Kulinarya - Noche Buena

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

For this months Kulinarya we decided to do Noche Buena - What is a Filipino Christmas to you? To me a typical Filipino Christmas is a gathering of family, lots of food, lots of presents and church.

This year is going to be different. Most of my relatives have gone to America or the Philippines. We have all decided to have a low key Christmas. What does low key mean to the Eugenio Family? It means no presents, lots of food, relaxing, naps after huge meals and catching up.

For Kulinarya I decided to do my take on Lechon. Lechon is suckling pig roasted whole and normally served with Lechon sauce. Lechon sauce is made from chicken livers, vinegar, sugar, breadcrumbs, garlic and onions.

The recipe below is for a piece of pork belly. An Australian version of a very traditional Filipino dish during Christmas.

Anna Gare – Fennel and Rosemary Pork Belly


1 big pork belly, about 2 kg (no bones if possible)
8 large cloves of garlic
3 table spoons rosemary chopped
3 table spoons fennel seeds
salt & pepper

Vegetables for roasting belly on

5 sticks of celery
4 carrots
2 brown onions, cut in quarters
Sprigs of rosemary

Preparing the Pork

1. Score pork skin using a very sharp knife

2. Blanch skin side only of belly in frying pan with shallow boiling water

3. Put garlic rosemary, fennel and salt in mortar and pestle and grind to paste- rub over flesh of pork (not on skin)

4. Lay vegetables on a big non stick baking tray and place belly on top skin side up

5. Bake in oven for about 2.5hrs 170 degrees then turn oven up to 250 degrees

6. Salt the skin and cook for a further ½ hour till it crackles up

Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn and if you are having trouble with it crackling, turn on the grill, but place the pork on mid to low shelf as it burns easily

With the Pork Belly we served some sides. They were a string bean and soy bean salad with an achovie and lemon dressing and a potato salad with dill.

We are in Australia after all so why not a few prawns for the BBQ.. My Aunt also made a grilled salmon with terriyaki sauce.

For the dessert I wanted to attempt to make a Croquembouche. It didn't turn out the way I planned and I also burnt myself pretty bad with the toffee. I was still proud of them, especially since this was the first time I made them.

I hope you all enjoyed this months Kulinarya Cuisine. Have a safe and fun Christmas everyone. Cheers to lots of presents and lots of fantastic food.

If you are interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to leave a comment or drop by the food blogs below and leave a comment there - we would love to hear from you!


I would also like to welcome some new Kulinarya members

Olive http://www.latestrecipes.net/
Caroline http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/
Peachy http://www.thepeachkitchen.com/

Trissa (December 20, 2009)  

Your lechon brings back great memories Kath - it looks amazing with that crackling! I like how you substituted pork belly - great idea. And I just have to say, your croquembouche looks really good - and that's only your first attempt!

♥peachkins♥ (December 20, 2009)  

Shucks! ang sasarap ng nakahain dito for Noche Buena. The pork belly looks super tasty and super moist inside, but the skin on the outside looks crispy! Merry Christmas!

Trisha (December 21, 2009)  

Oooohhh this is killing me!!!!! I've always wanted to make lechon (or crispy pata!!!) but was always scared of my blood pressure after. I suppose one can indulge during Christmas time... well done Kath!

Olive (December 21, 2009)  

I love the idea of making lechon out of porkbelly, I love lechon esp the crispy skin..yum! Congrats on the croquembouche too, that's very difficult to make and you did it well, I'm pretty sure next time you'll be able to stack it na. Merry Christmas to you Kath and to your family! :D

Stephcookie (December 21, 2009)  

Ohmygosh look at that piggy! So perfect for Christmas. Ouch, I know how bad a toffee burnt hurts, but your choux still look really yummy :)

Caroline (December 21, 2009)  

WOW, your lechon look so delicious and crispy! Now I'm thinking of adding this to my Noche Buena this year. Congrats on a job well done and for your croquembouche, too! Can't wait for next month's dish.

Forager (December 21, 2009)  

Lechon sauce sounds delicious! I would definitely love to try that one day!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) (December 21, 2009)  

Now that's one good looking pork belly. Love the look of that crackling and the lechon sauce sounds so tasty! I've yet to even attempt a croquembouche so I say your first attempt is fantastic :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef (December 21, 2009)  

Oh god I thought for a second you were going to cook an entire pig! That pork looks amazing, and so do your pretty profiteroles. Hope the burn heals quickly!

Ellie (December 21, 2009)  

What a lovely Christmas feast! The pork is amazing. Good try with croquembouche! Use forks instead of fingers next time :)

MaryMoh (December 21, 2009)  

That's so much good food.....unbelievable. That roast pork belly looks perfect. I would dive for the crispy skin:P

shaz (December 22, 2009)  

Oh wow! That lechon looks so amazing. Sorry to hear you hurt yourself with the toffeee...caramel scares me, I keep forgetting how hot it is and wipe stuff up with my fingers...ouch! The croquemboche looks fab though :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella (December 22, 2009)  

Look at that gorgeous crackling Kath! I could dive right into it :D The croquembouche looks good still! And they burnt their fingers on Masterchef too so you're in good company :)

muffinsareuglycupcakes (December 22, 2009)  

i think your croquembouche looks amazing :)
btw i finally blogged about the frooties! heh.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella (December 25, 2009)  

Hi Katherine! Hope you're having a very Merry Christmas and I've really enjoyed reading your cooking adventures this year :) xxx

pierre (December 27, 2009)  

Your pork looks fantastic congratulations !! Pierre from Paris

SK (December 27, 2009)  

The pork belly looks delectable! I hope it was a great christmas party.

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