Bellies Full of Yummies, and Freezer Full of Goodies

We had a weekend of beautiful weather, and Kiwi Bird and I fired Big Bill the clay oven up for some spontaneous pizzas just for us. And as usual, I couldn’t let all that heat go (solely) towards global warming, so the usual baking also took part, ending with a copious amount of meat being slowly roasted and stewed in Big Bill’s belly.

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Diego was really keen on helping…

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Especially when there are prawns involved.

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We made 2 prawn pizzas, and one of them had freshly podded broad beans from the garden on them. Diego didn’t think too much of the beans, but highly recommended the prawns.

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Dessert was caramel, chocolate and coconut pizza.

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Then two focaccia topped with thyme went into Big Bill for 15 minutes at ~230C.

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After the focaccia, 2 x 600g caramelised onions and cheese loaves, 2 x 500g pineapple and coconut loaves, and 1 x 1Kg sesame marsala 50% wholemeal loaf went into Big Bill at ~210C for 50 minutes.

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Then two cinnamon and apple “strudels” (made with brioche dough) baked at ~180C for 1 hour.

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Finally, I stuffed Big Bill’s belly with MEAT! The meat went into Big Bill when he was around 160C, and were left in there for more than 12 hours. When I got them out on the second day, the temperature was perhaps 80-90C – perfect to serve straight out of the oven. In the front is a tray of pork belly (one piece with rind, the other two without) on a bed of fresh corianders and garlic-leeks, seasoned with rice liquor, black soy bean sauce, star anise and marsala. The top left is a pot of pork short ribs in a blend of Chinese herbs (bhra guo dei 肉骨茶). The top right is a pot of beef shins in ginger, spring onions, soy sauce and spice. The shins were stewed whole. I’ll slice them to have with noodle soup and have some rolled up in pan grilled spring onion pastry.

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The second morning was always very satisfying waking up to a kitchen full of bakings! We had plenty in our bellies, then I stuffed the rest into my freezer. Managing to stuff the freezer full also provides another source of great satisfaction!

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I’ve never roasted whole pieces of pork belly before, and I followed my own slow roasting rule of always covering with a lid. They came out so tender and juicy! I had to be careful when cutting because they were threatening to fall apart with the lightest touch. I reduced the juice with more rice liquor and brown sugar for serving – so it has a slight caramel-iness, with a thickness that just clings to the meat.

Recipes you might be interested:

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