Foodful Friday: Hong Shao Rou (Red Cooked Pork)

Hong Shao Rou (红烧 肉) is a Chinese dish that doesn’t really appear on many Chinese restaurant menus. I guess it’s because it’s comfort food —  one doesn’t go out for hong shao rou; one eats it at home, ladling copious amounts into one’s bowl of hot steamed rice. Heaven.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork belly meat cut into two inch cubes
  • 2 carrots cubed
  • 2 potatoes cubed
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • thumb-size knob of ginger, shredded
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (you can use any white wine, or sherry, or rice wine as substitute)
  • 1 1/2 cups clear stock (or water)

 

Hong Shao Rou ingredients

 

Method

Heat up vegetable oil and the sugar in a pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar is melted and starting to caramelise.

I used brown sugar. Plain old white sugar is probably better, to get the caramelising happening.

I used brown sugar. Plain old white sugar is probably better, to get the caramelising happening.

Put the cubed pork in the pot and brown it with the caramelized sugar. Stir until meat is nicely browned.

Hong shao rou

 

Put the ginger, garlic, carrots, potatoes, cinnamon, star anise, dark soy sauce, rice wine and clear stock into the pot. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat and cook for about 90 minutes. Stir every once in a while to prevent sticking and burning.

Cooking and Food 004

 
After about 90 minutes, raise the heat to medium high and stir until the sauce reduces and becomes thick.

Hong Shao Rou 3

Serve hot with white rice.

This dish keeps well and tastes better with age.

Foodful Friday: Baked Moroccan Chicken

I have been looking for ways to cook chicken drumsticks. Lest you think I have only been cooking chicken drumsticks lately, let me assure you that is not the case! I’m merely posting new-to-me recipes.

I got the idea for this Moroccan recipe from this blog. I doubled the amounts —  but totally forgot to put the coconut! — and reduced the amount of chicken stock.

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Foodful Friday: Spicy Tomatoes Chicken Drumsticks and Potatoes

Chicken drumsticks are pretty cheap and economical from ALDI. A 2kg package costs AUD$5.99, meaning that it costs less than AUD$3 a kg. However, thinking up new and interesting ways to cook drumsticks can be a challenge. After a while, even Hainanese Chicken Rice gets a bit boring. (Just a teeny tiny bit, mind, because we still do love it so much and it is easy to prepare.)

So, in an age where thousands of recipes are at one’s fingertips — with comments and reviews and suggestions — I hit upon a recipe for baked chicken drumsticks with potatoes with Indian flavours. We do so love Indian spices here at the Yewnique homestead.

I got the following recipe from this website.

As with any recipe I come across, I sometimes tweak it because I don’t have the exact ingredients or I am trying to cut corners or whatever.

So without further ado, here is my attempt.

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Of Odes to Spell Checkers

A response to the ode to the spell checker no name

Foodful Friday: Meatball Curry

Once in a while —  okay, more than once in a while —  I crave a curry. However, only once in a while do I actually step up and cook a curry from scratch. Maybe things will be different this year (which is already more than a quarter gone).

I have never cooked a meatball curry before, but the mince was in the fridge waiting and waiting to be cooked and bolognese sauce just wasn’t going to cut it, so I decided to have a go at meatballing and currifying it. Why yes, I like verbing nouns, didn’t you know?

Ingredients:
Meatballs:
1.5 kg minced beef
1 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste
3 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp.  salt
4 tsp. lemon juice

Sauce:
1Tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1 onion finely chopped
1-2 chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp.  ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 can tinned tomatoes
4 tsp.  lemon juice
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. In a bowl, combine ingredients for the meatballs, shape into balls and set aside.
  2. Set a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the ginger-garlic paste, chillies, cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for another minute. Add the tinned tomatoes, lemon juice and salt. Stir in 3 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Carefully place the meatballs into the pan and cook for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced.
  4. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top for garnish and serve hot with rice.
Easy Meatball Curry

Easy Meatball Curry

Movie Review: Cinderella (2015)

I was a bit apprehensive when I heard that Disney had plans to make a Cinderella movie using real, live actors. After all, the original Cinderella is a classic and why mess with a classic? And why use real-life actors?

Still, I was intrigued and curious. And since it is the school holidays, I decided we’d go.

I thought it being the school holidays that the place would be packed. I called and made reservations an hour before the movie started and hoped we would get good seats. As it turned out, most people probably watched it when it first came out a couple of weeks before and the theatre was not busy at all. We even got to sit anywhere we liked!

The pre-movie entertainment was a seven-minute short film Frozen Fever featuring Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf. It’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa and the others are busy arranging a surprise party. Elsa is not feeling 100% but, by George, she’s going to throw Anna a party – complete with singing and dancing – even if every sneeze droplet transforms into a miniature snowman. The short was entertaining enough featuring already-familiar characters in a new situation with new songs and it fulfilled its intention of preparing the audience for what they really came for.

Who doesn’t know the story of Cinderella? Tale as old as time, true as it can be….No, wait, that’s Beauty and the Beast, which, incidentally, Disney also has plans to remake using real live actors, with Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) playing the title roles. Mmmm, yes please! Anyway, I digress.

Where were we? Oh, right. Cinderella.

Everyone in the developed world above the age of five and who hasn’t lived a cloistered life should be familiar with the story of Cinderella (various versions, even!) so I won’t bore you by retelling the story here. Suffice to say, all the key characters are there: Cinderella, Prince (not called Charming), the stepmother, the two stepsisters, the fairy godmother, the animal friends, the pumpkin, the glass slipper etc.

This Cinderella does a wonderful job of showing us Ella when she was young, her relationship with her parents, and her affinity with animals. Her mother does not pooh-pooh Ella’s ability to understand animal talk and encourages her to believe in things magical such as fairy godmothers. At her deathbed, she reminds Ella of the secret that will help one see through life’s trials: Have courage and be kind. This becomes Ella’s life motto and it does indeed see her through many, many trying situations.

Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy watching Lily James (Rose in Downton) and Sophie McShera (Daisy) play Cinderella and Drisella respectively. Cate Blanchett as the stepmother is deliciously cruel; a bit overdone, but hey, it’s a fairy tale.

Very enjoyable. Beautiful remake. Is it a must-see at the cinema? Not really. Watch it at the discount cinema (we did), or wait for it to come out on DVD.

Easter 2015

I’m going to keep this short and sweet because Jeremy wanted to keep it low-key. For about six weeks, he had meetings with our pastor. At first, I took him to the church thinking these meetings were about getting involved with helping out at Kids’ Church. (He mentioned something about telling the pastor that he helps out at Little Athletics and already has a Working With Children card.) After a couple of weeks of taking him, I finally asked, “What are these meetings about?” He replied, “I’m getting baptised.”

The Plan was to have meetings with the pastor and get baptised on Easter Sunday. It all happened quickly and we didn’t have time to plan anything special.

Here is what you missed.

Little Athletics 2014/15 Awards

It’s been a while since I lasted posted. I start out the year with grand intentions of blogging regularly. This year, I had the wonderful idea of blogging every day with a theme for the day. Movie Reviews on Mondays, book reviews on Wednesdays (Wordful Wednesday), recipes on Fridays (Foodful Friday), etc. (I also adore alliteration.) Well, watching a movie every week is a bit much and although I tell people I like reading, the truth of the matter is, I find it increasingly difficult to stay focused on a book these days. Could be my age, could be something else. I still cook, but unlike those of younger years, I don’t feel compelled to take a photo of my food every time I interact with it. Besides, I am not that great photographer.

And what happened to Summary Saturdays where I talk about the week’s events? Well, that kind of went out the window, too.

Lazy. That’s what it is.

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Happy Pi Day 2015

A once-in-a-lifetime event: March 14, ’15 9.26.53

I ought to be congratulated because this is the first time EVER I remembered to do something for Pi Day!

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

 

Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert

Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert

 

Happy Chinese New Year 2015

Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year and that means it is time for the Big Family Reunion Dinner. Mark and Jeremy were scheduled to go to a Little Athletics meeting tonight. Tomorrow night there is going to be a Twilight for Little Aths. Friday night the children have Youth Group and I have choir practice. It was beginning to look like our Reunion Dinner wasn’t going to happen.

Last year, Chinese New Year Eve fell on Thursday which also happened to coincide with a Twilight as well. I managed to whip up something last year.

On Monday, the guys learned that the committee meeting had to be rescheduled. This meant that CNY Dinner could go ahead!

 

Clockwise from top: Chinese Broccoli (kailan) with oyster sauce; Asparagus with Prawns; Prawn Crackers; Cabbage, Carrots, Glass Vermicelli Stir-Fry; BBQ Pork (Char Siew); Roast Pork (Siew Yoke); Roast Duck; Szechuan Eggplant and Tofu.

Centre: Fish with Cheong Cheng Sauce

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