27 August 2008

Quick & Easy Meals VII - Pork Belly Wrap

One of my favourite home-cook recipe which is almost effortless to prepare and cook. Yet the dish can turn out quite pro looking and tastes yummy :D
Just that the ingredients may not be readily available from the usual supermarkets or wet markets. Hence I only cook it once in a while if I happen to go to supermarkets that sell a large variety of Jap foodstuff and good cuts of meat.
Jap-style Pork Belly (sliced) Wrap with Golden Mushroom

Ingredients (20+ pieces)
  • 300g - 400g Pork Belly (thinly-sliced packed, available from Meidi-ya Supermarket, Isetan Supermarket, some Cold Storage/Jasons outlets. I don't use bacon as it is too saltish.)
  • 2 - 3 packets Enoki Golden Mushroom
  • Barbeque Sauce Ginger 生姜焼のたれ (Ebara brand 230g bottle, available from Meidi-ya Supermarket, Isetan Supermarket)
1) Marinate the pork belly slices using the barbeque sauce for at least 1/2 hour.

2) Place 2 slices of marinated pork belly horizontally to each other.
3) Place some golden mushroom perpendicular to the pork slices.
4) Roll the pork belly wrapping the golden mushroom.
5) Cut the pork wrap with golden mushroom into 2 pieces.

6) Heat some oil in a cooking pan, over medium fire
7) Once oil is heated, place the pork wraps into the pan.
8) Turn the wraps once they are browned.

9) Once meat and golden mushroom are cooked, serve hot.
The pork wraps are in bite-size pieces, just pop them in whole into the mouth. The unique crunch of golden mushroom complements the tender meat very well. You will be able to feel the tantalising sensations of the crunch, together with juice oozing from the golden mushroom, fats from the meat and sauce that tasted saltish & sweetish with hint of ginger.
I love to eat the pork wraps with Jap short-grain rice and raw Jap cabbage drizzle with thousand island sauce. As the pork is on the saltish side, it's better to eat with plain rice. The sauce also goes well with rice.In fact, this dish can be versatile too. One variation is to wrap the pork belly with asparagus (similiar to what the Yakitori store Tori Q sells. Concept is the same, just that the sauce used at Tori Q is teriyaki sauce). If you don't like this BBQ sauce with ginger, can also replace with teriyaki sauce or other meat marinates.

And besides cooking in a pan, you can also skewer the wraps for BBQ.

Once skewered, the pork wraps are perfect for BBQ as they are easy to cook and eat. Look sorta atas :p The bamboo skewers shown here are available from Daiso.

25 August 2008

Sipadan Dive Trip 08 - 6 Jan Day 5

Day 5 - 6 Jan

Dive 13 - Drop-off to Barracuda Point, Sipadan

Our last day of diving, we decided to try dawn diving at 6am again. Descent by the wall to around 23m. The same sinister darkness again but this time I was more prepared and less scared. Some divers in our group spotted a Hammerhead shark at around 30m depth. I didn't realise it was a Hammerhead shark, just thought that it was a normal shark.

Spotted the usual, turtles, bumphead parrotfish. A large school of barracudas appeared all of a sudden to our left (deep blue) and we were rather taken aback. Visibility wasn't good so we didn't take any photos at all.

Towards the end of the dive, there was a gentle current, so we effortless drifted along to the safety stop while admiring the lovely underwater scenery.

Dive 14 - Whitetip Avenue

Our very last dive for this trip.

There were simply so many turtles that this site should be called Turtle Avenue than Whitetip Avenue. LOL. My goodness, they were really everywhere, up on the surface, among corals, mid waters...

The turtles were ever so friendly, allowing us to high five and rub their backs. Yep, that was me, harassing *ahem* caressing a juvenile turtle.

This was quite an interesting and cute sight where a batfish was swimming underneath a green turtle all the way.

We got bored after a while as there were mostly turtles so we started camwhoring underwater :p

Didn't realise I was that close to a triggerfish. Ought to be more careful, I still want my eye loops.

Once again, the shallower waters was a lovely coral garden. With a gentle current, we drifted leisurely along. It was as if we were in an underwater aquarium admiring the views of marine life and just like the scenes in 'Finding Nemo'.

A lovely finale to our 14th dive.

After our last dive, we headed back to the resort to pack, wash our dive gears and have lunch. Still had some time before check out so we explored the resort a bit. Strange that we didn't really walk around; too busy diving!

The Sandbar. This is the truely Pulau Kapalai. Heard that Kapalai was once an island but now left with a thin strip of sandbar.
Forgot to mention in the earlier posts that there is this viewing gallery in the middle of the restaurant with a small coral reef. Day or night time, there would be different visitors. Spotted stingray and even the resident lone great barracuda.

It was time to bid farewell to our paradise. We boarded the speedboat and watched reluctantly as the speedboat sped further and further and the resort smaller and smaller.

Reached the Semporna Jetty in the late afternoon, and took a 1hr coach ride to Tawau where we stayed for 1 night at King Park Hotel

Took the opportunity to dry our wetsuits and gears, otherwise our luggage would definitely be overweight.

For dinner, we went to a hawker place well known in Tawau for a sumptuous seafood dinner. Too bad I forgot to bring my camera as the seafood was superb!

Day 6 - 7 Jan

Basically we spent the last day of our trip travelling. As there wasn't a direct flight from Tawau back to Singapore, we had to take an AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur first. From there, we had the option of taking coach back to Singapore or shuttle flight service and we took the latter choice.

In a nutshell, it was an unforgetable experience diving in one of the top dive destinations in the world, with a great group of divers. Hopefully I could get a chance to dive in Sipadan again.

Sipadan Dive Trip 08 - 5 Jan Day 4

Day 4 - 5 Jan

Dive 9 - Barracuda Point, Sipadan
For our 4th day, our group decided to take it fairly easy and decided not to do the dawn dive but do our first dive at around 9+. Re-visited Barracuda Point, we couldn't get enough of the Barracuda vortex the day before so back to try our luck again.
We descended by the wall to a depth of about 23m. Visibility was quite good at 30m! With good sunlight, we admired the beauty of the wall, with lots of corals, sea fans and naturally dozens of turtles either resting, swimming by or feeding on the corals. Really admire the turtles for their laid-back attitudes and lifestyle.

This turtle seemed a little unhappy with the intrusion :p

As we entered the valley where we could expect the white-tips and barracuda, a school of Longfin Bannerfish awaited us. Such a pretty sight.

And there were also many other interesting marine life whether big or small.

The valley seemed like a resting place for the white-tips reef sharks. I got bolder and moved up closer to one of the sharks. It didn't stir until I got too close for its comfort and it swam away :p

The barracudas appeared soon after but a little disappointing as the school was much smaller as compared to the previous day.

After the morning dive, we rested at Pulau Sipadan once again.

The island had a nice beach but too bad it is now restricted access (except some soldiers guarding the island). Otherwise, divers could do as many wall dives at the Drop-off as they want. Oh, but the beach is now full of sandflies, perhaps due to the island being unhabited and rundown for sometime.

Dive 10 - South Point, Sipadan

After rest, we went for another wall dive, this time at South Point. We descended to around 24m with even better visibility of 35m. Beautiful coral structures and even more green turtles than we could count.

It was difficult to capture this tiny 2cm anemone crab on camera as it kept crawling all over the anemone. In fact, it was not easy to take underwater photos as the fishes/creatures never ever still stay and more often than not, there would be some current. Good buoyancy control is necessary; a metal pointer helps too for us to anchor especially when met with strong current.

At shallower depth of 13 - 15m, we were greeted with beautiful coral gardens with lots of colourful reef fishes playing around. During our 3 min safety stop, we met an aggressive triggerfish and it tried attacking one of us. Luckily it decided to give up after dashing to and fro several times.

Dive 11 - Mantis Ground, Kapalai

After lunch and rest, we went for our 3rd boat dive to Mantis Ground. Depth 19m, visibility was so-so at 8-10min. Good thing there was barely a current. Another haven for muck diving. Did we have a field trip uncovering lots of rare critters! We were kept busy throughout the 56min dive as our dive guides sounded their dive tanks to alert us of findings every few minutes. So we finned from one point to another, snap snap snap, then moved on to another spot.The tiny nudibranch just a few cm big is fondly nicknamed 'Pikachu' by divers. So cute right? I thought it looked a lot like a rubber toy and felt so much like squeezing it.
This anemone crab must be quite annoyed as our DM kept pushing it to the centre of the anemone with his pointer while it was trying to get out. LOL.

Everyone was peering into these deep holes and I wondered what was it as I was behind. Turned out to be the Giant Mantis Shrimp. Too bad we couldn't see the tiny Mantis Shrimp.

Was so excited to see this little Clown Frogfish, looked much more adorable than the Giant Frogfish living at Mandarin Valley.

Another exciting find! This little one was only around 5-6cm with gorgeous vibrant colours but heard that it is poisonous.
Another colourful yet poisonous marine creature. Seems that all pretty, vibrant and colourful creatures are somewhat poisonous to ward itself against predators.
Looked so much like a leaf if didn't look close enough. The muck residents are really great masters of disguise.

Too bad our dive came to an end, otherwise we could have seen more.

Dive 12 - Mandarin Valley, Kapalai (sunset dive)

I decided to skip the sunset dive as I was quite tired out and experiencing some cramps. Entrusted the last chance of photographing the Mandarinfish to hubby.

The water was completely still, a good sign and yes, hubby finally managed to spot the shy Mandarin fish! Ok. just my luck but I must recover for my last 2 wall dives the next day.
Hubby also spotted this rare Spot Fae Moray Eel. Personally didn't like eels too much.
Lots of tiny tiny reef crabs around.
Lovely sunset, our last at Kapalai... for now.