Kong Ba (Twice-Cooked Pork Belly)

I have a weakness. Pork belly is my weakness. There’s just something about tender meat that melt-in-your-mouth the moment it touches your tongue. I never really use to like eating the fatty bits of the pork belly. I remember when I did marketing, I used to look for the piece that had less fat and more meat. But now, I look for equal proportions haha. The mr has changed me for the better. I didn’t know what I have been missing! And now when we are back in Singapore, we would meet Stephie for a meal of fatty pork! Can’t wait till the end of the year! (:

After the mr’s family went back, we had heaps of food left in the freezer and I needed to clear it or I won’t be able to buy other things! I opened the freezer and saw a container of sliced pork belly. Immediately, I knew what I wanted to cook – kong ba (twice-cooked pork belly). Nothing beats slow braised pork belly that is caramelised till the meat is soft and easily breaks apart. YUMS!

Traditionally, you would eat it with a soft steamed bun. But I was too lazy to head out to Springvale to get it and found some man tou in the fridge so I steamed that instead. Though it’s not as soft as the traditional buns, they worked well too! Plus, to off-set the unhealthy fatty bits, we had it with lettuce! This is the epitome of a balanced diet haha (:

Do note that usually, you would use a whole slab of pork belly and slice it up after, but mine was already sliced up. To me, there wasn’t much difference, in fact I think it works better and you don’t have to risk burning your fingers to slice them up later. But either way, you’ll have yummies in your tummies!

Kong Ba (adapted from  To Food With Love)

1kg pork belly (either whole or sliced)

1/2 tsp thick caramel black soy + 4 tbs extra

2 shallots, thinly sliced

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp five-spice powder

2 tbs light soy

1 tbs honey

2 tbs sugar

1/2 star anise

1 tsp sesame oil

2 cups water

bunch of coriander, roughly chopped and separate into 2 portions

ground white pepper

Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Steps :

1) Boil a large pot of water and boil the pork belly for 15-20 minutes. Remove and rinse the pork under cold water before patting them dry. Allow it to cool slightly and rub the skin with 1/2 tbs of thick caramel dark soy.

2) In a frying pan, heat enough vegetable oil on medium heat. Be careful not to heat it too high. Carefully lower the pork belly into the oil and fry till the skin is crisp (about 5 minutes). Do be very careful as there will be a very big splatter, use a splatter screen to avoid being burnt. Take the pork belly out carefully and drain off the excess oil using paper towel. (If you use a whole slab of pork belly, slice the pork belly to 1/2 inches thick after it has cooled down.)

3) In a large metal bowl, add the rest of the caramel thick dark soy, light soy, honey, sugar, star anise, five-spice powder, garlic, shallots and sesame oil and mix till well combined. Add the fried pork belly and marinade for at least 30 minutes.

4) In a medium sized pot, add 1 tbs vegetable oil and fry the pork belly until they are seared well. Add the rest of the marinade and top it with 2 cups of water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add half of the coriander (including the stems) and continue to simmer for 1/2 hour. Check occasionally and turn the pork to make sure it is evenly covered in the sauce. The pork should be tender and the liquid should be reduced to a thicker consistency. Season with ground white pepper. Garnish with the rest of the coriander before serving with hot steamed buns and lettuce!

Enjoy! (:

Remember to always cook with love!

Bread & Jam for Frances

Bread & Jam for Frances

Add : 1/701 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn (Enter via Linda Crescent or through Readings)

Tel : 03 9819 2122

Website : http://www.breadandjamforfrances.com.au/

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Just want to share a new place we tried last weekend with the mr’s family (:

Whenever the Mr has weightlifting competitions at the Hawthorn Weightlifting club, we would drive past this small little cafe that has the cutest logo. It has been about 7-8 times that we drove past the place and as many times that I told myself that we have to give it a try. But cause the Mr had a strict routine he adheres to during competitions, we never got a chance to have it till recently when his family was here. YAY! (:

We were really lucky to head there a few minutes earlier than the crowd and didn’t need to wait for a table! Although there wasn’t any small tables left, fortunately there was still the communion table. The cafe, though small, was really cosy and everyone was really friendly. As it used to be an old dance hall, the ceilings were really high which allowed light to shine through making the whole place very welcoming. I couldn’t wait to order and have my brunch! (:

Not long after we ordered, our drinks were served. I ordered my usual favourite (and comfort) – chai soy latte. And what’s best about it is that they serve my favourite Bonsoy! Whee! Also, I love cafes that use chai leaves to brew their chai lattes. This was just spot on, and definitely a great start to the weekend.

The mr ordered his usual latte as well. and he said the coffee was really good. so coffee lovers out there, this is a place to try out! (:

My sis-in-law ordered the hot chocolate. It was quite a theme going. haha We all ordered our usual hot cuppa that morning and we were all very happy with what we had. By this time, I really couldn’t wait to have our food.

But let me first tell you a little about Bread & Jam for Frances. They are not only a place for brunch, but you could also head there to buy freshly baked artisan bread which they are known for! Their first home “Dench Bakers” was famous for their artisan breads and sandwiches. So of course their bread is something you would want have when you’re at Bread & Jam for Frances!

I browsed the menu and what caught my eye was this : avocado and feta with sweet chilli on toast, topped with salad. So I definitely wanted to have it. It was super good. With fresh toasted bread that was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, the rich avocado went so well with the saltiness and creaminess of the feta. BRAVO! My smile just got wider with every bite. I think I’ve found my new favourite combination. haha And what’s better than starting the day with something healthy? Or I would like to think! haha

My sister-in-law ordered the classic dish :  scrambled eggs on toast with a side of bacon. Everyone was ooh-ing and aah-ing when the dish arrived because it looked absolutely delicious and the portion size was huge! The eggs were so creamy and cooked perfectly. And nothing could be better than crispy bacon. She was one happy (and full) girl. hehe

My in-laws shared a ham, cheese and tomato croissant and a scone (that I didn’t get to snap, sorry!). Layers of crispy buttery goodness which my in-laws really enjoyed! I have to say, I too enjoy having ham & cheese croissant once in a while! There’s just something about the whole combination. First you have the crunch, then u have the melted oozy cheese! Mmmm! Feel like having one now! hehe

With the yummy food and friendly service, it is definitely save to say we will be coming back especially since the mr didn’t have anything to eat that day. The next time I’m back, I’m definitely going to try the cakes that they have to offer and buy a loaf of walnut bread! heh

Have a good week ahead and here’s to more good food to come! (:

Bread & Jam For Frances on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Brioche French Toast with Caramelised Banana

So it’s the weekend! And weekends only mean one thing for the mr and I – BRUNCH! It’s something we both look forward to every week. On some weekends, I try to make something for brunch instead of heading out. So I thought you might too! (:

I of course couldn’t wait till the weekend to make this. My nut, Alicia, was here on a holiday and living with us, so I really wanted to make something nice for her for brekkie. Something sweet. I guess nothing beats having a dessert for brekkie does it? Something sweet to start the day going! (:

We were at Queen Victoria Market the Tuesday that just passed and we bought a chocolate brioche from one of the bakeries in the market. The only thing that came to mind when thinking of how to utilise the brioche was french toast! Just imagine the chocolate in between the dough will be melted and be molten when you bite into it. Mmmmm. Just like spreading nutella on bread!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore caramelised bananas. I could have them on my pancakes, crepes and of course on my french toasts! The caramelised bananas acted as a sauce so that the dish won’t feel too dry. It was really easy to make it as well! Just 4 simple ingredients and viola! Caramelised bananas in no time!

Nothing is more comforting than a crispy layer of french toast and a warm, pillowy middle. That’s the way I like my french toast, how bout you? Share with me how you like your french toast! hehe

Chocolate Brioche French Toast With Caramelised Banana (Adapted from Steamy Kitchen)

Caramelised Banana

113g unsalted butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbs water

2 ripe bananas, sliced in an angle

Steps :

1) In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it has completely melted. Add the dark brown sugar and stir until the sugar has completely melted into the butter.

2) Add the water and whisk till smoothly and well combined. Cover and set aside.

3) When the french toast is ready, add the bananas into the sauce and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Don’t cook it for more than that as the bananas will go all soft and lose their bite.

Chocolate Brioche French Toast

1 loaf chocolate brioche, sliced thickly (could use any kind of brioche or challah will work too)

3 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 whole milk

1/4 cup thickened cream

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 tbs caster sugar

2 tsp unsalted butter

Steps :

1) Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl, add the milk, cream, vanilla paste and caster sugar and whisk till well combined and all the sugar have dissolved.

2) Dip the bread and turn it a few times to make sure the bread slices are well coated and soaked until they have been completely moistened by the custard.

3) Heat a non-stick pan on medium and melt a tsp of unsalted butter. Work in batches (I fried 4 at a time), cook each side of the bread until it’s golden brown. This will take about 3-4 minutes per side. Add the other tsp of butter when needed between batches.

4) To plate : Place and stack the french toast (mine was 2 layers, and 2 in each layer) then top each stack with the caramelised bananas and the sauce.

ENJOY! Have a great weekend! (:

The Good Loaf Sourdough Cafe

I love roadtrips. I don’t know bout you, but I ALWAYS look forward to going on one. Regardless on how far or near they are. When my parents were here, they decided to head to Bendigo, since it’s different from the usual Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula we usually go to when they are here. I was super pumped!

It was a really great day for a roadtrip. The sun was shining brightly and there wasn’t a single sign that it might rain at all. The 2 hour drive was really smooth (and straight!) The mr had alot of fun driving there. His first roadtrip drive since he passed his driving!

We made sure we left my place in time to try out The Good Loaf Sourdough Cafe in the city of Bendigo! It was showing on a program in Singapore, and was one of the places on the “have-to-go” list. haha

The Good Loaf Sourdough Cafe

Add : 404 Hargreaves Street  Bendigo VIC 3550

Tel : (03) 5444 2171

And we made it just in time! They open till 3pm on Saturdays and close Sundays! So remember to make your way down to Bendigo a little earlier cause this place sells the most amazing freshly baked bread! They sit nicely in a corner and is not like the older squarish buildings, but round! (:

We saw all the bread that was displayed and couldn’t resist buying them. We bought pumpkin sourdough bread as well as the raisin and walnut loaf! Amazing when warmed up and with some butter. NOMS!

So so true! I found this quote in the toilet. haha But I totally agree! Who could resist freshly baked bread? I definitely can’t! The Good Loaf serves amazing breakfast/brunch too! There are quite a number of choices to choose from and also a Saturday special : French Toast with caramelised bananas and vanilla mascarpone. Let me tell you, the special is SO GOOD.

Yes I know it looks sinful. But after a 2 hour drive and working at for the past 5 days, you should reward yourself with this sweet treat! Worth all the calories. haha (: Besides, you don’t have this everyday do you? hehe

We also ordered their bacon and tomato frittata with a side of salad and it was so good. They made bacon cups and had a whole egg in the middle. It was like a kid eating Kinder Surprise and finding a toy in the middle; I was beaming when I cut into it and found a whole egg! hehe Their salad was really yummy! It had a combination of barley, red quinoa, walnuts, capsicum, avocado, raisins and rocket leaves! So gonna try making this at home. hehe Yummy and healthy. Best combination!

Even though this looks like a normal sandwich, this bacon, egg and homemade pesto sandwich was delish! The adding of pesto was just genius! Brought this sandwich to a whole new level of yums!

The Mr picked the savoury muffin and it was delicious! Really different form the usual sweet muffins we have. Having it is making me want to bake my Broccoli and Cheese muffins! mmm!

Butter just goes well with everything aye? (:

This is something that caught my eye the moment I looked on the menu board. Indian baked beans! A slight tinge of curry powder and chilli with a dollop of yogurt! Something different but in a good way! Not the usual tomato based baked beans. We all really enjoyed it!

I love love love how they serve their milk in an old school milk bottle! (: Mum loves her long black with warm milk. She said if the milk is not warm, then her coffee would not be as hot anymore! haha

Of course, I had my chai soy latter and it came with a packet of honey! I have to say I’m very reliant on my chai latter. It’s one of my morning essentials. (:

So if you’re a bread lover like me, it’s definitely worth the roadtrip down to Bendigo and try their breads! (: You and your bellies will not regret it! You have my word!

Yorkshire Puddings.

This is no ordinary pudding. Not something sweet, in fact it’s savoury!

The first time I sunk my teeth into these beautiful puff was at Cafe Vue at Melbourne airport and they were a whole plate of deliciousness with waygu beef, mash and a thick and and luscious gravy. O-M-G!

So when I returned back from Singapore, I had to try making it. I was reading one of the older editions of the Delicious magazine and I found a perfect recipe that was as easy as mix-stir-pour-bake-VIOLA! So I couldn’t resist and had to make it. And it’s the cutest thing!

loved how they just pop up and have that beautiful golden brown. You kinda have to eat it as soon as it’s out of the oven (with caution not to burn urself!) cause it’s not as nice cold!

I cooked a stout beef stew to go with it and it was a match-made in heaven! (: And the tummies were happy and very satisfied.I reckon it will go well with any kind of stew that has thick and yummy gravy.

So give this easy treat a go when you’re thinking of making a stew! (: You’ll love it!

Easy Yorkshire Pudding (Adapted from Delicious Magazine)

Ingredients

1/2 cup canola oil

2/3 cup plain flour

Good pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1 cup milk

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional). Pour 1 tablespoon of oil in each of 12 holes of a cupcake baking tin. Out in the oven for 5 mins or until oil is hot.

2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and combine. Add egg and egg yolk and use a balloon whisk to whisk until combined. Gradually add the milk in a thin, stead stream and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour batter into a jug and divide evenly among the cupcake holes, pouring the mixture carefully into the hot oil. Return tin to the oven and bake for 15-20mins or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm!

ENJOY!

Homemade Garlic Bread

Do you love garlic bread? Do you often find yourself walking the aisle where the garlic bread is and cannot resist getting a loaf when you see it? Especially when it’s on sale? Or when you order pizza, you would not miss ordering garlic bread?

Then you are exactly like me! (: If you love it so much, why not make it? So let’s go!

Homemade Garlic Bread

3 handfuls parsley, chopped

50g butter, melted

pinch of salt

whole bulb of garlic

3 tbs parmesan

A loaf of baguette, sliced 1-inch thick

Steps :

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Bake the whole bulb of garlic for 20 mins.

2. Remove the garlic from the skin and mash it with a fork. Mix the garlic, parsely, melted butter, salt and parmesan in a bowl until well combined.

2. Spread it on the bread and bake for 10-15mins.

ENJOYYYY!

ps : I’m very sure you will.

pss : I’m very sure you will always make this and not buy store bought ones anymore! (:

Instant Gratification : Cinnamon Sugar Churros

Ever saw something and want to have it right that instant? But it’s too cold to head out cos of the 50km/h winds and below 10 degrees ?

Well. That was me last night. I saw a post on cinnamon sugar churros and just had the cravings for them almost immediately. And nothing was going to stop me from making them. Not even the lack of vegetable oil to fry them. I scurried to the nearest supermarket to get a bottle just so I could fry them in. haha

Trust me, if you love cinnamon sugar churros, you should really try making these cause they were SO EASY! You don’t even need to use a mixer of any kind. Just have a fork, mixing bowl, put everything together and MIX! Don’t get frightened by the sound of deep frying. You really just need a small pot and fill it up to the halfway mark, and heat it up slowly. It’s not that bad really!

Give it a go (: I’m very sure you won’t regret it! Especially if you’re craving for some like I was!

Cinnamon Sugar Churros (adapted from Toasty Biscuit)

2 cups plain flour

1 tbs baking powder

pinch of salt

600ml of boiling water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tsp vanilla paste

vegetable oil, to fry

cinammon sugar, to dust (just combine caster sugar with ground cinnamon)

Steps :

1. Fill a deep, heavy based saucepan with vegetable oil. Place on medium-high heat and allow to heat. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla paste, water and oil. Mix with a fork and make sure there are no lumps.

2. Spoon the mixture into  a piping bag with a star tip. When the oil has reached 170 degrees, pipe 12cm lengths into the oil, using scissors to snip them from the bag. Be careful not to splash the hot oil.

3. Fry until golden brown, strain off excess oil and dust in cinnamon sugar.

Tip : Best to make and eat it hot/warm, but if you made too much, share it with others! They will love you for it. (:

PS : Once again, I got invited to Lisa’s Sweet Treat Linky Party! Head there to check out other sweet treats!