cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
[personal profile] cookingtaco
With potatoes.

Hello again CookingBlog. I've been told not to insult you... Clearly you've been running your mouth off again.

You're pushing me CookingBlog...

Anyway, I like meat. I like it a lot. Recently, I have discovered that there are "meat markets" where you can get unusual and, usually, high quality cuts of meat for a good price. I found Haverick meats (or farm?) while driving down Wentworth Avenue. They're pretty close to Eastgardens in an industrial area and are pretty cool.

Soo much meat! Big cuts of wagyu and things! I am, however wary of buying from there because I'm not sure whether it is actually cheaper. However, I commissioned my mother last Saturday to go get me a pork belly (whilst I was sitting my final exam). On Monday, I cooked it:

I love chemistry and I love food. Cooking lets me combine both, which is pretty great. This dish particularly allowed me to explore of the effect of surface area on everything. (Surface area is life...) My idea was to score both the skin and the base of the belly to things to be stuffed or poured on it and to be cooked slowly. This was a result of my desire to maximise flavour penetration.

I also love limes. Lemons are pretty rad also. I used apple as a vehicle unto which I was able to mesh the flavours. I also made some potatoes because they're delicious.

This is my story:

I got the pork belly scored the fat (My knife was blunt as fuck, so it was rather terribly cut) and then I scored the base. I went deeper with the base than with the fat. Then Wherever there were crosses, I stuck a skewer through the entire cut. However, before all this, I prepared the flavourings.

I got about 5 apples, washed and cored them then shredded them (With the skin on) making sure to collect all the juices. While I was doing that, one of my lovely assistants was cutting up about 5 or 6 lemons and 4 limes. After I was done with the apples (they were in some kind of bowl) I then juiced the lemons and limes and added them to the apples. I made sure to add the juice to the apples as soon as possible to stop the oxidation (apples going brown). It worked.

After letting the mixture sit in the fridge for awhile, I added it to my pork. I flipped the pork onto the skin side and proceeded to stuff all the scored parts with the citrus apple mixture. Whilst I was doing this, a lovely assistant was washing and cutting up potatoes into thin circular slices. I then dried each piece, salted them, then doused in a good deal of olive oil. I made sure that the oil coated the potatoes completely.

The potatoes were then layered on top of the citrus apple layer. This is what it became:

Pork Belly 1: Freshly Covered

Note the Al-Foil there.

That was a mistake. While the Internet is divided on this issue, I didn't like the idea of heating an acid and a very reactive metal together with food for a long time... (I eventually removed the Al-Foil). Also, I attempted to infuse a bit of lime juice with some juniper by crushing the berries in some lime juice. However, my mortar and pestle are bronze, again, not a good acid combination...

I think next time, I will not use aluminium and use more juniper with an acid resistant mortar and pestle!

Eventually, everything was stacked like the picture, and then I flipped it. I put it on about 100°C for 5 hours. I periodically took it out and basted it with the remaining lime/ lemon/ apple juices and the increasingly large amount of lard that the pork was melting.

Here are some evolutionary shots:
Pork Belly 1: Semi-Cooked
The browning has just begun!

Pork Belly 1: It's Cooked!
Oh look! It's cooked! HOW DELICIOUS!? Also, as I went along I decided to add some "No-Egg" to the basting mixture to thicken it up and to form a bit of an emulsion between the juice and the fats. Oh yeah, I also periodically added brown sugar to the mix...

Pork Belly 1: Plated Up
And finally, it's on the plate! You can also see the apple and potatoes. (Both delicious)

All in all, it was a rather successful first attempt at the pork belly medium.

Here's a semi-standardised recipe of what I did (with a bit of hindsight added in...)

  • ~1.6kg Pork Belly
  • 5 Green Apples
  • 5 Lemons
  • 4 Limes
  • 5 Small Potatoes
  • ~100g Brown Sugar
  • ~15g No Egg
  • ~20g Juniper Berries
1) Cut and juice lemons and limes. Core apples and grate them into a bowl. Cover the apple bits with the juice (but save a bit).

2) Crush juniper berries in the lime juice well. Strain the resulting liquid into the apple mixture thing. (You may want to try to infuse the juniper longer with some kind of teabag? I don't know. Mix well and leave to soak.

3) Score the fat layer of the belly. Use a sharp knife! :S Try not to go deeper than the fat... Score the base but you can score deeper.

4) Wash, cut into circles, dry, salt and then coat in olive oil on some potatoes.

5) Put the pork belly skin down on a medium shallow pan. Stuff the base with apples (achieving an even layer). Then add the potatoes.

6) Flipping is tricky. Get a pan and apply pressure on the stacked pork and then flip it so that the fat is pointed up.

7) Add brown sugar and No-Egg to the resulting liquid (Try to drain the apple mixture beforehand).

8) Baste ham skin with the liquid. Put it in the oven at 100°C.

9) Continue to baste it in this manner whenever you feel like it. Eventually, some of the fat will melt. Gather it and mix it with the basting mixture.

10) When you think it's cooked well enough throughout either turn up the heat or put it on the grill setting to give it a more solid and caramelised skin...

11) Remove from oven and let it sit and cool. Cut through meat in a vertical way and eat with the apples and potatoes (along with whatever else you want to add).

It turned out rather well with rave reviews. I also made delicious pancakes. But that may be a story FOR ANOTHER TIME!?

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cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)

October 2012

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