Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Spicy Sticky Pork Ribs #FoodieExtravaganza

Meaty pork ribs, kecap manis (AKA sweet soy sauce) and fresh hot chili peppers are cooked slowly till the ribs become tender and the sauce is sticky and more-ish. You will be licking your fingers after these guys. 

I’ve been making almost the identical dish with chicken wings for a very long time. Since the summer of 1998, in fact, when I first made it as a snack while watching the FIFA World Cup when Brazil, the country we were calling home at the time, came in second. It was tragic.

But I love pork too and couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of this same treatment of ribs. I just had the feeling that fatty pork ribs would be fabulous.  This month my Foodie Extravaganza group is sharing pork recipes for National Pork Month so this was the perfect time to try it out.

And speaking of fabulous, I was right. If you are a fan of pork, make sure you scroll down to see all the other Foodie Extravaganza recipe links as well.

3 lbs 13 oz or 1.74kg pork ribs (More or less – that’s what my two packs held.)
2 1/2 cups or 590ml kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
(or substitute: 1 1/2 cups normal soy sauce plus 1 1/2 cups packed or 300g dark brown sugar)
4 small red chilies or 2 teaspoons crushed red chilies

Optional garnish: some chopped green onions

Cut your pork ribs apart.

Chop your chilies into little bitty pieces.

Put your ribs into a large pot that allows sufficient stirring room. If you use a non-stick pot, you will be able to get the ribs really, really sticky, but it’s not essential.

Toss in the chopped chilies and pour in the kecap manis. Add a half cup or 120ml of water.

Cook over a low to medium flame, covered, for about 30-40 minutes. If you don’t have a lid for your large pot, fashion one out of heavy duty foil. It is essential that the ribs be covered for at least the first 20-25 minutes so that they cook though.

Stir the ribs gently, occasionally.

As you keep cooking them, the ribs will give off some liquid and bubble up. The kecap manis will thin as it heats up.

Just keep stirring and cooking until the liquid starts to evaporate.

At this point, take the lid off and watch the ribs carefully and stir more often, still gently though, as you don’t want the meat to fall off the bones.

Keep cooking and stirring until all the liquid is gone and the ribs are nice and sticky.

They aren’t the prettiest in the photos because they look black and the light bounces off their shininess but they are divine. You simply must eat these with your hands, so you can chew on the bones and lick your fingers afterwards.


Many thanks to this month's host, Lauren at From Gate to Plate. Check out all the wonderful pork recipes we've got for you this month!

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Raspberry Cointreau Syllabub

Whipping cream, Greek yogurt, Cointreau and raspberries combine to make a simple yet delicious dessert that takes mere minutes to throw together, ready to eat immediately or keep chilled till you are ready to serve.

In a rare occurrence, raspberries are on sale here in the UAE. I have no idea why my local Carrefour Market has marked them down to almost half price, but I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. As I piled the little boxes in my shopping cart the other day, the first thing that popped into my mind was syllabub. It’s an easy dessert usually made with whipping cream and sweet wine. Or perhaps a liqueur.

Syllabub is a typical British dessert, or pudding as they like to call it, but I had never heard of it until a number of years ago when a friend told me the story of a dinner party she was throwing in her home. The kitchen was a disaster zone with preparations, cooking and a sink full of dirty dishes. Somehow, by mistake, the syllabub she had just made for dessert – not yet spooned into serving vessels – was thrown out by her maid who mistook it for leftovers of the worst kind. I must admit, it’s not attractive but if you can ignore its looks and put a spoon in, it is delicious!

Come to find out, syllabub made it to the New World with the colonists and it is, in fact, still served in Colonial Williamsburg as a period dessert. What a shame that it fell out of favorite in what became the United States and I had to learn about it from a British friend! Perhaps it’s time to bring it back?

This recipe is adapted from one on

12 oz or 340g raspberries, divided
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons Cointreau
1 1/4 cup or 290ml double cream
1 cup or 245g natural unsweetened Greek yogurt

Optional to serve: a few sprigs fresh mint

Set aside a few raspberries for popping on top of the syllabub and then place the rest in big mixing bowl.

Sprinkle them with the sugar and Cointreau and set aside to macerate.

Whip the cream to soft peaks in a separate bowl and fold in the yoghurt.

Fold half the cream and yoghurt mix into the raspberry mixture. Squish a few of the berries to turn it a little bit pink, if necessary. My raspberries didn’t seem to break down at all, which surprised me, so I did squish a few.

Now gently fold in the remaining cream and yoghurt mix, trying to leave some parts white and some parts pink.

Divide the mixture between six glasses and garnish each with a sprig of mint and the reserved raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Easy Avocado Lemon Basil Pesto

Loaded with flavor, this creamy pesto made from avocado, basil, thyme, oregano and lemon is meant to be served over pasta. I could just eat it with a spoon!

My friend Kathy Hester of Healthy Slow Cooking has another cookbook on the shelves and I’m delighted to say that I have a copy to give away! This one’s called The Easy Vegan Cookbook (<Amazon affiliate link) and it’s perfect for folks who are short on time but don’t want to skimp on flavor. Typical of Kathy’s books, there aren’t a bunch of weird substitutions for non-vegan ingredients, just great tasting vegetable-centric meals. And who couldn’t use more of those in their diets?

Make sure to scroll to the bottom and leave a comment to enter the cookbook giveaway!

As I mentioned in my Muffin Monday post earlier this week, my younger daughter has been with us all summer. She’s been a good sport about being flexible about what she’ll eat because she is mostly vegetarian, making the rare exception for a good hamburger once in a while. “All hamburgers are good hamburgers” is another of her axioms. But we have eaten more all veggie meals while she’s been here, especially on days when her father is traveling on business. One of her own specialties is pasta with pesto to which an avocado is added just before serving so I knew that Kathy’s Avocado Lemon Basil Pesto would be a hit.

And how! This stuff is good. So good that I just wanted to eat it with a spoon and forget the pasta. But that wouldn’t be much of a meal so I restrained myself and tossed the noodles in it. Still divine - creamy, luscious, bright and beautifully green. We will definitely be making this one again!

Kathy’s instructions say not to let the specialty basil intimidate you. “If you don’t have lemon basil, you can use regular basil and add lemon zest, extra lemon juice or another lemony herb like lemon verbena or lemon balm.”

I couldn’t find lemon basil. Instead I used lemon thyme, adding a few extra sprigs, but I also added the lemon zest along with a little more lemon juice, as suggested.

Recipe ©Kathy Hester from The Easy Vegan Cookbook, included here by permission from Page Street Publishing.

1 medium-sized ripe avocado
1/2 cup (12g) fresh lemon basil leaves (or substitute regular basil)
1 (2 to 4 in [5 to 10cm]) sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon (3g) fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup (59 ml) water plus more if needed
1/2 lb (227 g) cooked whole-wheat angel-hair pasta (I used regular linguine pasta.)

My optional addition: dried red chili flakes

Scoop out the avocado.

Put the avocado flesh, basil, leaves from the thyme and oregano, lemon juice, salt and water in a blender and blend well until the herbs are puréed.

(I used my hand blender instead, pureeing the avocado with the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, thyme and oregano first.)

(Then I added in the basil and pulsed again until smooth.)

(I completely forgot the water but we liked the thickness of the pesto and it coated the pasta beautifully! Just look at that gorgeous color!)

The creamy avocado lemon basil pesto with just a couple of teaspoons missing! Sooooooo good!

If the purée is still too thick, add 2 more tablespoons (30 ml) of water and blend again. Toss with the cooked pasta.

One more tip: This pesto comes together in minutes, so put your pasta in the boiling water while you make it. The pesto will be ready to toss with your piping hot, perfectly cooked pasta. You’ll be out of the kitchen before the pesto has time to get too hot!

If you’d like a sneak peek at some of Kathy’s other recipes, check out the links in this line up from some other participants in the cookbook blog tour. Good stuff! Make sure to scroll to the bottom and leave a comment to enter the cookbook giveaway! I've been wanting to try the Creole Okra Corn Soup but I couldn't get any takers at my house for anything okra. So I'm just going to have to make that when I'm home alone. Not a problem because I am sure I can eat the whole pot.

Many thanks to Page Street Publishing for generously donating one copy of Kathy's wonderful book for this giveaway. Please be aware that they will only ship to US or Canadian addresses. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Please leave a comment and tell me why YOU should be the winner of this great cookbook full of delicious recipes - Are you cooking for yourself or for friends and family? - then click on the rafflecopter for other opportunities to enter. Not leaving a comment will disqualify your other entries.

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Disclosure: I received one copy of The Easy Vegan Cookbook for review purposes. No other compensation was received. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.