Friday 25 September 2015

Recipe: Caramelised Pork Belly w/ Boiled Eggs and Rice

This is classic Vietnamese fare.  Normally the pork is braised for and hour with the boiled eggs but I happened to have a rather large amount of cooked pork belly in the fridge so I though I’d do it a couple of different ways for my housemates.

This is a simple and tasty recipe; it’s a real corker, I’ve written the recipe how it would normally be made with uncooked pork belly.

The belly I had, had already been slow cooked so I put it in about 30minutes into the braising process so it wouldn’t fall apart in the broth, but still have enough time to take up the flavours and be soft and delicious!

Normally this is served with rice . . . 

 ingredients (serves 4-6)
for the caramelising slow braising broth
1/4 side pork belly (1.7kg uncooked weight) (cut into 3-4cm chunks)
500ml coconut water
1 red onion (fine dice)
6 cloves garlic (fine dice)
45g ginger 
30-60ml fish sauce (to taste)
80g palm sugar (or brown sugar)
6 eggs

caramelising slow braising broth
Boil the eggs for 8 minutes, then immediately run under cold water. Once they’re cold enough to handle, peel them, ready for the pot.
Fry the onions until they’re a little charred, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze with a little coconut water and pour the mix into a bowl.
In the same pot add the sugar and a slug of coconut water. Cook on a medium heat until the sugar is a dark caramel colour, then add the rest of the coconut water (through a sieve). Careful it will spit!
Add the fish sauce, garlic ginger mix and the boiled eggs and set to simmer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes add the pork belly, bring back up to the boil and set to simmer for another 30mins.

If you don’t have any 3 hr slow roast pork belly kicking about, sear off some pork shoulder and add it in at the same time as the eggs, then simmer for 60 mins. 
At the end of the 60 minutes check the flavour. If it’s needs it, you can sharpen it up with a touch of lime juice just before service.

thinking ahead
You can make this the day before and pop it in the fridge, and reheat when needed.

what could go wrong? (notes)
It’s impossible to cluck this up! Oink.

to serve
Serve it in a large bowl with a ladle in it, and serve with boiled rice.

Friday 18 September 2015

Recipe: Arepas

Just recently I’ve been getting into my street food, London has a vibrant street food scene, Camden, Street Feast (various), Portobello road, the list is endless. I’ve I’ve tried in one form or another most of the offerings so it’s nice to try something new. 

Now this can be a risk, a lot of people like the familiar, burger, fried chicken, pizza, curry, safety init. Arepas were something I’d not tried and so when I saw a stand offering them I went in! First at mini feast in Shepherds Bush then again at Camden. Both times I got a pretty respectable bite to eat, so you can imagine my delight when I was offered one for breakfast on Saturday morning! I took the opportunity to learn how to make them taught by a cute Venezuelan teacher by the name of Valentina!

So with me and her boyfriend as sous chefs we cracked on!

Worth noting: The important thing is that you’ve got to eat them fresh, soon as they’re ready. The dough will keep in the fridge so you can keep what you don’t use for later.

Make sure they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Don’t make them too thick (more than half centimetre) or they’ll be a bit too stodgy in the middle!

This isn’t a purist recipe, I just watched, took notes and learned how to make some great food courtesy of Venezuela.

ingredients (serves 5 - 2 each)
for the arepas
650g coarse grain maize meal (pre-cooked)
750ml water
30ml vegetable oil
5g salt (lightly salted)

for the avocado chicken
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 avocado
400g roast chicken
2 tbsp mayo

for the tuna (NB tuna is an endangered species -  best to stick to sustainable fish)
200g tuna
1 tbsp veg oil

for the scrambled eggs
1 onion (fine chopped)
2 tomatoes
2 eggs (whites only)

for the refried beans (quick style - original style)
1 onion (medium dice)
30g butter
250g black beans (1 tin, drained)

for the cheese
8 slices cheese (gouda, or emental, whatever you prefer)
some soft cheese ([p something])

for the garnish
Some spring onions, chopped chives if you like.

Couldn’t be easier, mix the corn flour and the water and the veg oil and a little salt until they make a “smooth masa” (a kind of dough mix), not sure I’d call it a dough. It's a kind of mash potato consistency.

Let it sit and soak up the water while you (or your sous chefs / helpers) make the rest of the fillings.
Once all the fillings are ready get a large frying pan or two, and run them up to “half fire”, take a handful of dough, bit bigger than a ping pong ball and flatten it in your hands and place it into the pan. 

Repeat until you fill the pans with flat breads.
Now it’s a patience game: cook 15mins, turning once. 

avocado chicken

Cut the avocado in half around the length. Twist it around the stone to separate the two halves.
To remove the stone using a heavy blade, hit the stone so the blade sticks into the stone then turn the blade to rotate the stone and remove it - it will be stuck to the knife!

Use the knife to cut a criss cross into the flesh, then scoop the contents out of he skin.
Tear the roast chicken into shreds and mix with the avocado pieces, and a touch of seasoning.
Add the mayo and mash it up with a potato masher.
Thats basically ready!

Empty tin, add a little oil (if it’s brined) and a squeeze of lemon, mix. Or instead of eating endangered species, you could use, flaked river cobbler, pollock, or sardines instead of tuna.

scrambled eggs
OK, so new one on me, sweat off the onions with a little oil, add a touch of butter, let it melt and add the chopped tomato, cook it out a little, then add the egg whites and mix them through until they’re cooked.

refried beans (short cut)
No excuses here, these aren’t classic refried beans but they do have the same flavour profile, with a different texture, no shame. Fry off some onions, add a little seasoning and the drained beans, leave on a low heat until everything else is ready.

what could go wrong? (notes)
You could get some uptight type giving you grief about the refried beans!

to serve
Put all the ingredients on the table, and let folk assemble what ever they fancy, take what you want to make your own crispy outer and beautifully filled arepa.

R E S U L T !!

Yeah . . . I know!! ; )
Pulled pork is popular at the moment, maybe corn and ndugya, there’s plenty of scope!

That evening I made us a paella mixta with is always great the next day, some arepa dough and leftover paella & lettuce filling!! : )

Sunday 13 September 2015

Comfort Recipe: Smokey Linguini - Vegetarian (works w/ Spaghetti, why not add Chorizo!)

When I’m feeling like something that’s going to satisfy me, and not be a giant pain in the arse to make this really hits the spot!!

It does have one shortcut which is the garlic and onion reduction, I usually make a batch and store it in the fridge in an old mayo jar - one of the big ones!! Then I don’t have to chop onions or garlic or mess about at all!! Recipe for the garlic onion reduction is here (it’s basically lob ingredients into a pot and reduce it for a couple of hours).

This one’s just as simple!!

ingredients (serves 2-4)
for the linguini
200g linguini 
1 tsp salt
1.5L water

for the smokey flavour
2 tbsp garlic onion reduction (recipe)
1 tsp smoked paprika
10g picked thyme (optional but really nice)
slug of olive oil

for the garnish
chives or spring onions (chopped)

apparatus / equipment
boiling pot

for the linguini
Bring 1.5L water to the boil (use kettle for high speed results!) 
Add the water to a boiling pot with the salt, dissolve the salt and add the pasta.
Cook for ~9-11mins depending how you like it. (9min al dente - 11min sooooft)
Then strain it, keeping the water to add a little to the sauce.

smokey flavour
First make sure you get hold of some decent smoked paprika: I use La Chinata - it has a great smokey flavour much better than most of the generic ‘smoked’ paprika you get in a lot of places. (you can get it at the supermarket too!!)
OK that said, dust a healthy tsp of smoked paprika over a medium hot dry frying pan. As soon as it starts to change colour and start giving off a smokey aroma (which will be 5-10seconds) add 2 tbsp of garlic reduction, a slug of olive oil and the thyme and mix well! Add the pasta and a 1/2 ladle of pasta water and toss the pasta with a couple of wooden forks. 

to serve
Serve on hot plates dusting with chives or spring onion.

thinking ahead
Now the pasta purists out there would probably have me shot, but this is just as good the next day and microwaves pretty well so it’s great to load up a takeaway box and have it for lunch the next day!

Make it meaty!! Dice 100g chorizo and cook until browned on the outside, add the picked thyme, cook for 2 more minutes then put aside. Use the same pan for more flavour and add the paprika etc and follow recipe above, adding the cooked chorizo just before the pasta!Makes for a nice meaty variant!! 

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More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
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