Posts tagged pork

Hoisin, Soy and Ginger Meatballs


ntil this recipe, I’d really underestimated minced pork. I like pork. I appreciate a good sausage (…ahem..) and I would fight you greedily for the crackling on a hog roast but I rarely cook with it. However my love of Asian-fusion recipes, the need for a warming Autumnal meal and some timely inspiration resulted in this tasty, moreish and speedy meatball dish.

It was an intense weekend. In training for 15km run round Lake Garda in October, it was decided that a smaller practice run was on the Saturday morning agenda. Two hours of enthusiastic and competitive running later, we’d clocked up 13 miles, some sore joints and a feisty appetite. So Sunday welcomed warm showers, relaxation and calorie replacement. And this recipe did a fine job.

Warming, comforting, firey, hoisin-sweet and punching in flavour, it was like an Asian hug in a bowl after a hectic weekend. It also makes a super speedy mid week meal and fantastic leftovers. I’m eating them as I write and they are just as good the second time round on a bowl of vegetable stir fry or raw courgette.

Rice – serve on your rice of choice. I’d recommend a jasmine or a sticky rice to avoid too many flavours. I do however like to squeeze a generous lime into the rice once cooked to add some contrast to the sweet hoisin here.

Serve 4


  • 600g minced pork
  • 30 self raising flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic gloves, grated
  • 1 small red chilli (as hot as you like)


  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 125ml chicken stock

To serve

  • Steamed pak choy, broccoli,/any green vege
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Steamed coconut/jasmine/brown/sticky rice (of choice)
  • 1 lime
  1. Start by combining all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Use your (clean) hands, combine the mixture together so that everything is mixed well. Don’t overwork and pound the meat or it’ll give you rubbery meatballs. Chill for about 15 minutes.
  2. Once a little chilled, heat your oven to 240°C.
  3. Start cooking your rice now.
  4. Roll your pork into meatballs – golf balls size (about 16)
  5. Get a large frying pan on a high heat and add a splash of sunflower oil. (I like to fry mine to give a crispy outside then finish them off in the oven. Alternatively you can avoid this step and jump straight to the oven). Flash fry your meatballs for a few minutes until they form a dark golden crust on the outside. Place into a lined baking dish and add to the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.
  6. Meanwhile make your sauce. Add a splash more oil to your frying pan and fry the spring onions on a medium heat to soften slightly. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
  7. Add the hoisin and the soy and stir well. Finally add the stock and simmer gently until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Remove your meatballs from the oven and add them to the frying pan and coat them liberally in the sauce.
  9. Add a good squeeze of lime to the cooked rice if appropriate and serve about 4 meatballs per person on top of this. Spoon over some of the excess sauce.
  10. Scatter with coriander and a squeeze of lime if needed.
  11. Serve alongside your fresh greens.


Sticky Soy and Sesame Pork


peedy and delicious. If you get embarrassingly excited at the idea of sticky sweetly glazed tender strips of pork on soft oozing coconut rice then I suggest you give this recipe a try. Another long week at work, Friday nights recipe choice had high expectations to satisfy a variety of needs. I craved nothing more than comfort, flavour and relative speed. If you serve this on plain rice then you’ll have an even speedier dinner in minutes but I can never resist a coconut infused creation. Except coconut water. Whats the fad about? Dishwater disguised in a eco-friendly carton. Having been found on numerous occasions unashamedly desperately corkscrewing a hole into a fresh coconut only to slurp the fresh juicy ‘milk’ from inside with a straw this is a far healthier (economical) and dramatic way to get your coconut hit! Its fresh and delicious. Plus you get the joyful task of angrily throwing the empty coconut onto a hard floor (outside recommended) to crack it open to access the meaty pure white flesh. Perfect for grating into curries, porridge, use in cakes (see here) or into your coconut rice!

Serves 2

Sticky Pork

  • 1 pork fillet, sliced into thumb sized slices
  • 1 knob ginger, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50g salted peanuts, crushed lightly

Coconut Rice

  • 4 oz brown rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Good handful desiccated coconut
  • 1 lime, zest
  • Handful chopped coriander to serve
  • Green vegetables to serve
  1. Begin with the rice. Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan with about ½ cup of water (you may need to add more water as it cooks). Bring to a light simmer but be very careful as the milk will boil over if left unattended on a high heat.
  2. Let it simmer on a fast simmer for about 25 minutes. You want to end up with cooked rice that has absorbed mostly all the liquid but is still loose so it oozes on a plate. Keep an eye out and add more water if it dries out before fully cooked.
  3. When cooked and still oozing, add the desiccated coconut, chopped coriander and lime zest and keep warm.
  4. Start on the pork which is a pretty speedy process so have your green vege and warming plate ready to go not soon after!
  5. Combine the cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water in a jug. Add the soy sauce, sesame, vinegar and honey and mix well.
  6. Heat a frying pan or wok on a medium high heat. Quickly flash fry the chopped chilli, spring onion, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks in a splash of sunflower oil until softened. Add the pork and turn up the heat to get a nice colour on the outside.
  7. Fry for about 5 minutes or so until the pork is just cooked but still soft and not dry. Immediately add the soy mixture and stir quickly.
  8. This will thicken and bubble and glaze the pork. If it turns too thick too quickly loosen with a splash more water!
  9. Remove from the heat to prevent it overcooking and add the chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.
  10. Serve atop your coconut rice scattered with extra coriander, any spare sesame seeds alongside your green vegetables with a wedge of lime.

Pulled Barbeque Pork with Spicy Slaw and Flatbread

I never thought clearing out my university fridge and freezer before the end of term could be so delicious. With the ever amazing help of Jamie Oliver’s barbeque sauce (see here), this slow cooked pulled pork shoulder was a greasily delicious end to a tiring term and brought a stomachful of summer hope to a cold March that has well and truly outstayed its welcome. A crunchy homemade coleslaw is a great and simple side without the sickly addition of buckets of mayo you often find your ‘healthy’ cabbage swimming in in the supermarket. Wrapped protectively in a snug wholemeal flatbread…….if only my dissertation had been on food….

  • 500g pork shoulder
  • 1 quantity of marinade (recipe here)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 small raw beetroot
  • 500g yoghurt
  • 1 lime
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp of the following mix of ground spices (toast 1tsp of each fennel, cumin, coriander and fenugreek seed with 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cardamon pods and 1 star anise in a dry frying pan until hot, fragrant and beginning to pop, remove and grind in a pestle and mortar until fine).
  • Bunch mint, chopped
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Punnet of cress
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  1. Begin with the pork. Cover the pork in the marinade in a large heavy based casserole dish and leave in the fridge overnight to infuse the flavours. The next day, preheat the oven to 170.
  2. Place a lid on the dish and slowly cook for 3 hours, basting in the sauce about 3 times.
  3. Meanwhile, make the coleslaw. This is easiest shredded in a food processor with the appropriate blade attachment or you can grate by hand.Grate the carrot, parsnip and beetroot into a large dish
  4. Add the chopped herbs.
  5. Combine the zest of the lime and the juice to the yoghurt with some seasoning and a tbsp of mayonnaise and the spice mix to make the dressing.
  6. Only before serving, dress the coleslaw in the dressing and scatter over the cress.
  7. For the flatbreads, mix the flour, cumin seeds, oil and 150ml warm water in a bowl and mix to form a ball of dough. Divide into about 6 pieces and roll thinly into discs. Before serving, fry each for a few minutes each side in a really hot  dry frying pan until beginning to char and puff up. Keep warm wrapped in a teatowel while you fry them all and finish the pork.
  8. After 3 hours, the pork should be nicely cooked and tender. Remove from the oven, spoon off the liquid fat that has melted from the pork and discard, leaving the remaining marinade.
  9. Leave to rest for about 20 minutes. Then, cut off any of the skin and fat and discard. Next shred using a couple of forks and mix int he remaining marinade left in the dish.
  10. Serve with the coleslaw and flatbreads and come extra yoghurt if you like!

For some light amusement, here is a picture of the first cut of pork from our first attempt at keeping pigs last year. Yes they were accidently overfed….yes that is 50% fat to 50% meat….and yes the butcher could not make sausages with those pigs because they were so obese. We have since refined our animal handling and will be dining on a model piece of pork this Easter, thankfully for our arteries (and theirs…RIP).



Slow Roasted Shredded Pork Cassoulet



So last year I entered a competition. I’m not going to lie, I did it because the prize money was £20,000 and all that was required was a classic British recipe. I thought, well hey, I can cook, I’m British, why not…..So that summer I was chosen to take part and went for some filming. Loyd Grosman was my judge. He tasted and commented on my dish while I sat apprehensively perched on the edge of my stool gazing intensely into his face like an interrogator. However, he handed me a shiny red rosette and I went on my way through….However, I’m afraid it stopped there. But BOY is it YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This recipe also appears in a cook book to accompany the TV series but for all you folk who don’t want to buy it- tut tut….here it is. Unfortunately they didn’t show my interview on the episode. I think I was too normal for Wednesday night entertainment…….

Serves 6

  • 1kg pork shoulder, skin removed and reserved for cracking
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons/pancetta
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 175ml red wine
  • Handful dried wild mushrooms, soaked in 200ml boiling water (reserved)
  • A few large rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped finely
  • 7-8 large sage leaves, chopped finely
  • Handful of thyme, chopped finely
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 400g haricot beans (2 tins)
  • Extra chooped herbs to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the pork all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside
  3. Add the onion and bacon and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and the bacon is crispy. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Increase the heat and pour in the red wine to de-glaze the pan and simmer for a few minutes
  5. Drain the soaked mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop them roughly. Add to the casserole dish with a generous handful of the chopped herbs and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and season.
  7. Add the pork and top up the liquid using the reserved mushroom stock until it comes about ¾ the way up the sides.
  8. Bring to the boil then place in the oven with a lid for 2 ½ hours
  9. After this time, remove from the oven and add the drained beans. (If there is only a small amount of liquid in the tins, add this too as it will help thicken). Return to the oven without the lid and cook for about 30 minutes more to brown the meat and thicken the sauce.
  10. Remove from the oven when ready and use forks to shred the pork among the cassoulet. If it needs thickening, reduce on the hob or add more mushroom stock if too thick.
  11. Garnish with lots of freshly chopped sage and rosemary and a heart attack inducing shard of cracking!

All that’s left to do is sit down and enjoy with a leggy red wine and (hopefully) wonder why it wasn’t worthy of £20,000!

WINE: For a delicious and affordable treat, try a classic red Bordeaux. And what would be better than a glass of Château Grand Village, 2011 Bordeaux Supérieur. Being the second vineyard of the infamous Chateau Lafleur it a more economically friendly and delightful alternative if you haven’t got the budget for the real deal. Available at Armit Wines.

Jess - Grand Village





Best recipe in the book….certainly beats whats on page 157………..(bet you want to know what that is now….)

Five Spice Rib Ragu


ast night we had the pleasure of cooking for some family friends who can always be relied upon to offer up a humble and sincere appreciation for food which makes them ideal guests. Not only am I not usually one for trying out a new dish for the first time at a dinner party but I often wonder why people do decide to venture into the unknown with pressure of for hungry guests. However, if I was to experiment on anyone for the first time, these guys would be right on my list. With some much needed tweaking in regards to flavour (sorry Nig’) from a recipe from Nigel Slater’s diaries, some added Chinese influence to this recipe turned into a winner.

Serves 6 easily

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 4 racks of baby pork ribs (just over 1kg) cut into 3 rib pieces
  • 250g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 generous handful of dried wild mushrooms
  • 800ml hot beef stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • 1tsp five spice paste
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour
  • 1 heaped tbsp softened butter
  • Pappardelle/tagliatelle pasta of choice (enough for 6)
  • Chopped parsley to garnish
  1. Being by soaking the dried mushrooms in the hot beef stock for about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large casserole dish with a splash of olive oil and brown the ribs all over to caramelise the outside and release their flavour. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the finely chopped carrots, onions and celery to the dish and cook for about 15 minutes until beginning to soften. Add a touch more oil if needed.
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook until these are soft too.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the wild mushrooms from their soaking liquid and add these to the pan and cook for a few more minutes along with the cinnamon, star anise and the five spice paste. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Return the ribs to the pan and cover the whole thing with the beef stock and bring to the boil.
  7. Now you can either simmer this on the hob, covered, for about 3 hours, or I prefer to pop it into a low oven (135°C.) for about 3 hours or so until the pork is tender and just the slightest touch of the ribs will loosen them enough to pull out the pan by hand.
  8. After the required time, remove and discard the ribs using a pair of forks to leave the tender pork. They should just slide out. Taste and season as required.
  9. Increase the temperature to 200°C and return the ragu to the oven to brown the top, reduce the sauce and let it thicken for about 30 minutes or so. If, after 30 minutes, it still needs to be a little thicker, simmer the pan on the hob. Then, mix the 1 tbsp of plain flour and 1 tbsp of butter together in a small bowl to form a paste and whisk this into the sauce. The flour will thicken the sauce without it going lumpy and the butter will add a nice gloss.
  10. Cook your pasta in lots of salted water while the ragu keeps warm on a low heat. Drain and toss with a little olive oil and seasoning. Serve with a generous helping of ragu and a scattering of parsley.

This was lovely served with a green salad of rocket and watercress, crispy shaved fennel and celery and dressed very gently in lemon juice and good extra virgin olive oil for freshness.

WINE: Pasta with a roasted ragu meat sauce suits nothing better than an Italian red. Try something such as the Agricola Punica, 2013 Montessu from Sardinia available at Armit Wines

Jess - Montessu