Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Christmas in the W Household

Christmas this year was definitely not the same in our household. As a family we all managed to get together under one roof with one special little nephew Daniel! Words cannot describe how devastatingly adorable he know all babies are cute, but he is just SUPER cute. We are proud to say that our maternal grandma's strong genes pulled through, his parents should be equipped, with those dimples he'll be bringing all the ladies home.

We decided, or rather, the family decided that I should play cook this year (more like every year). I planned for an elaborate yet home friendly menu which consisted of a 5 rib prime rib roast, smoked ham with a pineapple chutney, brussel sprouts with pancetta, green beans, gruyere popovers, creamed corn, and mashed root vegetables. For desert we bid the night with molten chocolate cakes and carrot cake.

Below is a compilation of our evening in pictures. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

one proud moment

starting with a prime product = outstanding results

 creamed corn.greenbeans.brussel sprouts with rib roast.mashed root vegetables. gruyere popovers

 Meet Daniel

 gruyere popovers, popping over

 molten chocolate cakes heading to the fridge to chill

our makeshift tree! it works

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lana Cake: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Pudding Frosting

There isn't anything easier than this one bowl, fuss-free chocolate cake.'ll be your go to cake recipe for all occasions! Growing up in Singapore we had an all time classic chocolate cake for special occasions...more of a treat at least. It's called Lana cake. A very tender and absurdly moist chocolate cake sandwiched and enclosed in chocolate pudding. Amazing or what!? I surely think so. I have always wondered how they achieved such a texture for their frosting and ever since I've been making my chocolate pudding I then figured...I think they use pudding as their frosting! To be honest, I think they use a gelatin based frosting...but hey, my cake turns out like a charm all the time so I'm sticking with it!

I baked this cake for my good friend R. She, like many, has a hankering for sweets and makes killer macarons...a serious bonus (however, I have not had the pleasure of tasting one, yet). She teases me with close up pictures and salivating combinations of flavors. Anyway, for some reason whilst baking this cake a fear came into my mind, a fear that she wasn't a chocolate eater. Honestly, I didn't know why but the thought kept repeating itself till I just told myself what's made has been made, she's going to like it or hate it, but people are still going to eat it. Turns out she had no such hatred for chocolate...I think it was just the little devil in me playing tricks in my mind.

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 C flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C cocoa powder
2 tsp salt
2 T baking powder
1 T baking soda
1 C buttermilk
1 C boiling espresso
1/2 C canola oil
2 eggs
1 T vanilla

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350, grease 3 9-inch cake rounds with butter and set aside.
2. Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them well
3. Make a hole in the center of your dry ingredients and add in all of your wet ingredients.
4. Mix thoroughly, (the batter will be thin)
5. Pour the batter 1/2 way into each cake tin and place them in the middle rack of your oven
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

*I would make the pudding before the cake because it will need time to cool down in the fridge.

Chocolate Pudding

1/4 C cornstarch
3/4 C sugar
1 T salt
3 C milk
12 oz 65% (above) chocolate
1 T vanilla

1. Pour milk, cornstarch, sugar and salt into a medium sauce pot
2. Set it on med-low heat to allow the sugars to dissolve
3. Add in chocolate and with a wooden spoon, or high-heat spatula begin to stir slowly but constantly
4. Stir for at least 15-20 minutes on med-low heat, it will become thick and glossy
5. Once done, pour it into a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, make sure that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the pudding so it doesn't create a skin.
6. When it comes close to room temp, place it in the fridge for an hour or 2 until ready to use for the cake.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Every time I head home to Singapore I always make at least one trip back to Jakarta. Seeing my grandparents and relatives are always the highlight of my trips but I especially indulge in all the food options. Salak or snakefruit is indigenous to Indonesia and I never fail to devour numerous lobes of this special fruit. It is called snakefruit because of its unique outerskin, its patterns are just like a snakes and when you peel it is as if a snake has shed its skin. Its texture is apple like crunchy and a bit crumbly, it is sweet and almost alcoholic tasting. It's a taste that's hard to describe and can only be enjoyed when you try it. 

Unfortunately I am probably not allowed to ship it back to the US with me in fear that the sniffer pups will pounce on my precious goods. But if you ever make it to South East Asia, you can find it in all parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reuben Turktrami Sandwich

Unless you have a better name for my title, please feel free to let me know. This post is about having my first homemade corned beef and pastrami sandwich in Singapore. I haven't had one in God knows how long and boy do I miss having to bite a large stack of cured meat, melted cheese, steaming sauerkraut and russian dressing on a warm crusty rye. I felt it'd be perfect to pair this up with my tomato soup. Unfortunately I went to 2 stores and left without any form of sauerkraut!!! It's about time I talk to inventory folks.

The only drawback about this sandwich is my pastrami is made of turkey and my corned beef isn't so great. But the flavors are there and my russian dressing will sum it up into an amazing sandwich. I have yet to find good pastrami here but I hear that the Swiss butchery makes their own...I must make my down there soon. But in the meantime this will do.

It's very hard for me to make things in a small scale...whenever I go grocery shopping its like my playground..I'm supposed to buy for 3 or 4 but its more for like 10-12. My mother really told me the other day to keep in mind that I, me, barely eat and her? she nibbles her food like a rabbit. But I say...hey you never know maybe my friends will come over..she goes friends? All of your friends have left you for fall semester!! Sad as it is true...I told her I'll try my best so I remembered what she said and made sure I bought only what I needed. And I think I need some summer friends!

Tomato Soup with a Dollop of Pesto

What's for dinner tonight? I wasn't sure but I had this sudden craving for tomatoes?! Yes tomatoes...and since I enjoy soup why not make a tomato soup. On the way to the store I also thought of other counterparts I'd like to add into my soup or have with my soup. A pesto I thought and perhaps a cheesy sandwich to sum things up. Oh and I've been having a hankering for watermelon for the past I don't know....6 months? And as I was browsing and tapping their array of melons some guy asked me for my number! Random to say the least but I was annoyed thinking he was doing some promotional thing but he said...I just want to get to know you better? Politely I turned him away and told him it'd be complicated. However thank you random man, you made my day! (I just hope T won't mind).

There is no wrong or right way to make a soup, but making soup is just an art as making anything else. Flavors need to be developed and its not as simple as dumping everything in a pot adding water and letting it go. Making tomato soup can be quite tedious only because you want to do it the traditional way. I've taken step by step pictures to show you what I mean...I'm proud to say I picked up a few good tips in culinary school alright...

The traditional pesto calls for pine nuts as it's base. I really dislike pine nuts, it's the taste...i just don't like it. I'm going with baked walnuts for this pesto today but feel free to use any other nut, like cashews, almonds, pistachio even... I also love to add a large garlic clove or cloves...for some kick and a spritz of lemon juice to brighten it up. Also try to use light olive oil, only because extra virgin can overwhelm your pesto and you will want to taste all the other ingredients.

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil...

 Mark an X with a pairing knife on the base of each tomato this ensures that the skin will peel ever so easily after they've been blanched

 After the tomatoes have been blanched for say 10 seconds shock them in an ice water bath

 See how easily they peel?

 Tomato skins

 Makings of the pesto


Tomato Soup with Pesto

12 tomatoes
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
3 sprigs whole basil
3 cloves garlic
1 T olive oil
3 16oz canfuls of water
pinch of salt
1 T brown sugar

After blanching and peeling the tomatoes set them aside. Place your pot back on the heat and heat your oil and place your garlic in, start squishing your tomatoes one by one into the pot, ensuring that the pulp is out. Add the whole can of diced tomatoes. Now add 3 canfuls of water, bring it to a boil then lower it down to a simmer and cover leaving a slight gap. Let it go for 4 hours and add water if needed. Season to taste and add sugar. Blend the soup in a blender and place it back in the pot to reheat. 

Walnut Pesto

5 sprigs whole basil
1 clove garlic
1/2 C walnuts
1/4 C parmesan cheese
1 T lemon juice
1 C olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and add salt to taste. 
Place the pesto in the fridge until ready for use

Friday, September 7, 2012

Homemade Tonkotsu Ramen

Here it is! As mentioned in my previous post I stated that I will share this with the rest of you. I must be honest, its a great rendition of the traditional tonkotsu ramen but it just wasn't good enough. Some of my testers mentioned that it needed to be boiled for 24 hours, I left mine on for half that... although some said it was just right, perfect. Unfortunately my sense of taste wasn't at its best but my harshest critic (my mother) loved it. I paired my ramen with sweet corn kernels, boiled spinach, chasu, ajitsuke, bamboo shoots, spring onions and pickled ginger. I got lucky with my noodles since the Japanese store was having a Hokkaido fair which brought in freshly made ramen noodles. These are the toppings I love to pair with my ramen however toppings are to your own personal liking!

Having done my research on ramen, it's never 100% pork. If you were to use an all pork based broth it would be far too strong and too rich. So you add in a few chicken backs, and thighs with a whole bunch of pig trotters and pork fat plus a few aromatics and you get a glistening golden gelatinous broth. The aromatics consists of charred onions, garlic and ginger. Its a tedious process but I'm not going to was tedious but delicious. Another thing I missed out on was making black garlic oil...I think that would have brought it to the next level. Next time!


I am still finalizing the recipe, and I might have to make it again since I have a tendency of never documenting anything down...a bad habit of mine...i know.

Oh and before I forget... We went for late night durian gorging afterwards!

 mao shang wan

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hanjuku or Ajitsuke Tamago a.k.a The Ramen Egg

I have been off and away from my blog and abandonment was not the way I wanted to go. I have been traveling again and now I'm back home in rainy Singapore. The abundance of restaurants are expected but the abundance of ramen joints are astronomical. Singapore is littered with all sorts of new haunts and ramen is all the craze, I have not tried them all solely because putting weight on is easier than taking weight off. Earlier today the family and I conversed about how ramen is becoming ever so popular not only here but all over the world, in particular Jakarta. Inspired by the talk and how good the ramen egg makes the dish gave me the itch to experiment further upon it.

I am particular when it comes to eggs, and I get pretty picky with where it comes from, the feed and even packaging. I love to buy my eggs from the Japanese supermarket Isetan, their egg selection is not huge but they have selective brands and this particular one I buy has rich and bright orangey yolks. I think its those bright orangey yolks that make one of the more important characteristics that ajitsuke tamago should have. The experiment conducted consists of 3 eggs, all of them are straight out of the fridge and placed into room temp water then brought to a rolling boil. I timed them each with the first one at 8 minutes, second at 10, and the last at 11 minutes. After each egg reached their desired cooking time I plunged them into an ice water bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. It also aids in peeling as the ice water helps the whites retract from the shell inside.

I documented each egg in pictures below...


This is soft-boiled perfection, the whites are set but still soft near the yolk and the perfect runnyness! 

These were a little too runny for a ramen but still pretty good though!

This 11 minute egg seems pretty darn perfect to my personal liking. The yolks were still runny and a little goopier than the previous. I also soaked them in a shoyu mixture to get the color, however I should've soaked them longer!

Egg #1 

1 Egg (straight out of the fridge)

In a small pot place the egg and pour room temperature water until just covering the top of the egg. Bring it to a boil on high heat and set the timer for 8 minutes. Swirl the egg around in a circular motion in the beginning so the yolk will center as it cooks. When it begins to boil, lower the heat a tad so the water doesn't overflow.  Meanwhile create your ice bath and place it nearby, after the timer rings immediately submerge your egg into the ice bath and discard your hot water. Peel it after 2-3 minutes and enjoy. You may re-warm it with warm water.

Egg #2

1 Egg (straigh out of the fridge)

The same procedure as Egg #1 just cooked for 10 minutes instead

Egg #3

1 Egg (straight out of the fridge)

The same procedure as Egg #1 and 2 just cooked for 11 minutes instead

Shoyu Marinade

1/2 C good quality Japanese Shoyu
1 T brown sugar
1/4 C hot water

Mix altogether and soak your egg for 2-3 hours. To re-warm the egg place it in warm-hot shoyu mixture.

Tomorrow I shall attempt to re-create my version of ramen. I hope it turns out as good as I imagine it to be.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies

 I can’t resist oatmeal cookies, the thought of chewy oats coupled with raisins, a hint of cinnamon and crunch of pecans are so heart warming. Add chocolate chips to that and its heaven. My oatmeal cookies are chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside, I think this makes the perfect balance of a cookie. In my opinion…that is.

It’s been a weird end of May and start of June with rain in the horizon every single day of the week. I like rain on some days but most of the time I hate it. It pretty much ruins my mood when I wake up seeing clouds covering my beloved sun and wetness all around…ugh. But on days like these, you make do and stay indoors and cook till your hearts content. I must say however…on days like this you are entitled to make and enjoy a comforting bowl of hot soup…oh I do love these days for this reason. But today I decided to make these God sent cookies, the smell of the batter just plants a smile on my face and better yet, the fragrance of cinnamon and cookie dough baking in the oven is like none other. It even got T perked up as he came in for lunch. He kept on asking… “APPLE CRISPS?! Is it Tiff?! Is IT?” He opened both our ovens and found zilch. I kept them on the stove to cool, his nose got the better of him and found them finally. He took a bite and with a mouthful I got “these are on the top three” MMM….

Oh and by the way....these cookies make the best ice cream sandwiches EVER. 

1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups raisins
¾ cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined.
Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Clambake!


Memorial Day doesn’t only commemorate the brave men and women who have died serving this country, it’s also the start of summer! To tip it off I have gone with a traditional New England staple of an indoor clambake. A classic speckled enamel pot filled with kielbasa, steamer clams, quahogs, lobsters, potatoes and corn, simmered and steamed in an aromatic liquid of caramelized leek steeped wine…and not forgetting warm crusty bread for dipping of course…Ahhhmazing. The seafood choices are to your liking, the more the better but go with what you love!

I was lucky enough to find an enamel pot, I knew we had it lying around here and so I bit the bullet and asked bluntly. And to my favor we had one…it was a gift to T’s mom some umpteen years ago from T’s dad which had NEVER been used. A little dusty but after a bit of scrubbing it was good to go.

I was searching high and low for a seafood shop around us but after 5 minutes I told T, lets just head to Shaw’s. They have a pretty good selection of seafood, and I like the fact that they recognize sustainable seafood. Anyway, I got a few pounds of steamers and quahogs, as well as 2 live 1lb lobsters. Unfortunately T is allergic to shellfish, fortunately he never cared for lobsters or clams pre-allergy…I have snuck a few shrimps in my wantons once or twice and he didn’t start to heave…thank God. So T got a nice hunk of salmon steak, nicely seasoned with a Cajun marinade pan seared and finished in the oven…we thought we kept it a seafood theme tonight.

This is an easy meal fit for any night and occasion, just make sure you have a large pot to fill everything in snugly. Oh...prepare for getting your hands a little dirty! Its well worth the juice spilling down your wrists.

i see the tamale calling my name!!

Indoor Clambake

2 lbs steamer clams
2 lbs quahog clams
3 1-1 ½ lb live lobsters
3 ears of fresh corn (hulled, silk removed, cut into two or three)
1 lb red potatoes
1 lb kielbasa (sliced on a diagonal)
2 leeks (rinsed, sliced into half moons)
2 celery stalks (chopped into two)
2 ½ C white wine (I used mondavi pinot grigio)
2-3 T olive oil
2 T butter
kosher salt

French baguette (sliced thick, 3 inch long)

Pre-heat oven to 200F to warm bread.
Wash and rinse your clams and lobster. Place them in your sink and fill it up with cold water. Swish them around and let them sit for 10 minutes or so, drain in a colander and set aside.
Set your pot on medium heat and add oil and butter, sauté leeks with a hefty pinch of salt and a few cracks of the pepper mill until caramelized. Add kielbasa and set the heat to low and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Add celery stalks and in this order add another few pinches of salt, pepper, potatoes, corn, clams, then lobster. Pour in the wine place a cover and bring to a boil, once boiling bring it to a rambunctious simmer and cover for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes check the tenderness of your largest potato, if its fork tender everything is good to go. Your clams should be open and lobster nice and red. Serve with warm bread and butter!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Boston Cream Cupcake

dolce was being a tad naughty

 I am dumbfounded at the fact that I took this long to make a boston cream cupcake! T loves them and adores every pastry with any kind of filling so why didn’t I make this earlier!? Well I don’t know but I finally had some free time to whip them up. They’re a tedious cupcake to make but they are well worth the time!

What is a boston cream cupcake you ask? Well it’s a tender yellow cake, filled with a hauntingly addictive vanilla pastry cream, which is hidden by molten chocolate ganache on top. An amazing two-bite treat to brighten up any dreary day.

Boston Cream Cupcake

Pastry Cream:
½ C heavy cream
1 C milk
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
a few pinches of table salt
4 t cornstarch
1 T unsalted butter, cold cut into 1 piece
2 T vanilla extract

1 3/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t table salt
1 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened but slightly cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 C milk
2 T vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pastry cream:

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and refrigerate, with plastic wrap pressed flush against its surface, until cold and set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

For the cupcakes:

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with paper baking cups and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar on low speed. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, 1 at time, and mix until fully combined. Add the milk and vanilla, increase the speed to medium, and mix until the batter is light, fluffy and free of lumps.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze:
Break chocolate up and place in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil and pour on top of chocolate, swish it around a bit and let it melt on its own.

To assemble:
Insert a small knife at a 45 degree angle about 1/8 inch from the edge of each cupcake and cut all the way around, remove a cone of cake. Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone; leaving only a small disk of cake which will be used to top the cupcake.

Fill each cupcake with 2 tablespoons of pastry cream and top with the disk of cake.

Carefully top each filled cupcake with a 1-2 tablespoons of the chocolate glaze. Refrigerate until just set, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, May 20, 2012



The thought of cinnamon spice brings warmth to the soul and one of the all time classic combinations has got to be cinnamon and sugar. Snickerdoodles come to mind when you speak of cinnamon and sugar, and if you haven’t had a snickerdoodle before…you’ll want to keep on making them over and over. They’re as easy as making any other cookie, but if you love eating cookie dough straight out of the bowl, a snickerdoodle is like your wet dream.

Usually snickerdoodles contain cream of tartar as the leavening agent, but if you don’t have it in your pantry don’t fret! Just substitute it with baking powder and you’ll be all set. I love eating them while they're still warm, and not to mention the aroma of cinnamon spice throughout the house is magical. Eat them as is, or with a glass of milk...another excellent way is to wedge vanilla ice cream in between two! There's nothing like an ice cream sandwich in the summer!

Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies

1 ½ sticks butter (softened)
1 ¼ C sugar
2 eggs
1 T vanilla bean paste (or extract)
2 ½ C flour
1 ½ T baking powder
1 t salt
¼ C cinnamon
¼ C sugar
pinch of salt

Pre-heat your oven to 375F and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat.
In a bowl, combine, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together till pale and creamy, add eggs one at a time until they are incorporated. Add in salt and vanilla bean paste or extract and mix to combine.
Pour in dry ingredients on low till you get a nice pliable dough.

In another bowl combine ¼ c of sugar and cinnamon and salt. This is your coating.

Roll about 1½ inch balls (golf balls) and liberally roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place them about an inch apart and press them down lightly, bake for 13 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Sandwich a Day: Pork Belly Banh Mi


macgyver tried but did not conquer

Today we celebrate “A Sandwich a Day” day. Honestly speaking I have no idea why it is but T said it had something to do with the Earl of Sandwich…I think that’s what he said. So in tribute to this day, I made yet another banh mi! It’s been long overdue so any excuse to make it, I’ll take! This time around I made pork belly banh mi. OH YES I DID. Meltingly tender, layers of unctuous drippings, flavorful and heavenly.

I used the same marinade as my original banh mi recipe just used a different cut of pork, I didn’t have any radishes at hand or cucumbers for that matter but the sriracha mayo, pickled carrots and fresh cilantro brought it all together anyway. I also picked up cubano bread instead at my local grocery store, it’s a great substitute! Not a rough palate ripping crust and soft and chewy in the inside which held up great to all the juices and mayo. (no soggy banh mi here!)

Pork Belly Banh Mi

3 1 ½ inch slabs of pork belly (skin on or off)
4 stalks lemongrass (dry leaves hulled, tender bits chopped)
5 cloves garlic
3 asian shallots
½ C kecap manis
1 T fish sauce

1 cubano roll (mine was about the length of a French baguette)
½ cucumber sliced into thin strips
2 carrots thick julienne
½ daikon thick julienne
large bunch of cilantro (leaves and stems)

Pickling liquid (carrots and daikon)

1 C apple cider vinegar
½ C sugar
1 T salt

Sriracha Mayo

½ C good quality mayo
2 T sriracha (or more to your liking)
Juice of half a lime

Combine the first 6 ingredients into a blender or a food processor and process till it creates a thick paste. Marinate your pork belly slabs in a Ziploc bag with your marinade for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Once they’ve had time to marinate pre-heat your oven to 450F and place your pork bellies on a foil wrapped tin. Discard extra marinade. Bake them for 45 minutes and you can baste occasionally, I basted once. Once the 45 minutes are up, bring the temperature down to 250F and continue to cook for 2 hours. Basting occasionally again, if you happen to pass the oven. Meanwhile make your carrot and daikon pickles and prepare everything else. After the 2 hours are up just turn the oven off and pop your bread in to get warm. When you are ready to serve slice up your meat and discard any fat (unless you like it) slice your bread lengthwise, slather a generous amount of sriracha mayo,  layer your meat on, then add your cucumber, pickles and cilantro. EAT!