Monday, December 30

I'm on a roll - Part 1

Over the festive period, I prepared three dishes for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch. Yes, it might seem like divine intervention that the usually culinary-challenged me could successfully serve three decent dishes without causing bodily harm to anyone. Not forgetting two of which were desserts - those pesky pleasures are usually my nemesis.

I thought of just directing you guys to the websites that I used but that would be misleading as I am not one to follow a recipe to the tee. Substitutions and eliminations are part of the plan as I dislike fridge clutter, buying special ingredients for one-off spur-of-the-moment inspirations and nobody really enjoys sweetness ringing in their ears anyway (Christmas carols would suffice, thank you very much).

For Christmas Eve, I made Moroccan pork ribs, using a spice rub that my in-laws gifted us from their recent trip. My source of inspiration was this recipe by South African food stylist and food photographer Nina Timm but I made the following changes:

- I used baby back ribs instead lamb riblets 
- Instead of orange juice, I used apple juice as that was what we had from our Christmas party 
- Instead of lemons, I used limes - please refer to above for explanation 
- I eyeballed the Moroccan spice rub, would say I used about 5-6 tablespoons of premixed rub 
- 2kg worth of baby back ribs required two and a half hours at 160-170 degrees Celsius 
- A piece of foil was placed over the ribs during the midway mark after an hour for an hour 

The result? Simply moreish. Finger and bone lickin' good. I did justice to those baby backs. The stress is enough to make me lie down.

For dessert, I made a Coconut Bread & Butter Pudding based on this recipe by

- A loaf of Gardenia's Cranberry Walnut bread was sacrificed
 - I toasted the bread in the oven for 15 minutes at 350F to make the bread "stale"
 - I had to double the milk, vanilla extract and coconut to get just enough liquid
 - Some melted kaya was brushed over the bread crusts for a glazed facade

Though I like my Bread & Butter Pudding on the chewier side, I would use brioche the next time round; hopefully, the brioche would soak up the liquids more efficiently. The extended family loved this rendition though and I floated on coconut cloud nine for the rest of the evening. #SuckerForCompliments

For my parents' anniversary slash Christmas lunch, I made a Pecan Pie as I have a love-love relationship with pecans. Determined not to use corn syrup, I made the pie using this recipe by bakerita along with the following changes:

- I toasted about 1/4 cup of dessicated coconut along with the chopped pecans 
- Instead of milk, I used a tablespoon worth of coconut cream that had to be used up within the next few hours
 - I cut out the 1/4 cup of white sugar because 1 cup of brown sugar, by logical standards, seemed sufficient (psst, it was) 
 - A ready-made Keebler tart shell was used as I didn't feel confident enough to make the crust (and I didn't want to screw up my parents' anniversary pie, yo!) 

I love pecan pie and the idea of being able to make one snappily makes me break into a victory dance (I shall spare you guys a visual image of it). That said, I would cover up the pie for the first 15 minutes as it seemed to burn easily.

I will be experimenting attempting a couple more recipes over the New Year celebrations so wish me luck - otherwise, I would pray for the guests instead! *knocks on wood*

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