I decided to start a cooking series on the blog. Not because I'm a great cook. Quite the opposite. I feel I'm such a terrible cook and I have to try harder than anyone to create meals that are, and here's my long and almost unattainable list; edible, delicious, healthy and most importantly, easy. There have been plenty of days when I would spend hours making a meal and one small critique from my picky-eater of a husband would send me into tears right there at the dinner table. He would come up with solutions like maybe taking a cooking course together, he would cook after work (that's never gonna happen lol) or we would just go out and eat every night... The frustration is real.
Since coming home from Europe over the winter holidays, I had a change in my mindset. I think this was really important, I actually had to feel like I wanted to cook and it had to come from within. On this particular trip to the continent, I had the opportunity to really feel that effortless passion towards living an inspired life - using simple but good quality ingredients to create satisfying meals, creating beauty in relatively small spaces without the need for excess etc... Once I set the frustrations aside, cooking seemed much easier and almost dare I say, effortless.
Here's my very easy recipe for a Chinese Style Pork Belly which can be made in a slow cooker. You can prepare all the ingredients in advance in the evening. Come morning, pan fry the pork belly for a few minutes, place it into the Crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients, set it on low for 8 hours and you're ready to eat when you get home from work. Who doesn't love that?
This recipe is adapted from Whitbitskitchen for ingredients that can be found in most North American pantries and tailored to my own tastes (less salty). I also added carrots to make it (almost) a one-pot meal.
I didn't take a picture of how it turned out since we devoured it right away. Dinner time is always hectic, hence the need for Crockpot meals. But the good news is that hubby loved it and I didn't cry - this time. I hope you enjoy it too.
Updated: Yes, hubby loved this meal so much that is has become a staple for us at dinner time. Therefore, I had the opportunity to take a photo of what it looks like once done. See below 🙂
1. The spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) can be substituted with 5 spice powder. I happen to have these ingredients in my pantry for baking so I used them instead.
2. Star Anise and Anise Seeds are two different type of plants but both have a licorice taste. You can substitute it with Star Anise if you are able to find some at the Asian grocery stores. Anise seeds are usually in stock at your local grocery store in the spice/baking aisle.
3. I purchased pork belly from T&T. This pork is from Sakura farm, a CQA certified Canadian farm, raised without the use of Ractopamine and vegetable grain fed.
4. I have a bigger Crockpot so I used 2 cups of beef broth which is just enough for the carrots and pork to be fully submerged in the liquid while cooking. This will ensure that they will not dry out from the cooking process.
1. Peel the carrots.
2. Cut pork belly into 1.5 inch wide pieces.
3. Heat up the oil and crushed garlic
4. Add pork and fry until golden brown at med-high heat (2-3 min.)
5. Place carrots, pork belly and the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Make sure the ingredients are mostly submerged in the liquid.
6. Set on low for 8 hours.
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