Crispy Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly

Ingredients

Liquid marinade

  • 3/4c Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2T coconut amino acids
  • 1T lemon juice (or 1 lime)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 1 sliced red chilli
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 ml water

Everything else

  • 1-2 brown onions (cut into wedges)
  • Pork Belly
  • Neutral Oil (i.e. Rice Bran Oil)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water (added at intervals during cooking)

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220’C.
  2. In a big roasting pan, mix up the liquid marinade.
  3. Cut the onion(s) into wedges and place in a line in the pan. There needs to be enough onion to cut as a support for the pork belly. It will help to moisten the meat and also act as a structural support to keep the crackling raised up out of the jus.
  4. Prepare the pork belly. You will need a very sharp knife in order to score it; I like doing a diamond pattern. This is important not only for helping it to cook but also for cutting it up later in order to serve! Dry the pork belly, apply a little oil over the top, then rub in salt. Crack some pepper over the top as well (if desired).
  5. Place the pork belly onto the foundation of onions (with the fat on top).
  6. Cook at 220’c for 30-40 minutes or until the rind has crackled.
  7. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Reduce oven heat to 160’C and cook for another hour.
  8. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking at 160’C for approximately another 60 minutes or until the pork is very tender.
  9. Reserve some of the juices to drizzle over the pork when serving. Consider serving with green vegetables and steamed rice. (I chopped up bok choy and other greens, lightly braised them in the marinade, and stir fried before serving as a side dish with the onion, chilli, garlic etc.).

Mu Shu Pork – Chow Mein – Chop Suey all from one basic recipe!

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Mu Shu Pork

I came across this recipe by Cybele Pascal  in a chapter of her allergy friendly cookbook about making takeaways at home. I haven’t heard of Mu Shu Pork before but apparently it’s a popular takeaway in the United States and based on a stir-fry dish made in northern China and eaten rolled in small pancakes rather than over rice. This recipe has a few adjustments (such as not including soy sauce or egg) in order to make it free of the top 8 allergies. The recipe is also very similar to how we make Chow Mein in New Zealand, it’s all about what you serve it with!

Mu Shu Pork: Serve with Chinese pancakes (delicious scallion pancakes can be picked up from the freezer section of most Asian supermarkets) OR use rice paper wraps OR use gluten free wraps or corn tortillas. *Food allergies mean getting a little inventive! I’ve used both rice paper (like making summer rolls) and gluten free wraps; both are delicious.

Chop Suey: Serve over rice. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Chow Mein: Serve with noodles. You can cook with glass noodles (mungbean or rice vermicelli) or with thick egg noodles. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Ingredients:

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2T coconut amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 2T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 1T rice vinegar
  • 1T cornstarch, or tapioca starch, or superfine white rice flour
  • 1 tsp honey

Stir Fry

  • 1T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 400-500g pork mince (ground pork)
  • 1c red onion, finely diced
  • 2T minced or grated ginger (or 2tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1c thinly chopped shiitake mushrooms
    • Can also use wood-ear mushroom or substitute in a local mushroom. Note: you can often buy dried shiitake mushrooms more cheaply than fresh; they’ll need 30 mins or so to soak in water before using.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3c shredded cabbage
  • 100g snow peas, sliced into thin vertical slivers
    • I subbed green runner beans.
  • 1c grated carrot
  • 1-2 green onions (spring onion), white and green parts, chopped.

Plum sauce (optional dipping sauce)

  • 1c plum jam
  • 1/2tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1T Sriracha or other chile-garlic sauce

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free.

Directions – Mu Shu Pork

  1. Mix up the stir fry sauce.
    • Tip: Put into a jar or small sealed container; put on the lid and shake until the honey and tapioca starch have dissolved.
  2. Heat the oil over high heat in a non-stick wok or frying pan.
  3. Add the pork, onion, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the pork is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Break up the pork with a spoon so that the mince is nicely crumbled.Add the garlic, mushrooms, and salt; cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown.
  4. Add the cabbage, snow peas, carrot, and spring onions. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with chinese pancakes / rice paper wrappers / tortillas.

 

Directions – Plum Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer over a high heat. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender.
  3. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored covered in the fridge for several weeks.

Flavourful Black Beans

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Flavoursome Black Beans on Rice

This is such a wonderful recipe free of all the top 8 allergens that is cheap, quick, and easy to make. It’s fantastic to have as a base recipe that can then be served with rice, tortillas, wraps, empanadas, quesadillas, or to make lunchbox pies.

Ingredients

  • 400g tin of black beans (rinsed)
  • Ham or bacon or pancetta (finely chopped)
    • Check ingredients carefully if you have food allergies, such as soy.
  • 1 diced brown onion
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 1T coconut amino acids (or soy sauce).

This is the base recipe; it’s delicious as is or you can vary it as desired by adding mince, diced chicken, chilli, peas & corn, celery, etc.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, egg free, gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Brown the onion and garlic in a frying pan.
  2. Add ham, balsamic vinegar, and coconut amino acids.
  3. Add black beans.
  4. Cook until hot. Can be served immediately.
    • If you have the time, lower the heat to minimum and slow cook for 20 minutes. This allows the flavours to simmer and the onion to caramelize.

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Creamy coconut pumpkin curry (dairy free!)

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Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl

This delicious Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl is creamy, sweet, and lightly spiced. It’s a wonderful balance of flavours, it’s cheap, it’s filling, it’s nutritional, and it’s easy to make. I’ve used a slow cooker for this recipie as it means you can prepare the vegetables ahead of time if you want and then just throw everything in so you can be occupied with other things while it’s cooking. It’s also wonderfully allergy friendly!

Ingredients

  • 60ml neutral oil (I like rice bran oil)
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1/2 chopped pumpkin (flesh only, skin & seeds removed)
  • 2 potatoes, diced.
  • 200g yellow split peas (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1/2c sultanas
  • 3T curry powder
  • 400g can coconut cream

You can substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash or kumara if desired.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

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For sizing, I used half of this pumpkin.

Directions

  1. Put everything in the slow cooker and mix.
    • I suggest putting in half the can of coconut cream to begin with. You can then decide part-way through cooking if you want to add the other half. It will take longer for the full can to be fully absorbed but it does give a wonderful creamy flavour.
  2. Cook on high for 2-4 hours.
    • I added the second half of the coconut milk after two hours and switched it to warm after four hours.
  3. Eat on it’s own, with flatbread, or with rice. Add salt & pepper to taste.

How to make Teriyaki sauce (soy & gluten free)

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Teriyaki Pork stir fry

I posted recently about discovering Coconut Amino Acids as a soy replacement and they are the secret for making Teriyaki Sauce that is soy free. Miss 2 LOVED it 🙂

There are two recipes below, one for a small amount (i.e. for a stirfry) and one for a larger amount (i.e. for marinating chicken thighs).

Allergies: soy free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Ingredients (stir fry)

  • 2T coconut amino acids
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1T rice vinegar

Ingredients (marinade)

  • 6T coconut amino acids
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 T liquid honey
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 3 T dry sherry

 

Source: “Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking. 30-minute meals without gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame.” by Cybele Pascal

Five Spice Chicken Tenderloin

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Five Spice Chicken Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 300g chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 3T neutral oil (i.e. rice bran oil)
  • Optional: Chilli flakes, fresh coriander.

Allergy: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Mix the marinade together and place the chicken tenderloins in it. Refridgerate for 1-2 hours.
    • Note: Using a pyrex dish is ideal as it can go from marinading to the oven.
  2. Place in a preheated oven and cook at 180’C for 30 mins. Flip the tenderloins halfway through and check periodically to see if they need basting. (Alternatively, you can pan fry these).
  3. Once the chicken is cooked and still moist, grill briefly to brown.
  4. After removing the chicken, add a little cornflour and whisk to create a dipping sauce.

The busy mum’s guide to making quick & easy gnocchi

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Potato gnocchi with basil pesto

I’ve never made gnocchi before and was keen to give it a try. I read about ten different recipes / blogs / tips & tricks posts and soon realized that it’s easy to make gnocchi but hard to make good gnocchi. Gnocchi should apparently be light fluffy clouds of joy that practically melt in your mouth rather than dense like they often are. If you’re making them using traditional methods then top tips seem to be: Use russet potatoes (or one’s generally dry & starchy), never use a blender / stick / food processor, use a ricer not a masher, add only just enough flour, and don’t over mix.

My favourite photo-blog by someone truly passionate about gnocchi and experimenting to make perfect gnocchi was by Daniel Gritzer.

This is a cheat’s way of making quick gnocchi for busy mums (apologies to any Italians reading this)! You can also make an egg free version and fry them as a tasty snack!

Ingredients

  • 1c potato flakes
  • Optional: 2 tsp parmesan powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2c boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2c – 3/4c plain flour

Note: Makes dinner for one adult. Double (or increase) recipe as needed. You can also lay gnocchi flat (single layer) and freeze for a couple of months.

Allergies: soy free, gluten free, dairy free, tree nut free, peanut free.

Directions

  1. Put the potato flakes, parmesan, and salt, in a bowl. Add approx. 1/2c boiling water and stir.
    • Normally I’d add about 3/4c water to make mashed potato but adding less water means that you don’t need to add as much flour to balance it out.
  2. Add flour and stir / knead to combine into a dough. The mixture should be smooth, pliable, and not sticky. Don’t over knead.
  3. Roll mixture into 4 balls (or more depending on if you’ve doubled / tripled the recipe etc.).
  4. Using a floured bench, roll each ball out into thumb width ‘wriggly worms’ (as Miss 2 deems them).
  5. Chop them into 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces.
  6. If you have a gnocchi board then you can use that to do the ridges. I don’t and used the alternative method which is to press and roll them off a fork and indent the back with your thumb.
  7. Bring salted water to the boil in a large wide pot.
  8. Drop in gnocchi in batches (so they’re not touching). They’ll need about 2 minutes to rise to the surface and 1-2 minutes at the top.
  9. Pull out with a slotted spoon.
  10. Serve with sauce.

 

 

How to make quick & easy fried gnocchi (a.k.a. rapid roastini)

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Pan fried quick & easy gnocchi – so much yum!

So I was trying to make gnocchi for the first time this afternoon and decided to make a mini batch that excluded egg. I could tell (from the many blogs / tips & tricks / recipes that I’d read prior) that this batch would not make good gnocchi. It was much denser then the first batch that I’d made. On the other hand, being a frugal mumma means experimenting in the kitchen so I proceeded to roll it out and make little gnocchi. I was pretty sure that they were just the right texture to pan fry and they turned out as a delicious gluten-free snack that Miss 2 thought was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2c potato flakes
  • 1 tsp parmesan powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked garlic salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4c boiling water
  • 1/4c plain flour

Note: This makes a snack for one adult (to share between adult & toddler) just multiple the ingredients by the number of serves you want to make.

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free. Can be made dairy free.

Directions

  1. Put the potato flakes, parmesan, garlic salt, and onion powder in a bowl. Add approx. 1/4c boiling water and stir.
  2. Add flour and stir / knead to combine into a thick dough. The mixture should be smooth, thick, and not sticky. Don’t over knead.
  3. Roll mixture into 2 balls (or more depending on if you’ve doubled / tripled the recipe etc.).
  4. Using a floured bench, roll each ball out into thumb width ‘wriggly worms’ (as Miss 2 deems them).
  5. Chop them into 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces.
  6. If you have a gnocchi board then you can use that to do the ridges. I don’t and used the alternative method which is to press and roll them off a fork and indent the back with your thumb.
  7. Heat a frying pan and cover the bottom in a thin layer of oil (I use rice bran). Once the oil is hot drop in the gnocchi.
  8. It only takes 1-2 mins to fry them on each side (you can turn using silicon tongs or a spatula).
  9. Place them on a paper towel and lightly pat off the oil.
  10. Serve with chili mayo or your choice of dips.

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How to make amazing rotissere / BBQ style chicken even if you’re working or just plain busy

This creates amazing melting-off-the-bone roast chicken with crispy skin and fantastic gravy. For best results (and practicality) it uses both a slow cooker and a oven. (The alternative is 5 hours in the oven but then you won’t get the amazing corn!).

Ingredients

  • Spice blend
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper + 1/4 tsp black pepper (or just fresh grind in tri-colour peppercorns)
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 chicken to roast
  • Vegetables to roast (i.e. potatoes, zucchini, carrot, whole peeled garlic, corn-on-the-cob).
  • Oil (I like rice bran oil)
  • Potato flakes or cornstarch (for the gravy)

Allergy friendly: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Tip: Whole peeled garlic is often sold in large bags; consider portioning it out into little bags and freezing it. You can pull it out of the freezer each time you have a roast.

Directions

  1. Mix the spice blend together.
  2. Peel the onion & top’n’tail it.
  3. Make sure the chicken is ready for cooking (i.e. giblets removed).
  4. Rinse the cavity and pat dry with a paper towel.
  5. Rub the spice blend over the chicken inside and out.
  6. Put the onion inside the chicken cavity.
  7. Put the chicken into the slow cooker.
    • A note on timing: You can rub the chicken the night before, wrap it in a plastic bag, and marinade it overnight in the fridge so that all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the slow cooker. The choice on whether to put the cooker on Low or High depends on how long it will be in there and how long you want to have it in the oven. My chicken wasn’t 100% defrosted so I had it on High in the slow cooker for 5 hours and then in the oven for 1.5 hours.
  8. Prepare your vegetables to roast.
    • I chop the potatoes up and put them in the steamer in the microwave for about 10 minutes to give them a bit of a head start before placing them in the roasting pan.  You can brush the veggies lightly with oil before placing the chicken on top – they just need a touch to keep from drying out before the fat from the chicken starts to drip out.
  9. Carefully pull the chicken out of the slow cooker and put it in the roasting pan. Baste it with the juices from the slow cooker.
  10. Roast the chicken for 60-90 mins. Start the oven at 180-200’C; you’ll be able to drop the temperature to 150’C and cover the chicken in tin foil once it has browned. Keep basting the chicken periodically with juices from the slow cooker.
  11. Put the corn-on-the-cob in the slow cooker (in the chicken juices) as soon as you take the chicken out. Cook on High for 60-90 minutes.
    • The juices will only cover the bottom of the corn; this is fine. It comes out cooked, still with a good steamed firmness, sweet, and lightly flavoured by the chicken broth.
  12. Once the chicken, roast veggies, and corn are all cooked, you can use the juices in the slow cooker to make gravy. You can use flour or cornstarch, or try potato flakes.  It’s not just that these are gluten free, it’s that they thicken the gravy quickly and don’t go lumpy like cornflour sometimes does. Add potato flakes gradually (leaving the slow cooker on) and stirring; I made my gravy quite thick.

Leftover roast chicken can be used for the next night, sandwiches, to make chicken fried rice, or as a pizza topping on a flat or scone base.