring it to boil and it cook for 15 minutes. Then, add the beef stock and move the pot into the oven and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours under  160C. Gordon suggested not to put the lid, and I found the top part of the lamb shanks a bit burnt and dry, so make sure you turn the lamb shanks every 30 to 45 minutes.

For the salad, boil the potatoes and cut them in pieces when they are done, let them cool down. Steam the green beans, and let them cool down too. Put the potatoes and green beans in a large bowl when they are cooled down, season them with a bit of salt and pepper, then add the arugula and mix everything well together.

To serve the dish, place the salad on the plate, then serve with one lamb shank on top. Use the stock in the pot as sauce for both the lamb shank and the salad, and add some mint on the lamb shank as a final touch.

 

Easter Saturday dinner – Grilled Herring with Orange, Fennel and Arugula Salad

One of our couple friend got too many herring by mistake and they are off for Easter holiday, so they gave us five herrings. So I have to cook something with the herrings during this Easter holiday.

That’s what I came up with, grilled herring with orange, fennel and arugula salad.

Let’s get the herring clean and get the filet out from the whole fish. Chop the head and tail off, then cut the fish open and get all the inner parts out, then cut from the bone and slide the filet off. Well, actually there are still a lot of bones, it is so tough to clean up all the tiny little bones. Pre-heat the oven and meantime can get the salad ready.

Cut the fennel bulb into thin slices, place them into a big salad bowl. Then, cut half of a red onion into thin slices, place them into the bowl as well. Then, remove the skin from two oranges, and then cut them into regular slices. Lastly, put arugula into the salad bowl, mix everything well together. Now, get the dressing ready, this dressing can be used for both the salad and the fish. The dressing will be with olive oil, mustard, honey, a bit of salt and lemon juice.

When the oven is ready, switch to 210C and place all herring filet in a tray, no need to season with salt because the herring is quite salty. Just season with pepper and olive oil. Grill them in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are done. Squeeze some lemon juice on top, and garnish them with chopped basil and parsley. Serve the fish together with the salad and some bread.

CNY brunch – Golden Baked Eggs

Happy Chinese New Year, today is the New Year’s Day, Kung Hei Fat Choy. We don’t have to go visit any relatives, so good to sleep in. Woke up a bit late, and let’s do a nice brunch for the two of us, something nice looking to start the Year of the Monkey.

I always want to bake eggs with the muffin tray, because they will look so nice and cute.  First of all, brush butter all around the tray inside, make sure nothing is going to get stuck there later on. Toast 2 pieces of bread, cut into 4 pieces and stuck each piece into the tray as a base, and brush some butter on each toast. Chop some ham into small pieces, place them on top of the toast, and put any kind of dip or sauce you like, for example mayonnaise, and I am using the avocado dip I’ve done last night. Then, cut the cherry tomatoes into four pieces, and place them into the tray. Finish it with an egg on top, nicely fill up the entire tray, and season each of them with salt and pepper.

Place the tray in the pre-heat oven under 180C for around 15 minutes, add some parmesan cheese on top 5 minutes prior done. When they are done, remove them slowly from the tray, and serve them on the plate or board. Garnish them with some arugula or spring onion and parmesan cheese, season them with some black pepper as well.

Pair it up with pears – two pear dishes


Fruit is part of the healthy diet, and it’s good to do some simple dishes with fruit, especially canapés or salad. Today, I am going to talk about two dishes with pear.

The first one is a simple canapés that you can simple get it done in 10 minutes. All you need is pears, lemon, arugula, prosciutto and cheese, choose the kind of cheese you like, as cheese sometimes could be very personal. Some people like to go with the blue cheese, but some might think it’s a bit too strong. I like parmesan cheese most of the time, so it’s up to you, and I feel the pear can kind of go nicely with any kind of cheese. So, just cut the pear in wedges, and splash a bit of lemon juice on them to add the flavour. Then, simply just use a piece of prosciutto to wrap the pear with some arugula and a bit of the cheese that you like. Isn’t it so simple?

If this one is simple, the next one will be even more easy! This one I ate in Italy one time and I just love it, love the simplicity of it, but yet so tasty. Just simply cut the pear into slides and top it with parmesan cheese in thin slides, and finish it with a bit of basil on top. Season it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That’s it! How simple but lovely!