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.

Grilled Mussel with Penne Pasta


Long time no see is a Chinese idiom, so long time no cook……. I was away two weeks for business trip, I miss my cooking, of course can’t wait to cook something tonight!

I watched Jamie Oliver’s show the other time, and he was cooking this grilled mussels that go with tomato soup. I was thinking to cook that a while ago, but I guess today I want to do it, but instead of tomato soup, I will make it with pasta.

In order to grill the mussels and penne pasta at the same time, I tried to get both ready almost at the same time. Before cooking anything, it’s better to get everything chopped and ready. First of all, let’s prepare the breadcrumbs for grilling. Mix the breadcrumbs, some Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, some olive oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor. So that’s ready for the grilling part later on. Now to chop everything, garlic, red chilli, onion, celery, tomatoes and coriander, and ready for cooking.

To boil a pot of hot water and cook the penne first, because the cooking time is around 11 minutes. On the other hand, heat up the sauce pan with butter, and put the minced garlic, then chopped onion, fry until the onion turn slightly brown, then add chopped celery and tomatoes and red chilli. When everything is kind of cooked, pour some white wine in, and then add some water or you can add chicken stock. I always think water is good enough already. Then, put the mussels in the sauce pan, and cook for 4 minutes with lid on, then cook it without lid for another 2 to 3 minutes. When all the mussels are opened up, that means all cooked.

Now put the cooked pasta in a bake tray, and pour some stock from the mussels in the tray and mix with the pasta. Then, remove one of the shell from the mussel and let it just sit on the other half of the shell and place it on top of the pasta in the tray to create a layer of mussel. You can let those onion, tomato and celery sit inside of the mussel. After putting all mussels on top of the pasta, then put the breadcrumbs on top of each mussels. And place the tray inside of the pre-heat oven under 190C for around 15 to 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn brown.

Mussels with White Wine Sauce

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Mussels are something nice to eat at the restaurant, and you might think it is difficult to make, which is totally wrong. It is super easy and you can easily achieve a good result. You can give a try, quick and easy, maybe a dish to finish in 20 minutes starting from chopping.

Let’s get all the ingredients chopped nicely, garlic, red chili pepper, onion, tomatoes, celery, parsley and spring onion. It’s up to you, as it all depends on what do you like to eat, feel free to explore, but main ingredients, I would say, they are onion, parsley and some garlic for sure.

Heat the sauce pan with some butter, then put onion and garlic, fry them until they start to turn brown. Then, add the celery and tomatoes, you can add the red chili pepper now, or if you want it more spicy, can add from the beginning together with the garlic. Then, you can put either chicken broth or just water to boil it, also add a bit of white wine. Personality, I think water is good enough and it also turned out tasty, even without chicken broth. Now, you get ready with  the pack of mussels that you bought from the supermarket or food market. I’ve tried different brands, and they are all good. The best thing is, they are just not expensive at all, you save a great deal than eating mussels at the restaurant. For the frozen mussels, you don’t need to defrost them, you just pour them in the sauce right after you took them out from the freezer. Then, cook it around 5 minutes with the lid until shell open, then maybe cook 1 more minute without the lid. Finally put parsley and spring onion, then serve it with some slices of baguette.

The best thing is to dip the baguette with the sauce. So yummy! One thing to remember, no need to put salt, because the mussels should be salty enough.

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Creamy Smoked Salmon Penne Pasta

Cold and rainy night again! What should we eat? Maybe something that can make you feel warm, creamy or cheesy…… Let’s do a creamy pasta, creamy smoked salmon penne pasta.

This dish is creamy and you will feel satisfy after the meal!

I love to add pine nuts for the pasta, love the taste and the consistency.  First of all, before doing anything else, just fry the pine nuts with a pan with a bit of olive oil. You really have to watch it, because it might burnt all of a sudden, as you would not want your pasta with black pine nuts. So, that is ready and you will need that at the end, so better get it done in the beginning without spending time to cook it at the end. Some people just cook it together with the pasta, but I love to fry them a bit to get them taste even better!

To cook the pasta sauce is quick, so you can almost cook the sauce and boil the water for the pasta at the same time. Boil a big pot of hot water for the pasta, on the other hand, get a sauce pan ready. Put some butter in the pan when it’s hot, place some chopped garlic and fry them until golden brown, you can also add some finely chopped onion if you like. Then, add the crème fraîche as you like, around 200 ml, add parmesan cheese or you can add any kind of goat cheese as well, depends on what do you like. Add a touch of  freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a touch of white wine if you like. Cook until the sauce starts to become thick, season it with salt and pepper, then add the salmon. Do not add the salmon too early, as it’s already cooked, no need to extra cook them. At the same time, the penne or any selection of pasta you like, should be ready. The trick to cook the pasta is no tricks! Just pour a tea spoon of salt in the hot water and cook the pasta, duration refer to the cooking time on the package, and keep it with high heat, the result should be always good!

Mix the pasta into the sauce, you can always save some hot water from the pasta, in case you need them if the sauce becomes too dry. Finally, put the pine nuts and chopped parsley and mix them well together, then served them with a touch of black pepper.

Crème fraîche does taste different than a regular creme, but if you cannot find it, can still use the regular creme to cook the sauce. But, it tastes more creamy for sure with the crème fraîche.

 

 

 

Linguine alle Vongole

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I have no idea how the time really flies, and maybe I really woke up too late… By the time I feel it’s about time to start the day, was already 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Was thinking to cook a big dinner as usual on Sunday, but I guess I cannot afford to do it today, still a lot to fix before dinner time. Therefore, I need to change my plan, and cook something simple for dinner. Pasta is something always so easy to cook, and so easy to please.

The other day, I was already thinking about this dish, linguine alle vongole, which is my all time favourite, but I’ve never cook it. It’s difficult because you need to look for fresh clams, not cooking with those frozen ones. When I visit the wet market the other day, I saw them selling fresh seafood, that kind of reminds me, let’s cook this dish one day.

Luckily, there are still clams available, but not the small one. These are bigger, but still OK. Let’s get the rest of the ingredients, parsley, cherry tomatoes, linguine, and that’s it. I have the rest at home, white wine, garlic and red chilies.

As usual, it’s all about timing, when you are handling seafood, plus you are cooking pasta, which should be served when it’s hot. This dish is all about time management! You need to make sure two things are ready at the same time, so that you can merge the pasta into the clams, then you can serve it right away. To cook this dish is super easy and simple, the only thing you need to watch out is just about timing. Of course if you only have one burner in the kitchen is not going to work, as you need two burners running at the same time.

One side of the stove is getting a big pot of hot water ready for your linguine; the other side of the stove is heating up the sauce pan. Just simply heat up the sauce pan with olive oil, then add the garlic, parsley, red chilies and cherry tomatoes, when they are starting to cook, add the clams, and some white wine. Cover the lid and cook for few minutes, until the clams are open. By then, the linguine should be ready, and place them all into the sauce pan, and stir them well together with the clams, and it’s ready to be served.

Very simple and yummy, just took half an hour from preparation to finish. Why don’t you try it out? Nice to pair with a glass of white wine.

Home cooking is always amazing 😉 Cheers~~~