Category Archives: Pork

Black Pork Belly

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I got the idea for this recipe while still in the states.I was perusing my favourite blogs, and Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella, posted a review for a new restaurant in Sydney that was serving Sri Lankan food. One of the dishes she tried while she was at the restaurant was a Black Pork Belly Curry. As soon as I read that phrase, I immediately concluded it was the best idea ever! In fact I told anyone that would listen what an amazing idea it was. Naturally, their response was, “why don’t you make it?”. So I did.Many many times. This is about the 10th iteration of this recipe, and Mr Firehouse, who has tried every last one, is confident this is the best.

I won’t lie, this recipe is a labour of love.  It is time consuming and requires a horde of ingredients. But the results are more than worth it. It will also be the crowning glory on your table, if you invest time in this dish, you really don’t need much more. A salad, maybe a creamy dhal or potato, some steamed white rice and you will wow your guests. Trust me!

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Black Roasted Curry Powder

  • 2 tbsp. raw rice
  • 3 tbsp. coriander
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. fennel
  • 1 tsp. cardamon pods
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • curry leaves
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon

Pork Curry

  • 1.5 kg of pork belly with skin and rind on (whole)
  • 2 tbsp. onion flakes or 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 green chillis sliced
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp. ground cashew nut *
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • olive oil and sea salt for crispy skin
  • Oil for deep frying

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Preheat you oven to 160C. Place all the ingredients for the curry portion, except for the pork in an oven proof sauce with a lid. Add 2 cups of water and stir until all the ingredients are well mixed. .Next add the pork belly, put the lid on and place in the oven for 2.5 hours.

In the mean time, prepare you curry powder.

In a dry pan roast the rice until brown, when you’re satisfied with the colour add the curry leaves, pandan leaf and cinnamon.

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Next add the fennel and fry for a few minutes. Next go the cloves, cardamon and coriander.

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Next to last is the cumin and finally the mustard seeds. Leave the whole mix on the heat until the mustard seeds pop.

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When cool to touch, place the spice mix in a grinder and grind to a fine powder.

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When the pork is done, remove the pot from the oven. Fish out the pork and place over some paper towel to dry. If I have the time, I’ll place it in the fridge over night to further dry out.

Decant the curry sauce into a jug and place in the fridge. Once the sauce has cooled, the fat will have solidified at the top, remove this and replace the cooled sauce back in the saucepan.

Place over a medium heat before adding 2 tbsp. of the black curry powder and 2 tablespoons of ground cashew nuts *.  Simmer for 5 minutes before adding the sugar and testing for seasoning.

Cut the dried pork belly into 2 cm, 1inch cubes. Deep fry over a medium heat until golden,crispy and browned. Because of the fat and water content, the pork will splatter. I use a deep fryer with a  lid to prevent splattering, if not, make sure you have a splatter cover for your pan. Drain well over paper towels.

When ready to serve, combine the pork and curry sauce and serve immediately.

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  • I’ve used cashew nut butter or almond butter or even macadamia butter in place of the ground nuts.
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Filed under "Something" Free Cooking, Meat/ Fish Curries, Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Chorizo Sausage Rolls

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I’ve recently made a new friend who lives in the same “neighbourhood community” that we’re in now. Her daughter and Mister C are at the same daycare and have become fast friends. We met before we had officially moved, before our new addition joined us and before the real madness of life set in.  In fact, she was one of the people I texted when I headed off to the hospital to have little Miss M as we’d planned to catch up on the day itself. She kindly offered to let me call her up and scream in her ear if I needed.

When she finally did manage to visit us she bought a gift that signalled kinship, a set of “Jamie Oliver spice bottles”. When Mr Firehouse saw it, his first question was “how did she know?”. If you know me, or if you’ve read this blog for a while you would know that Jamie and I go way back. He’s not just one of my cooking heroes, his merchandise is everywhere in my house. There’s an entire shelf on my cookbook shelf (yes, I have an entire book shelf just for cookbooks) dedicated to just his books. Then she told me a story that solidified our friendship further, apparently she adored Jamie too, ever since her mother had taken her to MEET HIM! How could I not be friends with someone who had met Jamie?

As with many of my friends, we talk often of food and food related things. The subject of chorizo came up recently and she talked of her chorizo fried rice and I spoke of the recipe below. Something that I’ve made ever since I discovered unsmoked sausages at our local butcher when we lived in the Inner-West. I’ve recently re-discovered it at our new local, a butchery that is apparently famous for it’s sausages.

I’ve made these with chorizo but you really can make these with whatever your favourite sausage may be; Italian, lamb, chicken….go nuts people.

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Ingredients

  • 500g unsmoked chorizo sausage
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry thawed
  • sesame seeds to sprinkle
  • I egg lightly beaten

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220C/400F. Line a baking tray with paper
  2. Take the skin off the sausage so you are just left with the meat. I find it easier to mash it a bit at this point so you can divide and portion easily.
  3. Cut the pastry sheets in half.
  4. Divide the sausage filling into 4 portions.
  5. Place eat portion on one long-side of each pastry sheet and form into a sausage shape. Brush the long side with a little egg and roll up to enclose.
  6. Cut each roll into about 4 and place on the baking trays. Seam side down.
  7. Brush top with eggs, cut a few slits for steam to escape and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and delicious.

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Filed under Beef, Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork, Short-Eats

Black Pork Curry

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A black pork curry is a quintessentially Sri Lankan dish. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it anywhere else in the world. The black comes from pepper, very dark roasted curry powder and either tamarind or goraka (another similar souring agent). During our recent holiday, my cousin Ruvi commented that while spending time with her Grandmother and Great-Aunt in their home in Moratuwa they would feast on Black Pork Curry, served ever so simply with white rice and freshly grated coconut!

Since Podi Achcho, Ruvi’s great-aunt was around at the time I immediately asked her if she would show me how to make it! When I came home that afternoon from the day’s wanderings Podi Achcho and Achcho (Grandmother of the Firehouse clan) had prepared a cooking lesson of sorts just for me.

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The curry itself is simple but requires slow cooking and careful attention to detail on the curry powder. I’ve made this curry before and my mistake has always been to merely “brown” the rice and spices. Silly when I think about it now, black pork requires virtually blackene d spices. Also, I was informed by Podi Achcho that there is an “order” in which the spices have to be placed in the pan. It all makes sense, different spices brown at different rates obviously.

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Black Roasted Curry Powder

  • 2 tbsp. raw rice
  • 3 tbsp. coriander
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. fennel
  • 1 tsp. cardamon pods
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • curry leaves
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon

Pork Curry

  • 1.5 kg of pork (you need a bit of fat, I used butt and belly) chopped
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 green chillis slices
  • 1sp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar

To make the curry, place all of the curry ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce-pan with 1 cup of water and place on the heat.

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When it comes to the bowl, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for an hour or until the pork is tender.

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While the pork is cooking  make the curry powder. In a dry pan roast the rice until brown, when you’re satisfied with the colour add the curry leaves, pandan leaf and cinnamon.

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Next add the fennel and fry for a few minutes. Next go the cloves, cardamon and coriander.

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Next to last is the cumin and finally the mustard seeds. Leave the whole mix on the heat until the mustard seeds pop.

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When cool to touch, place the spice mix in a grinder and grind to a fine powder.

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Add 2 heaped tablespoons of the curry powder to the tender pork curry and simmer with the lid off until the liquid has all but evaporated. Add about a teaspoon on top just before serving for  a traditional presentation.

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Filed under Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork

Bourke St Bakery Style Sausage Rolls

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A friend recently asked my what traditional ‘Aussie’ food was and my immediate reply was meat pies and sausage rolls. I don’t know that they’re uniquely Australian, the English eat pies after all.  But to me, pies and sausage rolls  speak of Australia. Hot pies in metal cases streaming out of the canteen, eating a sausage rolls at a party with flaky pastry covering your face and of course it isn’t the same without oodles of tomato sauce (distinct from high-fructose corn syrup laden tomato ketchup).

The best sausage roll I’ve had in Australia has to be the offering from the Bourke St Bakery. Flaky, crispy and buttery on the outside with a pork and fennel filling within. It’s amazing. Perhaps some of it’s inherent appeal lies in the fact that I’ve always eaten it on a sunny day in Centennial park followed by one of their amazing tarts. Bliss!

This is a version of that sausage roll with my homemade rough puff pastry which I made based on the recipe from here, Guy Awford’s blog. If you don’t have to go to the trouble of making the pastry, embrace it. Pampas is your friend.

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Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 10g fennel seeds chopped
  • 1.5 thyme sprigs
  • 50g onion chopped finely
  • 50g celery chopped finely
  • 50g carrots chopped finely
  • 400g pork mince
  • handful of bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 sheets of puff pastry
  • egg wash for brushing- 1 egg and milk

 Preparation

In a small fry pan fry the garlic, onion, celery and carrot ( I chopped mine in the food processor) until soft. When the vegetables have softened add the thyme and fennel and cook for a few minutes. Leave the mixture to cool.

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In a bowl combine the minced pork, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cooled vegetables mixture. Use your hands to mix it all together.

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Lay your pastry flat and make a sausage of mince about 2-3 cm from the edge of the pastry. Using your hands is the easiest way I’ve found to do this.

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Now take the edge that is bare and wrap it over the sausage roll. Tuck the pastry in and keep rolling until you have wrapped the whole log of meat in pastry plus a little extra for the “seam”. Brush a little water at the edges to make it stick. Cut to your desired size at this point.

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Eggwash the tops of the rolls and add a few fennel seeds on top. Place the seam down on a baking tray at bake in 350F/180C oven for 45 minutes.

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Filed under Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork, Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Uncategorized

Pork Dumplings

Pork dumplings

Pork dumplings

I remember this one time when we lived in Homebush West, our cousin Ruvi dropped by for dinner. She’d spent the weekend with some friends who’d taught her how to make dumplings. She came over, straight from work  armed with 100g of mince from the uber-fancy butcher at Rhodes Shopping Centre. Poor Ruvi was mortified, according to her the butcher was none too impressed about having to dole out such a measly portion.
These dumplings are very much a basic recipe, I’ve kept it simple because Mr C would also be consuming/ripping apart some of these. Normally I’d add a chilli or about 50g of prawns to the mix or even a few water chestnuts for crunch!

Ingredients

  • 250g pork (minced is fine)
  • 3 spring onions roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cm piece of ginger
  • 1/8 tsp chinese five spice powder
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • Wonton Wrappers

Preparation

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Place the pork, spring onions, garlic, ginger and spices in the bowl of a food processors and blitz. Your want a uniform paste, like so

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I like to make a few of these at a time, it’s easier. I used this fabulous blog to figure out how to fold my dumplings. I decided to fold some into Samosa shapes for baby C and made the Samosa with a twist for Mr Firehouse and myself.

Basically, you place a teaspoon full of the pork mixture onto the wonton wrapper. I painted the outside with water and folded the wrapper into a triangle, squeezing out any extra air.

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I then pulled two corners of the triangle together and stuck them down with water.

To cook

I braise my dumplings, this means I pour a small amount of oil into a frying pan, add my dumplings and them pour in a centimetre of water. I then place the whole lot on medium heat with a lid on. When the water has evaporated and the dumplings have a bit of a crust and colour, the insides are cooked and ready to serve.

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These are delicious eaten with some soy-sauce…and if you’re feeling spicy, why not add a hot chilli into the mix ;).

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And here’s what Mr C thought.
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Filed under Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork, Snacks and Sides, Uncategorized