Asian Carbonara with Braised Pork Belly


750 grams skin-on, well-layered pork belly
40 ml soy sauce
40 ml rice wine
30 grams granulated sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 (40 gram) chunk of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 dashi bag
480-600 grams fresh egg noodles (of medium thickness)
1 tsp sesame oil
80 grams spring onions
40 grams fried shallots
4 small handfuls of shredded nori
4 eggs
shichimi togarashi
toasted sesame seeds


  1. Cut the pork belly into pieces that are about 8mm x 8mm. Put the pieces in a pan and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and salt.
  2. Peel the ginger and garlic, then place the ginger on a cutting board and whack it with a meat mallet or the side of a cleaver, to crush it lightly. Put the garlic and ginger in the pan.
  3. Put the dashi bag into a cup and add 1 cup boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, then remove the bag. Add 150 ml of the dashi stock (or chicken broth or water) to the pan and bring to the boil over a medium flame. Lower the heat, cover the pan with the lid and simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the pork is very tender. Check the consistency of the sauce: it should be glossy and sticky. If needed, simmer the ingredients, uncovered and stirring often, until the sauce lightly coats the meat. Remove the ginger and garlic cloves.
  5. Chop the spring onions about 5 mm thick.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the egg noodles and cook until done to your liking, then drain. Add the sesame oil and mix to coat the noodles. Divide the noodles between four bowls.
  7. Spoon the pork belly (with sauce) over the noodles, then add the spring onions and a small handful of shredded nori to each portion. Make an indentation in the centre of the noodles and add some fried shallots.
  8. Crack the eggs, separating the white from the yolk. (Reserve the egg whites for another use.)
  9. Put the egg yolk on top of the fried shallots in the centre of the bowl and sprinkle lightly with shichimi togarashi. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the pork and serve immediately.
  10. Diner should mix the ingredients thoroughly so the egg yolk and braised pork belly sauce combine to thickly coat the noodles.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Post Magazine


Cheesy Bacon Muffins


vegetable oil
6 slices bacon
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
3 to 4 scallions, chopped fine
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
flavored cream cheese spread, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease or spray 12 one-cup muffin tins, or line each tin with paper cases.
  2. Put the bacon in a large skillet and fry over medium heat, turning once, until crisp and brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Pour the remaining fat into a cup. Add extra oil, if necessary, to make 4 tablespoons.
  4. When cool, crumble the bacon into small pieces.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, cheese, and scallions, tossing lightly to mix. Add the bacon and mix again, then make a well in the center.
  6. Beat the egg with the milk in another bowl until well blended. Then beat in the mustard and reserved bacon fat. Pour into the well and stir lightly until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter should be slightly lumpy.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups and bake until risen, golden, and springy when pressed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool, about 2 minutes, then remove the muffins to the rack to cool until just warm. Serve with cream cheese spread or as liked.

Makes 12 servings.

Source: Essentials – Egg

Mexican Sandwiches


2 fresh jalapeno chilies
juice of 1/2 lime
2 French bread rolls or 2 pieces of French bread
2/3 cup refried beans, canned or home-made
5 oz roast pork
2 small tomatoes, sliced
4 oz Cheddar cheese, sliced
small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
1/2 tbsp creme fraiche


  1. Cut the chilies in half, scrape out the seeds, then cut the flesh into thin strips. Put it in a bowl, pour over the lime juice and leave to stand.
  2. Slice the rolls or pieces of French bread in half and remove some of the crumb so that they are slightly hollowed. Set the top of each piece of roll or bread aside and spread the bottom halves with the refried beans.
  3. Cut the pork into thin shreds and put these on top of the refried beans. Top with the tomato slices. Drain the jalapeno strips and put them on top of the tomato slices. Add the cheese and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
  4. Turn the top halves of the rolls over, so that the cut sides are uppermost, and spread with creme fraiche. Sandwich back together and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Mexican Red Hot Cookbook

Bacon and Lentil Soup


2 lb bacon knuckle
8 oz orange lentils
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 sprig parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes


  1. Soak the bacon joint in cold water overnight.
  2. Drain the bacon and discard the soaking water.
  3. Place the bacon joint and lentils in a large saucepan with 3 pints of water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the bacon joint, cut off the meat and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Return the meat to the soup and discard the bone.
  7. Cut a cross in the base of each tomato and dip into boiling water for 30 seconds. Peel off the skin, cut into quarters, remove the skin and chop the flesh. Stir into the soup and reheat.
  8. Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley, if liked, and serve with bread.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Soups and Starters

Chicken and Ham Lasagne


12 ounces fresh lasagne
5 cups Bechamel Sauce
1-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1-1/2 cups diced cooked ham
4 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
6 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup finely crumbled Monterey jack or Colby cheese
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs

Bechamel Sauce

2 thick onion slice
2 bay leaf
2 mace blade
4 parsley sprigs
5 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground white or black pepper


  1. To make the Bechamel sauce, place the onion, bay leaf, mace and parsley in a saucepan. Add the milk and heat slowly until just boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for 45 minutes.
  2. Strain the milk into a jug or bowl. Wash the saucepan, then melt the butter and stir in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring all the time. Continue stirring until the sauce boils, then reduce the heat, if necessary, so that it just simmers. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seasoning to taste.
  3. If the sauce is not used straightaway, lay a piece of dampened waxed paper directly on its surface to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Lower the pieces of pasta one at a time into a large pot of boiling water. Bring back to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drin and rinse under cold water. Lay the pasta on double-thick paper towels.
  5. Butter a 12-15 x 8-inch ovenproof dish and set the oven at 350°F.
  6. Set aside a third of the Bechamel sauce. Mix the chicken, ham, mushrooms, scallions, parsley and sage with the rest of the sauce. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Layer this sauce in the dish with the lasagne, ending with a layer of lasagne on top. Stir the cheese into the reserved sauce (it doesn’t matter if the sauce is too cool for it to melt), then spread it over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with a little paprika and top with the bread crumbs.

  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the topping is crisp and golden and the lasagne layers are bubbling hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: The Fresh Pasta Cookbook