Rainy Days on Sunday

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

La Niña has inched its way into our summer.  I love rainy days especially on Sundays.  It gives me good reason to just curl up in a corner with a good book or snuggle up with my honey and watch Turner Classic movies.  Sad to say this does not happen very often but when it does, I take advantage and play up that cozy comforting atmosphere by brewing something in the kitchen.  It was the perfect time to make this Slow-Cooked Pork Belly recipe I have eyed but have not had time to make.  It embodied the feeling of hominess, just by the smell alone.  And what’s good about slow-cook meals is that I get to settle in my corner while it’s cooking.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly

What you need:

  • 400g pork belly
  • ½ cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Chinese cooking wine (in absence I used dry white wine)
  • 1 tbsp.  Brown sugar
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Ginger
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground sage

What you do:

  1. In a bowl, except for the pork belly, mix all remaining ingredients.
  2. Use that mixture to marinade the pork belly, best if overnight but a few hours will suffice.
  3. On a hot pan, sear the marinated pork belly on all sides until golden.
  4. Pour the marinade into a slow cooker and transfer the pork.
  5. Set to 75 – 90˚C and let cook for 4-6 hours, until the pork belly is fork tender.

What can I say?  Our rainy Sunday reward was a meal of tender, flavorful, slightly caramelized meat with a wicked sauce best topped with rice.

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Blueberry Compote

May 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

They were in season and I asked the guide to reserve me 3 paper plates – that was how they sell them at the Saturday Market in Sagada.  A plateful is about 1 cup.   It was market day but we were also on our way to Bomod-ok falls hence the need to reserve or run out.  These wild blueberries are grown on the slopes of Mt. Ampacao usually during the months of April and May.  Due to the short season, these local berries go fast.  The locals usually make pies and jams from it.

I made a sauce, more like a compote actually that went well with pancakes, ice cream and even a trifle, which will be for another post.

Local blueberries are not only found in Sagada but are usually gathered from the pine forest of the entire Mt. Province.  Compared to their cooler climate cousins, these berries are a bit tough on the skin.  Also a bit more sour but packed with more flavor, me thinks.  While stewing the blueberries, the fragrance filled up my entire kitchen.  The blend of sour to the sweet sauce added a welcome dimension, bringing out the blueberry tang.

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon or throw in a bark
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice (depending on your preference)

What you do:

  1. Place the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and water in a medium-sized saucepan.  Stir until smooth.
  2. Stir in the blueberries and place the saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Cook the sauce until the liquid thickens and becomes clear.
  4. Taste to see if there is a need to add more sugar or more water if a thinner sauce is desired.
  5. Let cool and then cover and refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup.

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