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Dinner MettleFork Kitchen Recipes

Sticky Smoky Pork Belly Recipe

Pork Belly

This sticky smoky pork belly recipe is everything y’all.  If you are anything like me, then you enjoy eating pork from time to time.  I grew up eating bacon, ribs, heck even chitterlings for that matter.  As far as my memories serves me, I do not recall eating “pork belly”.  Even as I type this, the only thing that I could compare it to is what we call Fat Back.  A quick google search and voila!  They are pretty similar but the do come from different cuts of the pig.  Pork belly has some meat and is close to the area where bacon comes from.  Fat back comes from the back of the pig and is simply just that FAT!  
If you have never had the pleasure of eating pork belly, let me be the first to tell you that you are truly missing out.  It is extremely common in England and if you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you will know that I have a soft spot for these tiny morsels of goodness.  If you are looking for a few spots to try them out check out my post on Las Iguanas or Tap N Kitchen.  These places serve up some amazing pork belly bites.  In fact, they are the inspiration behind me wanting to create my own pork belly recipe.

Sticky Smoky Pork Belly

After two successful trials, I am happy to say that my pork belly is outstanding.  I tried two different cuts, the first was in small cubes the second was in 1/2 slices.  Either way is okay, I suppose it just depends on the use i.e. an appetizer for a party vs putting it in a rice bowl.  What is important is the jam packed flavor that this recipe creates.  Lessons that I am imparting on you so that you do not make the same mistake I did.

  1. Remove the thick skin layer – it is just like our skin…well definitely thicker than our skin but the pork belly I had still had hair in it.  Thick course hair…and I doubt pig hair is a delicacy.
  2. Remove the thick skin layer before you cut it into chunks.  My first mistake was trying remove it after it was cut up in cubes….see #1 as to why that is a bad idea.

The dry rub ensures the pork belly bites have flavor before the sticky element is added.  I love that the dry rub gives it its smoky flavor and let’s face it pork was made to be smoky.
Dry rub for pork belly
Next, when baking the pork belly, I recommend cooking it at 400 degrees for roughly 8 minutes.  Since the pork belly has a high proportion of fat, it basically fries itself under intense heat.  Once the pork belly is cooked, remove it from the oven and place it in a skillet.  Again, the fat content of lends itself to creating a nice crispiness on the outside of the pork belly.  Lastly, the real magic happens when you top it with the glaze.  It creates a sweet sticky sauce that takes the pork belly bites out of this world.

 
 
Here is the recipe, feel free to give it a try and let me know what you think.  If you make it be sure to tag #mettlefork for a chance at a feature.
[cooked-recipe id=”5191″]
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Categories
Kid Friendly MettleFork Kitchen

Healthy and Budget Friendly Meal Ideas for Homeschooling

I know I am not the only one who feels they were completing thrown into being a working from home mom WFHM this past week. I give mad props to SAHM’s (I did my stent for a hot second) and homeschooling parents. Part of me feels like this is a social experiment to see how well I can balance working from home, homeschooling, being a mom and wife. My days have officially turned into the longest days ever and I’m not getting paid overtime.
The Coronavirus pandemic has turned not only our lives, but the entire world upside down. Sociology 101 couldn’t prepare me for what lies ahead. For the unseeable future my days consist of juggling work, feeding three children, keeping the house clean all while trying not to get sick and gain fifteen pounds. In all of the madness, it is easy to grab lots of canned items, chips, cookies and then bam you’ve added on that freshman fifteen you’ve been trying to lose for 10 years. In an effort to combat that, I’m utilizing my skills as a health promotions coordinator and developing a healthy and budget friendly meal plan for homeschooling.

Homeschooling

I don’t think there is a single place left that hasn’t dismissed school for a minimum of a few weeks to the outwards extend of the remaining school year. If you are one of the lucky few, take this time to prepare because your time is coming when you will join the ranks of millions of homeschooling parents. I am by no means an expert in homeschooling. I’m sure the next few weeks will bring many lessons learned for both my children and I. I am however, excited to spend time with my children and tapping into their brains and being more of a contributor to their mental stimulation and education.  Additionally, homeschooling provides the opportunity to influence what your children eat.  No more paying for school lunches you deem mediocre.

Balancing snacks

As I mentioned previously, it is easy to just give our children chips and cookies for a snack and call it a day. Half the time that is what they beg for anyways right? I’m learning more and more that children will eat what you allow them to eat. What I mean is, if I can beat them to the hunger stage and give them fruit or crackers, they never ask for the chips or cookies. It did not dawn on me until one day when I was preparing dinner (pre-pandemic) and I cut up an apple for them to eat. I had to endure roughly 10 minutes of crying from one child, but eventually she gave in and ate the apple slices. Since that moment I make a conscientious effort to have a healthy snack on hand.

Healthy and Budget Friendly Meals

As I set out to prepare for the upcoming weeks, I am keeping one thought in mind. My goal throughout this new normal is to reset how my children eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap and when stored correctly, can last up to two weeks in most cases. Staying healthy does not just consist of hand-washing, it consists of what we eat too. Foods that are high in Vitamin A, C, E and zinc are important parts of our diet that help keep us healthy. I look at resources such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for guidance on nutrient rich foods. Here is a great article that covers ways to use nutrition to combat illness. With this knowledge in hand, I set out and created a template for healthy and budget friendly meal ideas while homeschooling. Having an idea of what you will prepare throughout the day helps save on both time and unnecessary costs.
Healthy meal ideas
As I embark on this new journey as a working at home mom, homeschooling mom and just mom I hope that you join me along for the ride. I hope that you find some type of routine that works for your family. Be safe and stay well.
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Categories
MettleFork Kitchen

Bacon and Shrimp Linguini Toss

This bacon and shrimp linguini toss has been a weeknight staple in my house for nearly a decade.  It has brought many smiles, full bellies and happy plates and is still the most requested pasta dish in my household.  You know you’ve got a winner when picky two year old’s clean their plates and ask for seconds and thirds.
Now I wouldn’t say it is the healthiest when you think about the bacon and cheese but it definitely worth a cheat day if you are going on a low carb diet.
Bacon and Shrimp Linguini Toss
I have made many variations of this linguini toss, bacon no bacon, shrimp, chicken you name it, I’ve tried it.  This is my go to pasta dish when I don’t know what to cook for dinner.  The reason this a staple in my house is because 90% of the time I already have both the pantry items and the perishables readily available.  Both the perishable and pantry items I pick up regularly to keep as staples because they are often used in many of my other recipes.
Pantry items:
Linguini pasta
Roasted, diced tomatoes
Chicken Stock
Perishables:
Onions
Bell Peppers
Mushrooms
Cream cheese
Parsley
Garlic
If you try this recipe please use the hashtag #mettlefork for a chance to be featured.
Substitutes:
To make this recipe vegetarian friendly substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock.  It does not take away from the flavor essence of this recipe.  I often use this substitute on meatless monday.
If you are not big on shrimp or bacon, you can also substitute with chicken.
[cooked-recipe id=”4911″]
 
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Categories
Cambridge Copenhagen Dinner International

Sticks N Sushi

Sticks N Sushi

Coming from America where there are a plethora of sushi restaurants to England where you really have to search requires some patience. Sushi is just one of those meals that it has to be right or it’s wrong. After a less then pleasant experience the last time I had sushi I must admit I was skeptical. My husband gave me two choices for my birthday dinner and I had heard good reviews about Sticks N Sushi so I pushed skepticism aside and decided what the hell why not.
First things first, I love vibe of Sticks N Sushi. It is a complete upscale, date night, high class bar type of vibe. Covering the door is a large green curtain, so when you first walk in, it’s like a mystery and then you are transported to an elaborate Sushi restaurant. While there were a few children there, they were older so I probably wouldnt bring my toddlers.
Now on to the important part…the food. I do not think I have ever had better sushi than I have had at Sticks N Sushi and that is saying a lot. My tastebuds and I are still completely dumbfounded by how ridiculously amazing the food was.

Sticks N Sushi Starters

I got Shake Tataki (sha-kee ta-tah-kee) as one of my starters and bay..bee it was lit. I wanted to share but I couldn’t stop myself. The salmon was so tender it literally melded to my tastebuds and disappeared. The Shake Tataki is sliced salmon topped with daikon, cress, kizami, wasabi and ponzu. Everything about this was perfectly balanced, the wasabi added just the right amount of heat and the daikon added a little crunch. This is a must order when you visit Sticks N Sushi.

For my second starter I ordered the beef tartare. I have always been skeptical of beef tartare well because of the tartare. I mean I don’t even eat my steaks rare and I’m just now moving to a medium cook. Beef, smoked cheese, spring onion, tosazu, spicy goma & jeruseleum artichoke chips…. it was a mouthful typing that…now imagine eating it. This was honestly so good, I forgot it was tartare. Every bite was a step closer to heaven and I honestly don’t know if I could choose between the beef tartare or the Shake Tataki. I NEED them both.

Tartare [Tahr-Tahr] : Finely chopped and served raw

Sushi

When it came time to order my sushi…I went a little overboard. I mean it all sounded good when I read the menu. Do I regret my decision? No. Read these descriptions and tell me if you would be able to resist.

New York Subway: tempura shrimp, avocado & spicy sauce topped with salmon and garlic.

Hell’s Kitchen: tempura shrimp, avocado & spicy sauce topped with tuna and barbecue.

Crunchy chicken: chicken, smoked cheese, crunchy chili & red onion.

Ceviche: red onion, avocado & cucumber topped with scallops and coriander cress.

Sticks

If you are anything like me, I thought the sticks in the name Stick N Sushi stood for the sushi sticks. The truth is they have a menu dedicated to non-sushi items that are served on sticks. *Psshcow* mindblown! These sticks are a perfect way to try multiple mini masterpieces without feeling like you’ve over indulged. Even if you are vegetarian, don’t worry they’ve got one for you too! Out of all of the sticks that I tried, I would say the chicken and squid sausage was the most unique both taste and texture wise.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the types of sticks that are available for your eating pleasure:

Hotate bacon – Scallops and bacon with miso herb butter

Enringi – Grilled king oyster mushroom with miso herb butter

Yaki yagi – Goat’s cheese with dried ham

Momo chili – Chicken, chili dip, teriyaki, and spring onion

Kushi katzu – duck breast with panko and wasabi caeser

Sticks from Sticks N Sushi
Drooling yet?  I certainly am and I’m only reminiscing and writing.  The second best thing about these sticks is that the price is ridiculously cheap – the most expensive one is £5.60  (well that is unless you go with the Japanese wagyu from Kyushu -£15).
Whether it is a date night or just a casual lunch, Sticks N Sushi is the move.  There are locations in Denmark, Berlin and the UK so to find the one closest to you check here.
Until next time readers,
Forks up!  Sticks up!