Sunday, 27 October 2013

Allan Truman's Pork Belly

A Chop and it’s drop.

I don’t know if you do it like me, I mean eating out now, but I tend to go to certain restaurant's for certain meals. To me it has always (almost) been a winning recipe for a  good meal and an enjoyable night. It does however happen from time to time, that you are either badly disappointed or happily surprised. Why would this be than, you might ask.
People tend to go to the same places, over and over, because they like the taste of their food, or like me, of a certain dish. In a good restaurant the food should always taste the same, whether the Head-Chef is there and cooking it himself or not and this can only happen if the kitchen work on standardised recipes.
(Just a quick explanation about standardised recipes. It is a very detailed recipe compiled by the Head-Chef for his chefs and it must be followed to the letter. It will, for instance, tell you what brand of item to use and the cooking methods will also be explained to the last detail. This explains why your making of Aunt Aggie’s well roasted blackbird taste different from hers, even though you used her recipe. Her roasted black bird don't need to taste the same every time she makes it, but the restaurants does.)
Enough said of standard recipes and back to more important matters. My theory regarding why your meal was so much better than last time lies in what you had to drink with that meal. Maybe you just made the perfect decision regarding the combination between the drink and the meal. Lets play an imaginary game.
Grab hold of an imaginary wine glass, fill it with imaginary wine and imagine bringing it to your mouth and taking a slow sip. Now, slowly let it tickle your taste butts and dance over your tongue........
One moment, will be back soon, need a glass of wine ............... real wine .............
I’m back and feeling a lot better thank you very much.
What happened, did your mouth start salivating (watering). If it did, your mouth was telling you: “I’m ready, bring on the food!”
The alcohol in wine (actually any alcohol and even the gas in gas cold drinks) tickle your taste buts and wake them up to the point where the right combination between food and drink will make your senses go .... wooooow, happy days are here again .........
Just think strawberries and sparkling wine, or dare I say, Champagne. Match made in heaven. Chillies can have a quite similar effect with the added advantage of you body releasing it’s own morphine in the form of endorphins. So they not only make the food taste better, they make you feel amazing.
Next time you are ordering your favourite meal, ask your server what the wine/beer recommendation is for that meal and try it, it might just surprise you. But try your own combinations as well, tastes differ and you might just come across something spectacular. If you do, pat yourself on the back, drink another glass and e-mail me directly at

Here we go with Chef Allan Truman’s signature Pork Belly. (Allan Truman is the Head Chef at the Cashmere Club in Christchurch, New Zealand)

This is how you prepare the Pork belly:

Lay the Pork belly down on your (red - for raw meat) cutting board

Roll the Pork belly up and you can use skewers to keep it in place

With a sharp knive, cut the Pork belly into rounds (+/- 1.5 cm in thick)

Place the Pork belly in a oven dish in a single layer

Make the sauce/marinade to baked the Pork belly in.

  • 1.2 to 1.8 kg Pork Belly as prepared as above
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Corriander - fine
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) dried Ginger - fine
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) Cayenne peper (more if you like it hot like me)
  • 1 tsp french Garlick - Finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup each: Tomato sauce, BBQ sauce and Orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Sweet chilli sauce
  • Salt and peper to taste


  • Put salt and peper over the Pork belly
  • In a mixing bowl, place the wet ingredients together with the spices and garlick and whisk lightly

  •  Spread evenly overe the Pork belly.

  • cover the oven try with foil and bake in a 180c for 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • take foil of and bake at the same temp for another 15 - 30 minutes or until the Pork belly is sticky and tender
Etxtra sauce for serving:
  • 1/2 cup each: Tomato sauce, BBQ sauce and orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of Sweet chilli sauce
  • Corn Flour to thicken the sauce if needed

  • Add ingredients to a pot, together with the roasting juices, bring to a boil.
  • Thicken by making a slurry (paste) out of corn flour and water if needed.
And that is that, easy as pie. I would have a nice glass of fruity Rose or a Pale Ale with this, but then again, it is your meal and you should try it with the drink of you choice.

Thanks Allan for sharing this with us.


Chef Allan's Pork belly served on a bed of buttery mash potatoes.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Cola Ribs

As a radio host in America said; “He’s not as beautiful as Nigela or as naked as Jamie, but he is Albert, the Fat Chef”. Yip, that’s me and I am fat........, but I can cook as well, so here goes:

Cola Ribbs without the F-word

 I know I am preaching to the saved and that I have said it before, but you can spread the word from here.
You might have all seen the guy at the “other” table, the one that makes all the people at that table wish they have faked some kind of illness and stayed at home. He’s the one who finds fault with all his food and then explain to all and sundry how the food should have been done to start with. The one who will be the proud recipient of a few prize bumps to the back of his head caused by the light pan said chef used to cook his meal.
Obviously, if there is a problem with your food, you must complain, but be civil about it, mistakes are made even by us chefs.
You will find that I have it against the person that claims the right to complain just because he thinks it is the way it should be done, because it is done that way on the TV Cooking Competitions and that he exhibit his coolness by being rude. News flash mate, you are not cool, neither is that chef. He does it to entertain you and it seems that he have succeeded, you were entertained.
Do you, for one moment, think somebody can taste the slightly burnt hair of a scurfy ridden pirate the soup or did that judge say that to make you go ...... eeeiiwww ...... I don’t even want to taste that, it must be awful. Remember, they only have the sound and picture and to make you “taste and smell” the food, they have to use words and by golly, some of them do it well.
So next time, before you complain about your medium-rare T-bone not being grey, make sure of your facts before you complain. After cooking a few steaks, 99.9% of chefs know how a medium-rare steak should look and feel, and yes, we do touch your food to check for doneness. Further, most chefs also have this nasty habit of having a few cookbooks in their kitchens, the ones with photos in them of food, and as luck would have it, mostly there are vividly clear photos of steaks at all degrees of doneness. Nasty creatures chefs are, he will send his most outspoken waitress to your table, with that cookbook, to show you the photo of a medium-rare steak and somehow you might just feel like the slightly burnt hair of the scurvy ridden pirate and, obviously, also remember the light pan he is weighing in his hand.
But at the odd chance of you being right, things happen, be the bigger person. If that chef comes to your table, as he should, and apologies by saying: “rifgwuf wfn ewrgeri wf”; accept it as an apology and do keep his pan in the back of your mind (no pun intended).
So remember, if you have a complaint, complain, you are paying for a service and that includes the whole package, but if you want to impress everybody in the restaurant, put ice on the back of your head, it usually helps.
And now .... drum-roll .... lets cook!
Cola Ribs – my way
For the Ribs
·         2 kg spare-ribs – make sure you buy the ones with a lot of meat on them.
·         2,5 L Cola (the red- or the blue, red and white bottle)
·         4-8 cloves of garlic - crushed
·         1 large onion, roughly chopped
·         2 Bay leaves
·         20 cloves
·         1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns
·         2 tbsp (30 ml) smoked paprika
·         1 tbsp (15 ml) coriander – fine
·         1 ½ tsp (7 ml) salt

 Basting Sauce
·         1 medium onion, finely chopped
·         2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
·         1 Cup (250 ml) Ketchup/Tomato Sauce – good quality
·         2 tbsp (30 ml) English- or any mustard of your choice
·         ¾ Cup (180 ml) soft brownsugar
·         1 tsp (5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
·         salt en pepper to taste

This is how you do it:


 1 Cut the ribs in strips or single portions (I like it this way) and place in a big pot.
2 Place the rest of the ingredients, for the ribs, in the pot, bring to boil. Turn down to simmer and let it simmer for about 90 minutes. You want the meat tender, but not falling of the bone.
3 Remove the ribs, pour the liquid through a sieve and cook the liquid down to about 500 ml. Keep for your sauce.

Basting Sauce

 1 Place all the ingredients in a pot and cook down to the consistency of Maple syrup.
2 Liquidise to a fine consistency and let it cool a little.


Coat the ribs well with the basting sauce (don’t be shy),

2 Cook on your braai, Barbie or BBQ until dark and sticky, but be careful not to burn them


Bake in the oven at 180 °C for 45-60 minutes until they dark and sticky.

Dark and sticky is the secret.

 Don’t taste them at the BBQ or the moment they come out of the oven, there won’t be enough left for the rest of the people
Tips and hints

·         You can, and I encourage you to, do this with chicken wings as well. Chop the wing in 3 parts, but please throw the pointy bit away. Nothing can save it anyway. Cook the wings for a shorter time than the ribs, about 30 to 45 minutes.

·         Instead of using the cooked down liquid, you can use fresh cola.
·         This is only the basic recipe, don’t fell you have to stick to it religiously. (I like to make mine with about ½ a cup of hot sauce added to the ribs)

Next time I will share our Head Chef, Allan Truman’s recipe for Pork Belly Wheels, a Cashmere Club favourite and I must confess, one of mine as well.
See you then
The fat Chef
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