24 August 2006

Pork Braised in Milk

Ok.. I must admit when I first read this post .. I thought.. 'Pork braised in Milk.. really ?!'

Interesting concept... But I wasn't really sure how it would turn out. I always have a bit of pork neck in my fridge though (courtesy of my local Asian butcher), so I gave this milk braising recipe a try. The result ? Well.. It doesn't really look pretty, but just as ChubbyHubby put it.. the pork turned out to be 'Tender & Soft'. Actually it was really tender, and the streaks of fat throughout the piece of pork neck was really tasty.

Pork Braised in Milk
Recipe adapted from ChubbyHubby ~ Pigfest

Marinate, then wrap the pork in glad wrap and refrigerate overnight:

  • 700g Pork Neck
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon thyme seeds (crushed)
  • 3 stalks fresh sage (leaves roughly chopped)
  • Salt & Pepper

Drizzle the pork with some olive oil, then on a medium-hot pan, brown all sides of the pork, then set aside.

In a dutch oven, bring the following to boil then reduce down to a simmer:

  • 1 1/2 cup full cream milk
  • 4 lemon rind peels
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 140C, then place the pork into the dutch oven with the milk mixture. Place the contents in the oven with the lid on for about 40 mins. After that, turn the piece of pork over and let it continue to braise for another 30 mins with the lid off.

Pork should be cooked nice and pink when the center of the meat reaches about 140C. (I used a meat thermometer to test this). After the 30 mins, take the pork out of the dutch oven, and let rest on a plate for about 5-7 mins before slicing up the pork.

Place the dutch oven on top of the stove, and bring the remaining braising liquid to boil to reduce down to a sauce. The sauce would be rather lumpy at this point in time, as the milk has curdled together. Although it doesn't look aesthetically pleasing... the sauce is really flavorful. You can always pour the reduced sauce into a blender, and blend it until its smooth. ChubbyHubby recommends this, but I've never really been bothered for the couple of times I've made this recipe. Serve the sliced pork with the heated sauce spooned over it.

Not pretty.. but it sure is tasty ! Or maybe its just my phototaking skills.... :(

20 August 2006

Potato Gratin

The classic potato gratin is pretty much putting together 3 thinly sliced yellow potatoes, 1 cup of heavy cream, butter and some salt & pepper. No onions. No cheese.

I'm sure anything with a whole cup of full cream and butter would taste great. However, I'm not sure my body would let me get away with it. So with my recipe, I've halved the cream and substituted the remainder with milk. I've also gone the not-so-classic way and added in some garlic, onions and cheese alternated between the potato layers.

Using a small casserole dish I was able to fit in about 4 whole potatoes.

Potato Gratin
  • 4 potatoes (golden ones for baking - not sure about the actual name)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 clove of garlic (chopped finely)
  • 1 medium size brown onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 handfuls of shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Soften Butter (enough for the casserole dish and more for dotting)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Peel and slice the potatoes thinly then leave soaked in a bowl of cold water (about 30 mins).

While that is soaking, chop the garlic and slice up the onion. Butter the casserole dish and sprinkly 1/2 of the chopped up garlic around the dish. Remove potatoes from the water and dry with a paper towel once it has had about 30 mins.

Stir and combine the milk and cream together with a fork.

Make a layer of potatoes, add some onions, salt & pepper, sprinkle with a bit of the garlic and dot with butter pieces. Drizzle with a bit of the cream\milk concoction. About 1/2 way up from the dish, sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat this until all the potatoes have been used. End the top with a dabbing of butter, the remainder of the cheese, the last bit of cream, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Finish up with the freshly grated nutmeg.

10 May 2006

Sago with Coconut Milk Dessert

Due to popular demand (ok.. maybe only two requests), I've decided to post online my recipe for Sago with Coconut Milk dessert.


  • 4 Soupspoons of Sago (can be replaced with Tapioca Pearls)
  • 4 1/2 Cups of water
  • 1 Can of Thin Coconut Milk
  • 1 Pandan leaf (tied into a knot)
  • 1/4 Cup of sugar (you can add more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/4 Rockmelon (cut up into small 1/2 cm cubes - you can substitute this with watermelon or honeydew)


Pour coconut milk into a saucepan, add the pandan leaf and bring to boil while adding in the sugar. Stir constantly. Add 1/2 cup of water into the mixture and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes on low heat. Remove the saucepan and place into a basin of cold water. Once the coconut milk reaches about room temperature, poor the contents into a large bowl and refridgerate.

While the coconut milk is cooling, bring the 4 cups of water to boil in another saucepan. Add in Sago and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Stir constantly so that the Sago won't stick to the bottom of the saucepan. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and place the lid over the saucepan for 10 minutes. Once you remove the lid, the sago should appear all transparent (Don't worry, you haven't lost all your Sago!!). Run cold water over the saucepan while pouring the contents into a seave and continue to run cold water over the sago for a couple of minutes.

Stir the sago into the coconut milk and continue to refridgerate. Cut up the Melon into small cubes and add into the sago & coconut milk mixture.

Your Sago and Coconut Milk Dessert is now ready to serve !


  • The pandan leaf can be removed prior to refrigerating the mixture.
  • The dessert is ready to serve once you add in the melon. However, you can continue to refrigerate it.
  • If you are using watermelon instead - it doesn't mean 1/4 of the watermelon (unless the watermelon is tiny!) You should only need about 1-2 cups of the fruit - depending on how small you manage to cut up the cube pieces.
  • Try tasting the coconut milk mixture before refrigerating it. Add more sugar if it isn't sweet enough.
  • If you are not worried about calories and prefer a creamer tasting dessert, normal coconut milk can be used instead.
  • You must stir the coconut milk constantly while simmering it. Otherwise the mixture has a tendency to 'spit' !
  • The Dessert should last up to 2-3 days if kept refrigerated.
  • The whole process takes about 30-40 minutes to complete.
  • This recipe serves 2-3 people

Hope this is easy enough to follow.. Have fun !

04 January 2006


For me, making lasagne usually consists of throwing together whatever I have left over in the fridge. I could be using pork, beef or meat from sausages. Maybe some bacon, carrot, celery or not. No parmesan ?... not a problem..have cheddar. Ricotta or belchamel sauce .. or in this case both. :)

Lasagne to me is a highly flexible and revolving dish to say the least.

For this lasagne recipe I used some leftover ricotta and threw in some cherry tomatoes that seemed to be nearing its use-by-date.

Not sure which recipe I first learnt how to make lasagne, but i think I can call this one an astrogirl original.

Marinade the meat with:

  • 1 kg of beef
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of corn flour
  • couple of grinds of fresh pepper

And if you want to spice it up a bit more, you can add in 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds and cumin. Set this aside to rest.

Base ingredients - 1st into the pot:

  • Olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 large brown onion (chopped)
  • 3 slices of bacon (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (finely grated)
  • couple of grinds of salt & pepper

In a dutch oven (or large pot), on medium heat add olive oil and the rest of the above ingredients in that order. Once the onions have started to sweat a bit (about 3 mins), add in the marinated mince.

For the tomato based meat sauce:

  • 2x cans of whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • dried herbs (eg. oregano, basil - if not using fresh herbs)
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (leaves only - if you have it)

Once the beef has started to brown and cook through, add in tomatoes, paste, red wine and dried herbs. Leave the fresh basil till later. Cover and simmer for about 1 hr.

Preheat the oven to 180C

About 45 mins into the cooking, start preparing the belchamel sauce. Also soak your lasgagne noodles into a hot water bath for about 15 mins.

Belchamel Sauce (cheese sauce):

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste

Make a roux with the butter and flour, then gradually add milk. Once everything has combined smoothly, add in cheese, nutmeg and some salt & pepper to taste.

Assembling the Lasagne:

  1. Put a bit of the cheese sauce into the bottom of the lasagne pan.
  2. Place 1 layer of lasagne noodles on top
  3. Spread 1 layer of tomato meat sauce over the lasagne noodles
  4. Add a layer of cheese sauce on top of this.
  5. Cover sauce with a layer of lasagne noodles.
  6. Repeat until the lasagne pan is nearly full.

As mentioned before, I had some ricotta cheese leftover (less than about 100g) and some cherry tomatoes. I also ended up with quite a bit of basil. So I used these to create a topping with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


  • Ricotta cheese
  • cherry tomatoes (split into halves)
  • basil
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

This part is totally optional. If you want a normal topping, just finish the lasagne off with a final layer of the cheese sauce and top with some parmesan cheese and salt & pepper.

Place into the preheated oven for about 45 mins.

Lasagne is also one of those dishes that I make in the hopes it would at least last us for the next three to four days. And Yes, it does taste better the next day. Unfortunately, this one only lasted two days with the boys.
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