Food and Drink

How to cook the perfect crispy belly pork in the microwave….

I love to cook a great Sunday roast for my family, it’s not something we do every week or even once a month. However when I do, it’s always enjoyed by the whole family. Due to my Hubby’s working hours it’s not often we sit down all together as a family to enjoy a meal, thats another reason roast dinners are enjoyed by us all even more.

Panasonic have just realised a new combination microwave which is going to change the way people cook at home. Panasonic have teamed up Chef Tom Kitchen who says you can cook the perfect crispy belly pork in the microwave. As we had a rare Sunday with us all at home, I though I would take a trip to the local butchers and buy some belly pork, before heading to the market to buy some lovely fresh vegetables.

Crispy Belly Pork In The Microwave

Ingredients

  • 1kg Belly pork
  • rock salt
  • seasonal vegetables

Directions

  • Using a sharp knife, lightly score the skin making criss-cross inserts.
  • Rub the pork belly with rock salt and place on a tray before cling filming and placing in the fridge for 6 hours.
  • Pre-heat the microwave oven to 200°C using the convection setting.
  • Place the pork belly on the wire rack and rest it on the metal tray. Carefully pour boiling water directly over the pork belly and fill the tray with 2″ of water.
  • Place the metal tray carefully in the lower shelf position with the belly on the wire rack in the middle shelf position.
  • Cook on the convection setting at 200°C for 20 mins. Then lower the temperature to 160°C and cook for another 3 hours.
  • If at the end of cooking the skin needs more crisping, cook on the grill setting 1 for a further 5-10 mins.
  • Serve with your choice of seasonal vegetables.

Crispy Belly Pork In The Microwave

Now, my microwave is a very basic one, which is only really used for defrosting the odd thing, cooking baked beans or peas for the children. So I didn’t have a shelf option or the ability to put the pork on a metal tray, so I went without.

Into the microwave it went, set the time and kept my fingers crossed it would be a success.

I have to say I was quite impressed with how my belly pork cooked in the microwave, it was crispy, succulent and delicious to eat. It wasn’t something I have ever thought about doing before and I was honestly a little bit worried about how it would turn out.

Have a look at this video that shows you just how to cook the perfect crispy belly pork in your microwave.

I would love to hear about you favourite ways to cook belly pork.

*This post has been made in collaboration with Panasonic.*

 

Son of Steak – Join the Steak revolution

“Steak doesn’t have to be snazzy and expensive. It should be simple. It should be beautiful. And it should taste great, no matter what”

This is what new newly opened steak house in Nottingham believes. I was recently invited to an event at Son of Steak, a relaxed and casual dining style restaurant in the city centre. With an industrial feel, their relaxed style is perfect for my Hubby who loves a great steak but also likes not to feel the need to get overly dressed up to go out. Unfortunately he was unable to join me for the evening, so it was the perfect chance to take my bestie along with me.

Son of Steak

The Drinks

We arrived to be greeted with a Mojito, and a great Mojito it was too. Made with Bacardi and on tap. Son of Steak are proud to be the first place in the UK that sells a ‘Taptail’ so all they have to do is add ice, lime and mint. No waiting around for these tasty cocktails to be made. There is also a full menu of different drinks, wines, beers and spirits, something for everyone.

Son of Steak

For the non alcoholic drinker they have a daily hand-mixed soft drink as part of their unlimited drinks offer. We had a pink lemonade with basil. It was really refreshing and not too sweet. Of course there is a selection of other soft drinks, which are on the refill drinks offer. The lovely FireFly drinks are sold here, plus various hot drinks.

The Food

During the event we were treated to samples of the menu. Starting with with salads, a lovely raw salad with a ginger and pineapple dressing and a delicious avocado and caesar salad.

Son of Steak

Out came a large selection of side dishes. Flat mushrooms, crispy onion loaf, house ‘slaw all from the standard menu. At £2.25 each or on a 3 for 2 offer. On the Gourmet menu there was crushed sweet potato, creamy béchamel spinach, grilled halloumi, mac ‘n’ cheese and roasted veg sprinkled with zatar all £2.80 each.

The mac ‘n’ cheese was a massive hit, with everyone going back for more. I loved the sweet potato and the creamy béchamel spinach. They are something a bit different to the normal side dishes you can get in most restaurants.

My favourite items came out next the BAO Buns, which is fairness I had never seen or heard of before. However, they looked delicious and tasted even better. If you, like me have no idea what a BAO Bun is, well it is a Taiwanese street food. They come filled with crispy vegetables, cucumber, and a choice of chilli, soy and yakiniku sauces all sprinkled with sesame seeds. Not forgetting your choice of filling. We had steak in ours, because it was so thinly cut it was well cooked. I like my steak well done and this perfect for me. I can’t wait to go back with my hubby and enjoy a BAO bun all to myself, I think I would opt for the pulled chicken.

The Steaks

“Forget the the fuss… focus on the flavour”

Son of Steak

The Son of Steak’s iron steaks and chips, started off the selection of steaks we were treated to. The steak was all served medium rare. As I mentioned earlier I don’t eat steak unless it is well done. I know, I know, no chef wants someone like me ordering a great cut of steak and wanting it well done. Anyway, I was told that it was soft juicy and tasted amazing.

Followed by more steak. This time Lomito and Picanta steaks, both 8oz, both cooked in a charcoal oven served with a pinch of salt. Lomito is a cut from the tender part of the rump, while the Picanta comes from the top part of the rump. Again these were served to us medium rare and rare, so I didn’t try any. However the men around the table happily munched their way through a fair amount, so my guess it is it tasted great.

Son of Steak

There was also a selection of burgers and charcoal cooked chicken for us to try as well. The burgers arrived served on sesame buns with a burger sauce, lettuce and tomatoes. Really just a standard burger, they were the least enjoyable item of the night. When you have so many other fabulous things to try, they just didn’t meet the standard of the rest of the food. However, the chicken was succulent, tasty and I would quite happily have eaten more of it.

Son of Steak

The Puddings

Son of Steak have a limited dessert menu. A bottomless fat free frozen vanilla yogurt with various sauces. A chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate chip cookie with freshly pipped chocolate mouse, which we sampled. I have to say it seemed a little odd to me, quite a childish style dessert, however it tasted amazing. A light fluffy, chocolatey mouse, yum! That is all they have, 3 different dessert options. Maybe they could offer some other bits. I mean who doesn’t want a big slice of chocolate fudge cake?

Son of SteakI really enjoyed going to Son of Steak and trying samples of almost everything on the menu. It was a great setting with lovely relaxed feel to the venue. Next time I head into the city, I shall be taking my Hubby for a steak, cooked rare for him and a BOA Bun with pulled chicken for me, along we a couple of tasty mojitos.

*Thank you Son of Steak for inviting me to your event. All thoughts and options are my own*

Feast On London – OXO Tower Brasserie Review

During April some of the top restaurants in London take part in ‘Feast On London’, a month long city wide celebration of London’s culinary heritage.

As we were heading to London for the weekend we thought it would be a nice treat to eat in a fine dinning restaurant.

There were so many to choose from on Bookatable that it was very difficult to pick somewhere. We were however only booking a few days before our trip, so a lot of the restaurants had already been booked up. We were on a tight time frame because I had an event to attend in the evening. So, we decided on booking a 15.30 table, plus I wanted great views across London. I love the London skyline, it’s a fabulous view to gaze at. Each time we visit something new has appeared.

The OXO Tower Brasserie

The OXO Tower Brasserie seemed like the perfect choice, it was located fairly near to the London Duck Tour, which we were booked on to at 13.30. The menu looked great and at £33 per head for 3 courses plus a cocktail, it would be silly not to book. A great price for dinning in London. Plus not forgetting those beautiful views across the city.

We arrived to a warm welcome up on the the 8th floor of the OXO Tower, by a friendly receptionist who stored our coats and arranged for us to be seated.

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

Our table was just one row away from the window, which still gave us great viewing opportunity. After we had made our orders for drinks, a white wine for me and a beer for my Hubby, the table next to the window became available. Our kind waiter asked if we would like to move across, perfect! Right next to those beautiful views. During the summer months I can imagine the roof terrace to be full of people having cocktails and delicious foods. On our visit however it wasn’t overly warm and quite cloudy, so no-one was outside.

Feast On London Menu

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

Our attention soon turned to the menu. I opted for the Cod cheeks, followed by the Roast Chicken and then the Chocolate hazelnut cake. My Hubby went for the Rabbit Ragu, Roast Chicken and the Treacle Tart. We also ordered the roasted new potatoes and sprouting broccoli sides.

The Cocktail

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

The cocktail that came with the menu was Bombay Sapphire and Hibiscus. It came served in a tall glass with ice, lemon and Hibiscus petals floating in it. We both thought it was a tasty cocktail, not too sweet, with floral flavours that finished with a warmth of gin. We both would happily have had 2 or 3 of these.

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

The Starters

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

We didn’t seem to be waiting for too long when our starters arrived. What with us chatting away about our day so far and plans for the rest of the trip along with looking at that stunning view of London.

OXO Tower Brasserie ReviewMy starter of, beer-battered cod cheeks, bitter leaf salad, lemon and seaweed aioli. It looked amazing and smelt amazing on arrival I couldn’t wait to try it. The cod cheeks fell apart and melted in the mouth, all the little flavours together was just fabulous. The little lemon oil along side the seaweed aioli worked perfectly on the dish.

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

The Hubby had slow-braised rabbit ragu, pearl barley and truffle pecorino. I’m not keen on game, so it is my Hubby’s choice of food whenever we dine out. He loved it, saying it was full of rich tomato, gamey flavour. The rabbit just fell apart. It seemed to be a winner for him.

The Main Courses

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

We both opted for the roasted chicken, slow-cooked bacon collar,truffle onion purée and spring greens. Adding sides of roasted new potatoes and sprouting broccoli. It was truly delicious. That salty bacon flavour against the truffle and onion purée just cut through the flavours. The roasted chicken was soft and tender still full of moisture, the knife just glided through. Even though we added a couple of extra sides to the meal, we really wouldn’t have needed to as there was more than enough.

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

The Dessert

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

I went for the chocolate hazelnut cake with condensed milk ice cream. I was honestly disappointed with my dessert. It wasn’t what I was expecting, I was expecting a chocolate cake however it was not. I felt the cake was a little dry and the hazelnut crumb was burnt. It had that bitter burnt taste across the dish, which honestly wasn’t brilliant. The ice-cream was creamy and smooth, however I couldn’t tell it was condensed milk. So, I was disappointed with my dessert and I wish I had opted for something else.

OXO Tower Brasserie Review

My Hubby opted for the treacle tart, rhubarb and clotted cream, he loved it. The rhubarb was well cooked, with just the right amount of acidity to cut through the sweetness of the treacle tart. Amazing along side the clotted cream.

Overall Review

We both really enjoyed our meal at the OXO Tower Brasserie, there was a relaxed atmosphere with friendly staff that were happy to help you out. There is an open kitchen so you can see the food being prepared, over seen by head chef Keir Barry. Who designed the British style menu. Even though I was not overly impressed with my dessert it would not put me off visiting again on our next tip to London.

 

Mummy in a Tutu

 

My Top 5 easy to make at home cocktails

easy to make at home cocktails

I love a great cocktail. Having worked in a cocktail bar in my younger days, I think my love for them has stuck with me. The cocktail bar was also the place I met my husband and built some life long friendships. Plus I learnt a few skills along the way.

My current favourite cocktail is a ‘Porn Star Martini’ packed full of passion fruit. It’s become popular over the last couple of years, and it can now be found in most bars that sell cocktails. However, my go to cocktail is a Mojito. It’s not difficult to make so most bars will have it on their menu.

Easy to make at home cocktails

I love to have friends round for a few drinks. Often it might just be a bottle (or two) of wine. Every now and then I like to show off my mixology skills with a few cocktails. I thought I would share with you my top 5 easy to make cocktails.

Mojito

easy to make at home mojito

  • Add 10 mint leaves, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 slices of lime to your glass.
  • ‘Muddle’ together to bring out the flavour of the mint.
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes.
  • Add 25ml (1 shot) of rum
  • top up with lemonade
  • Stir and enjoy.

Tequila Sunrise

easy to make tequila sunrise

  • Full your glass with ice cubes
  • Add 50ml (2 shots) of Tequila and 100ml of Orange juice into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake and strain over the glass of ice.
  • Slowly add 20ml of Grenadine to the glass, it will drop to the bottom of the glass. It takes a bit of time, so be patient. It will look beautiful.
  • Enjoy

Woo-Woo

easy to make woo woo cocktail

  • Fill glass with ice cubes.
  • Add 25ml (1 shot) of vodka and 25ml (1shot) of peach schnapps in to the glass and stir.
  • Top up glass with cranberry juice.
  • Enjoy
Long Island Iced Tea

easy to make long island iced tea

  • Fill cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add 25ml vodka, 25ml tequila, 25ml rum, 25ml gin, 25ml triple sec and 25ml sweet and sour mix into the shaker.
  • Shake well then strain over a glass of ice.
  • Top up with coke
  • Enjoy
Cosmopolitan

easy to make cosmopolitan

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add 37.5ml (1.5 shot) vodka, 12.5ml (1/2 shot) lime juice, 12.5ml triple sec, 25ml cranberry juice to the shaker.
  • Shake to mix and chill down the liquid.
  • Strain into cocktail glass.
  • Enjoy

They might be easy but they sure are yummy. Which one will you be trying?

 

*images from Pintrest*