Monday, 18 August 2014

Fragrant Pork Belly with Thai Basil

My mini garden has been growing weeds....!!! Hubby wanted to throw away all my plants especially those inedible plants and keep those edible ones. What should I do??? I still want to keep my plants especially those herbs which I need it every now and then. At the end, we decided to keep only the edible plants and concentrate on edible garden which we think is more practical. Thai basil is in abundance and they are in fact too matured. So, what I did was to harvest all the herbs and replant them for another new batch of herbs garden.
Since Thai Basil is in abundance, I decided to fully utilize it. Hence, stewing pork belly with it is one of the many dishes I have cooked.

For your info, when I was young, I never like or would not touch pork belly. Even when I ever did eat it, I would always throw away the fat and take the lean meat. However, these few years, I don't know what has gotten into me. I LIKE pork belly especially the FAT!!! I know it's unhealthy but ah..... eat first health later... hahahaha.... The gravy is especially yummy and when mixed with rice, we can easily go for 2nd helping of rice! The recipe for this is taken from my previous posting on Stewed Pork Belly with Fried Tofu.

Ingredients :
- 1 strip of pork belly (blanched and cut)
- 1 bunch of Thai Basil
- 1/2 tbsp fermented soy bean paste/tau cheong (for frying)
- 1 1/2 tbsp fermented soy bean paste/tau cheong (to taste)
- 1 bulb of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 thumbsized ginger (sliced and crushed)
- water (enough for stewing)

Seasonings : (to taste)
- a dash of salt
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp caramel sauce (reduce the amount if you don't like your dish to be in dark colour)
- 1 tsp sugar

Method :
1) Heat some oil in a wok and saute garlic, ginger and 1/2 tbsp of fermented soy bean paste until aromatic.

2) Add pork belly and stir fry for a while. Mix well.

3) Add water, the remaining fermented bean paste and caramel sauce. Stir and mix well.

4) Cover and let it boil at high heat for about 5 minutes. Then, lower the heat and let it simmer until the gravy is thickened and/or the meat is cooked and tender. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the fire and pot/wok used. Add water if you want more gravy.

5) Lastly, add in Thai Basil and the remaining seasonings. Bring it to a boil again for 1 or 2 minutes.

6) Dish up and serve with steamed rice.

If you like pork belly, this is a very flavorful dish
Hope you like this homey dish. It's also great to serve it with plain bread instead of steamed rice. Do enjoy.

I am linking this to TheWeekendSocial- Recipe & DIY Link Party

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Zucchini Carrot Loaf

When I first saw Phong Hong's Zucchini bread, I told myself, wow, this is great! Why???? Well, I like zucchini and another main reason is that this recipe is healthy and so easy to make. Being so excited, I baked it the following day and I am glad that I did it without any procrastination. We like the bread/cake so much that I baked it again for a karaoke session with a group of childhood friends.
However, for this get-together, instead of a loaf, I baked it into 'cupcakes'; reason was for easy handling and besides, this is also great as party food.
The loaf is soft and moist and taste like a cake
However, the 'cupcake' is not too moist and soft and taste more like bread
Which one do you like?

Zucchine Bread
Recipe source : adapted from Phong Hong (with some minor modification)

Ingredients :
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 200g self-raising flour
- 50g sugar (due to the addition of raisins, I reduced the sugar)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup of mixed raisins

Method :
1. In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
2. Stir in the grated zucchini and carrot. Then followed by the oil. Mix till well blended.
3. Sift in flour 1/3 at a time over no. 2 and mix well.
4. Add raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix well.
5. Pour batter into a lined or greased 4" x 9" x 3" loaf pan or cupcake/muffin cups.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 40 to 45 minutes (for loaf) or 180C for 20 minutes (for muffin or cupcake cups) or until cooked; depending on individual oven temperature.
7. Let cool in pan for about 10 mins before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Do head over to Phong Hong's Bake for her original recipe. Do give this a try and you will love it.

The loaf tasted like fruit cake

Whereas the 'cupcakes' is more towards like bread

It tastes even better after one or two days

Do have a great week ahead and cheers :)

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Basic No-Knead Bread (Grant Loaf)

This basic no-knead bread is called Grant Loaf and can be made in less than 2 hours!
This is my very first home baked bread. It's very easy and fuss-free. Why I like this is that I just have to dump all the ingredients into a mixer and when the dough mixture is ready, just let it proof for about an hour and straight into the oven it goes!

After, 35 minutes or so, you have freshly baked bread ready for you.
It's so easy and simple and suitable for those busy housewives who want a quick simple bread for the family.                            

Basic No-Knead Bread
Recipe source : Bread Kitchen (with minor modifications in red)

Ingredients :
- 450 g wholemeal or white bread flour (high protein flour)
- 385 g lukewarm water or milk (350ml = 3 tbsp milk powder + warm water)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp sugar

Instructions :
1)  Add sugar and yeast into water or milk and leave it for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
2)  Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  
3)  Then add the activated yeast mixture into no. (2).
4)  Mix well to achieve a smooth and sticky dough.  I used electric mixer.
5)  Lightly grease a 21cm x 11cm loaf pan and pour the dough mixture in.  Spread the dough evenly.  Cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
6)  Once the dough starts to rise above the level of the loaf tin, bake at pre-heated oven at 200°C for 35 minutes depending on individual oven temperature.  I baked at 190°C for 40 minutes.
7)  Remove from the loaf pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Note :  The loaves freeze well so you can bake several at once if you have enough loaf pans.
This simple bread is suitable for those who don't have any knowledge of bread baking ~ like me
If you are not a fussy eater, overall, this bread is great with a cup of hot coffee
Have fun baking your home baked bread with your children :)

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