Dashingdiva's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Slow roasted pork roast with Carrot puree & herb potatoes July 31, 2011

Filed under: Pork — dashingdiva @ 11:56 am
Tags: , ,

Don't mind the bad photography...i've really horrible lighting in my kitchen (can't wait to move into my new home!)

Watching MasterChef is definitely BAD for your waistline. Particularly this season where Roast Pork with Crackle seems to keep showing up. I couldn’t resist having a go at it. This recipe is taken from one of the contestants Billy. I loved it that it calls for a wonderful moisture-infused pork, topped off with the sinful strip (or in my case CHUNK) of crackle.

Unfortunately, my crackle didn’t come out well at all! Not sure what went wrong but it was a weird texture of HARD, Crunchy and Chewy :( But despite it being a major FAIL in my books, C did not hesitate to eat ALL of it and then went on to say, “yea….not that good so tomorrow you gotta practice again”

Nonetheless, the pork meat itself was really really good! It was so tasty, moist and juicy.

Here’s the recipe for the Slow Roasted Pork. Definite must try (again)! Determined to master this for Christmas dinner this year :)

Slow roasted pork rack

1.2kg pork rack
1 clove garlic, crushed
5 cloves garlic with skins
3 stems of lemon thymes
½ cup of chicken stock
½ cup of dry white wine
handful of sea salt

1. Cut the rind off the pork rack, score it with sharp knife in diamond shape. Then pat dry with paper towel and air dry it.
2. drizzle a little bit of olive oil over pork rack, rub crushed garlic all over.
3. preheat oven to 150ºC.
4. Heat oil in large flameproof baking dish, cook pork, until browned all over. Add wine and stock and bring to boil.
5. Add lemon thymes. Cover pork tightly with foil or lid, roast in the oven for 1½ hours.
6. Add off-cuts potatoes, garlic cloves; roast, covered, 1¼hours. Turning pork occasionally.
7. Take the cooked potatoes out of the dish and set aside.
8. Increase oven heat to 200ºC; spoon pan juices over pork. Roast, uncovered for further 20 minutes or until brown. Now is also the best time to put the rind in the oven on the top shelf close to top element.
9. Transfer pork to serving platter, cover loosely with foil and let it stand for 15 minutes. Take the crackling out, shake all the salt away. Crank oven up to 250ºC, put the crackling back in on top shelf for another 10-15mins until the skin blistered. Make sure keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burnt. (this part is tricky, i burnt mine! U really got to sit by the oven, whatever you do, DON’T Leave!)
10. Meanwhile, place baking dish over heat; add a dash of white wine and bring pan juices to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered , until mixture reduces to about 1 cup.
11. Slice pork then pour pan jus over it and serve.

Sides

3 large potatoes
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch lemon thymes
150gr butter
5tbsp olive oil

Buttery Potato
1. Cut 3 large potatoes into discs using a cookie cutter. Roughly chop the off cuts and add it to the pork baking tray during half time.
2. Hit a saucepan with olive oil and butter on medium heat.
3. Add potato discs, rosemary and lemon thymes. Roast the potatoes until golden brown.

Roasted Carrots
1. Drizzle olive oil over 2 roughly chopped carrots
2. put on baking tray, sprinkle with salt.
3. Put into the oven (150C).
4. Take it out once soft about 35 mins. Add 2tbs cream & puree in blender till smooth.

 

Poached Pear Crumble with Chocolate, Coffee & Hazel Nuts July 29, 2011

Poached Pear Crumble with Chocolate, Coffee and Hazel Nuts

The made-in-heaven combination of spice-infused pears, coffee, chocolate & hazelnuts make this dessert one divine dish and it can look really pretty & festive! The kicker is that it’s ridiculously simple to make.

Here’s my first attempt. Not too happy with the presentation (oh well, only had to impress Mr Lim, which isn’t too difficult. Almost everything I feed him is “MasterChef quality”, or so he says to keep the nagging at bay) Also, the pears could use abit of sugar when poaching, will add about 2 tablespoons of sugar next time.

Poached Pear Crumble with Custard

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

120 gms butter, room temperature

120 gms dark chocolate, chopped

3 tbs cocoa powder

4 tbs coffee powder

½ cup hazel nuts, chopped

5 pears

mixture of whole spices such as 2 cinnamon, 1 star anise and 5 cloves

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Peel the pears but leave the stalks intact.

Put the pears into a pan with 1 tbs coffee and your spice mixture.

Add enough water so that they are fully immersed. Boil on medium heat until a skewer can easily pierce the pears (about 30 minutes). Set the pears aside on a cooling rack.

Mix all the rest of the ingredients together in a food processor so that it resembles breadcrumbs.

Take 5 ramekins and place a poached pear into each one. Fill the ramekins all the way to the top with the crumble mixture. Pat down gently.

Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve immediately with hazel nut ice cream or custard.

Makes 5 pear crumbles.

I wonder if this counts into our daily fruit intake requirement….?

 

The Tsunami of Urbanisation July 9, 2011

Filed under: Random Musings,Uncategorized — dashingdiva @ 1:09 am

It’s been a year plus since I’ve been back to Singapore so I decided to take a leisurely bus ride down East Coast road to hopefully catch a glimpse of the many sights that hold wonderful childhood memories for me. (East Coast was where I grew up and spent most of my early adult years.) It brought on a mixed load of feelings and nostalgia. I was particularly sadden by how so many of the older buildings are now replaced with condominums and shopping centers with fancy promises like “Luxurious Shopping Experience”, “Crown jewel of the East”.

The building (see photo above) where I had my first job as a young banking officer at DBS Bank is now torn down. The branch brought many fond memories of what banking was meant to be before the recent financial fiasco. At that time, people in banking genuinely felt like custodians of people’s hard earned money where trust and integrity were treasured core values. The particular branch I was in had a strong sense of community between the bank and it’s customers. I remember fondly of a fruit stall owner who would regularly bring in his best batch of fruits to share with the bank staff. Come June, the branch would be filled with the waft of pungent sweet smelling durian hiding in the far corners of the back room waiting to be devoured once banking hours were over. All the staff irregardless of rank would gather round a table laid with newspaper, digging in with their hands, slurping up the juicy durian flesh. Some would share their “durian appreciation” comments like “wah! this one very nice! flesh very firm yet soft inside! This means it’s very fresh cos the fruit drop during the night time.”

The building now gone, seems so symbolic of the change not just in the urban landscape but with it the values of what banking represents. In it’s place, a modern shopping mall that is merely a seemingly glamorous facade but devoid of character, a sense of community and old fashion values of mutual trust & respect.

While I understand that in a land scarce Singapore, urbanisation is inevitable but a balance must be struck between the old and the new. A price tag can never be put on places of history and memories as this is what gels us as Singaporeans. A common history is what makes it home. Otherwise there is no difference for us to live in Singapore or elsewhere because let’s face it, almost all modern buildings look the same – Cold, Tall & Forbidding. Even if it’s architecturally magnificent but I honestly struggle to imagine forming any nostalgic feelings for a place like ION Orchard, for instance.

I also understand the need for business like banks to be bottom line driven but a balance must be struck between profit maximisation and integrity. Particularly with institutions such as banks. Like it or not, people are inherently putting their undivided trust in your hands. Be respectful of that trust, do not take advantage of it.

It’s only been a year but the speed at which the urban tsunami has swept across the country is rather shocking. If nothing is done to stem this tide, I shudder to think what the next few years would be like.

Here are some photos that I took giving a glimpse of what is still left.

The Iconic Chin Mee Chin Bakery. My family's regular sunday breakfast place since I was born.

Old Peranakan Shophouse remains untouched by the urban tide (for now)

 

Live your Best Life – Oprah’s last lessons June 5, 2011

Filed under: Random Musings — dashingdiva @ 7:31 am
Tags: , , ,

I’ve never really been an Oprah fan. I’ve always thought it odd for people to want to sensationalize and air their life’s drama and darkest secret on national TV. But since it was Oprah’s Last Show and since Australia’s TV Network decided to chuck aside my favourite TV show to air hers, I had no choice but to watch it. I’m glad I did.

In her finale, she shared the lessons she learned about life and human nature through her last 25 years in her show. It rang so true to me as it paralleled very closely to how I want to and hope to lead my life. As a reminder to myself, I’m jotting it down here on cyberspace. I hope it inspires you as well.

Oprah’s Last Message:

1. Everybody has a Calling

“To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”

My thoughts: Everyone has dreams. I hear it all the time but very few act on it. Too many come up with all kinds of excuses to stay lazy.

All I can say is, find the thing that fires up your belly and GO FOR IT!

2. Each one of you has your own platform in which you can honour your calling

“Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence…..whatever you’re supposed to be doing, carry that forward and don’t waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.”

3. Nobody but you is responsible for your (own) life.

“People were making bad choices and then blaming everybody but themselves for the state of their lives…..you are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.”

My thoughts: I can’t agree with this lesson more. I see this so inherently so often. In particular , one individual, who got herself into a miserable state through leading a self-centered, promiscuous life, chalked up massive debts and instead of taking responsibility for it, she puts blame on others and tries to make them bail her out time and time again.

Stop blaming your parents, your spouse, your ex spouse, your co-workers. Stop complaining,  no one is responsible for the state of your life except you.

4. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

‘Everything you done to me already done to you.’ It is the Golden Rule to the 10th power.”

5. Worthiness & Validation

“There is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is unworthiness.”

“Everyone wants validation…..They want to know “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?….Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them.”

My thoughts:

Have you ever lost a friend, someone close over seemingly trivial things like not keeping to appointments, not calling when you say you would, not sharing the load on joint responsibilities, basically not doing what you say you’d do, no matter how small the matter is?  These things may seem small & trivial. It is but done repeatedly over time it sends out the message to the other person: “You don’t see me, you don’t hear me, I don’t matter to you”.  Each time, it hurts in a small way until one day people just give up.

6. The Secret to a Successful life? –  Jesus

“I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It’s always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every decision. I wait and I listen. I’m still—I wait and listen for the guidance that’s greater than my meager mind.”

“The only time I’ve ever made mistakes is when I didn’t listen. So what I know is, God is love and God is life, and your life is always speaking to you. “

You can read/watch the full version here. I strongly encourage you to do so.

 

The Final Touch to my Vintage Candleholder June 1, 2011

Filed under: DIY / Crafty Me — dashingdiva @ 1:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Just wanted to quickly share the final touch to my vintage candleholder. Thanks to feedback from friends to chuck the 3 crystal look & go with just one crystal…it still look not quite finished. SO after much mulling and finger drumming, I decided to complement the larger tear drop crystal with 2 smaller ones (thanks partly to luxelass’s idea!)

And it finally looks perfect & complete!

Sadly, this lovely piece has now gone to another good home. It’s new owner was gushing with compliments & gratitude…it’s a nice feeling being appreciated for your work. Made my day :)

Shabby Chic Vintage Candleholder

And now, I’d like to make yours with this too cute image:

Take a Smile

Hope it made you :)

 

My next DIY project May 25, 2011

Filed under: DIY / Crafty Me,Vintage Finds — dashingdiva @ 8:41 am

My man’s gonna be away for 2 days, a small part of me secretly looks forward to having the whole house to myself.

It’s not a SPACE thing, well maybe not physical space anyway cos we live in a big 4 bedroom house with only the 2 of us. For some reason, I feel like I can more freely indulge in my pet projects (and my weird liking for fried brown rice) when he’s away.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s extremely supportive towards all my creative indulgences (he has sat through too many of my “Oh I’ve an IDEA!”) but when he’s around,  he’s constantly peering over my shoulders asking (or rather telling) me what or how I should do it. I know he means well but I can’t make a mess when someone’s watching me! And if I stuff up, I can’t just chuck it away like it never happened!

Anyway, back on topic. My next DIY project is to turn the Antique Chest Seats I found at Trash & Treasure into a Clothes/Coat Hook Rack.  (yes yes I know I still have that CHAIR to refurbish but some how the bigger the item the more it scares me! silly, i know.)

This idea was inspired by something I saw on Design Sponge where they turned  old Trophies into a coat rack! It’s such a creative but simple way of using something seemingly quite worthless into something so quirky AND functional!

Vintage Coat Rack

What do you think of it?

 

which bedroom style? May 23, 2011

Filed under: Building Dream Home — dashingdiva @ 11:43 am

If it were entirely up to me, my bedroom will probably look like this: Whimsical, Feminine & Luxurious….

Love LOVE this!

Or perhaps like this:

so in love with the wallpaper!

BUT because I live with a MAN, it’s more likely that it’ll look like this:

Nah, I’m only kidding on the last pic, Mr Lim’s not THAT bad!

Right now, the Peace Treaty over the Master bedroom territory is still under fierce negotiations between the 2 forces. To avoid war, a middle ground needs to be found between Pastel Baby Pink and Monochromatic Black & white.

To be continued.

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.