Caribbean Rum Pork and Coconut Rice

Posted April 11, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: pork

Tags: ,

Today was another first for me: pork chops. Pork chops always scare me as it’s a dry-ass piece of meat. I remember my mum cooking chops when I was little, and they were always bone dry. I was going to have to REALLY concentrate on this one. 

For the Caribbean Pork: 

  • 2 pork loin chops
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp orange juice (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp Bacardi rum
  • 1 tbsp dry unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Coconut Rice: 

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp raisins
  • 4 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp dry unsweetened coconut (sprinkled on rice on serving)
  • Salt and pepper

Boozy pork

Whilst @TheSkivvy masterfully took care of the coconut rice, I stepped up to the grill with my chops. We were supposed to marinade the pork for at least an hour, but we had been on a day trip to Hood River all day, hopping from pub to pub, drinking a shandy or two, and forgetting to eat lunch in between. We were mega hungry when we got in, so what better way to feed a hungry beer belly than with rum! 

When I put the pork on the grill, the smell was absolutely amazing; it smelled like pina coladas. Heaven. To make up for the lack of marinating, I continued to baste the pork as it grilled away. I kept it on the grill at 300-350, on indirect heat for 17 minutes, turning once, with the lid down as much as possible in between basting. It smelled amazing, with a capital A. 

Caribbean rum pork (aka boozy pig)

The pork tasted great with the coconut rice. Today, the Caribbean had come to Portland. 

Lessons Learned: 

  • Chops can taste good
  • Remember to marinade these bad boys for at least one hour before, ideally overnight
  • Don’t trust WordPress spell check. It just tried to change “marinating” to “urinating”

Beef with Wild Mushrooms

Posted April 10, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: beef

Tags: ,

I’m starting to build up some good experience with steaks. Ok, the first steak outing got slashed a lot in between, but the second steak outing came up trumps. This time around, I had a bit more multitasking to deal with, and we know how good I am at multitasking (clue: not very good at all). 

Fortunately, the recipe for beef with wild mushrooms is quite straightforward, but very tasty. I simply grilled up a couple of sirloin steaks seasoned with salt and pepper, and then poured over wild mushrooms cooked in butter and parsley. 

The ingredients: 

  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 150 g mixed wild mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)

Perfecting the sear

 Normally I would feel quite comfortable cooking up a steak, but I think that the running in between the balcony and the kitchen (where I was also cooking up some Yorkshire Puddings in the oven), threw me off slightly. Lucky for me, @TheSkivvy was handling the wild mushrooms and a tasty orange spinach salad. 

Out on the balcony, the steaks looked done perfectly, so I turned the grill heat down to low and dashed inside quickly to get the Yorkies out the oven. Trust the damn things to get stuck to the pan slightly, so they took a few minutes longer than I expected to get them all off. As soon as I did, I ran back out and put the steaks on a serving plate. 

It’s amazing how an extra five minutes can slightly overdo a steak. Luckily though it wasn’t overdone to “old boot” level, just more towards the slightly well done than the medium. I know to keep a better eye on them the next time and just take them straight off and leave to rest for those five minutes instead. 

Damn those puds

 Lessons learned: 

  • Don’t take your eyes off those steaks
  • Yorky puds are a pain in the arse sometimes, but worth it

Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

Posted April 3, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: chicken

Tags: , ,

For some reason, I’ve always been quite picky when it comes to meat, so much so that I have two golden rules about meat:  

1. I have to be able to identify what animal it came from  

2. I have to be able to identify what part of the animal it came from  

…which meant that in my younger years, late night visits to the local kebab van (a popular eating destination after a night out drinking in Britain, usually around 2-3am) for me consisted of a bag of chips. It’s true; I would rather eat raw lobster body meat from a crustacean that is sitting on a plate right in front of me with his antennae flexing, than a kebab (I’ll save that story for another time).  

My pickiness somewhat extends to chicken. I’ve been known to eat the odd leg or wing now and then, but I am definitely a breast/white meat person. For my British reader(s), the US distinguish different chicken cuts as white meat (aka: the breast) vs. dark meat (aka: leg, wings, thigh etc). My parents on the other hand disagree with me, of course. They always told me that the breast is dry and flavorless and that the legs and wings are much more tasty cuts. But this is coming from people who like to eat the bum and the feet. Hmm…  

Anyway, today I ventured outside of my comfort zone and tried chicken legs on the grill. I’ve never cooked anything other than the breast before, so this was a first for me.  

For the Honey Mustard Marinade:  

  • 6 large chicken legs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

The marinade smelled absolutely divine, so much so that I had to stop myself from just gulping it down the hatchet. Instead, I was good and poured it over the chicken legs leaving it to marinade in the fridge for one hour.  

Happy legs bathing in marinade

After an hour I nervously fired up the grill to about 350, and continued to baste the legs, until they looked like this…  

I could just be a chicken leg convert

They looked more or less done after 35 minutes, so I took them off the grill and @TheSkivvy and I sat down for some serious munching. It smelled absolutely delicious and the marinade had caramelized beautifully. The honey mustard flavor was to die for, but what about the chicken?  

Now I know the chicken was cooked (because my trusty Weber wand told me so, and because the meat was white and not pink), but there was something about the texture of the meat that was a bit odd. Was it because I’m more used to eating breast? Or maybe because when I do eat legs they have been cooked to hell, and as dry as the Sahara?  To be honest, I’m not exactly sure, but they seemed a little undercooked for my liking. Plus I get REALLY paranoid when it comes to cooking chicken properly… food poisoning from chicken is the worst (even more so than Flatulence Beans).  

So not wanting to poison us again, I battled the leg off @TheSkivvy’s plate and put them back on the grill for another 10 minutes… This time, much better.  

Take 2... getting used to this now

So after my first chicken leg experience, the jury is still out on legs. When I was eating, all that I could think about was how great this honey mustard marinade would taste on a nice breast, or chicken kabob.  

Lessons Learned:  

  • Breast is best
  • This honey mustard marinade should be made into a drink

New Zealand Pink Shrimp and Mango Salsa

Posted March 31, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: Shrimp

Tags: ,

There may have been snow in the Cascades and a downpouring in Portland, but nothing can stop a dedicated griller from firing up their trusty barbeque. No rain, hail, nor snow will keep me from my grill!

The evening before, @TheSkivvy and I were wondering around Whole Foods (ie: Whole Pay Cheque) and came across some tasty looking New Zealand Pink Shrimp which we couldn’t resist, even though they ended up being about a dollar a shrimp… I swear, I’m going to have to take up busking at weekends to fund this grilling habit of mine. 

For the shrimp: 

  • 1 lb New Zealand Pink Shrimp
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

For the salsa: 

  • 1 large mango (peeled and diced)
  • 1 papaya (peeled and diced)
  • 1 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 fresh basil sprigs
  • Salt

Apart from the last slightly mis-timed, multi-tasking mishap (yes, I can only concentrate on doing one thing at a time), I’ve more or less got shrimp down to a tee now. And with the threat of weekend street performances looming over me (@TheSkivvy suggested body popping), there was no way I was going to take my eyes off these golden nuggets. 

More grate scrubbing later

The shrimp took about 6 minutes at about 250-300, with the lid closed as much as possible. These bad boys smelled particularly good on the grill, a lot more fragrant than past shrimp outings. They were also very tasty – nice, firm, and meaty. Here’s the finished product, in all its glory… 

What a healthy meal (eat your heart out Jillian)

Lessons Learned: 

  • New Zealand Pink Shrimp: Worth the hefty price tag
  • I’m way too old for body popping

Garlic Shrimp, Lemon Scallops and Aubergine with Spicy Asian Dressing

Posted March 29, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: scallops, Shrimp, vegetarian

Tags: , ,

Today my lovely readers, you get 3 for the price of 1. Bargains all round! 

Not content with just one grilling effort, I decided to test out my multi-tasking skills (or lack of) and whip up three tasty grilling treats in one go. Now pay attention… 

For the Garlic Shrimp marinade: 

  • 1 lb large shrimp
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs coriander (chopped)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

For the Lemon Scallops: 

  • 10 large sea scallops
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (grated)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Aubergine: 

  • 1 globe aubergine (also known as eggplant) cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • Olive oil (brushed on each side)
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic (sprinkled on each side)

For the Spicy Asian Dressing (pour on the aubergine after grilling): 

  • 1/2 serrano pepper (minced)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs yellow onion (minced)
  • 1 tbs water

Phew! Did you get all that? This was quite an exciting outing. Following a few past mishaps, @TheSkivvy wisely went out and invested in a small food processor which was fab for mincing the ingredients in the Asian dressing.  

Full-on grilling fun!

At this point, I wondered how cool it would be to have a mega-sized grill… But I soon changed my mind after the meal when I was scrubbing away at my grates again (biceps are looking great by the way). 

This was the first time I’ve attempted cooking multiple items on the grill, and it was a bit of a juggling act. Despite this, I managed to get a good sear on the aubergines (not one of those infamous mega-sears of seasons past), and the scallops were cooked to perfection, despite a slight nightmare in between when the feckers decided to stick to the grates. The shrimp were probably a little bit over done (I need to remember that these little guys don’t take as long to cook up), but at least they weren’t chewy. Here’s the finished plate… 

Check out the master searing!

Lessons Learned: 

  • Cooking times in order: Eggplant (8 mins), scallops (8 mins) then shrimp (6 mins)
  • Remember to brush the scallops with olive oil so they don’t stick to the grates

British Bangers and Mash

Posted March 27, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: sausages

Tags: , ,

There’s something about British sausages that makes them so damn good. For a start they are very smooth and the skin goes crispy (not chewy) when you cook them. I’ve always struggled to find a good sausage over here. The best I’ve found is a British Banger from Zenner’s, but it’s still edging on the bitty side (if you’re a British ex-pat, you’ll know what I mean). 

There’s not much skill required for this particular dish, which is lucky for me! Simply put your pork sausages on the grill and cook away, keeping the lid closed as much as possible and making sure to rotate the sausages every now and then. Also thinly slice up a sweet onion and put in a grill pan with a bit of olive oil. 

Bitty British Bangers

I was happily grilling away and admiring my work of art, when I heard a shout from below “What’s for dinner tonight?”. Seems that some cheeky cyclist was also appreciating the fine smell of grilled sausages and onions. Success! …Trust me to be wearing my grey marls (90’s fashion really should stay in the 90’s, along with shell suits). 

The mash is straight forward too. I’m told that the key is lots and lots of butter. @TheSkivvy makes the best mash in the world. Below is an estimate of what she used (whenever I manage to catch a sneak peak of what she’s up to). But I think she does some kind of secret ninja tatty move in between, which makes the flavour go through the roof.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to find out what it is exactly. So until I find out the secret, I’ll say that I think it’s more of an “add until it looks right” kind of deal. 

The mash-estimate: 

  • 4 yukon gold potatoes (skinned)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2-3 tbs butter
  • Salt to taste

Then just pile it onto a plate, with some Bisto (lazy gravy) and ta-daaa… 

Bangers and Mash Goodness

Lessons Learned 

  • Remember, people can still see what you’re wearing on the balcony
  • Book a plane ticket to the UK for a proper sausage fest

Perfect Steak

Posted March 24, 2010 by barbkhoo
Categories: steak


After recovering from the not-so-good Flatulence Burger experience, my attention turned full circle back to meat. In particular, steak. Steak is meat, and meat is good. 

You may remember that my first outing with steak ended up well, but hit a few speed bumps in between. So I was determined to get it right first time and apply my lessons learned:

  • Always believe what your thermometer(s) are telling you
  • Avoid Freddie Krueger action
  • Leave to rest

For the steak, I used the same marinade from the steak fajitas (as it was pretty damn tasty): 

  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime (grated rind)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

I pre-heated the grill to around 250 and continued to baste the steak with the marinade. I kept the lid closed a lot more than before, and maintained the heat between 250-300.  

This 1 lb steak took about 10 minutes each side until it reached a temperature just between rare and medium. I found it’s better to slightly undercook it to where you want it, as last time I think the meat continued to cook slightly after I took it off the grill (call me nuts, maybe it was just my imagination). 

Anyway, check it out! 

A sexy piece of meat

Because I had the steak at a slightly lower temperature this time, I missed out on the pretty sear marks. But to compensate it was a lot more juicier. In fact, it was bloody fantastic. 

Here’s what it looked like inside  – Yummy! 

Pinkness perfected

Unfortunately, @TheSkivvy was still recovering from the Flatulence Burgers, so was unable to join me for this most excellent meal. I did save a nice cut of steak for her though, so hopefully she will be able to enjoy it for her dinner tomorrow. 

Lessons Learned: 

  • Meat is good
  • Practice definitely makes perfect!