Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chicken Maryland Roasted in Honey, Balsamic Glaze and Sea Salt

Chicken marylands (the leg with thigh and drumstick) are the best portions of chicken for roasting. The thigh meat and the drumstick are juicy and full of flavour. This recipe is so simple and big in flavour. I wanted to take sweet and savoury to the roast. The chicken starts with butter placed between the skin and the meat, then rubbed with balsamic glaze, honey, sea salt and cracked pepper.

Serves 2

2 chicken marylands
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic glaze
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  

Start by using your fingers to separate the skin and the meat by running your fingers under the skin of the maryland. Be careful not to separate the sides of the chicken; the butter needs to stay as concealed as possible to cook the meat and skin from inside.

Rub the outside of skin with honey, balsamic glaze and finish with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kale with Flaked Almonds and Persian Feta

Kale, flaked almond and Persian feta with an olive oil, honey and lemon dressing.

Kale takes its roots from the ancient Romans and Greeks where it was grown in gardens. It found its way to America in the 1600’s and has since undergone a huge renaissance worldwide.

I only discovered kale last year and I have never looked back. I saw my friend Anna massaging her kale – she explained that it was to remove bitterness and soften the taste. She made a beautiful salad with kale and strawberries and I died. Its health benefits match its marvellous taste and you could endlessly reinvent what you eat. It’s becoming more readily available in Australia too, which is great because there’s about a 10 year lag between us and the rest of the world usually.

Kale holds a great amount of fibre  which flushes out toxins and DNA harming chemicals. It contains high amounts of vitamins A, C and K (for healthy blood), as well as being a strong source of minerals such as manganese and calcium. Carotenoids are a powerful antioxidant that supports and strengthens the immune and reproductive systems. It also contains cancer fighting nutrients.

Always buy organic if you can, the soil will shape the taste and nutrient content of your kale. If you can’t buy organic, wash your greens in water with 1 or 2 tablespoons white vinegar – it removes all of the chemicals produce is sprayed with.

Also – keep the stem – it is tasty and contains all the good stuff!

I chose to keep it simple and healthy, with the exception of feta cheese. A great salad to have with meat, fish or even on its own.


Serves 2
4 cups kale
150g flaked almonds
50g Persian feta
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
½ lemon, juiced.

Clean kale as needed and chop as desired. With your fingertips massage the kale until it turns a deep green. Plate up layering with kale, feta and flaked almonds.

In a bowl, combine olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Be sure to mix well to combine flavours.

Pour over salad and serve. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crispy Five Spice and Sichuan Peppercorn Pork Belly

Rick Stein has some amazing recipes and this has to be one of my favourites. This is hands down better than 80% of what is considered ‘authentic Chinese’ when eating out, which is questionable in quality, in many ways. The test is actually in the crackling; if you don’t get it right, forget the whole dish. Roasting pork belly like this is amazing on multiple levels. The pork belly is already marbled with beautiful layers of fat, so there is no need for additional oils. The meat, if cooked to the right temperature will be a little firm on the outside and will have a melt-in-your-mouth center. You actually have to use a tray to catch all of the excess fat. But don’t let that turn you off.

Again, FEMALE PORK ONLY. Male pork does not have the best smell about it. Always check with the butcher. I have found myself over the past month or so bombed with an ‘anti pork movement’ online, warning people of the dirtiness of the meat, relative to other meat options. Also it is believed pigs are 'quite close' in intelligence to humans. We could go on fine combing every eating choice we make, but what’s the point?  Most vegetarians relapse on bacon.

There is an old Chinese belief that anything with 4 legs on the ground and a back facing the sun is edible. I don’t agree with it completely, but let’s face it; it’s a resolutely resourceful idea.  


Serves five to six
1.5kg female pork belly (bone removed)
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 tbsp sea salt (2 for crackling)
2 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp caster sugar


Score skin of the pork belly, without hitting flesh in 1cm intervals. Pour boiling water over the skin and leave to drain. Dry meat with a paper towel.

Dry roast both peppers on a medium heat to release the aromatic flavours. In a mortar and pestle, pound all of the dry ingredients into a powder. Turn pork belly upside down and cover flesh well with powered rub. Set aside for 60 minute to allow the flavours to amalgamate.

Preheat oven at 230 degrees Celsius. Turn pork belly skin side up and rub 2 tbsp sea salt into the scores. This helps absorb excess moisture and makes for better crackling. Place pork on a rack, with a tray underneath to catch all excess fat. Blast bake for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 160 degrees, cooking for 30 minutes per 500g. Turn the pork half way into baking for evenly crisp crackle.

Chop and serve with Chinese vegetables and oyster sauce. .