Chorizo and Bacon-Stuffed Pork Belly

Sausage Fest 2013. It's a thing. And what better entry to a Sausage-themed recipe contest than pig + pig wrapped in pig?

All or nothing baby.

Here's how to make a pretty easy (just takes time), flavour-packed dinner, that could probably sway even the most hardcore of your vegetarian friends to the pork side.

STEP ONE - Go to Getaway Farms' Butcher Shop. Buy a 2 pound pork belly with the skin on. Ask Ben, or one of the other awesome staff, to score the skin for you. Also, buy 2 Argentinian Chorizo Sausages, 1 pound of bacon and ask Chris for a sample of their wicked new Meat Rub.

Meat Rub - Paprika, Black Pepper, Salt, Garlic, Onion, Coriander, Fennel, Chili, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice

STEP TWO - Make your filling. Sautée a small onion until just translucent and put it in a large bowl. Toast 1/4 C pinenuts in a dry pan until golden and add them to the onion. Remove the casing from the 2 sausages and add the meat to the onion/pinenuts along with - 15 cracks of black pepper, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1/4 C Panko and the chopped leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary. Mix everything with clean hands.

STEP THREE - Lay out your pork belly, skin side down. Make incisions all over the top (meat side), about 1 inch apart, with a paring knife. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of Meat Rub over belly meat and massage in with your fingertips making sure to really stuff the rub into the incisions.


Stuff the rub.

It just sounds dirty doesn't it?

STEP FOUR - Cut 4-5 slices of bacon in half lengthwise and lay them on the belly meat width-wise. Drizzle the bacon with 1 Tbsp of honey. Place sausage mixture on top.

STEP FIVE - Wake up your husband and make him get out of bed to help you tie the pork belly with twine. Place the tied belly, skin side up, on a baking sheet in the fridge for two hours, uncovered, to let the skin dry out a bit - this makes it nice and crunchy later on. After the two hours is up, preheat your oven to 500°, brush the skin with a little olive oil, rub 1 Tbsp of Meat Rub all over and sprinkle the whole thing lightly with kosher salt. 

(iPhone pic)

STEP SIX - Place the belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rotate it and let it roast 20 minutes more (tent it with tinfoil after the first 20 minutes if things are getting a little too crispy) - 40 minutes total at 500°.

STEP SEVEN - Lower the oven temp to 300°, pour 1/2C white wine over the pork and put it back in the oven for 1.5 hours or, until internal temp is 145°. Baste it with wine/drippings every half hour while it's in the oven. When it's done, take it out and let it rest for 30-40 minutes. Slice it up and eat that cracklin'.

For more information about Sausage Fest 2013 (August 12-18), check out the Local Connections Halifax website.

(pork belly cooking temperature and times adapted from Bon Appetit)

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Monthly Miettes : Tomboy Cake

My friend Aimee over at Food Je t'Aimee came up with nifty idea to start a monthly baking challenge using the lovely Miette bakebook by Meg Ray. Aimme says, 'The book, in a word, is darling. The pages, scalloped and glossy. The photos, stunning. The recipes, challenging, but enticing. The instant I laid my eyes on it, I knew I had to try and create beautiful cakes like the ones in Miette.'

Aimee writes, 'Having signed up for so many blogging events out there last fall, I decided it was high time that I begun my own. So I wrote to Meg and told her about my idea for a blogging challenge called Monthly Miettes. She wrote back saying that she dug the idea. I was elated! I wanted it to be easy to participate - the recipes themselves are challenging enough and Lord knows I don't have much time these days! - so the rules are quite straightforward. Buy the book. Make one cake per month along with me and then post about it. Link back to this post. Let me know you've posted by leaving me a comment, and I'll do a round up the following month. That's it!'

Aimee also writes, 'For the first month, I've chosen the cover recipe: Tomboy Cake. You have from now until March 25th, 2012 to submit your post. Wait - there's one more rule! When you make your cake, you must, must eat a slice for breakfast, along with a steaming mug of coffee (or whatever it is you drink to wake up!).' 

Mmmmmm... cake for breakfast. I'm in!!

From - The Tomboy gets its name from the unfinished, but decidedly feminine, way that we decorate this cake. It starts with our double-chocolate cake and is layered with vanilla buttercream. Our buttercream is made the European way, starting with Italian meringue and adding pure Straus butter. The result is luxuriously smooth and not too sweet. The cake and frosting together are perfectly balanced and proportioned.

The cake was delicious - moist and super chocolatey. The Italian Meringue Buttercream was actually pretty easy to make and was lightly decadent however, the book is not well-edited and so confusing that I'm not sure how anxious I am to try another recipe.

For example, the recipe for Vanilla Buttercream has major continuity issues. A small paper insert is included inside the book that note's the corrections to be made which would be fine and dandy if the information on the card was correct. In one section you are told to heat the simple syrup for the buttercream to 248 degrees yet in another section it reads 238 degrees. That's a huge discrepancy when you are talking about stages of cooked sugar. Since the recipe calls for 6 sticks of butter I wanted to do some research before I possibly wasted good ingredients. I landed on this awesome video by CakeLove's Warren Brown to clarify how to correctly make the buttercream and it turned out beautifully.

The recipe for the Double Chocolate Cake was clear and straightforward. One of the steps involves straining the incredibly lumpy batter through a fine to medium mesh sieve. This took about 20 minutes and was, quite frankly, a pain in the ass, however, i feel it was worth it because the cake batter had the consistency of a silky chocolate pudding and baked into an incredibly moist and supple cake. The recipe is portioned to bake two six-inch round cakes, each cut into three layers. I couldn't find six-inch cake pans, so I used two eight-inch cake pans, cut each in half and made one four-layer cake.

One tip from the recipe that I thought was really great is to dust the inside of your greased cake pans with cocoa instead of flour - no white residue left on the outside of the baked cakes!

Despite the inconsistencies in the Buttercream recipe, I will most likely participate in next month's Miettes - everyone that tried this cake loved it and that really is the main thing isn't it?

Bacon and Baileys Cupcakes

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I created I've had so much fun shooting over the last 12 months that I decided to bake something using both bacon and Baileys as a small way to celebrate!!

I'm still getting my cupcake bearings (especially buttercream - I still can't quite seem to get the hang of it) but I came up with:

Coffee Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream and Candied Bacon sprinkles

Originally I was going to make a Baileys cupcake with bacon-flavoured frosting but yesterday one of my food mentors, SB, threw out the idea of a coffee flavoured cupcake. I thought 'How perfect!!' - you see, I enjoy a cup of coffee and Baileys, well... let's just say 'often'.

When I  dove into the online world last year, creating this website, joining Twitter and starting a fanpage on facebook I couldn't get the username Kelly Neil (I mean really? There's more than one?!?). I sat in front of my screen staring into space thinking about what I like - things that bring me small joys. I liked the sound of 'bacon and baileys' instantly - and so here we are.

Candied Bacon is seriously one of the most unique flavour and texture combinations EVER!! Line a pan with parchment, lay out strips of bacon, cover liberally with brown sugar or maple syrup (or both!!) and bake at 350 degrees until crispy, about 25 minutes. Once cool, it's nothing but crunchy-chewy-sweet and salty-bacon flavoured goodness!!

Coffee Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart)

2 C flour, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp Baking Soda, 1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C boiling water, 1 Tbsp Instant Espresso, 1/4 C milk

1/2 C butter, 1/2 C white sugar, 1/2 C brown sugar

2 eggs

1. whisk dry ingredients

2. mix espresso with boiling water - cool and then mix with milk

3. beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy - add eggs one at a time - beat well

4. alternate flour and milk mix into butter mix - begin and end with flour

5. cupcake liners 1/2 full - bake 18-20 minutes at 350

Baileys Buttercream (Mum's recipe + Baileys)

1 C butter, room temperature, 1/2 C Crisco, 4 C icing sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 C Baileys

Beat butter and Crisco - slowly add icing sugar and Baileys - adjust to taste

Sprinkle with chopped candied bacon, light a birthday candle, make a wish, blow out the candle and eat!!

Savour Highlights

Pipa's wall of Salt Cod


Season's Bistro


44 North - definitely a snazzy booth - girls, lights, a rotating stage



44 North - fresh figs lit by purple light


Unni from Scanway





Lobster + Pork = Good


White Point


Hamachi - always a huge booth with a ton of food!!




Matt from Garrison




Cooper from Mosaic


Michael Howell from Tempest


Rare and Fine Wines

As part of the Savour Food and Wine Festival, The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, along with Bishop's Cellar, hosted the third annual Rare and Fine Wines tasting at the Halifax World Trade and Convention Centre on Friday February 18th, 2011.









Halifax food blogger Kristen Pickett aka the fabulous withbite.


Ryan from Bishop's.




The most lovely sommelier extraordinaire, Kathryn from Bishop's.


Alanna from Bishop's taking a night away from her precious baby Matteo to do what she does best!!


Bishop's is launching a VERY cool new website this Wednesday March 2nd at the main Savour event. We had a sneak peek at Rare and Fine and let me tell you it is SO exciting for Halifax!! You can easily order from their amazing wine selection (and the site will even help you pick the right wine based on a number of criteria that you can choose from) and then they will deliver it to your door. Cool!!!



Matt from Bishop's.


The Savour Food and Wine Show is happening this Wednesday March 2nd at The Halifax Westin Nova Scotian and will showcase some of the best restaurants, chefs, sommeliers, brewmasters, food, wine and liquor that Nova Scotia has to offer. Click HERE to buy your tickets. I promise you won't be disappointed!!