Thursday, October 08, 2015

Homemade Smoked Pork Loin

Smoked Pork Loin served with roasted mushrooms, baby urugula and lettuce salad 

This is one of those unexpected flavors that worked well together. The pan-roasted mushrooms gaved that tacky earthy flavor and well contrasted with the balsamic vinaigrette, that tangy strong bite of urugula which is neutralized with the bland lettuce and that smokey taste of every bite of the homemade smoked tender loin (courtesy by Chef B.)   The flavors are dancing in the tongue of every bite which was really enjoyable that i cant afford to miss a post about it.  Oh well, i wouldn't remember it for sure after sometime, which makes this blog handy.  

I am not going write much about the salad because it is easy to make.  Let me write about how this smoked tender loin was made because it entailed a lot of processes and expertise to do it. Practice makes perfect indeed, and this one is nailed perfectly.

Oh well, Chef B isn't really blogging but I can do it for him! (winks!) I think i can do his recipe it if i had more patience! ssshh.  I had a lengthy interview while enjoying dinner last night. Don't tell him I blogged about it. Anyway, its not for him.  I will keep the recipe for our budding little Chef L.

Here's how he made the Smoked Pork Loin:

1.  Prepare a brine which is a mixture of 200g of salt per liter of water and freshly ground pepper.
Make sure the whole meat is soaked in the brine for a day and half at room temperature

2. Remove from the brine and soak meat in plain water for at least 2 hours. Pat Dry with a kitchen towel.

3. Whilst the meat is still moist, roll it on a bed of freshly ground pepper until all the surface of the meat is fully covered with pepper.

4. In goes the meat to the smoker for 5 hours at a very low temperature in continuous smoking.  He used mixed of Hickory and apple cider wood chips.

5. Chill the meat when done.  Wrap it cling wrap tightly until ready to serve. Slice as thinly as you can to serve.

This smoked loin has a perfect texture with just the right tangy flavor and succulent to the bite.

This goes well with this salad which was made by pan roasting the mushrooms, then toss with the leaves (baby urugula and lettuce).  Vinaigrette was made with fresh ground garlic (1 clove), salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Mix the vinaigrette until emulsified and drizzle over the salad.

For winter soups, we usually chop the loin finely and sprinkle it over our soup.  It eventually will sink and invisible therefore our little chef calls it "treasure" as she has to find the sinkers.  If she doesn't like asparagus soup, we negotiate with the "treasures" and she eventually loved asparagus soup.  Mushroom soup is not a problem, she just loved it since first serving, but she doesn't eat mushrooms! thats when she can see them on her plate. It is the sight of it she doesn't like but when blended, she cant see the mushrooms! By far, the "treasure" trick is still working.  She'll bust me out one day like how she busted me with the toothfairy!
#thekitchenjournal #homemade

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Home Made Sausages

Making home made sausage is fun and can be frustrating at the same time.  Luckily we have this sausage maker attachment to our kitchen aide mixer, which does made life a little bit easier.  At first it was tricky but then we figure out some cheats to do it a little bit faster.  It should be fun to make it with the family as doing it alone isn't really that fun with all the mess you have to deal with, but at the end of the day you realize its is really worth it.  You can control the seasonings, amount of fat that goes in that sausage, and best of all,  no preservatives and the relief that you know what is in that sausage you are having on the table.

Here is a quick video of what we've done.

We are often frustrated with store-bought sausage, most of the times, there is so much fat in it. You can see as it you cook further, the amount of fat you that goes to the sides of your pan, which i usually spoon out to the drain. Aside from that amount of fat, sometimes it just have a nasty smell of "not so good" meat then you start to wonder, what is in this sausage?

Collagen Casing
For our homemade sausage, we used pork loin and shoulders (less fat).  For the casing we used the collagen casing  which is ready made and it is available in barbecue aisle of most shops, we bought ours from Academy Sports + Outdoors.
sausage making kit attachment

Kitchenaide mixer with attachment
finished product: homemade sausages
So, there won't be any recipe for this post as everything weren't measured, but bare in mind that when you make sausages, you better make a lot as it is a lot of work.  Freezing them makes it convenient. I hope to update this post with specific measurements, but for the time being we didn't bother to measure. All ingredients were estimated as per proportion of the meat.  We certainly used lean meat, cut it in cubes, seasoned it with salt and pepper, a little bit of paprika, cayenne pepper,  garlic powder, and onion powder.  Then comes mine and daughter's favorite part being the critic plays the crucial part. Tasting!  Hubby did a mini burger and cooked it over a heated pan subject to our criticisms.  Hubby then adjusts what is needed and if agreed with satisfaction, the fun begins with stuffing the casing.  I haven't took the video during stuffing as we were all got busy hands.

We usually serve sausage with salads and vegetables, or with egg for breakfast.  L loves it with a hotdog bun for school.  Sometimes pasta, or it is also good just as it is.

Thanks to hubby, who did most all of the job.  We were just helpers on the side waiting for his command. We really enjoyed making it for the 2nd time now, and i guess it won't be the last.  Rest assured, we won't be buying sausage from stores anymore.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Vanilla beans

A good find for today! Its just like finding a treasure.  Vanilla beans.  If only i could avoid the synthetic flavors I would, but its quite expensive so it is sparingly used for special recipes only :).

Mission (note to self) find the plant,  so my recipes will be vanilla blissed! 

Below is the bean cut in half and the intense flavor of vanilla is in the black tiny seeds that you can scrape from inside the bean.

Below is the whole vanilla bean.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fresh blueberry yogurt

A bowl of plain yogurt, a teaspoon of sugar and fresh blackberries.  Thats all it needs.  Freshen up your day with this breakfast!

Friday, December 05, 2014

How to make spaghetti sack lunch

How to make spaghetti sack lunch....

Sack lunch is the term for packed lunch without lunch box/containers that kidz have to bring on field trips. 

My daughter really likes to have spaghetti today, hence, mommy have to improvise spaghetti sack lunch without necessary container or tools to carry along with during field trips. Something they can just toss away after eating so they dont have to carry lunch boxes everywhere. 

Spaghetti wrapped in spring roll skin (vietnamese cuisine uses this a lot).  No mess! In the bag goes spaghetti for lunch and banana for snacks.   Easy! Just toss it away! 

She's so proud of it and took a pen for me to write something on the bag.. Oh sweet!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

PAVLOVA No. 2 with summer berries (strawberries,raspberries,blueberries and blackberries)


I have made pavlova before and is posted here: Pavlova recipe with a little bit of a famous history of the dessert.  Please read on a bit there if you like the to get the recipe.  

For this version, I didn't use whipped cream because, I just don't have it in the fridge, the thought of making it just came up quickly to compliment Hubby's lunch.  He had been working hard prepping for weekend lunch so, to equate the effort I came up with pavlova dessert as i happen to have the summer berries for the season on sale in the grocery store.

So i didn't have whipped cream to top it with, hence i just made custard and made it a little bit thicker than usual.  

I just think its easier to make meringue the night before you need the pavlova and leave it in the oven.  Put the oven at 250 degrees C, put off before putting the meringue in and leave it there till morning.  Pls avoid opening the door to check as the temperature would be affected.

I took some pictures for a guide.
Make the meringue:
4 egg whites
1 pinch cream of tartar, (alternatively salt can be used)
2 tsp. vinegar
1 ½ cup sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. Vanilla essence


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. (Gas 4)
2. Cut baking paper into 5 inch squares (make 6 squares)
3. Draw a circle at bottom side of the baking paper. Use this as a guide when you put meringue in each portion. Set aside.
4. In a dry clean bowl, place the egg whites and cream of tartar.
5. Beat the egg white using electric beater until soft peak
6. gradually add sugar whilst continue beating until 
7. Add vinegar and cornstarch
8. Add vanilla essence
9. continue beating until stiff. The meringue must look smooth, silky and holds a stiff peak when you lift the beater.
10. In the prepared baking paper, spoon in the meringue making a circular pattern as per the guide, working from the center, create a small well and spread the meringue to the edge of the pattern. 
11. Pipe around the meringue to create a little well, where you will put the whipped cream later on.
12. Bake for 1 hour and half. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely inside the oven. It is best to do this at night and leave the meringue in the oven overnight. The meringue should be firm and crisp.
13. Store the meringue in an airtight container until you will use them.

Spoon the meringue on a lined baking sheet and make a well in the middle but not
going through the bottom.  Leave room for a base.

It will look like this.  A base with a little room for the the topping.  

I made some spiky just for fun.

Making the custard is taking forever.  I just wish I had whipped cream and it
will be finished in a flash, but i unfortunately dont have.  But this is worth a trial for
flavor combination.  It was good. its just that it takes forever, but its worth the wait.

The final Look.

Review:  I would say, it was a good experiment on the flavor.  The making of the custard took forever to thicken, but the taste is phenomenal compared to whipped cream.

PS.  I love the meringue.  I took the extra bit to go with my morning coffee.  It reminds me of those meringue kisses when i was a kid.  Not so sweet, crispy outside and it turns chewy and mallowy in the tongue.
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