So, food. Pretty much the new black. With the rise and rise of cooking shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, cooking and food has been brought direct into our living rooms and become an important part of Australian culture. These shows have turned people who were meat and three veg kinda folk, into pseudo gourmet chefs, and I think it’s fabulous! People are cooking more, eating better and the food scene in every state of Australia is absolutely pumping!
Another thing that has vastly changed the food landscape, particularly as a career option, is the phenomena of the ‘celebrity chef’. They are the new rockstars. The current breed of young celebrity chefs are edgy, daring and extremely talented. They are pushing the boundaries of flavour, texture and cuisine. They are fast developing cult followings and pushing our taste buds to places they haven’t been before.
A career in food and hospitality is all of a sudden sexy and potentially quite lucrative. If you think you could turn your passion for food into something you do everyday, you may never work another day in your life. Careers Australia have a number of cookery and hospitality courses (more info here) that can get you on your way to a career in one of the most exciting and dynamic industries in Australia.
- 1 kg piece of boneless pork belly
- 1 cup rice flour
- 2 tbs Chinese five spice
- 1 tbs salt
- 750ml vegetable oil for frying
- 350g caster sugar
- 150mls water
- 2 birdseye chillies, sliced
- 10 star anise
- 75ml fish sauce
- 2 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage
- 1 cup picked coriander leaves
- ½ cup picked thai basil
- ½ cup picked mint leaves
- 1 green apple, julienne, cut your apple at the last minute to avoid browning
- 1 long red chilli, finely sliced on an angle
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs castor sugar
- The pork in this recipe is twice cooked, so you will need to first start your pork belly. Preheat your oven to 130°C. Place pork belly, skin side up, in a baking tray, cover with baking paper and then cover the tray with foil. Bake the belly for 4 hours. Once cooked, cool and refrigerate until completely cold. You can also do this the day before and chill overnight.
- Next make your chilli caramel. Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Place on to the heat and bring to the boil without stirring. Brush the sides of the saucepan occasionally with a wet pastry brush to stop crystals from forming. Add the chilli and star anise then continue to boil until the syrup turns a light tan colour. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, then add the fish sauce. Place back on the heat and simmer for a further five minutes. Allow to cool and remove the star anise.
- For the salad, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. For the salad dressing, combine ingredients in a jar, shake until the sugar has dissolved and set side.
- When you are ready to go, heat your oil in a deep frypan to about 170°C. Cut your chilled pork belly into 3cm squares. Combine the rice flour, salt and five spice in a bag, add pork and coat. Remove the pork pieces, shake off any excess flour and leave to stand on a tray for about 15 minutes so that the coating sticks.
- Cook the pork in batches and don't overcrowd the pan. Cook each side until golden and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- In a large bowl, drizzle the pork squares with a little caramel. Toss to coat.
- Add the apple and dressing to the salad and toss.
- To serve, place the pork in a bowl, drizzle with a little more caramel, top with the fresh salad and serve with steamed rice. I always put the caramel on the table as well, too much is never enough!
This has been a sponsored post for Careers Australia.