Unit converter



The BloggerAid Cookbook

Cuban Roast Pork & Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

Not being able to surf everyday for a month was pure torture for a computer addict like myself... but only at the beginning. Once I got over my PC withdrawal syndrome, I started getting A LIFE. Yes, you heard me right. One of the things I have learnt from this is that I was way too addicted to the Internet than I was willing to acknowledge. Internet is good and helpful but as with everything, it has to be used with moderation, or it'll eat your life before you know it. If you have a family, the first in line is your precious little children, then your couplehood. And yes, sadly Little One was in that front line. Don't get me wrong. I do spent time with her but not as much as I thought I did. After this incident, Pierre & I agreed that whenever Little One is at home and awake, my computer will be switched off.

As some of you know from my previous post, I joined a group of expatriate ladies for a weekly chit-chat exchanging languages and cultural differences etc. It's from this group that I met Corinne who formed a small group of ladies passionate about cooking to meet once a month to cook. Each takes turn to cook something of their home cuisine at their place. And so today we bring you all the way to Cuba. Why Cuba? Two months ago, we met up at Robin's house. She is from New Orleans and it happened that her Cuban-born mom-in-law came for a visit. She taught all of us that day how to make Cuban Pork Roast. Robin's mom-in-law talked a little bit about her growing up in Cuba and how she managed to flee her country just before Castro took over the country and settled down in her new home at New Orleans. I could see that after all these years, talking about the past still pains her but she was happy to share her personal experience with us. We had a wonderful time talking and exchanging cultural habits, mannerism, upbringing, etc. It made me wish to have a chance to talk freely about the past with my grandparents, to know who were their parents, how and where did they grew up from, how they meet each other etc. Sadly they aren't here any more to answer any questions that I have in my heart. So dear readers, if your grandparents are still around today, seize the opportunity and get to know them better, for once they are gone, the secrets, the past history goes with them.

Cuban Roast Pork & Cuban Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
Ingredients

Roast Pork

  • 2 kg pork filet or pork roast
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 onions (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • pinch of ground cumin (generous pinch)
  • a bit of olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

  • 500 g dried black beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 3 - 4 tbsp red/white wine
  • generous pinch of ground cumin
  • salt & pepper
Cuban Roast Pork & Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
Directions

Roast Pork

  1. In a big ziglog bag, mix the marinate: lemon juice, apple cide vinegar, chopped onions, a bit of olive oil, season with salt & pepper and a pinch of ground cumin together.
  2. Place pork in it and let it marinate over night in refrigerator for 12 to 14 hours, turning the bag over occasionally. This is to make sure it gets marinated evenly. Take out the meat from the refrigerator an hour or so before roasting it, allowing it to come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F - gas mark 2).
  4. Place the marinated pork in a roasting pan, pour the marinade over it and cover it with aluminium foil or put it in a crock pot.
  5. Roast it for about 3 hours, basting the roast with its juice every now and then. If juice dries out a bit, pour some wine or water and continue to bast the roast with it. Do not let the roast dries out.
  6. Uncover the roast a few minutes before it's done to let it get a bit brown on top.
  7. Once the roast is done, remove it from oven. Let it rest covered with an aluminium foil for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve the pork slices with a bit of pan juice on top it with rice, panfried plantain & cuban black beans.

Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

  1. Rinse the beans well. Soak it overnight covered with about 2 inches of water above the beans.
  2. The next day, cook the beans in its water. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer covered for about 2 hours or until beans are just tender or cooked. Add more WARM water to the pot if necessary. Never add cold water.
  3. Remove some of water that the beans cooked in, leaving about 2 inches of the liquid above the beans.
  4. Now starts preparing the sofrito: sauté chopped onions, crushed garlic and chopped green bell pepper together in a pan with some olive oil until fragrant.
  5. Sprinkle a generous pinch of ground cumin (more if you like) and season the sofrito with salt & pepper.
  6. Add the sofrito to the beans together with the bay leaves and red/white wine. Mash/crush the beans a little bit with a potato masher.
  7. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer partially covered for 1 or 2 hour or until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  8. Reheat before serving it with rice if you cook it in advance.
Cuban Roast Pork & Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
The Verdict

I was pleasantly surprised at the first bite of the roast. The pork was so tender, succulent and very aromatic. Each bite just got me drooling for more. The beans were delicious and fragrant and the fried banana a nice sweet addition that makes the whole thing fruity and exotic.

Notes

The Black Beans (Frijoles Negros) takes some time to cook so make this first before the roast.

Cuban Roast Pork & Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
9 comments on this post.

Coriander Pork with Pineapples

Sorry I haven't posted anything since 28/2. I just got so caught up in the daily affairs at home. My cool Sister in law came and stayed with us for a week or so before flying back to LA. We enjoyed her company so much that we were so sad to see her go, especially Little One who cried at the train station. A few days after that, I suffered a personal loss (as the saying goes, we never thought it would happen to us), then a few days later, I slipped and fell down the concrete stairs at home (earning myself a big bruise on my back and pigeon size bruises on my right arm). As if to prove that things happens in 3s, I got super lucky and caught stomach flu which lasted for days.:-(

As I was on the mend, Little One caught a virus at the day-care centre (I think). Poor thing (and also poor self) suffered 2 days of fever and the next morning, I gave her water and she cried and stuck her finger in her mouth: 'mommy, bobo. bobo.' (so cute right:-) but so painful to watch her suffer like this). So I had a clingy and cranky baby for 2 days (I was about to pull out all my hairs). Stuck at home for a week as she was super contagious, she got a bit of luck with the doc who prescribed ice cream as medicine. Anyone wants her virus?;-) hmm...think I spoke too soon - I myself caught her super bug. This taught me something: don't eat some chilli while having a really bad sore throat. Duh!

End of my complains and back to food. I would like to share this easy and delicious thai dish that I have prepared for my sister in law with all of you.

Coriander Pork with Pineapples

(Taken from Thai Cooking)

Ingredients
  • 400 g pork loin or fillet (cut into thin slices)
  • ¼ medium pineapple (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 4 spring onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • ¼ fresh mint (chopped)
Coriander Pork with Pineapples
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a wok, add the chopped garlic and spring onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove from wok.
  2. Stir-fry the sliced pork in a very hot wok in 2 or 3 batches. Cook each batch for about 3 minutes or until the meat is just cooked.
  3. Return all the meat in the wok together with the garlic and spring onions and add the pineapples, fish sauce and lime juice. Mix it well.
  4. Sprinkle some coriander leaves and chopped mint on it and toss lightly just before serving.
  5. Serve with rice.
The Verdict

This is a nice sweet dish, of course the pineapple dominates but the coriander and mint are what makes the whole thing interesting. My Sister-In-Law loves it very much and the dish was completely cleaned out before end of dinner.

15 comments on this post.

White Peppered Pork Slices

It feels so good to be home (my home in Singapore that is) with my family! As we decided to fly back for Chinese New Year, it will be Little One's and Pierre's first experience of what is Chinese New Year all about.:-D The flight was a bit long but our daughter slept through most of it, although she was woken up a few times by the crying baby next to us. There are a few perks about flying with a baby however, namely cutting through the line to board and getting seats with extra leg room (sweet precious leg room...)

Little One found her new surroundings a bit strange at first but she quickly adapted and also warmed up to my family rather quickly. She loves playing balls with our family dogs and like to pat them - she even tried to hug and carry one of them. She adapted to the new languages very well and has even said new words in the last 3 days.:-) On the part of my family, even my mom is learning a bit of French in order to understand what is Little One saying like gateau (cakes), l'eau (water), oiseau (bird) or dodo (sleep). She also loves my mom's cooking, as she polishes off her bowl at each meal all by herself. hahaha...I guess I'm not that a good cook afterall.;-)

One of the dishes that I have been loving ever since I was a little girl (and apparently Little One and Pierre too) is this simple and quick White Peppered Pork Slices. I was over the moon when my mom made this the other night.

White Peppered Pork Slices
Ingredients
  • Pork (cut into big slices)
  • Ground white pepper
  • Black soya sauce
  • Potato flour or cornflour
  • a bit of sugar
  • oil (for frying)
Directions
  1. Tenderize the pork slices.
  2. Coat the slices with ground white pepper (to your desired amount).
  3. Add some dark soya sauce and a little bit of sugar on it and marinate them well with your hands.
  4. Then sprinkle some potato flour on it and mix them well.
  5. Heat up some oil in a frying pan or wok till hot, fry the marinated pieces for a few minutes or until cooked. Then drain it on paper towel.
  6. Serve it while hot. Can be taken as part of the main dishes.
black peppered pork slicesblack peppered pork slices
Conclusions

Deliciously good - the photo doesn't do this dish any justice. It's not exactly a good looking dish but I assure you it tastes better than it looks. Taste wise: a wonderful mix of pepper soya taste and smell with tint of pepperish hot (but not spicy hot). It's quite addictive - hard to stop at one. It's a bit dry so you might want to eat it with a "wet" side dish (i.e: not plain rice).

Notes

My mom always does her own ground white pepper. It is more fragrant and it stays that way for a long long time.

How to make your own ground white pepper?

  1. Sift the white pepper seeds to remove any unwanted particles.
  2. Put the seeds in a sieve and run it under tape water to wash it. Drain off water well.
  3. Heat up the pan or wok till hot, stir-fry the drained white pepper seeds (without oil) till they are dry and give out a crackling sound. Continue to sauté for another 4 or 5 minutes, then take it off heat and let it cool.
  4. Grind the cooled seeds in a grinder and store the ground white pepper in an air tight container.
black peppered pork slices
10 comments on this post.

Rolled Roasted Pork

My sincere apologies to my readers for my lack of posts lately. I promise to do better and get back on the wagon on things - it just seems my routine has been shattered after moving house.

Little One was ill with flu and cough (so did Pierre). She seems to have made a fast recovery but she still coughs a bit now and then. Now the super bug has caught up with me and I'm sick again. It seems that as a girl born and raised under the equator, I'll never get used to winter !

Now back to food, while going through my documents, I realized that I have not posted this interesting dish that I made some time back. Who would have thought a combination of pork with dried fruits stuffing would turn out this delicious. Oh... please avoid making the same mistakes as I did.

Rolled Roasted Pork

Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 2.5 kg boneless pork shoulder with rind/skin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 375 ml chicken stock

Stuffings

  • 130 g long grain rice
  • 75 g dried apricot (finely chopped)
  • 105 g dried seedless prunes (finely chopped)
Roasted Pork with stuffings
Directions

The Stuffings

  1. Cook the rice in a pot until it is almost cooked and drained. Let it cool.
  2. Mix the rice with finely chopped dried apricot and prunes.

Making the crispy rind strips

  1. Preheat the oven at very high temperature.
  2. Lay the pork with the skin laying on the chopping board.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, slice the skin off the pork leaving about 5 mm of fats on the pork.
  4. Place the skin on a big baking tray or dish and lightly mark the surface diagonally with the knife. Brush it with half of the olive oil and season it with salt.
  5. Roast it in a very hot oven without covering for about 40 minutes until it is crispy and well brown or golden.
  6. Cut it into strips and keep it aside.
  7. Lower the oven temperature.

The Roast

  1. While the skin is being baked, prepare the stuffings.
  2. Lay the pork with the fat part laying on the chopping board. Slice the meat into half on the thickest side without completely cutting it at the end. (in the direction of the longest side).
  3. Spread the stuffing (at the beginning only like you make sushi roll) on the longest side of the meat.
  4. Roll it up tightly and tie up the roast with a cooking string every 2 cm apart.
  5. Place the roast in a baking tray that was used to bake the skin and brush the roast with the remaining olive oil.
  6. Grill it in the hot oven without covering it for about 1 hour until it is perfectly cooked.
  7. Once the roasted pork is cooked, take it out of the oven. Cover it and keep it warm.
  8. Once the sauce is done, serve the roasted pork with the sauce and the crispy strips.

Making the sauce

  1. Keep 1 tbsp of the juice from the roast in a small pan and keep the rest in a bowl.
  2. Heat the pan under medium fire and stir in 1 tbsp of flour. Stir the mixture until it bubbles/boils and the flour turns mousse like or roux to your liking.
  3. Add in little by little the rest of the juice and the chicken stock. Continue to stir until the sauce boils and thickens.
  4. Pour the sauce into a saucière.
Rôti de porc rouléRoasted Pork with stuffings
The Verdict

Although my roast didn't have enough fats to cover it and keep it moist, it still turned out good and tasted fine on its own without the sauce. The taste of it...how shall I describe it? Imagine taking a bite of the roast, you get the tasty taste of meat and fruity flavoured rice - salty, sweet and a bit acid (from the prune) all in one. Pretty interesting tasty combination isn't it. Hmmm... roasted pork !

Notes

Shame on me: I didn't make the crispy rind as my pork roast came with a small layer of fats only.

Mistake #1
I sliced the meat on the wrong side. Instead of length wise, I cut it width wise as you can see from the photo. Duh!

Mistake #2
I bought the meat prepackaged from the supermarket that had hardly any fats. So if you are buying a prepackaged one like me, do ask your butcher for extra skin fats. It would make a difference to the roast as it would keep the meat moist and prevents it from drying out.

Rôti de porc roulé
20 comments on this post.

Sweet & Sour Pork

Living abroad made me realise the comfort zone I lived in and the things I took for granted living in Singapore (where everything is so easily accessible and within a stone throw away). One of the things I miss most is my mom's cooking and Singapore food. Craving for home food is what drove me to the kitchen and do the dishes I miss... sweet & sour pork happens to be one of them.:-)

Sweet & sour pork
Ingredients
  • 250 to 300 g lean pork (cut to bite-size cubes)
  • 2 tsp brandy or whiskey
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 small carrot (diced)
  • ½ small green bell pepper (cored, seeded and diced)
  • some vegetable oil for deep frying
  • salt & pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
  • 3 or 4 tbsp Chinese stock or water
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch (to make into paste)

Cornflour or cornstarch paste

Mix 1 part cornflour with about 1.5 parts of cold water. Stir until smooth.

Directions
  1. To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients (except the cornflour) in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Marinate the pork with the brandy or whiskey, salt and pepper and leave it for 20 minutes.
  3. Coat the marinated pork with the beaten egg.
  4. Sprinkle the flour on the pork pieces and turn them till they are well coated.
  5. Heat oil in wok or deep fryer. When oil is hot, deep fry the pork for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring gently to separate the pieces. Do it in a few batches.
  6. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain them using a paper towel.
  7. Reheat oil until hot, return all the pork pieces to wok for about a minute or until golden brown. Remove it with slotted spoon and drain them again on a paper towel.
  8. Drain off the oil, and wipe out the wok. Heat some oil in wok, stir-fry the vegetables for a minute or two.
  9. Pour in the prepared sauce and bring it to boil. Thicken it with corn flour paste.
  10. Add the pork to the sauce and make sure the pork pieces are well coated with the sauce.
  11. Serve hot with rice.
sweet & sour pork ingredientssweet & sour porksweet & sour pork
Conclusion

Sweet and sour pork is one of the most popular Chinese dish all over the world. I have made this dish several times for my friends and my in-laws and like the szechuan prawns, it never fails me. It's also one of Pierre's favourite Asian dish.

I love the taste of sweet and sour (at the same time), and in this dish the sauce doesn't overwhelm the flavour of fried pork and vegetables which is nice. In fact, all the ingredients of the dish blend in very well yet retaining their individual taste.

This dish is simple and easy to make (for Asian food...). The only part that takes a little effort is preparing the meat for deep frying.:-)

Note

Regarding the preparation, I use rice-wine vinegar and red bell pepper instead of the green one. I usually prepare the sauce first before preparing the meat, and then go on to get the veggies done.

I tried this dish once with chicken. Sadly, it didn't turn out as tasty as the pork version and tasted too sweet using the default quantity of sugar. You can normally also use prawns or fish, this is something I might try sometimes:-)

There are variations on the way this dish is being cooked. Some recipe uses tomato ketchup instead of tomato puree paste and pieces of pineapples as part of the vegetable ingredient and add pineapple juice in the sauce.

sweet & sour pork
24 comments on this post.

Red pepper farcis à la Perpignanaise

Pierre has this French regional cook book sitting on his shelf for many years - given by his mother to motivate him to cook something more grand than his famous carbonara:-D I have flipped through this book so many times before but never really dared to try out any of the recipes. Then the other day I was just having another glance at it and I stumbled upon poivron rouges farcis, I looked up the ingredients and it did not seem too complicated to do plus I have everything I needed to cook this dish in my fridge. So why not:-)

This dish is linked to the city of Perpignan from the Roussillon region (a sunny area in the south-east of France, along the Mediterranean sea and the Pyréenés mountains) which of course produce southern/mediterranean cuisine.

And this is my entry for WCC 18's Red and White theme.

Poivron rouges farcis à la Perpignanaise

(taken from Les meilleures Recettes des Régions de France)

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Makes: 4

Ingredients
  • 4 red peppers
  • 200 g pork meat - finely chopped (a bit lean and fatty)
  • 50 g almond slices
  • ½ cup olive oil (approximately)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 thick slice of bread
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • parsley (a few stalks)
  • pepper & salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4).
  2. Stand the red peppers up on a cutting board and slice them in half, lengthwise. Remove the core, white rib on the sides, and the seeds.
  3. Immerse them in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and let them cool down.
  4. Chop the onion, garlic, a few stalks of parsley and bread. Place them and the chopped meat in a bowl and mix them well together.
  5. Add in the egg, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cinnamon and season it with salt and pepper (to your taste) and mix them well till you get a homogeneous stuffing.
  6. Stuff each half of a red pepper with a handful of stuffing, carefully leveling the top, and drizzle some olive oil on it. Then scatter some almond slices on top of the stuffing.
  7. Drizzle a little olive oil on the baking dish and pour in the water. Then place the stuffed red peppers in the baking dish.
  8. Bake it for 45 minutes at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4).
  9. Serve it with white wine like some Côte du Roussillon.
Red pepper farcis ingredientsPoivron rouges farcis
The Verdict

Mmm...very aromatic. The stuffing is nice, tender and fragrant with a tint of cinnamon. Surprisingly the cinnamon blends very well with the rest of the ingredients in the stuffing - it isn't overpowering like I thought it would be when I was mixing it. The combination of the meat stuffing and the red pepper give a unique and tasty taste. I'll definitely cook this again.

My preparation of the above stuffing was done with a food processor. First the meat was chopped up a bit before adding the onion, garlic, parsley and bread. Once it is mixed and chopped up, in goes the egg, oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix till it is homogeneous. Saves a lot of time and I only have to clean up my food processor.:-)

Red pepper stuffings
21 comments on this post.

Gochujang Bulgoki - Korean Spicy Pork

Gochujang Bulgoki is Korean Spicy Pork or in Korean, Spicy Bulgoki.

This very simple yet very delicious and flavourful plat was introduced to me by my Korean friend, Jung Sol-yi whom I met in 2002 at SUEFLE, Nantes University. I remember back then, how we often had to use gestures and pictures to express ourselves when our limited French and dictionary failed us. Or how all of us (Yumi, Zhang Ying and I) squeezed into Sol-yi's tiny one-bedroom student apartment for lunch. How she cooked for us our 1st Korean meal just outside her bedroom door at the corridor using a portable stove she borrowed from her next door neighbour.:-D How each of us took turns to introduce our country food - Yumi cooked Japanese while Ying cooked Szechuan food and I cooked Chicken curry and stir-fried noodles. It was the most beautiful 2 semesters we had together and when our long lasting friendship was formed. Whenever I made this dish, it always brings back those sweet memories of my friends whom I miss so much.

Gochujang Bulgoki
Ingredients
  • 1 kg pork - cut into thin slices
  • 1 carrots (medium size) - cut into thin strips like match sticks
  • 1 white onion (big) - sliced
  • 4 to 5 garlic - minced
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Korean soya sauce
  • 4 tbsp Gochujang (Korean chilli paste) - less if you are not used to spiciness
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1½ tsp sugar

Sol-yi's Special Sauce (Optional)

  • ½ tsp fermented soya bean paste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Gochujang

Mix both together till well blended.

Directions
  1. In a big bowl, put all the above ingredients together and mix it well.
  2. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. If you don't have time the next day, you can prepare this the night before, it tastes even better.
  3. Stir-fry the marinated pork mixture in a non-stick pan without any oil until the meat is cooked. Add a little bit of hot water to the mixture if needed.
  4. Taste to see if it is spicy enough for you. If not, add a bit more of Gochujang.

How to eat it Korean style?

  1. First, put a piece of lettuce on your palm.
  2. Put a tablespoon of round/Japanese rice on the lettuce, then top it with the Spicy Pork. For an extra kick, you can put a bit of the special sauce on top of the rice before putting the spicy pork.
  3. Bundle up the lettuce and enjoy. It's quite a mouthful.
Gochujang Bulgoki ingredientsGochujang Bulgoki marinate
The Verdict

mmm... it tasted still as good like the time I made it together with Sol-yi. Pierre likes it too. His only critic is that I made it a bit too spicy for him. Hehehe... I was happily adding spoonful after spoonful of Gochujang to the pork mixture before I remembered that Pierre can't take as spicy as me. Oops! Too late. Well, the poor guy still happily finished his spicy Bulgoki and even had a second helping.;-)

This dish can be eaten with plain ordinary steam rice or with round/Japanese rice. Pierre prefers his with plain Basmati rice while I prefer to eat mine the Korean way.

Note

Gochujan (Korean chilli paste) is quite spicy so remember to go easy with it when adding it to your marinated mixture. It is better to put less in the marinate if you aren't sure how spicy it would be when cooked. You can always add more in during cooking stage if it is not spicy enough for you.

And also it might be better to test taste it (dab your finger on the marinated mixture) to check if it is salty enough before adding a 3rd spoonful of soya sauce, as it will make it taste saltier.

Regarding Korean soya sauce, for those who don't have it, you can replace it with Chinese light soya sauce. In this case, you have to add less because Chinese soya sauce tends to be saltier. I have made this dish before using Chinese light soya sauce and it still tastes as good.

Gochujang BulgogiGochujang Bulgoki
32 comments on this post.