Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Caramelised Pork Belly Sliders

Beautiful bite sized buns made with Kylie Kwong’s Braised Pork Belly.

Quite a few years ago when I went travelling with some friends to Singapore and Japan I found a pair of thick framed glasses (when they were all the rage) that I wore for the hell of it. I was, without any hesitation nicknamed Kylie Kwong; partially in part because of sexual preference but mostly because in some strange way, I LOOKED LIKE HER. Raging, thick framed beauty cooking up a storm in the tiny kitchen of a hostel in Tokyo. So following in tradition, many years later I’ve taken one of Kwong’s best family recipes and used them to make the ultimate pork belly bun.

This two pronged recipe is quite lengthy, so I will break up the Ingredients into two parts; Kwong’s caramelised pork belly and my slider put together, which takes NO time at all.

Some of these ingredients may be hard to find, but between an Asian grocer and a more metropolitan supermarket you will find all the ingredients. ALWAYS ask the butcher for female pork belly. Male pork tends to have a pungent smell that is quite distinct and over powering at times.

Serves six

Kwong’s Caramelised Pork Belly

600gm female pork belly cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 cup brown sugar
3 limes, juice only
2 tbsp fish sauce

Red braising stock
2½ cups Shaoxing wine
1½ cups organic tamari
1 cup brown sugar
6garlic cloves, coarsely crushed
90 gm(18cm piece) ginger, thinly sliced
4spring onions, trimmed and halved lengthways
5star anise
2cinnamon quills
3pieces of orange rind, removed with a peeler
1 tsp sesame oil

Pork Belly Sliders
6 plain white buns
1 cucumber
1 bunch coriander/cilantro
Sliced pork belly


Start by boiling your pork belly to remove all impurities, then running under cold water. This only requires a 5 – 10 minute boil. Next, combine red braising stock and bring to the boil, then let sit and infuse for 30 minutes. When infused, add pork belly and simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours until tender. To make caramel, combine brown sugar and 250 ml water and simmer for 20 minutes until caramel forms. Soon after add lime juice and fish sauce. Slice pork belly and drizzle with caramel.

Steam buns as directed on packet. While buns are steaming, slice cucumber length ways. Place a slice of pork belly on the bun with cucumber and coriander and finish with a drizzle of caramel 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Banana Tarte Tatin

A little left of field with a little bastardisation, this banana tarte tatin is amazing. I have adapted this recipe from the traditional French classic, Apple Tatin. Made with a lot of love, butter and sugar you’re in for an easy treat. I used store bought individual fillo pastry sheets, coating with butter between layers too. Serve hot with ice cream and topped with cinnamon.

Serves five to six
3 large bananas
5 tbsp salted butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp orange zest
½ tsp cinnamon
2 – 3 sheets individual fillo pastry sheets
Butter for coating


Start by melting butter, adding orange zest and cinnamon. Follow quickly with sugar and cook until a beautiful caramel forms. Halve bananas length ways then again, sideways. Place flat side up in a pie dish, then pour caramel over bananas. Add layer by layer of the fillo pastry, coating with melted butter between every layer. Be sure not to confuse regular fillo pastry sheets, which may be thicker and contain many micro layers. The regular is fine too.

Cook in preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Let cool outside of oven for 5 minutes, then using a knife separate edges of the tarte tatin from the pie dish. Placing a flat plate over the top, turn the bowl over and let sit until it falls nicely onto the fillo pastry.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Reinvented Chilli, Salt and Pepper Prawn

I’ve been cooking with a lot of seafood lately and loving every mouthful. Seafood in Australia is something to be so thankful for. Although we import a lot, we also take pride in having some of the freshest and cleanest seafood in the world. Much of the farmed seafood available in countries with larger populations and consumption patterns is subject to harmful chemicals that are not regulated. The farming process is equally as toxic with the heavy use of industrial strength cleaning products to maintain farming equipment. The unfortunate truth about this is that a lot of these chemicals too, end up in seafood that we are consuming. The real evil however, is the disclosure and transparency measures in place. Many governments have very little regulation about what can and cannot be withheld from consumers and the danger is immeasurable.  A lot of heavy metals (mercury, antibiotics and pesticides) can be found in fish without a lot of omega three.

When buying your seafood, always buy fresh if you can and ask where the seafood is coming from. Ensure you are doing your part for sustainable fishing and avoiding seafood that is mass farmed. Pre-packaged seafood that is often bought frozen is imported and not always tested for quality and toxicity. FRESH, FRESH FRESH.

I made a chilli, salt and pepper prawn with a few extras from around Asia. All of the ingredients are readily available in supermarkets.

Serves two
6 large king prawns
3 medium radishes, finely sliced
1 sheet of seaweed, finely sliced
1 large red bullet chill, diced
¼ cup fried onions
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp white pepper

Start by deveining the prawns. I like to keep as much of the shell on for crunch, so I pierce the back and remove the vein. In  wok or hot pan, heat vegetable oil and add chopped chilli. Toss for a few moments then add prawns, salt and pepper. Don’t turn too much, as you want to achieve crispness on the skin of the prawns. After 3 – 4 minutes add thinly sliced radish and cook for another 3 minutes, tossing quickly. Remove from heat and add friend onions and seaweed. Serve with rice and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Peanut Butter, Char Siu and Sweet Chilli Oven Baked Ribs

Oh yes, the name says it all. You will be licking your fingers for a very long time. These ribs HAVE to be eaten with your hands and nothing else. I’ve always loved ribs; American ribs, Chinese ribs, Aussie BBQ’d ribs.

My recipe combines the best of the lot. Char siu, a beautiful Chinese way of preparing meat (traditionally pork), is a beautiful sauce that translates roughly to forked roast – the words don’t make much sense to me but the taste does. Combining this with peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce smashes all your preconceived notions of food porn. These are really simple to prepare and all the ingredients (including char siu sauce) are readily available at most grocers.

Serves two
500g pork ribs
¼ cup char siu sauce
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp canola oil  

Start by boiling off the ribs to remove all impurities in the pork. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. In a bowl combine all sauces and oil, leaving aside a good dollop of the sweet chilli sauce to later coat the ribs. Using your hands, rub the ribs and be sure to cover well. The sauce won’t be very workable so be prepared to get sticky. Place on oven proof paper and pour remaining chilli sauce over the ribs. Bake for 1 hour. .