Pork shoulder fillet braised in garlic, ginger and honey north of carrot and red chilli, served on wilted Chinese leaf.
- In a skillet with some water, make a broth of minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, carrot and red chilli. When the water comes to a boil, incorporate about a tablespoon of honey, depending on how much broth you’ve made. Taste the broth, it should be a sweetish-salty flavour.
- Set in the fillet of pork and braise till done.
- When the pork is almost done, add in the Chinese leaf and remove all once cooked.
This is the Kuala Lumpur variant of Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles, similar to the usual Chinese Stir-Fry, but going crazy with the rendered lard and dark soy sauce, the darker the better.
- Get your noodles, or linguine boiling in a pot and have your ingredients all ready. Drain your noodles or pasta as soon as they’re done. This is important ‘cos stir-frying is a whizz, no time for chopping carrots while your garlic is burning away into a pile of charred lumps.
- In a screaming hot wok of a tablespoon of oil, get your slices of Chinese sausage, or lardons in.
- Add minced garlic, minced onion and a slice of ginger into the wok to flavour the oil.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Carrots go in ‘cos they take longer to cook through.
- Once your carrots are almost done, add a small bit of oil and crack in a egg, stirring it about erratically till about done.
- Then, add in your marinated (minus soy sauce) Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork, stir-frying it with small quantities of the noodle boiling water.
- Toss in leafy green vegetables and drained noodles.
- Go crazy with the dark soy sauce till it’s all nice and blackish. (Bear in mind that doing this can get VERY salty, so the darker the soy sauce, the better.)
- Season with light soy sauce if necessary.
- Add a generous pinch of sugar and still happily away.
I tried my hand at making some risotto for myself and went ballistic. It became kinda like a risotto version of fried rice.
Risotto of carrot, Chinese sausage, Camembert and mint.
- In a skillet with a little oil, toss in the Chinese sausage brunoise, or chorizo slices. Fry about till fragrant.
- Put in minced shallots, and welcome the Aroma Fairies. Your kitchen hasn’t smelt this good in awhile. ‘Awhile’ probably ranging from four hours ago to four months ago.
- Add the arborio rice and a generous splash of red wine. Cook till wine almost evaporates completely.
- Stir the mixture continuously, adding chicken stock in small quantities each time the skillet rice is almost dry, until the grains are firm to the pinch but soft to the bite, then turn off the heat.
- Stir in bits of torn Camembert and mint leaves.
A ballotine, which means ‘bundle’, is a French dish made of deboned meat fish or poultry (sometimes the whole animal) filled with stuffing and then rolled and tied into a bundle. It is roasted, poached or braised, and can be served hot or cold.
In this case, I made a couple of ballotines of pork shoulder and turkey breast, served on a bed of crushed peas and lemon-seasoned chopped peppers.
It’s a great thing that there’s still Christmas turkey left in the fridge, having it with a small bit of cranberry sauce is exquisite. The flavour of the bird having a friendly tug-o-war with the earthy aroma of pork is simply lovely. Not forgetting the fresh crunch of carrot ribbon rolls and subtle sweetness of the vegetables.
It’s amusing, I made a serving of couscous to go along with this; I need my carbs.
Remember Pasta Evolution?
Well, this not for the faint-hearted; it’s incredibly extravagant and unforgivably heart-stopping. Out from the fat rendered from bacon, an Aglio Olio dish is born.
- Same old drill: Set your pasta boiling away in a pot.
- Using a small knob of butter, get the bacon into a skillet.
- Render the fat out before tossing in a generous amount of minced garlic, chilli, dried basil and oregano.
- Toss in sliced pork, which has been marinated with salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet. Toss about, coating every strand of spaghetti well.
- Grate Parmesan or Cheddar directly on and mix throughly.
- Serve with fresh basil.
Using this Fresh Bread recipe, I made a bunch of wannabe ciabattas by adding bits of minced chilli and pulverised arugula. Then of course, I proceeded to overbake it.
Nope, we don’t have a panini press at home, so I sliced it in half and toasted it. Then filled it with butter, pan-seared pork shoulder, arugula, cheddar and pepper, and smashed it flat with the palm of my hand.
There it is, a ciabatta wannabe, nothing more.
I confess, I am currently obsessed with the ballotine. Rolling meat into a tight bundle and then cooking it makes me happy. It doesn’t help that there is such a sense of excitement when the time is nigh to slice it.
Alright, so maybe pork isn’t so appetising in a ballotine. In any case, a drizzle of sesame oil elevates its flavour immensely. Served with ultra-thin rice noodles, carrot mash and seared lettuce, I am definitely playing with my food.
French-style cooking and Asian flavours, at its best.