Oriental pork with rice

I slow roasted a pork joint at the weekend, and it positively fell apart afterwards – I mean it – I literally carved it with a spoon! Anyway, when I had the pile of shredded pork in front of me, it reminded me so much of  shredded duck at the Chinese restaurant (to look at) that I decided that I should make a Chinese-y meal with it. I wasn’t in the mood for a roast dinner anyway, so this was ideal. (If anyone wants to know how I roasted the pork joint to produce this result, drop me a comment and I’ll post the recipe another day).

Oriental Pork

Ingredients

  • Roast pork, shredded
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • Garlic (puree or 1 crushed clove)
  • Chilli powder
  • One chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • Dried herbs (I used mixed dried herbs with an additional sprinkling of sage)
  • Chinese 5 spice (you’d find it in the same supermarket display as the other herbs and spices, probably near the barbeque rubs and meat marinade spices
  • Red or yellow capsicum pepper, finely sliced
  • One 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Method

  • Fry the pork and onions in a very little amount of oil, or a couple of sprays of spray oil (the pork should be fried as the fat in the meat will have made it a little greasy, and this seals the flavour in well). Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and fry until the pork is sealed (it will look dryer).
  • Mix in the chilli powder, stock cube, herbs and chinese five spice one by one, stirring well to coat the meat and sliced onions.
  • Add the sliced pepper, and then after a good stir add the tinned tomatoes (you might need a tin and a half/two tins depending on how many portions you are making, so that the sauce remains liquidy). Simmer on a very low heat so that the sauce doesn’t dry out whilst you are cooking rice, noodles or mashed potato, season to taste and serve.

A new page just about food!

While I was writing out the Toad in the Hole recipe earlier today, I was thinking about the other recipes that I’ve posted since I started the blog a few years ago. I realised that I would have posted enough to create a separate page with links to each post. So that is what I’ve done! All the recipes I post are easy to follow, as I don’t generally have the time or the patience to cook things which are fiddly or take all day! So now, if you remember a recipe that I’ve posted before, but can’t remember exactly when that would have been, you can go to the specially designated page and hopefully find it quickly. I’m planning on posting some more recipes very soon for other quick, easy and cheap family meals which we enjoy regularly.

Click here, or click the tab at the top of the blog to visit my recipes page.

Procrastinating

I really should be typing up Handsome’s story, but I’m delaying the struggle to decipher. I’ve visited Ravelry, have bought my mother a triple dvd set of Elvis movies (bargain sale!) and I’m about to go and check my blog reader for new entries.

I’m planning a few posts in the near future about my favourite recipes. Having studied my search engine referrals (as I said yesterday) I’ve discovered that many people reach this blog looking for cookery advice. I’m not sure that I’m at all qualified to help in this regard, but I’m happy to share recipes for our favourite meals. Also, I’m going to put myself and my family to the great hardship of experimenting a little with the ‘cake in a cup‘ microwave recipe!

Eating in Stratford Upon Avon

Last weekend, when my husband and I visited Stratford Upon Avon, we were lucky enough to light upon three lovely places to eat.

We arrived at dinner time on the Saturday evening, so we didn’t want to have to go too far to find a meal. We were lucky that within a couple of minutes walk of our guesthouse we found a lovely Chinese restaurant – the Ripple Cafe on the waterfront overlooking the Royal Shakespeare Company main theatre. GG and I both enjoyed the Chinese buffet enormously, going back for seconds (maybe thirds, I can’t remember!). It was just what we needed on arrival to Stratford – quick, easy and very tasty.

Shakespeare's birthplace, Henley Street, Startford upon Avon

Both lunchtime on Saturday and lunchtime on Sunday we went to the Henley Street Tearoom. On the Saturday we went there as we didn’t want a large lunch. We had planned an early pre-theatre dinner, so as I fancied a cream tea we went to this tearoom. It is situated just opposite the entrance to the Shakespeare’s birthplace exhibition, and is linked to a tea and coffee shop behind called Bensons House of Tea. The staff in the tea rooms were all polite and welcoming. There was a huge range of different teas and snacks to choose from, but I was set on my tea and scones with cream so that’s what I had! And it was gorgeous – fresh and warm scones with plenteous amounts of jam and cream. On Sunday, we went back for lunch before leaving for home as GG’s mother had invited us to stay for a cooked dinner in the evening so again we didn’t want a heavy meal. We both had toasted sandwiches which again were served promptly and were very tasty. (And then we went to the shop and bought some tea and coffee to bring home – including the Stratford All Day Blend which I drank in the tearoom and really enjoyed.)

The food highlight of the trip though, had to be Sorrento Restaurant on Ely Street. We booked for a pre-theatre meal, and were welcomed by all the staff. The food was gorgeous, well presented and not too expensive for a nice meal out. I so wish that this could be my local Italian restaurant! I would definitely DEFINITELY go back to this one if I go back to Stratford!

Mindful consumption, and teaching children to be thoughtful consumers

Something I meant to write about it my last post (but completely forgot, or at least got sidetracked!) is my effort to teach my children to be mindful consumers. I always seem to forget to write about WHY I do things like make jams and preserves at home, rather than take the easy and cheaper route of buying low price preserves at the supermarket.

In recent years, we as consumers have been made very much more aware of the journey that our food takes to get onto our plates. We have seen campaigners like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall using their influence as high-profile chefs to highlight the poor conditions in which a significant number of animals are kept before being killed to produce meat for our tables. We have heard about harmful chemicals being sprayed on food crops, and have witnessed the rise in popularity of organic food.

We don’t have the space ourselves to grow more than a couple of tomato plants and a basil plant as we have only windowsills but no garden. However, the boys have enjoyed this windowsill horticulture, and are on a daily hunt for the ripening tomatoes and chilli peppers. So, as we have no garden ourselves, I’ve enjoyed taking them blackberry picking in our local park, as they get the experience of seeing food growing at first hand, and can start to appreciate the work it takes to prepare food truly from scratch rather than buying pre-made foodstuffs in the shops. It was an added bonus this afternoon when I was able to take my younger son, Cheeky, outside our flat to pick even more fruit (the elderberries) within view of our front window. We will ask around to see if anyone has any cooking apples ripening that they can spare for our jam making, and then the boys will help me to make the jam which they will love to eat on their toast, in their sandwiches and in their porridge through the coming winter.

This all fits together with my teaching them about where their sausages and roast dinners come from. Jo has been a great help in this, as my boys have been able to get to know her various livestock and realise that animals should be treated well (like royalty, in Jo’s case!) even when they are destined for the dinner table. They have also had the opportunity to learn and accept from a young age that the sausages, ham, bacon and roast gammon they both love, as well as the minced beef in Cheeky’s favourite lasagne and Handsome’s favourite cottage pie have all come from what was once a living animal. I’m doing my best to teach them to buy meat according to whether the animals have been treated well, and I’m also trying to teach them to question where their food comes from, rather than just accepting whatever arrives in front of them. They have both eaten and enjoyed meat from Jo’s pigs, even when they’ve known the pig. I’ll admit that at first, they were a little wary and squeamish of eating meat from a pig they knew and talked to, but they are very receptive to reasonable argument and so after I’d explained that there’s really no difference between eating pork from a pig you’ve known and from one you haven’t, they were both fine with it.

Well, this post has got away from me a bit, but I’ve been meaning to write all of this down for some time. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really write much about what I believe to be right. It’s much harder to express beliefs than it is to simply write down the events of the day.

Pre-empting verbal abuse

So, yesterday I was glumly inspecting the contents of my food store. I realised that we have a small chocolate cookies-in-jarmountain accruing, which concerns me. You see, to eat and eat over Christmas is acceptable, some might say expected, but to carry this sort of food consummation on into the new year would simply be gluttony. So, I called in the re-enforcements; I let Jo and Hannah know about my food mountain problem, and they both readily volunteered to come and visit that same day. So, yesterday afternoon, both of my good friends appeared and set to clearing the mountain with vim and vigour. Now, I’d like to point out, before I continue, that at no point did I tie them down and force food into reluctant mouths. All I did was to point them at the food, tell them that they should feel free to eat as much as they liked without the usual constraints of politeness in someone else’s house and leave them to it.

I have to say, they did me proud. With a little help from my sons, they cleared a Toblerone, a box of biscuits, some chocolate truffles, a dozen mince pies and a large bag of cashew nuts (not to mention the pizza we had for tea!). We established that the Panettone I bought will be fine until April, and the cookies my friend Maria’s mother gave us are dated May, so we can save them for a later date.

christmas-cake

I really need some help with my Christmas cake though, as I’ve not cut into it yet, and I’ve also got an unopened box of asian sweets that my friend Heather sent to me. I’m thinking of taking the sweets to my mother’s and mother in law’s houses to ask for help!

A grown up evening – for a change!

Well, GG and I have had a lovely evening tonight. My sister in law and her partner took us out for our birthday meal (our birthdays are in June, but she’s a little late!) and we chose to go to a Thai restaurant as I love Thai food if I cook it myself or buy it from the supermarket but have never been to a proper Thai restaurant. It was really lovely.

Cardiff was absolutely heaving after today’s Welsh win over Australia at rugby in the Millennium Stadium. However, GG’s sister had booked a table and so we had a very short wait. The wait for the food to arrive was a little longer, and we were slightly disappointed that we couldn’t choose from the whole menu, but the food that we ordered was absolutely gorgeous and we thoroughly enjoyed it all.

It was an event for us as it’s rare for us to go out together for an evening meal without the children, and really rare not to eat until 9pm! I felt very grown up!

Anyway, off to bed as I’m worn out from my long day, and I have lots to do tomorrow. Oh, and the restaurant (which I would recommend if any of you visit Cardiff and enjoy Thai food!) was called Thai Edge, and is in the Brewery Quarter at the bottom of St Mary Street.