Flavour Sensations – Crispy Pork with spring greens, soy and lime

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2012)

Serves : 2

The zestiness of the lime perfectly complements the crispy pork.

Preparation : 15 minutes

Total time : 1 hour 45 minutes

Get ahead : Fry the shallot in advance and drain on kitchen paper

Crispy porkIngredients :
1 x 600g piece belly pork
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tsp vegetable oil
250g spring greens
2 bird eye chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tblsp Soy sauce
1 tblsp Thai fish sauce
1 tblsp sesame oil
1 tblsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
Sea salt

Step One : Preheat the oven to 220oC / Fan 200oC / Gas Mark 7.  Rub 1 tsp of salt into the skin of the pork belly.  Roast in a shallow roasting tin for 30 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 160oC / Fan 140oC / Gas Mark 3 and cook the pork for 1 hour, then turn the oven up to the initial temperature for the final 15 minutes.

Step Two : Meanwhile, fry the sliced shallot in the oil in a frying pan for 5-6 minutes or until it’s golden and crispy.  Set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Step Three : Towards the end of the cooking time for the pork, bring a pan of water with a steamer to the boil.  Trim the spring greens, discarding any coarse ends of the stems, and shred the leaves.

Step Four : Mix half the chillies with the sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil.  Steam for the greens for 6-7 minutes or until tender, then toss with the chilli dressing and divide between two warm bowls.

Step Five : Slice the pork belly and serve on top of the greens.  Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, if using, the crispy shallot and the remaining chilli.

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves: 4

Prep: 25 mins;   Cook: 35 mins

These tasty pork meatballs are easy to make and will be popular with the whole family.

4 tblsp (60ml) oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp (5ml) fennel seeds
8oz (225g) minced pork
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tblsp (30ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp (5ml) lemon juice
4oz (125g) fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
1 egg
Salt and pepper
2 tsp (10ml) wholegrain mustard
2oz (50g) plain flour

Tomato Sauce:
1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
2 carrots, grated
14oz (396g) can chopped tomatoes
juice of 1 orange
3 tbsp (45ml) sherry (optional)
Salt and pepper

Step One : Heat half the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and fennel seeds until the onion is softened.

Step Two : In a large bowl mix together the pork mince with the onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, egg, seasoning and mustard combining together well.

Step Three : Using a tablespoon scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture and form into round meatball shapes. Roll the meatballs round in the flour shaking off any excess.

Step Four : Heat the remaining oil and fry the meatballs, a few at a time, until browned.

Step Five : Make the sauce by heating the olive oil in a saucepan and cooking the carrots until softened. Add the tomatoes, orange juice and sherry, season well, then simmer over a gentle heat until the sauce is thick and pungent.

Step Six : Add the meatballs to the sauce and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes. Serve hot with potatoes and broccoli.

Chinese-Style Red Pork

Chinese Style Red PorkRecipe courtesy of Easy Living

Braising in soy sauce is a common Chinese method, giving the meat a distinct colour and flavour.  The braising liquid also makes a delicious sauce.

Serves:  6    Prep time:  25 mins     Cook time:  2 hours     Cals per serving:  369     Fat: 24g

Ingredients:  1.5kg (3 lb) pork belly, with skin; 150ml (6 fl oz) light soy sauce; 4 tblsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry; 2 whole star anise; 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled; 6 spring onions, roughly chopped; 4 slices ginger, 4 mm thick; 1 tblsp demerara or light brown sugar; pinch of dried chilli flakes; 600-700ml (20-24 fl oz) chicken stock or water

Step One: Blanch the pork in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.  Rinse the pork and, when it’s cool enough to handle, cut the belly into 5cm lengths.

Step Two: Put the pork pieces in a large saucepan or casserole dish and add the soy sauce, rice wine, star anise, garlic, spring onion, ginger, sugar, chilli flakes and enough stock or water to just cover the meat. Bring slowly to the boil over a low heat, cover and simmer very gently for about 2 hours, turning the meet occasionally.

Step Three: Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Skim any fat off the top of the sauce, then simmer the liquid over a high heat until it has thickened a little.  Taste to check and stop simmering if sauce becomes too strongly flavoured.  Return the pork pieces to the sauce and heat through.  If you want to crisp the skin, place the pork pieces skin side up under a hot grill until crisp and bubbling.  Serve the pork belly with sauce with noodles and extra sliced spring onions or steamed Chinese vegetables.

Tip: You can follow the recipe using chicken or duck.  Just use leg pieces (with the thigh attached) and braise for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Pork Chops, Cous Cous and Mixed Farmhouse Vegetables

For a change, this recipe if for a meal that I prepared for myself this evening    A nice easy meal for a week day evening as it only took about 20 mins to prepare and is lovely and tasty.   The cous cous has a really nice chilli tang to it so is delicious with the chops and vegetables.

My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of it before eating hence the picture of “Homer Simpson”!

dohIngredients:  2 pork chops with the fat removed; a small amount of light in colour virgin olive oil; salt and pepper; 1 packet of Ainsley Harriott Tomato and Chilli Cous Cous; a knob of butter; 400g Frozen Mixed Farmhouse Vegetables

  • Start by pre-heating a cast iron griddle pan until it is hot – do not add oil to the pan.  Whilst the pan is heating up, mix together, in a small bowl, the olive oil and salt and pepper.  After patting the chops dry, baste the top of the chop with the oil and seasoning mix.
  • When the pan is slightly smoking, place the chops in the pan oil side down and press down firmly in the pan to create a seal.  Let the chops sizzle away for about 4-5 mins before basting the top of the chops ready to turn over for cooking the other side.
  • Whilst the chops continue to sizzle away, stick the kettle on for the boiling water for the cous cous.
  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables to a microwaveable dish with a couple of tablespoons of water and cover before microwaving for 2 1/2 mins.
  • When the kettle is boiled, empty the contents of the cous cous packet into a bowl and add 160ml of water and stir well.  Leave the cous cous for 3-5 mins so the grains can absorb the water.
  • When the microwave pings for the veggies, take out the bowl and give the veg a good stir before returning it to the microwave for a further 2 mins.
  • The chops will then be ready for one last turn over and will only require a couple more minutes to fully cook.
  • Once the cous cous has absorbed all the water, add a knob of butter to it and separate the grains with a fork.
  • To serve, drain the excess water from the vegetables and spoon onto warmed plates with the chops and cous cous.


Roast Pork Fillet with Noodles

Serves: 4; Prep: 20 min; Cook: 45 min

Plum sauce and lemon juice give the pork a delicious sweet and sour taste. Serve with sesame flavour noodles for an exotic touch.

Ingredients: 1 lemon; 3 cloves garlic, peeled; 1 lb / 450g pork fillet; 2 tbsp/30ml plum sauce; 9oz / 250g egg noodles; 1 tbsp/15ml sesame oil; 6 spring onions, chopped; 2 tbsp/30ml chopped fresh parsley.

Preheat oven to Mark 6 / 400oF / 200oC. Remove the lemon peel in strips with a potato peeler, taking care to avoid the white and bitter pith. Cut the strips in half. Cut the garlic into slivers. Cut deep slits into the pork fillet at random intervals, and insert the lemon peel and garlic, pushing them well in. Brush the fillet generously with the plum sauce and roast for 40 minutes or until the meat is tender.

Prepare the noodles according to packet instructions, then pour over the sesame oil and add the spring onions and parsley. Remove the cooked fillet from the roasting pan, add the noodles, toss in the cooking juices and then replace the fillet on top. Serve immediately.

Pork with Chilli and Pineapple

Serves: 6

Ingredients:: 2 tbsp corn oil; 900g / 2 lb boneless pork shoulder or loin, cut into 5cm (2in) cubes; 1 onion, finely chopped; 1 large red pepper, seeded and finely chopped; 1 or more jalapeno chillies, seeded and finely chopped; 450g (1 lb) fresh pineapple chunks; 8 fresh mint leaves, chopped; 250ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock; salt and freshly ground black pepper; fresh mint sprig to garnish; rice to serve

  •  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the pork in batches until the cubes are lightly coloured. Transfer the pork to a flameproof casserole, leaving the oil behind in the pan.
  • Add the finely chopped onion, finely chopped red pepper and the chilli(e) to the oil remaining in the pan. Saute until the onion the tender, then add to the casserole with the pineapple. Stir to mix.
  • Add the mint, then cover and simmer gently for about 2 hours, or until the pork is tender. Garnish with fresh mint and serve with rice.

Tip: If fresh pineapple is not available, use pineapple canned in its own juice

Roast Pork with Braised Savoy Cabbage and Roast Potatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients:  The Meat and Gravy:  1 x 1.5kg / 3 lb 5oz (approx) joint of boneless pork with crackling; salt; 2 onions, cut into thick slices; 8 sage leaves; 1 tbsp flour; 500ml / 18fl oz chicken or vegetable stock

  • Preheat the oven to 240oC/475oF/Gas Mark 9.  Dry the meat thoroughly with a clean tea towel, and make sure the skin is thoroughly scored (a Stanley knife is ideal).  Rub the meat thoroughly with the salt, massaging it into the slits in the skin.
  • Make a raft for the meat in a lightly oiled roasting tin with the sliced onion, scatter the sage leaves on top and sit the meat on top of this, skin side up.
  • Calculate the cooking time at 35 mins for every 500g / 1 lb 2oz.
  • Roast for 30 min, then turn own down to 190oC/375oF/Gas Mark 5 and roast, undisturbed (no need to baste) for the remainder of the calculated time, or until the crackling is really crispy and the meat juices run clear when poked with a skewer or pointed knife.  Remove the meat from the tin and leave to rest for at least 20 mins in a warm place before carving.
  • Sift the flour into the fat and ‘debris’ in the roasting tin and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for a couple of min, scraping up any dark sticky bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer stirring continuously, for 4-5 mins or until the gravy is nicely  thickened.  Strain into a clean saucepan, discarding the solids, and reheat at the last minute, adjusting the seasoning as necessary.

The Potatoes:  1.5kg / 3lb 5oz old potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks; 100g / 3 1/2oz lard; Maldon salt

  • Parboil the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 min, then drain.
  •  Put the lard in a roasting tin and heat in the oven (on a shelf above the meat) for 10 mins.  Add the potatoes, toss well to coat with fat and roast for the last 40 min of the meats cooking time.
  • When you remove the meat from the oven, turn the oven up to full heat for the time the meat is resting, to crisp the potatoes.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.  Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle at the last minute with Maldon salt.

The Cabbage:  25g / 1oz lard or goose fat; 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped; 1 large dessert apple, peeled, cored and chopped; 1 kg / 2 lb 4oz Savoy cabbage, finely shredded; 3 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar; 2 tbsp sugar; 1 bay leaf; salt and pepper to taste; 300ml / 1/2 pt chicken or vegetable stock.

  • In a large, lidded saucepan, melt the lard (or heat the goose fat) and cook the onion over a medium heat until golden.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well, bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for about 30 min or until the cabbage is tender.

Fried Pork With Ginger and Sweet and Sour Rice

A recipe by Gary Rhodes

Wok to it with this tasty, Chinese-style stir-fry and rice dish.

This is a great recipe that takes hardly any preparation.  And, apart from the fresh ginger, you’ll probably find all the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard.  Boiled rice is ideal for the sweet and sour rice dish and I like to use pork tenderloin or fillet – when cubed or cut into strips, both these cuts fry quickly.  Vegetarians can use mushrooms, peppers and courgettes instead of pork.  Anything goes!

Serves:  4

Ingredients:  Sweet & Sour Rice:  Olive oil, for frying; 1 onion, chopped; 2 tsp brown sugar; 2 tbsp malt vinegar; 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce; ¼ tsp Tabasco sauce; 1 dsp tomato ketchup; 1 x 14oz (400g) tin chopped tomatoes; salt, black pepper; 4 fresh tomatoes, optional; 12oz – 1 lb (350-450g) boiled rice.

Pork:  1 – 1 ½ lb (450-675g) pork tenderloin or fillet; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 1 tsp freshly chopped ginger

  • To make the sweet and sour rice, heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for a few minutes.  Take care that it doesn’t brown.  Add the brown sugar and the malt vinegar and bring to the boil.  Add the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
  • Stir in the tomato ketchup and tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Make sure you add all the juice from the tinned tomatoes, as it helps create the sauce.  Simmer until the liquid thickens and it has reduced in volume by about one-third.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • If you are using the fresh tomatoes, blanch, skin and dice them.  Add them to the sauce at this stage.  Add the boiled rice to the sauce and check seasoning.  Put to one side in a warm place.
  • Season the pork with salt and pepper and cut it into cubes or strips.  Heat the olive oil in a wok or frying pan until it’s very hot.  Add the pork, garlic and ginger.  Fry on a high flame until the pork is well coloured and tender.  To serve, dish out the rice on to plates and place a portion of the pork on top of each.
  • Tip:  If you add a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of caster cane sugar at the end of the cooking time, this gives the pork and rice even more of an authentic Chinese flavour.

Mustard Seed, Inverness

I had a wonderful lunch today at the Mustard Seed in Inverness.   Situated right on the river in Inverness town centre.  Very reasonably priced at £6.95 for two courses.  I had the Smoked Salmon tart to start followed by Chicken in a coconutty sauce with mashed potato.  Dishes of accompanying vegetables came free of charge as well.   Also on the menu posh chicken goujons with garlic sauce, Broccoli and blue cheese soup for starters.  Roast pork, beef steak with peppercorn sauce and sea bass.  Didn’t try the desserts this visit but definitely will next time.  We were a party of 18 and the food was served quickly and hot!  The restaurant is spread over 2 floors, has a wood burner in the downstairs part of the restaurant and has as a lovely balcony upstairs as well for al fresco dining during the summer months.    Well worth a visit if you are ever in Inverness.

Pork Chops with Blackberries

To give this simple but stunning dish extra tenderness and taste, marinate the chops in 1 tbsp orange juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice and just a dash of soy sauce for 20 minutes before cooking.

Serves:  4

Ingredients:  350g (12oz) frozen blackberries; 3 tbsp dry white wine; 3 tsp sugar or to taste; 1 tbsp grated onion; good squeeze lemon juice; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 4 tbsp oil; 4 pork chops; 24g (1oz) butter; 450g (1 lb) waxy potatoes, peeled, chunked and parboiled; few fresh rosemary leaves; extra whole blackberries and blackberry or rosemary leaves for serving

  • First make the sauce.  Place the blackberries in a pan with the white wine and sugar.  Bring to simmering and add onion and lemon juice.  Cook until blackberries are soft.  Whizz to puree and season.  Pour into a jug and keep warm.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of the oil, season the chops and add them to the pan.  Cook, turning once.  At the same time, heat the remaining oil with butter in a separate pan and saute the potatoes until browned and tender.  Season and add the fresh rosemary leaves and toss around for one minute.
  • To serve, place the chops on warmed plates, spoon a little sauce around them and add potatoes.  Decorate with blackberries and blackberry leaves or rosemary sprigs.