Thursday, May 30, 2013

{Monte Carlos}

Do you remember monte carlos ? Have you bought them recently ? I haven't but I remember that those suckers are stuck together with a glue like jam that makes it impossible to separate them without some level of destruction and a lot of crumbs. 

These are naturally better than a bought one, these were a big hit with me, I think I ate pretty much all of them, Jay may of had one. Kids were not quite on board, Billy has recently acquired an uncanny ability to detect pips in jams, icecreams and yoghurts and takes issue with them. Jack basically will only eat my brown butter biscuits at the moment so what's a girl to do. I couldn't just leave them sitting the tin all sad and unloved now could I, I took care of them. Lets call it maternal instinct.

...the cookies
180g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup self raising flour
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup ground almonds

...the filling
60g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 vanilla extract
Raspberry jam

Oven to 180 and line two biscuit trays with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, honey and vanilla and beat again for another minute or so then add in the dry ingredients and fold through the creamed butter mixture.

Roll into small balls, about a teaspoon each and pop on the trays leaving a bit of a gap. Press down on each cookie with a fork(dipped in flour works best)and then bake for 10-12 minutes or until the biscuits are pale golden.

Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla, spread one side with the butter filling and its matching pair with a little jam (I used raspberry but you could use your fav).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

{Slow Braised Caramel Pork Belly}

The time has come for soups and slow braises, saturday nights with an open fire crackling and a bottle of red sitting warm on the mantle, time for cosy beds and warm socks.  Lovely.  

I've already made a few soups this chilly season, Jay is just overjoyed with the idea of soup for dinner, he just can't get enough of it.  Not.  So this recipe is a more substantial and amazingly delicious slow braise, it is adapted from the last season of MKR, I wasn't about to crack and juice 2 young coconuts, that sounded like way too much effort for a Tuesday.

So anyway its pretty much my idea of the perfect way to spend a cold and windy afternoon at home, while I was making this it actually hailed, and right at school pick up time, don't you just love that! bbbrrrrrrrrrrr.  At least when I returned home I was greeted by the smell of my delicious dinner.

...the pork
1.5kg boneless pork belly
4 tbs caster sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 cups coconut water

3 cups water
1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp white pepper
1 star anise

...caramel sauce
220g caster sugar
145ml light soy
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2cm piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 tbsp malt vinegar

...the salad
1 cup shredded chinese cabbage
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
½ cup vietnamese mint leaves
½ cup coriander leaves
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Slice the pork belly into thick rectangles.

Pop the sugar into a large ovenproof and lidded pot over medium heat, cook until it becomes a dark golden caramel, add pork stir until well coated in the caramel, next put in the garlic, give it a quick stir then add the coconut water, and the tap water, ensuring pork is submerged. 

Bring to a boil then add salt, pepper and star anise, simmer for 5 minutes then transfer to your oven preheated to 140 and cook for 3 hours.  Check half way thru that there is still plenty of braising liquid.  After the 3 hours is up remove from oven, take off the lid and simmer on the stove top for 15 minutes.

To make the warming gingery caramel sauce, bring all ingredients to a boil over a low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 minutes.

To make salad, place all ingredients in a bowl, toss.  Serve the pork, sauce and salad with rice.  This is enough for 4.