So, the departure of Bookery Cook’s Maxie for the big city bright lights (and edible wonderland) of NYC called for a grand feast. We decided to invade the kitchen and deck of good friends in Auchenflower for the occasion.
On the menu
Nibbles of Edamame (bought frozen from local Asian store) and Pork and Prawn Gyoza, Pork belly Ramen (as Maxie had been talking about wanting to eat both pork belly and ramen for weeks, so we thought it was a perfect combo) and a New York Cheesecake.
Prawn + Pork Gyoza
Find the recipe on this earlier blog. We amended it by adding some of the pork leftover from making the stock.
Pork Belly Ramen
This recipe was adapted from Gourmet Traveller’s Ramen with pork belly, nori and spring onions. I started it the night before, making the stock. This is a good idea if you want to make the stocks from scratch, to avoid one big labour-intensive session. No need if you are using store-bought stock.
Essential ramen-themed viewing is Juzo Itami’s Tampopo, which combines ramen, yakuza, and sex in a Japanese-style spaghetti Western.
500 gm pork belly, skin scored
1 tbsp vegetable oil
750 gm ramen noodles
eggs, boiled, peeled and halved
shitaake mushroom, fresh or dried and rehydrated
shredded chinese cabbage
shredded pickled ginger
spring onions, cut into julienne, placed in iced water for 5 minutes
Pork + chicken stock (or use store-bought)
1kg pork (i used pork hock, must be unsmoked)
500g chicken bones (I had legs)
10 cm piece kombu (see note)
60 ml (¼ cup) light soy sauce
2 tbsp each mirin and sake
1 tbsp caster sugar
Dashi stock (or use store-bought, available in the Asian section of most grocery stores. This comes in the dried format)
25 gm dried bonito flakes
10 cm piece kombu
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
30 ml soy sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp each mirin and sake
2 tsp caster sugar
For pork + chicken stock
Cover pork bones and chicken completely with water. Bring to boil, then through away water and start again (this should remove the impurities). Bring water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until stock is well-flavoured (2-3 hours), skimming scum from surface if it does arise.
Strain through a fine sieve. Reserve bones and pick of meat – good for sandwiches or adding to ramen! Transfer 2 litres of stock liquid to a clean saucepan, add kombu, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar. Bring to the simmer and keep warm. Extra pork stock can be cooled completely, then frozen for 2 months.
For pork belly
Preheat oven to 200C. Place pork belly in a roasting pan, season well with sea salt and rub with oil, then roast until cooked through (1 hour 20 minutes). Transfer to a tray, place a piece of baking paper on top, then weight with another tray and a food can, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm (4-6 hours). Thinly slice and set aside.
For dashi stock
For dashi stock, combine bonito flakes, kombu, shiitake and 1 litre cold water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat until well-flavoured (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve back into saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
Combine dashi stock with pork stock, check seasonings and season to taste, keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook ramen in boiling water until al dente (3-5 minutes). Drain and transfer to bowls and set aside.
Place ramen in bowls, top with stock and additions of your choice.
New York Cheesecake
This recipe was found on Taste.com, with the only changes we made being using vanilla bean seeds instead of vanilla essence, and serving it with a berry coulis. Cheesecakes can be a b*#&$ to get right. Some tips can be found here. For me, the biggest lessons have been not to bake the cheesecake at too high a temperature, as the mixture will curdle and resemble scrambled eggs. Also, that cheesecake does not concede with the ‘bake until golden brown principle’ – if your cheesecake goes golden brown, it is overdone. It will still seem underdone when it is ready.
1 x 250g pkt plain sweet biscuits
125g unsalted butter, melted
750g cream cheese, at room temperature
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbs plain flour
1 x 300ml ctn sour cream
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line the base of a 23cm (base measurement) springform pan with non-stick baking paper.
Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer to the lined pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press the biscuit mixture firmly over the base and side of pan, leaving 1cm at the top of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind in a large bowl until just combined. Beat in the flour. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Stir in the sour cream until just combined.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the base. Place the pan on a baking tray and bake for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until just set in the centre. Turn oven off. Leave the cheesecake in oven, with the door ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely (this will prevent cheesecake from cracking). Place in the fridge to chill.
Frozen mixed berries
Combine berries and some sugar (to taste – we like it more sour than sweet) in a saucepan, simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries break down and sauce thickens.