Feb 15, 2017 by Liv Wan

Blood Orange Quinoia Salad: The best summer salad

Apr 9, 2017 by Liv Wan

Caramalised Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding

Feb 04, 2017 by Liv Wan

Prawn and Lemon Butter Pasta

Jan 15, 2017 by Liv Wan

Chinese Fish Fragrant Omelette

Nov 20, 2016 by Liv Wan

Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Feb 20, 2017 by Liv Wan

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Jan 22, 2017 by Liv Wan

Thai Steamed Fish with Coconut Quinoia

Oct 20, 2016 by Liv Wan

Dan Bing: Taiwanese Egg Crepe. Delicious!

Oct 10, 2016 by Liv Wan

Stir Fried Beef with Thai Chive Flower and Bean Curd

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork

It’s very likely at some point in your life you’ve eaten something sweet and sour. If you’ve eaten sweet and sour you’ve almost certainly eaten Cantonese style sweet and sour and it had either pork or chicken. But have you ever tried “Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork”?

Shanghai style sweet and sour pork is one of my all time favourite dishes and is a dish my grandfather used to cook for me when I was a child. My grandfather was a great cook and this combined with all of his love made me madly fall in love with this dish.

To be very honest with you I’m not really a fan of sweet and sour pork that is made with ketchup (Cantonese style). I just think ketchup based sweet and sour pork is too strong for me but I love this Shanghai style sweet and sour pork.

This dish uses “black vinegar” instead of rice vinegar and you can use any kind of sugar you want for this dish. I personally prefer to use demerara sugar or rock sugar for this dish because these two types of sugar have much more flavour than caster sugar.

You can use pork ribs cut into small cubes if you want to (I cooked this dish with pork ribs for my upcoming cookbook “Home-Style Chinese Cooking”) or you can use pork belly (my favourite), pork loin or shoulder roast. If you don’t like pork at all you can substitute pork with diced chicken breast.

As of June 2016 I’m finally finished with studying at university and my life over the last five years has been absolutely manic. My illustration business is really busy at the moment and it looks like I’m going to be very busy until next Spring at least. This is making me immensely happy and with my four year old daughter at nursery four whole days a week I’m now making time to update this food blog again. A lot of my illustration work and a lot of my work in general is because of food and I love updating this blog when I can so I’m back.

I also have a third cookbook which I’m going to have published soon. The title of the book is “Home-Style Chinese Cooking” and I have to admit it’s been bloody hard work combining working part time, working and studying as an illustrator as well as raising a four year old energizer bunny but I’m proud of what I’ve created and can’t wait to see the book. Please stay tuned!

 

 

 

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients

  • 800 g pork belly (skinless and cut into cubes)
  • 1.25 litres water (for cooking the pork belly)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 750 ml oil (for deep frying the pork)

Ingredients for marinading the pork belly

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for batter

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar (you can use caster or rock sugar instead)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp black vinegar
  1. Marinade pork belly with marinade for couple hours.
  2. Boil 1.25 litres water and 2 slices of ginger in a stock pot and add pork belly. Bring it to a boil first then simmer for 40 minutes. Drain the water.
  3. Mix step 2 pork belly with all the ingredients for batter.
  4. Heat up 750ml oil in a wok or deep saucepan. Deep fry the pork belly until it’s golden colour, take it out from the oil and drain the oil.
  5. Heat up 3 tablespoon water and 3 tablespoon demerara sugar and cook until the water and sugar turn into thick syrup.
  6. Turn the fire to medium temperature. Add pork belly in and keep stirring for a couple minutes until the syrup looks like it has coated the pork belly.
  7. Add light soy sauce and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add black vinegar and keep stirring for 1 minutes. Ready to serve.

Oriental Pork Chop

Oriental Pork Chop

It has now been six weeks since I became a “mum”. Every day my little girl grows healthier but also happier. She occasionally has a little colic, especially at night, but apart from that she is healthy and happy. She’s also growing in size and strength. When she was born she was immediately too long for newborn baby clothes but 0-3 months clothes were a little big. Now she’s six weeks, seven this Saturday, she has to wear 3-6 months clothes but she’s not a fat baby at all.

Whenever she holds my finger, I can really feel her growing strength and while I love being a mother, my sincere advice is to try to take as much rest as you can whenever you can, even if it’s just a nap for an hour or two. If your partner gives you a chance, sleep for 12 hours if you can and really don’t feel any guilt if you do manage to sleep that long.

Just before I gave birth I had a really big college project to complete, which really tired me out, then literally a couple days after the project had been completed I started having contractions which lasted 3 days, so I had absolutely no rest! In the first two weeks we (meaning me, Chris could sleep through a war!) found it was completely impossible to sleep for more than 2-3 hours. Now several weeks along we’re able to sleep for up to 4 hours without any distraction but only because we’ve made some big changes in our lifestyle. We basically now follow a routine which goes as follows.

8am:           Baby wakes for feed. Feed baby, change nappy, baby goes back to sleep for 2 hours.

10am:         Feed baby again and check nappy. Change her into day clothes. Clean her face etc

Afternoon: This is the most important. Take her out! The longer you take her outside, whether it’s to the supermarket, to the park or even a walk around the block, the more tired she will be and the better you will sleep at night. Typically we will take her to the shops then take her to the Botanical Gardens/seaside or wherever, every day. Also note, even if your baby sleeps while you are out, she will still become tired from all of the sounds, sights and smells.

8.30pm:            Give her a bath. Babies are incredibly cute but they’re extremely dirty. They pee a lot, have giant poos, they dribble, they puke milk sometimes. They’re dirty! A bath also hopes the wee one relax and feel sleepy. Feed her, change her nappy, swaddle her as normal then she will sleep. Takes about an hour to put her to sleep at this time.

1-3am:          Amelia wakes up for a feed and change of nappy somewhere between 1 and 3am. Usually she will wake for about 30 minutes, maybe a little longer.

7.30am:            Usually just a really quick feed, nappy change and after a quick cuddle she’ll pass out almost immediately afterwards

10am:            Starts all over again

So, seriously if you’re a mother to be who is reading my blog at moment, turn off your computer now and take a nap or have a good sleep. Book a massage for yourself, because you will need all your energy for giving birth and look after baby!

One other piece of advice I have is don’t be too harsh on yourself when it comes to breastfeeding, especially if you’re a first time mum. In the first couple of days, I followed the strict rule of “you’re not allow to feed your baby with a bottle and you can only feed your baby breast milk or formula, but not both!”. But just like many new mums, at first (and still now to an extent) I simply was unable to provide enough breast milk (I found this out after two days when I hand expressed my breasts and found very little milk coming out), so for the first two days at home Amelia was practically starving. Because of this Amelia basically latched onto my breast for two days which gave me really sore cracked nipples and meant neither of us could get any rest at all.

After two days at home, one of our favourite midwives, Nelly, came round (Nelly is awesome) and she advised it’s ok to give babies both breast milk and formula. This was the perfect news so Chris ran over to the supermarket and bought a big tub of SMA Gold, came home and made up a bottle and Amelia drank the whole lot (about 50ml if I remember correctly). Since then, Amelia has been an absolute sweet little angel and she is a really happy baby. So now, what I do is express milk every 3-4 hours and then give Amelia the breast milk first and then top up her, so to speak, with formula. This ensures she gets all of the nutrients from the breast milk but also ensures she doesn’t starve. I’m still unable to provide Amelia with enough breast milk to last her a day but I can now easily provide enough for 2-3 big feeds per day.

Another thing I’ve found is green papaya with pork ribs soup really helps me to produce breast milk. Remember I mentioned in a previous post this dish gives you big breasts? Well, it also helps to produce a LOT of breast milk. I can’t guarantee this will work for everyone, but for me it really does.

So this is how my motherhood journey is going so far. Amelia will be four weeks old this coming Saturday but so far the experience has had it’s challenges but I absolutely love being a mother. I hope my little experiences will help other mums.

Back to food! The recipe today is oriental pork chop. When I started this blog, one of the very first recipes I did was oriental pork chop. At that time we were learning about food photography as well and the resulting photos were (in Chris’s words) horrendous! So I decided to remake it. As before, this recipe is really easy to make (perfect for a new mum!) and it’s also really delicious. I’ve also shared a couple new photos of Amelia as well.

oriental pork chop

 

Oriental Pork Chop

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for Oriental Pork Chop

  • 4 pork chops

Seasonings for Oriental Pork Chop

  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp potato starch

Instructions

  1. Use meat hammer to beat the pork chop and make the pork chop bigger and more tender.
  2. Marinade pork chops with all the seasonings for 1 hour at less and massage the pork chops with seasonings for around 30 seconds. This procedure can help the pork chops marinade better and tastier.
  3. Heat up 3 cups of oil in a wok or deep frying pan to 150c around medium gas power and fry the pork chops to medium well done. Place it onto a plate aside.
  4. Heat up the oil by full gas power to 180c degree and fry the pork chops until well done, then it’s ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

You can also put ½ teaspoon baking soda to make the pork chop texture more tender.

 

Cantonese Roast Crackling Pork

Cantonese Roast Crackling Pork

cantonese roast crackling pork

Recently I’ve been seriously struggling with daylight. I planned to cook three dishes this week but with the sun now starting to go down around 2:30pm I can’t do a lot of photography after I have finished cooking. This is really annoying me! It’s very hard to take nice food photos without natural or studio lighting and I’m definitely not an early bird person on my days off. As a note I work from 9am typically until 12am-1am, once customers have ordered their final desserts. I’m not a wealthy person who can spend a couple thousand pounds on studio lighting and I’m not a housewife so time is limited.

So, rant over. Now I’m thinking about new ideas for my blog. Sometimes life’s difficulties are a good thing and it’s made me think about preparing quicker dishes to cook. Some of the most simple dishes are the tastiest.

I had a chat with one of my colleages the other day at work. She told me she really likes my blog but a lot of the dishes have too many ingredients and involve too much preparation. This conversation made me think a lot. I really value everyone’s opinion of food and what they like to learn or see from my blog, it gives me new ideas and a new point of view to my cooking.

Here is my latest recipe. This ideas of this roast crackling pork is from one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in the UK called “Imperial Palace”. Everytime I go there I want to eat this dish and it makes me keep coming back. So, I decided to give it a go. In the end it’s turned out not too bad.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Cantonese Roast Crackling Pork

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 850 g pork belly
  • 3 spring onions cut into 3cm lengthways
  • 3 slices ginger

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan pepper
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • Soy sauce a small but no exact amount
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

Instructions

  1. Wash the pork belly and cook in boiling water with spring onion and ginger. Cook pork belly for 5 minutes and prod a skewer inside pork. If no blood comes out it’s cooked. Soak in cold water immediately and dry it with a clean tea towel or napkin.
  2. Use a dry frying pan to sauté the Sichuan pepper until the aroma comes out. Then use a pestle and mortar to grind the Sichuan peppers into a powder.
  3. Prod the skin part with a skewer or the tool that I have pictured in this post. I bought this tool from local Chinese supermarket for about £5.
  4. Brush the soy sauce on every side of pork belly. Mix all the seasonings together evenly and gently rub the seasonings on pork belly. Leave the pork belly marinade for 2 hours.
  5. Tin foil wrap the side and bottom of the pork belly. Only leave the skin part unwrap. Put the pork belly on the middle oven shelf. Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees and roast for 20~30 minutes.
  6. Take out the pork and brush a thin layer of oil. Roast in oven (temperature 180 degree C) for another 20 minutes.