This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. Alice from Nom Nom Cat is the host for month’s event. If you have a blog and have cooked, eaten or experienced a new food this month, come and join this event.
We have been shopping smarter and started a new routine that will hopefully stick.
- Supermarket: once a month
- Produce delivery: twice a month
- Asian grocer: twice a month
- Free range butcher: once or twice a month
- Specialty food shop: once a month
This results in a shopping trip once a week but the best quality items for the best prices.
I’ve been meaning to visit Westmere Butchery for ever. Highly recommended by my meat eating friends, they specialise in free range, free farmed and organic meats and their prices are reasonable. They also make award winning sausages on premises. Years ago, a friend brought beef and scallop sausages to a BBQ. That sausage made quite an impression on me apparently. Fat scallops dotted throughout tasty beef sausages. On that day I vowed that I must visit the butcher responsible. It’s only taken me…oh…about 5 years.
Some of their other fancy sausages include:
- Pork and fennel
- Beef and Guinness
- Lamb and mussel (how New Zealand is that!?)
- Chicken, cranberry and chestnut
When I go to the butchers, I am like a kid in a candy store. I was lucky I compiled a shopping list or I wouldn’t have known when to stop. We stocked up on about 3 weeks worth of meat for just over $100NZ.
When I requested pork skin (for crackling), they didn’t have any behind the glass so the butcher investigated out back. Sorry, no. I was horrified to be told that the pork skin had all been thrown out. Blasphemy! Free farmed pork skin in the bin? Perhaps I should asked which bin to forage through? Hopefully what he meant to say is that the staff had laid claim to the pig skin and therefore he couldn’t sell me a single square.
Anyway, at least I was able to grab a slab of pork belly (skin on) for my fatty pork addictions.
If ordering meat over the counter in a busy butchery flusters you, orders can be made online for pick up or delivery. I will do this next time so that I can order pig skin in advance!
Phone 09 376 5954
131 Westend Road, Westmere, Auckland
Into the belly
I am a sucker for pork belly. Fatty pork? Oh yes. How very Cantonese of me.
This recipe cooks long and slow. I call it my 20 Hour Slow Cooked Pork Belly recipe and it uses Chinese flavours and spices. I’ve cooked pork belly in the oven and on the stovetop before but since we got a slow cooker this year, it hasn’t seen a belly yet. It was time.
There is something magical about how easy this is (very) and how tasty this (exceptionally). It has two ingredients you might not be familiar with but are cheap to buy from any Asian grocer or perhaps you may even find them in your local supermarket: five spice power and black vinegar.
Five spice powder is used in Chinese cooking and compulsory for my pork wonton recipe. It is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and sichuan pepper. I would only use in with pork dishes.
Black vinegar plays very well as a dipping sauce for fried or steamed dumplings. It is black, sweet and savoury and has hints of fruit and caramel. The Koala describes it as similar to Worcestershire sauce and comparing their ingredients they could be substituted for each other. Balsamic vinegar could also be used in a pinch.
20 Hour Slow Cooked Pork Belly
Feeds about 4
- 1 kg (2 lb+) slab of pork belly
- 1/4 cup sugar (white is fine, soft brown will result in a deeper flavour)
- 1/4 cup black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 4 cloves garlic
Optional: a dash of dark soy sauce
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic, put in your slow cooker along with all the other ingredients except for the pork belly.
- Cut the pork belly into 4 thick strips allowing for 1 strip per person. It’s ok if they aren’t exactly even, particularly if you know that you have big and small eaters in your mix.
- If your pork has any stray hairs, singe these off with an open flame. If you have a blow torch, use this but I don’t have a blow torch so I put a rack onto top of a flame and lay the strips skin side down until hairs are gone. This will only take a few seconds. You want to singe off the hairs, not cook the meat. Remove from flame and transfer to the slow cooker skin side down.
- Cook for 20 hours on lowest setting, turning pork strips over once.
- Serve with rice or mash and greens.
For dinner on Friday:
- Start the slow cooker at 10pm on Thursday night.
- Awake to the most delicious aromas.
- Turn pork strips over on Friday morning, slice a little bite for yourself just to “make sure” that it is going well and continue to cook on lowest setting.
- Spend all day at work thinking about how delicious dinner is going to be. Pork will be ready to eat on Friday at 6pm.
- Assign rice or mash duty to someone else, whip up some greens and feast.