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Emigrated from America to New Zealand and never looked back. Couldn't have asked for a better husband, family & life!


I have been seeing recipes for this everywhere lately and decided I wanted to give it a go.  I looked at several that sounded good and found this one that I modified slightly to suit our tastes.  http://kirbiecravings.com/2014/08/crispy-golden-pork-belly.html

So here is how you make a really nice pork belly, which is probably best cut into small pieces and served as an appetizer, but we had it last night for dinner with green salad and mashed potatoes.

This recipe does take a bit of pre-planning, but it's really worth the little bit of extra prep when you taste how well it turns out.

Step one - is to marinate the pork, covered in the fridge, but not let the marinade touch the skin.  I used a slight variation of the original recipe (Kirby Cravings).  My marinade was soy sauce, garlic, Thai sweet chili sauce, ginger, and a bit of Chinese cooking wine.  

Pre-heat the oven to about 180 C.

Step two - is to remove the pork from the marinade, score the skin and rub it down with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Step three - is to completely cover the entire skin with a thick coating of salt (mine took just under a cup of salt).  This creates a thick crust that soaks up a good portion of the excess fat and water to dry out the skin to improve the quality of the crackling.

Step four - is to put the pork onto a rack in a shallow roasting dish, adding about an inch of water but not allowing the water to touch the pork.

Step five - put the dish into the oven for about an hour. (Kirby's recipe states 40 minutes, but I left mine a bit longer)

Step six - remove the pork from the oven just long enough to remove the salt crust and put the dish back into the oven...bumping up the heat to about 250 C....for about another 45 minutes or, until crispy & golden (again, Kirby's recipe indicated about another 30 minutes, but mine took quite a bit longer to get crispy).

It turned out brilliantly and the meat was moist & tender with crispy and slightly salty crackling.  I think that cut into bite-sized pieces, maybe stacked on a toothpick with a bit of crispy potato or something slightly acidic to cut the fat of the pork, would make a nice appetizer...if you have the patience for that sort of thing.

That's about all for now.  Happy cooking!


(Hakata Mon Style)

One of my old favourite places to eat in Beaverton (Oregon) was a Japanese place called Hakata Mon that a very close friend introduced me to. Unfortunately, I hear the place is no longer there, but one thing I will never forget is their wonderful salad dressing...that, and their Udon dishes with the wriggling tuna flakes on top!

Recently, my family was at a local teppanyaki style restaurant here and their salad dressing took me back to Hakata Mon in Beaverton. I asked if I could buy some to take home or if they could share the recipe, but I just got the shy Asian “no, sorry”. Darn it!!!

Well, I am pretty good at identifying and recreating flavours (if I really put my mind to it), so I Googled Japanese dressing recipes and have been experimenting. I have found a really good combination that is incredibly close and exceptionally tasty, so here it is...go ahead and give it a go (unless you have nut allergies, in which case I will post a nut-free Miso dressing recipe for you soon).

One thing I suggest too, is that you cut your greens fairly finely and grate in other veggies like carrots, courgettes (zucchinis) and beetroot. There's not much worse (in foodie terms) than not being able to enjoy a salad because the greens are still whole and too difficult to manipulate with either a fork or chopsticks! I use fancy curly lettuce and cut it into fine ribbons then add chopped or torn herbs and other grated veggies.


1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
½ Tsp Crushed Ginger
½ Cup Chopped Celery
½ Cup Peanut Oil
1/3 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Ketchup
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper to Taste


Combine all ingredients in a large jug and puree with an immersion blender (stick blender) until smooth and no longer lumpy. Alternatively, you can combine everything in a standard blender, so long as it will liquify the chunks.

That's it! This one is just too easy not to try, and you will be ever so grateful you did!




Well, I know it's been ages since I posted anything, but here's one new recipe I thought was worth sharing... Now, I couldn't remember my Dad's recipe, but I found and modified one that Alton Brown did a while back. You see, I bought ground pork (pork mince) when I saw it because it can sometimes be hard to come by, but then thought, "what the heck am I going to do with it this time?". I have done the meatloaf thing, and stuffed peppers, mushrooms, and made burgers, so...meatballs were the obvious solution.

I did try to talk hubby into eating out since we were running errands anyway, but he pointed out to me, to my reluctant agreement, that mince (ground meat) should be used right away. Hmph...well, when we arrived home I started mincing the onions, so here is how you can make these tasty meatballs too.

First, my notes: I used panko bread crumbs rather than fresh white bread (we don't buy white bread normally, and I didn't think wholegrain bread would be the same). I also didn't add any ground beef because I had a rather large package of pork. Alton’s recipe didn’t call for sherry or sweet wine, but a splash would be good in the sauce, added just as the roux is ready and before adding the stock. Lastly, I didn't use heavy cream either, only regular cream because I had just enough to do the sauce, and didn't want to open a new container.


½ Cup Onion (1 Small Onion), minced and sautéed till soft and clear
½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs (or 2 Slices White Bread, torn up)½ Cup Milk
2 Egg Yolks
½ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Black Pepper
¼ Tsp Ground Allspice
¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Kilo (~2 Lbs) Ground Pork Mince
¼ Cup Clarified Butter
¼ Cup White Flour
3 Cups Beef Stock
¼ Cup Cream (Heavy Cream if you want it richer)

First preheat the oven to about 95°C/200°F and put an ovenproof baking dish inside to warm.

In a medium bowl, soak bread or crumbs in milk and set aside.

Using a teaspoon or two of the butter, gently sauté the onion and set aside to cool.

Now add the egg yolks, spices and meat to the bowl and mix well with your hands...no better way to make sure everything is combined and evenly distributed.

Add the sautéed onions to the bowl and mix in well.

Roll about 30 meatballs and place onto a plate or sheet ready to brown in a skillet.

Cook about 6 or 8 of the meatballs at a time (using another teaspoon or so of the butter if needed) in a skillet about 7 minutes over medium-high heat until browned all over, then transfer into the dish in the oven to keep warm.

Once the meatballs are done, pour the remaining butter into the skillet and add the flour, whisking to make a roux and allowing it to cook about 2 minutes or so.

Now add your dash of sherry or wine (if using any) and then slowly add the stock a cup at a time, stirring gently to avoid lumps and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the sauce begins to thicken, add the cream and continue stirring and cooking until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.

Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve with wide egg noodles (if you have them).
Unfortunately, all I had in the pantry as far as pasta goes, was egg vermicelli and large shell pasta, neither is ideal, but the meatballs were very good with the thin vermicelli noodles last night. I have friends who serve Swedish Meatballs with rice, which might also work, but the wide egg noodles are what I remember from years gone by, and that’s what I would personally try to stick with. Anyway, it’s a perfectly yummy meal with a green salad or steamed veggies.