Over the years I have either become more immature or I have reached the thrush hold for my level of seriousness (terrible term but I cannot think of any other way to explain it). If there is a one trait that I am known for being it has to be acting serious and unspoken.
I spent my first year of University avoiding public situations in place of study groups in the library. While others were heading to the campus pub ( Which I saw a counterproductive) to party; I went to the library and sat with my Mac book and notes. Never put my hand up and never contested if group work load was unfair. Yep I was walked all over.
However the flip side to this story is that I was completely miserable. Sure I got grades that I was proud of but after finishing high school, going through rough patch and finally getting to study again. Grades did not mean as much as they did when I was in high school.
In fact most of the stuff that high school is meant to set you up with is not true. This post is a bit of reassurance for those Aussie teenagers who did not make it in to University or are feeling crappy about not getting into their first/second/third choice courses for university. If you are in Northern hemisphere, you can also take a bit of comfort in knowing collage is not all it cracked up to be.
One of the best lessons I have ever learned in life is to take everything with a grain of salt especially when you come up against the education system. I am not saying do go cray-cray and do not study ( I am pretty sure your parents want to do your best when studying) but nothing is ever completely true. I guess as a kid you cannot see the politics behind these “white lies” but I be damned if I believed the same stuff about education as I did back then.
Most of the time at university I saw people start assignments the day before but then apply for as many extensions as possible. Others would want to live on campus purely for the access to non-stop parties. This final one is really smart; students would choose the subjects with online testing so they could do it as an open book/Google search test. University students are very sneaky to say the least.
Career and school is important however university/collage is not the be all and end all. Most people do not even stay in the same field for more than 3 years. Some may say it is because generation Y are so fussy about things but overall the trend is about the same for each generation. Humans are not meant to stay static.
The “success” rate they toot about needs to be taken with a pound of salt rather than a grain in my opinion. Have you seen the percentages of unemployment and dissatisfaction with Tertiary education these days?
As someone who has finished (finally) their further education studies; I am not even using the bachelor I achieved. I have embarked on another pathway to become (hopefully) commercial pastry chef; So right now I am brushing up on my cleaning and peeling fruit/vegetable skills.
But enough with my back to education ranting; so the reward you for listening I have pork Crackling for you!
If there is one thing China knows how to do is it has to be roasting meats. Pork crackling is one of the main things you fight over when someone buys Sui yuk or roasts a pork lion/belly with skin.I might be a sweet focused a blog but I as have a thing for salty crunchy snacks. So Granola, chips, nuts etc. are all very dangerous to me; I can never get enough. Not to mention they make the perfect game day or (of you are in Australia the return of summer Television viewing); can resist a big bowl of pork crackle?
The problem is the more traditional way of achieving this pork is you either
- Need a big, whole skin of pork for the oven. So meat needs to be eaten ( not bad but you do not always want pork; no matter how good it taste)
- Deep fry the pieces of pork.
However the Chinese technique of pre boiling you pork belly or skin then allowing it to dry over night with the spices, means the cooking time is shorter; pork skin becomes blistered and overall a better flavoured crackle.Look at the bubbles on it!
This is video my mum took on my FIRST go at it (she is so cute with her ipad :3). It work just as well on the pork belly as well as on the rind.
The best part about this is that it works with just the skin too as well as your whole pork belly. So you can make a bunch for your friends (and another for yourself) of JUST crackle. That’s the main idea of pork belly right?
Oven baked pork crackles
Depending on your pork skin but try to make it about 20 by 30cm at the most, so you can fit it all in the oven and pot (for the pre boiling). I used a smaller 16 by 25 cm piece here; so the amounts listed will need to be doubled.
Pork skin/rind, I used the one above but I have also done it with a big piece but cut into two
15g sea salt, flakes
2tsp five spice
1tsp brown sugar
Clean your pork belly/rind by first drying it with paper towels and removing any hair from the top. Also if you have a very fatty rind, you may need to remove some of the excess fat layer.
With a sharp knife, draw lines in a cross pattern along the skin but do not cut all the way through.
Bring a large pot of boiling water to the boil. Place pork in the boiling water and boil for 20 minutes (30 minutes for belly). Remove the pork from the hot water and allow to cool until you can touch it.
In a smaller bowl combine the spice, sugar and 5 grams of salt. Set aside.
Using paper towels dry your pork as much as you can. Rub in the spice mix making sure to get it into the gaps in the rind.
Place on a cooling rack on a baking tray. Sprinkle remaining salt on the top BUT do not rub it in. Place in the fridge over night, uncovered to dry.
Next day: pre heat your oven to 220C. Line another baking tray with foil and place a cooling rack on top of the foil.
Dust the extra salt off the top of the pork. Gentle dab the pork with a paper towel to remove any reminding liquid.
Place your pork on top of this tray and bake for 30 minutes or until it crackles to your liking. Drain oil as necessary.
*NOTE if doing pork belly after 30 minutes turn it down to 180 and cook for a further 20 minutes. Allow to cool then cut and eat straight away! Or you can save some for one day in an air tight box lined with paper towels.