Monday, 31 December 2007

Pork Chops & Roasted Winter Veg

Simple pleasures start from simple things. Sounds so much like one of my high school values and no matter the no. of times we rebelled against the motto and the way the school was ran, simplicity and prudence was indeed the way forward in my opinion. Pork chops always remind me of the early days when Dad used to take us out to this little family-run restaurant called Baystreet 21 (wasn't the best places to eat but it was alright and close enough for an easy drive) most Sundays. It was always a toss up between Pork Chop or Fish&Chips for me. I was such a greedy lil chump. On days when I was willing to give up my best-loved chips for more meat and less floury carbs, my pork chop was always served generously drowned under a blanket of thick black pepper gravy with a side pot of applesauce. Mmmm. What a treat that was!

2008 should begin with us looking back on the things that pleasured us most; to look towards our roots. Like a popular Chinese idiom: look upon the direction of the river that flows, and think back to its beginnings to remember your roots and what got you to where you are today. Pork chops will always remind me of Daddy's hard work and his determination to put not just any food, but good food on the table for us.
I am thankful that I never go hungry.

These chops above were soaked in papaya juice for tenderising. One good way to tenderise your meat is to marinade it; or use bi-carb with some form of acid. However, I was working with the simplicity idea and was going to pan-fry them with only salt, pepper and chopped chilli padi. The papaya juice doesn't leave any strong taste in the meat; you've got all the good porky taste no worries! What it does though apart from tenderising is it caramalises on the meat and leaves a glossy golden brown glaze that looks so good.
The roasted vegetables was very easy to do. This one was inspired by a Potato Salad recipe from
Nigella Express. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots in good-sized chunks. A smashed clove (get a suitably large one) of garlic left in some olive oil for a while to flavour the oil. This oil will be used to marinade the vegetables for a quick second before it goes into the oven. Then mix in some honey mustard or whole grain mustard (whichever suits your tastebuds best) and then coat the vegetables with this oil mixture, pepper, chopped parsley and some italian herbs. Remember to have the roasting pan in the preheating oven with oil in it so you've got a hot pan and hot oil ready. Once you're ready, carefully place all the veg on the roasting pan, you'll hear an impressive sizzling if the oil in the pan is hot enough and then roast for bout 40min give or take. If you're serving quite a lot of people, it's a good idea to do a pan of roast potatoes too, which I did as I can never have roasted veg without a small serving of roast potatoes too!

That's done; Happy New Year guys, pray this will be the start of an even more exciting year filled with endless possibilities and promising events. Hope the new year resolutions are all set as well. Mine is to stick to keeping fit and getting a Kylie Kwong cookbook to get in touch with my Chinese side. Definitely something very essential if I intend to stick around the kitchen. :) Cheers folks.

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