My 2013 Christmas Feast!!

roast pork belly

Christmas of 2012 was really depressing for me…I just had my second child and was sort of high in this emotional roller coaster and while everyone was having a good time and getting in the celebratory mood…I was stuck at home tending to my girl and having to put up with a rather clueless confinement lady. Things were a lot worse when I keep seeing friends post their delicious Christmas spread on Facebook. Although confinement food is not the worse thing in the world, it is rather tiring when you have a cook with little or no imagination vested in the cooking. After the first week, I had to coach her instead on how to prepare certain dishes. Just to paint a little incident, before my CL came, I had 6 leftover tomatoes, I told her to use it when she cooks, that means spread it out in different dishes. She went ahead and cooked all six tomatoes producing a huge bowl of tomato puree-mush with some beaten egg. Hubster said it was horrible. She took things literally and just whacked out a ‘tomato’ dish. Giving her the benefit of doubt, maybe she didn’t know what I meant but she didn’t bother to confirm either for fear of appearing incompetent.

Well, enough of my rants….you can see why I had to go all out in 2013. Probably to make up for that depressing Christmas of 2012. I want to do something I’ve never done before and make it extra special and indulgent because it’s Christmas after all. So, pork it is!!! And a delicious roast pork with homemade dinner rolls. I must tell you, my dinner rolls were the first successful yeasted bread I’ve ever made and it was done just in time before the year ended because one of my resolution for 2013 was to make a successful yeasted bread. Haha, I did it!!! I got over my fear and Christmas was not ruined. Hubster said it was awesome rolls which reemphasize my high of success.

pork belly

So I placed an order for free range pork belly. When I got it, the butcher packaged it nicely in a styrofoam plate and from the outside it looked rather thick. I thought it was a thick square piece of pork and I could just roast laid flat. Well, I didn’t open it and it was left in the freezer till Christmas came closer. When it was thawed, I saw that it was actually a long rectangular piece. Hmm, if I were to roast it laid flat, the meat might not be substantial, so change of plans, roll it up and secure with twine instead.

pork belly

Now I did some extensive research before proceeding with the cooking. But I didn’t make it too complicated for myself. It’s all about letting the oven do the work. After deciding what sort of rub to use, it just takes time rather than prep. You do have to dry out the pork skin thoroughly if you want a good crackling. I will admit that this outcome of mine was not to my full satisfaction but I think I know where to rectify to make it perfect the next time.

pork belly 2w Before going into the oven….

I decided to serve the pork like ‘mantou’ style, or pulled pork in buns. For that crunch factor, a simple apple-cabbage slaw. And if the preference is not for the sandwich style, there’s gravy to have it eaten like a piece of ham.

pork belly

As for the dinner rolls, I have never been more please at the way they turned out. To lift the cloth up and see them proofing beautifully had me doing a happy dance. I must explain that prior to discovering the joys of instant yeast, I was experimenting with active dry yeast all the while and it had never, ever worked. The proofing was never double or triple the size. So that put me off baking for a long time. Nothing like a successful bake to motivate you again.

dinner rolls 1w



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5 Responses to “My 2013 Christmas Feast!!”

  1. This looks GORGEOUS! I’m so glad you finally got a yeast recipe to work for you – and it was one of mine! That makes me super duper happy. I love what you’ve done with the flavours too, can I come to Christmas next year?

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Sarah! i adore your blog and yes, your recipe was definitely a life-saver for during christmas and my whole family enjoyed the rolls. I got over my phobia of all those failed bakes and am very motivated to try out more dishes in the future!! Thanks again.

  2. Baby Sumo says:

    Your pork looks great, I just made Chinese siew yoke the other day too, and am trying to perfect the crackling on top. Almost there 🙂 And great job with the rolls.

  3. reci says:

    I got over my phobia of all those failed bakes and am very motivated to try out more dishes in the future!! Thanks again.

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