Tag Archives: Dinner

SLOW COOKER PORK LOIN CARNITAS FOR TACOS

Nearly set to go

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Nearly all set to go!

I have become somewhat obsessed with our slow cooker recently, and this recipe for pulled pork tacos is SO DAMN EASY. AND SO DAMN GOOD. It is definitely set for high rotation, especially as it gets colder out. More traditional recipes for Pork Carnitas call for pork shoulder or other similarly fatty cuts, but I prefer using a healthier, leaner cut of meat – trust me, it will still blow your mind. And decreased calories means more servings with less of the guilts! A few minutes under the grill at the end of cooking will crisp up the edges deliciously, but this is totally optional.

This recipe will serve four comfortably, but if you love these as much as we do you might want to up the quantities somewhat. I adapted this recipe from here and here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 1kg freedom farmed port loin
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • handful of jalapeños (from a jar)
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 lemon juiced, plus zest of half a lemon
  • 2-3tbsp olive oil

How-to:

Combine chilli flakes, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Rub pork loin with extra olive oil and then season with the spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly (ensure all spice mixture is used – just whack any that doesn’t stick to the pork into the pot with everything else).

Place garlic, onions, jalapeños, orange juice, lime juice, zest, olive oil and seasoned loin into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Remove pork shoulder from the slow cooker and shred the meat before returning to the pot with the juices; season with salt and pepper, to taste, if needed. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes. add a little water if needed.

Preheat your oven to grill. Place carnitas (minus liquid etc) onto a baking sheet and grill for a couple of minutes until slightly browned in parts. Place back into liquid and stir before serving. (Optional, but YUM).

Serve in small corn tacos with a little bit of cheese, sour cream, homemade pickled red onions, coriander, tomato and red onion salsa and grated zucchini. Also good with lettuce, refried beans etc. Anything you like really!2015-04-05 18.02.25-1

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Spaghetti with chilli, lemon & herbs

ImageA super easy dinner option, you can throw this together and add in anything else you might have on hand – chicken, feta, extra herbs etc. The anchovies disappear into the sauce but definitely leave a tiny hint of something deliciously salty (if you’re an anchovy lover by all means add more).

Serves 5(ish)

Ingredients:

1 x 500g packet wholemeal spaghetti

Approx 1/3 cup good quality olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed

3 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped

1 x super hot small red chilli, roughly chopped (or dried chilli to taste) 2 tbsp grated lemon zest

Approx 1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper

2 cups roughly chopped rocket

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, shredded

1/3 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to:

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook gently for 1 minute, then add the anchovies and chilli and cook for another minute, crushing the anchovies into the olive oil (they should almost begin to dissolve). Next add the lemon zest, lemon juice & tsp of brown sugar, turn up the heat slightly and cook down for 1 minute. season with salt and pepper, then take off the heat.

When the pasta is cooked, drain (reserving a little bit of cooking water in case you want to thin the sauce) and combine with the sauce, rocket, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Toss well and top with the Parmesan. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and some extra chilli to serve.

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RIVER CAFÉ’S SLOW-ROASTED SHOULDER OF PORK

IMG_7663The Rive Café cookbooks are fabulous, and their slow-roasted shoulder of pork is, hands down, my favourite way to eat pork. It has become our family’s Christmas dinner staple (during my almost three years of being a vegetarian I would cave once a year, on Christmas day, and eat this) and is basically fool proof. Slow cooking like this produces meat that falls off the bone and for reals melts in your mouth. The pan juices also make the most amazing gravy- bonus! Even friends who do not like pork like this dish.

We typically have this with apple sauce, some kind of simple green vegetable, salad and new potatoes. I have also used the recipe to do a kind of pulled pork sandwich easy summer dinner.

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This recipe feeds about 8 people. We recently used a 4.5kg piece of shoulder to feed 12 people and it was pretty perfect (always err on the side of caution – leftover roast sandwiches the next day are SO good). If using a large piece of meat just increase the other ingredients accordingly. According to the River Cafe ladies you can cook this from 8-24 hours – the longer the better! When serving for dinner we usually pop it into the oven after breakfast. 9 hours seems about perfect for this size piece of meat, although an extra couple of hours would likely be even more delicious!

Always buy freedom farmed happy pork and ask your butcher to score the skin for you. SO much easier than DIY. If you like your crackling to be nice and crispy, as we do, remove the skin once the meat is out of the oven, chop up roughly, and place under the grill until it is done to your liking.

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Serves 8

1 small whole shoulder of pork, with skin, about 2.75-3.25kg/6-7lb

10 garlic cloves, peeled

100g/4oz fennel seeds

Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

5-6 small dried red chillies, crumbled

juice of 5 lemons

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 230C/450F. If your butcher hasn’t already done this for you, score the whole skin of the shoulder with deep cuts (about 2cm between each cut).

Smash the garlic with the fennel seeds, then mix with salt, pepper and chilli to make a rough paste. Rub and push this mixture into and over the skin and all the surfaces of the meat. Place the shoulder on a rack in a roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes or until the skin begins to crackle up, blister and brown. Turn the shoulder and pour over half the lemon juice and two tablespoons of the oil. Place back skin side up, turn the oven down to 120C/250F, and leave the meat to roast, overnight or all day. Baste the meat occasionally with extra lemon juice and, if necessary, a little more oil.

The shoulder is ready when it is completely soft under the crisp skin. You can tell by pushing with your finger: the meat will give way and might even fall off the bone. Serve each person with some of the crisp skin and meat cut from different parts of the shoulder. Add extra lemon juice to deglaze the pan, and spoon some of this over. Make a gravy with the remaining pan juices – remove any overly dark clumps of fennel seeds, place the pan over a medium-high heat, add a little water and, stirring well, bring to the boil before adding a couple of teaspoons of flour to thicken. The combination of lemon, fennel, olive oil, chilli and meat juices makes for the BEST. GRAVY. EVER.

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Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Belly

good

Parkside Café in Mt Albert, Auckland, is the most wonderful place. It’s a very unassuming regular (but tasty) café during the day, but a few nights a week they open for dinner and serve the most incredible Vietnamese cuisine. Their Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Belly is the best way I’ve ever eaten this cut of meat, and every time I go to Parkside I leave dreaming of recreating this meal at home. I finally had the chance this week when I came across some Black Rock freedom farmed pork belly.  It also happened to be my mum’s birthday. Good excuse to make something a bit more decadent! There are a huge number of varying recipes for this dish online, but the one I came across that seemed to be the most similar to what I wanted is this one. I have adapted the recipe somewhat to include star anise, less sugar and a few other bits and pieces.

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This is definitely a “sometimes food” kind of meal, but we’re all allowed to be a little bit naughty now and then. Don’t freak out (as I did) if it looks pretty anaemic and unappealing at the beginning, trust me, it is a completely different looking dish at the end of cooking! I removed the chillies towards the end of cooking once they began breaking down as I wanted a good level of heat, but not the mouth-watering spice that can occur once the seeds have been unleashed from their shells.

I wanted some simple vegetables to cut through the richness of the pork, so just pan-fried some zucchini in a little coconut oil, salt & pepper.

Serve with some nutty brown rice and you’re good to go!

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Ingredients

1kg pork belly (free farmed)

175g raw brown sugar

2 litres (8 cups) water

½ cup good quality fish sauce

75 g sugar, extra

1 onion, roughly diced

2 star anise

4 fat cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

2 tsp fine white pepper

3-6 red bird’s eye chillies, left whole


How to

Cut the pork belly into 2x4cm pieces and set aside.

To make the caramel, put the sugar and 2 tbsp of water in a large heavy-based saucepan and place over high heat. Cook without stirring until sugar becomes foamy & bubbly & a rich golden colour (this shouldn’t take long, don’t let it get to the candy stage) then carefully add the pork pieces to the pan.

Stir well to coat the pork with the caramel and then add the water. Bring back to the boil, skimming off any fat and impurities that rise to the surface with a slotted spoon.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the fish sauce, extra sugar, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. the sauce will eventually reduce to about 1/4 of its original volume and will darken and become glossy as some of the fat melts off the pork. If you think it needs a little longer than 90 minutes, keep it simmering for another 15-20, topping up the sauce with ½ cup of so of water.

Serve over brown rice with vegetables on the side.

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