Tag Archives: family

Crispy Pork

Crispy pork, Siu Yuk (Cantonese) or Sio Bak (Hokkien) literally means burn the meat. In most Chinese household, Siu Yuk will be featured during special occasions eg Chinese New Year, Qing Ming (all soul’s day) as an offering for prayers. In my family, during Qing Ming, without fail, Siu Yuk will be offered to my late grandparents. I’m not sure what the significant is but it sure does feed the hungry family members – US! Haha! Once my late grandparents have “finish their meal”, the feast for us begins. We will have breakfast at the graveyard (think: picnic at an inappropriate setting) consuming whatever food that is offered to my late grandparents. Well, no prize for guessing what everyone is eyeing on! My aunt will always bring a knife along and yes, it is for the Siu Yuk. Talking about pre-empting here! Haha 😀

Anyway, few weeks ago, while at the market with the husband, I casually asked if he wants to have Siu Yuk for dinner and to my surprise, he said Yes! For the benefits of those who do not know the husband, he is a salad and sandwich guy! Boring eh! So, off we went to get a slab of pork belly from the butcher – 2kg for 20 over dollars. The husband thought it was expensive. I’m not sure what the market rate is but one thing is for sure, it definitely cost more than 20 bucks for a 2 kg Siu Yuk!

Homemade Siu Yuk may sound daunting but it’s not rocket science, it is a lot easier than you’d imagined. It’s all about getting the marinade right and the skin REAL dry. The first time I made this I got the steps mixed up. The skin was crispy when it’s fresh from the oven but it gets tough after a while. This time round, I made sure I followed the steps to the dot and I did an extra step. I read from somewhere that the trick to super crispy skin is to char the skin and then using a serrated knife to scrape off the charred bits. The result? Amazingly crispy skin, not even a tad of chewiness! I was happy with the end product and so did the salad and sandwich husband!! 🙂

If you are interested, here’s the recipe for the Non-Rocket Science Crispy Pork:-

Ingredients

2 kg pork belly, with rind on
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine vinegar

Marinade

2-2.5 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2-3 pieces red fermented bean curd
½ tbsp five spice powder
½ tbsp chopped garlic

1. Mix all the marinade in a bowl and set aside.
2. Clean the pork belly thoroughly, scrapes the skin with a knife to get rid of any impurities or hair. Pat dry all over with a kitchen towel.
3. Score the meat (horizontally & diagonally). Do not score the skin.
4. Rub the skin with sea salt all over. Pat dry.
5. Rub the marinade evenly onto the meat right into the incisions. (Do not rub the marinade onto the skin)
6. Marinate for about 30 minutes or longer.
7. Roast the marinated pork belly with skin side up in a preheated oven at 220C for 20 minutes.
(Using a roasting tin, I put some water in the tin and placed the pork belly on the rack. The water helps the meat to be tender and moist, while allowing the oil to drip for easy cleaning)
8. Remove from oven and prick all over the skin with a fork. (The more pricks the better. More blisters will appear on the skin)
9. Brush the skin with rice wine vinegar.
10. Return to the oven and roast with skin side up at 250C for another 20.
11. Change the oven mode to grill, and grill the pork belly with skin side up for a further 5-10 minutes.
12. Keep an eye on the pork belly, do not over charred it.
13. Remove and let the pork rest for 15-20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, scrape off the charred bits.
14. Using a large knife, chop (do not slice) the pork into bite sized.
15. Eat to your heart’s content!!!

Chinese New Year Snaps

Every year if possible, I try to spend the Lunar New Year with my family back in Penang. For us Chinese, the Lunar New Year is the most important festivity. It is a time when everyone gathers, reconcile, forget grudges and sincerely wishing everyone peace and happiness. It is also time to indulge in calories boosting New Year goodies.

This year I made the most out of my long holidays. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of preparations leading up to the Chinese New Year – getting the house ready, baking Chinese New Year must haves, preparing for reunion dinner etc.

Here are some of the Instagram shots from my celebrations back home:-

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{left to right, top to bottom}

1. Goodbye Singapore, Hello Penang!
2. Early reunion lunch. It was only meant for us but since the uncle and families were already in town, mum invited them over. Well, the more the merrier! 😀
3. Reunion dinner with dad’s family. Here with my granny. She used to cook every reunion dinner but she’s not in the pink of health lately, so we had it in the restaurant instead.
4. Another reunion dinner with the husband’s family at E&O Hotel. This is where we got married! 🙂

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5. Had a catch up session with friends and family at China House. Their tiramisu is to-die for!!
6. What is Chinese New Year without Lou Hei?
7. Mum cooking up a storm in the kitchen for another reunion dinner. She had a sifu (i.e. cookbook) guiding her throughout 😉 It was her first attempt cooking those reunion dishes and I have to say, they were delish.
8. My 4th aunt hosted a Laksa cum Poh Piah party. My cravings for Laksa was satisfied!

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9. Chinese New Year decorations at home. Done by my parents. I can feel the Chinese New Year mood just by admiring their work 🙂
10. Preparing ang pows. When i was a little kid, I used to help mum in inserting money into the red packets and looked forward to receive them. But now I have to do it myself and I looked forward to giving them out.
11. It was banned a couple of years ago but recently the ban was lifted. Setting off firecrackers bring good luck and it signaled a joyous occasion.
12. Our favourite Chinese New Year past-time – gambling. The activity that brings everyone (young and old) together. It is not about winning or losing but the excitement generated when one loses. 🙂

It was a very joyous Chinese New Year for us! Hope it was for you as well!

Dinner At Josie Bones

When we were in Melbourne, my brother treated us to dinner at Josie Bones. It is the brainchild behind Masterchef Australia Season 1 contestants Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins. The place is really cool with a relaxed atmosphere and it didn’t seem like it was trying too hard. Black exposed brick walls, concrete flooring, high bar stools – it fits the bill perfectly for a casual dinner. Some restaurants and chefs have been championing the whole beast philosophy and now it’s Chris Badenoch’s turn. The focus at Josie Bones is on nose to tail eating. Think pig’s head, lamb’s tongue, black pudding, etc.

Over here, the food are served tapas style and you pair them with beer. The beer list is super long. When I say long, I mean LONG. In situation like this, we shall ask for recommendation. The recommended beer was champagne beer. It has a fruity and spicy aroma with a nice champagne-like dryness. It went perfectly well with the oysters.

Left: Food Menu, Right: Beer Men

While my brother was deciding on the menu, we had crackling of the day which was chicken crackling to keep the stomach juice flowing. It was unhealthy,of course, but satisfyingly crunchy with each bite.

For starter, we had oysters and miniature scotch egg with anchoïade.  The porky mince casing a quail egg with runny yolk on a fat smear of anchovies, garlic and olive oil was delicious. I am not a egg person but I am glad I tried it. We also ordered the crumbed lamb belly with basil aioli. The lamb belly melts in your mouth and the subtle basil aioli suited to this dish perfectly.

Here’s our mains:-

Grilled Monkfish and chorizo with cauliflower puree. The fish, chorizo and the cauliflower puree was a good combination. This is one of the healthier choice among the lot.

Grilled asparagus with crumbed poached egg and cider hollandaise. The poached egg was beautifully done, the asparagus were crisp and the sauce was smooth and creamy, which did not overpower the dish. We couldn’t fault this dish at all!

This was the highlight of the night. Rolled pig’s head with sauce gribiche and crackling. Yes, you read it correctly – it’s pig’s head. But you won’t be getting angry birds kind of smiley pig’s head 😉 The pig’s head was stripped off the meat, rolled and cooked with a thick layer of pig’s fat. It was very well seasoned, tender and melts in your mouth. Note: this dish is not for people who are constantly on diet.

Next up was dry aged skirt steak with bone marrow butter. Sorry, no photo for that because we were too engross with the pig’s head that we totally forgot about it. By the time I realized, it was too late.  This dish was the low of the night. It was bland. We came to a conclusion that this dish should be served before the pig’s head as the flavor for the previous dish was so intense that it overpower this dish.

Cassoulet of confit duck, house made sausage, white beans and herbed brioche crumbs. After the disappointing beef  steak, we were very happy with this. The duck fell off the bones, the beans were good and sadly, the sausage was no where to be seen. With or without sausage, this dish was delicious..very delicious!

According to my brother, the desserts are awesome, so we gotta try. Although we were very full, we still managed to make space for dessert. I had the baked dark chocolate mousse with blood orange marmalade, salted peanut praline and clotted cream. It was good, not overly sweet. I love the crunchy peanut praline and I always love the combination of chocolate and orange.

The husband had the Rex Attitude marshmallow with strawberries, pistachio crumble and lime and lemongrass sorbet. He claimed that this is the BEST DESSERT EVER. We were supposed to share but he ended up finishing the whole plate 😦 The sourness of the sorbet blends very well with the marshmallow and the strawberries that it created mini explosions in the mouth 😉 This is a perfect dessert to end a meaty dinner.

It was truly a great dinner with my brother and the husband. This is a meal that would not be forgotten.

Josie Bones
98 Smith St, Collingwood 3066
(03) 9417 1878

A Week In My Life: SUNday

Finally, it’s the end of the week. It’s an uphill task trying to document everything that happened on a daily basis and it’s even tougher updating my blog for my days in Penang were so tied up. As you can see, the Thurs-Sun write up was done over two days – that is when I have some Me time.

There aren’t many photos for today. I was so forgetful today, I kept forgetting to take them!

+ Stayed in and spent the whole morning with my parents and brother as well who came from Melbourne just to attend the wedding.
+ Went out to buy some hawker’s food for friends in Singapore. It was pre-ordered before I left for Penang.

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waiting for the food which will be delivered to S’pore

+ Lunch was prepared by mum. I LOVE home-cooked food.
+ Packed up and bid goodbye to mum. Dad drove us to the airport.
+ Went to check in for my flight only to find out that my Staff Travel ticket was not being issued!! Checked with the counter staff and if I want to get on the flight, I have to fork out RM 800+ for a 1.5 hrs flt!! Forget it! Luckily I bought another budget airline ticket much earlier but that means I have 3 hour to kill before my flight!
+ The husband managed to get on his flt (we were on different airline) and he left for Singapore first.
+ Parked myself at Coffee Bean in the airport and start counting down the 3 hours. Thank God for wifi in the aiport!!
+ 5 hours later, the husband picked me up from Singapore’s airport. Headed home for some major unpacking and packing for my next flight the next morning.

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nails painted in less than 5 mins

Woohoo..I made it. My one week of documenting my daily life.  It will be back to normal on Monday. I don’t have to keep reminding myself to snap pictures of whatever I do, see, eat etc..I’m sure this will bring back a lot of memories when I look back on it in years to come 🙂

A Week In My Life: Saturday

Today was incredible. We got off to an early start and headed to the mainland (Penang is made up of island and mainland, connected by a bridge) to attend my cousin’s wedding. Here’s a bit of what we were up to..

+ woke up to a beautiful sunny day. breakfast was already waiting for us.
+ drove across the bridge to the mainland (alternatively, you can take a ferry across).
+ arrived at the church. everyone was geared up for the day. smiles were everywhere and tears as well!
+ went back to my aunt’s place for the tea ceremony. I was served tea by the newlyweds – my first time after I got married.
+ lunch. power nap. ready for dinner.
+ arrived at the dinner venue to help out with some last minute preparations. I was delegated to be in charged of the polaroids together with the husband.
+ dinner were served. drinks flowed freely. everyone was having a jolly good time.
+ celebrated cousin sister’s birthday.
+ at the end of the night, I counted my blessings at the fact that I have such a wonderful family.

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A Week In My Life: Friday

Wow..it’s already Friday, almost to the end of the “Week in my Life” project. Initially when I started out, I didn’t expect I will come this far. I got to admit this take one hell of an effort to document the whole day’s happenings!

The time I have back home in Penang is usually very precious for me. Most of the time, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and meet up with my close friends. But this trip back is solely a family affair.

  • This morning was a daddy and daughter time. I was woken up pretty early by my dad and we went to the market to get some breakfast. I love going to the market, walking around enjoying the bustling scene.
  • Visited my granny and there she was busy cooking in the kitchen. Had a lovely chat with her and she reminded me that I forgotten her birthday 😳 Happy Belated Birthday, Mama!!
  • Made pandan chiffon cake and durian puffs with my mum. The cake turned out to be one of the best so far but the puffs were a disaster despite me making them numerous times.
  • The husband’s flight was delayed ex-Singapore therefore we missed out on my cousin’s pre wedding dinner. Thus, we had dinner at my in-laws.
  • Got home around 11ish, watched a few minutes of TV and we decided to call it a night. It will be another early morning on Saturday.

A Week In My Life: Thursday

Ohw Thursday, how I love thee!! Today I am going back to Penang..Yipee!! It’s been few months since I last went back. I’ve never been this excited before but somehow, today was different. I just can’t wait to go back. Maybe because I miss my parents dearly.

I started my day super early considering that I slept at 4.30 am. Woke up at 10ish, did some laundry and packed my bags before heading to the airport. I was on a budget airline and I find it a bit shocking to know that they charged SGD 5 for every passenger checking in at the counter. They encouraged web check in..maybe they expect everyone to be web savvy 🙄 Arrived into Penang Airport and were welcomed by the forever ongoing construction. It was more than one year. Talking about efficiency here.

  • My mum picked me up from the airport and I was happy to see my dad when I reached home. He must have left work early for me. Hehe.
  • Had some mother-daughter time. Sharing with her my shopping and she bagged a few of them! 🙂
    Tonight’s dinner was hosted by my aunt. A few of my relatives were already in town and it was a great opportunity to meet up. After dinner, we went over to her place and helped with decorating the house for my cousin bro’s wedding which is on this Saturday. I can feel the excitement in the house and it reminded me of my wedding which was one year ago. I want to turn back the time!! By the time everything has been set up, it’s time for the one hour drive home.
Here’s a peek into my Thursday. The next few days will be a busy one and I’m looking forward to it. Til then..