Happy New Year!
Since this is my first post of 2014, please forgive me for the lateness of my well-wishes! I hope every had a lovely Christmas and New Year break? For myself, it was full of eating and sleeping! Perfect! I didn’t do much cooking so not much to share, however I did invite some friends and family over for dinner on New Year’s Day and tried my mum’s recipe for roast belly pork for the first time ever!
For those of you who have previously read my blog, you’ll know that I’m not a red meat eater. Those of you who are new to me now know too! So I very very very rarely cook pork, beef, lamb, veal etc. I’ll sometimes eat it, but not out of preference, sometimes out of curiosity. My aversion to red meat isn’t for any religious or dietary reason, just that I don’t particularly like the taste of it so have now developed some kind of psychological dislike of it! However I also used to hate olives, picking them out of my salads and pizza but now I can tolerate them. So maybe my tastes will change as I continue to age…
So New Year’s Day dinner was a fairly easy going affair. There were 5 adults and 3 children so I made the Wintery Chinese Chicken, Chestnut and Shitake Mushroom Stew earlier on in the day then reheated it just before serving to save on time and last minute stress. The belly pork was prepared the day before and left to marinade in the fridge ready to throw into the oven. Only the Fish (steamed Seabream), Choy Sum (Greens) and Scrambled Tomato Eggs needed to be cooked at the last minute. All were served with bowls of steamed jasmine rice.
Considering that I’ve never cooked pork belly before, I was pretty worried that the crackling wouldn’t be crunchy and would end up chewy. I go the recipe from my mum who makes very delicious roast pork belly (it’s coveted by all my family) and has gotten the recipe perfected. So she imparted her expert knowledge to me, as well as the massive piece of pork that she ‘just happened’ to have in the freezer! How many people would store massive joints of meat ‘just in case’?! Then again, that’s the reason you will never go hungry if you visit my mum’s house, whereas a visit to me needs to announce far in advance so I can go food shopping… 🙂
This belly pork was so huge that it only just fit into the baking tray that is pretty much the width of the oven!
So here is the ‘recipe’ as memorised by my mum so I have no idea where the original recipe is from:
1) Get the piece of pork belly and put it skin side down onto a heavy bottom baking tray. Pour over a few tablespoons of white white and rub it into the pork meat. Then sprinkle over a few tablespoons of five spice powder and rub it in.
2) Turn it over and spread the whole thing with coarse sea salt. That worked out to be half a tub for me! It needs to be completed covered! (I think it helps to dry out the skin to ensure a crispy finish)
Cover loosely with foil and leave on the fridge over night to marinade and soak up all the flavours…
3) When you are ready to roast it, crank up the oven to the highest it goes (mine is 250 degrees C). Knock all the sea salt off the meat then stick the tray of meat into the hot oven on a high shelf, roasting the skin until it starts to ‘puff up’ (for me about 15- 20 minutes). Then turn down the heat to 200 degrees C and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until it is cooked through.
I’m pretty happy with my first attempt at roast belly pork, I got lots of compliments and the crunching I heard around the table kept my fears at bay. I didn’t actually taste it myself, maybe next time! As we only managed to get through a third of the massive portion of meat, I chopped and wrapped up the left overs for the guests to take home. A novel New Years Day gift I think! 😉