Shanghai Fried Noodles

Shanghai Fried Noodles

I have distinctly Northern Chinese food tastes, despite being Hong Kong born and bred, and always make a beeline for the fried noodles and fried dumplings first. That said, I won’t say no to a soupy bowl of wonton noodles if there’s a bottle of Chinese vinegar nearby to douse it in…  But at home there are only a few noodle recipes that I dare to cook myself, and I’m always on the look out for new ones to try. When I saw this on the frankly quite awesome The Woks of Life blog, the noodles looked too tasty to be true… (where true = easy!)

So wrong! 

So so wrong that this is already become my favourite home-cooked noodle dish, hands down 🙂 It really does taste as good as it looks – slick, chewy udon noodles, loaded with satisfyingly savoury mushrooms that go perfectly with sweet bites of pork, and bak choy to round everything out. Seriously, what’s not to love? A quick marinade and quick cook time means you can be tucking into a bowl of these in about 20 minutes! 

This recipe didn’t need any tinkering, it really was perfect as it was and the only changes I made were to ‘Britishify’ some of the ingredients. The real trick to this dish, for me, is slicing the pork nice and thin so that it doesn’t need much cooking and avoids getting all tough and chewy. The noodles, however, I just can’t resist leaving in the wok to get a little bit of char on them, because who doesn’t love that ‘breath of the wok’ flavour 🙂 

The recipe uses a few store cupboard staples rather than needing a spoonful of something you have to buy especially, and then will forget to use again before it rots in the back of the fridge, which just makes it even better still. And the marinade is so simple but so flavoursome that I’ve even started using it with some old mum-taught Chinese recipes… shhhh! Don’t tell her!

Shanghai Fried Noodles
Serves 2
These delicious wok fried noodles are satisfyingly savoury and, with just a handful of ingredients, ridiculously easy to rustle up.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Stuff you'll need for the pork and marinade...
  1. 1 lean boneless pork chop, thinly sliced
  2. 3/4 tsp cornstarch
  3. 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  4. 1/8 tsp dark soy sauce
  5. 1 tsp shaoxing wine (or sherry)
  6. Pinch of sugar
Stuff you'll need for the noodles...
  1. 1 packet of fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  2. 1 packet of Amoy's straight to wok udon noodles
  3. 2 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  4. 2 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  5. 1/4 tsp sugar
  6. 1 small bunch baby bok choy, roughly chopped
Marinade...
  1. In a small bowl (soup bowl size is perfect) mix together the marinade ingredients before adding the sliced pork and giving it all a good stir about to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Stir fry...!
  1. In a wok heat 1 tbsp of oil on a high heat. Add the pork stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until browned, before removing to a plate.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and heat another tbsp or two of oil before adding the sliced mushrooms and stir-frying for about 2 minutes.
  3. Next add the noodles to the wok straight from the packet and gently break up with chopsticks. Once the noodles are 'free', add the soy sauces and sugar.
  4. Toss the pork back in and stir-fry everything together until the noodles are an even, deep brown colour.
  5. Add the bok choy last and mix in with the noodles until they have wilted right down.
Notes
  1. A few generous splashes of Chinese vinegar goes great with this dish! If you don't have any, good old British malt vinegar is a very acceptable substitute.
  2. Ditch the pork for a veggie friendly version.
  3. Throw your whole pork chop in the freezer for about 30 minutes and it should slice thinly more easily.
Adapted from The Woks of Life
Adapted from The Woks of Life
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Pulled Pork “Sammiches”

Pulled Pork “Sammiches”

Pulled pork seems to be this Autumn’s ‘it’ recipe, covered by most every foodie magazine over the last month or two and helped no doubt by the increasing popularity of street food, of which the pulled pork van is usually the shining star. But Hubby was making this long before it became trendy, bringing his recipe from the motherland of BBQ with him when he washed up on these shores. What elevates Hubby’s version for me though is the home-made BBQ sauce that he makes from the leftover cooking liquid, which is hands down better than anything store bought that I’ve ever tasted.

Hubby serves it in the traditional way, on a bun with lashings of coleslaw and french fries and spears of dill pickle on the side, but it’s also delicious in a wrap (great leftover lunch!) or on mash or as a quesedilla filling. I think I’ve even seen it suggested as a baked potato topping, and why not!

Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off, it really is as easy as throwing everything in a pot and then leaving it to do its thing through the afternoon, at the end of which you’ll have a succulent slow cooked joint that will just fall apart. Perfect Autumn fodder, I promise you 🙂

And now, over to Hubby!

Pulled Pork "Sammiches"
Serves 4
An easy slow cook approach to Carolina BBQ, all in one happy pot.
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Stuff you’ll need, for the pork…
  1. 3 cups chicken stock (though beef works too)
  2. 2 onions, roughly chopped
  3. 3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
  4. 3-4 ribs celery, de-veined and roughly chopped
  5. 2-3 gloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  6. 2-3 bay leaves
  7. 1kg pork shoulder
Optional:
  1. 2 tsp onion granules
  2. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  3. 2-3 tsp mesquite liquid smoke (hard to find, but Lupe Pinto’s in Bruntsfield sells this. Or try Amazon!)
  4. 1/2 – 1 bottle favoured beer, add it to the stock
Stuff you’ll need, for the BBQ sauce…
  1. 2 cups reserved vegetables from the pork
  2. 6 ounces (170 mls) reserved cooking liquid from the pork
  3. 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped or minced
  4. 2 tsp very finely chopped ginger (or cheat and use powdered ginger at 1tsp, I do)
  5. 2 tsp cumin
  6. 2 cups ketchup
  7. 1/2 cup brown sugar (as a starter, more to taste, I do prefer a sweeter BBQ)
  8. 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  9. 6 tablespoons cider vinegar (seems like a lot, but mixed in through the pork it isn’t)
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
Optional:
  1. 1/2 – 1 Tbsp Red Hot or Tabasco sauce
  2. 2-3 tsp mesquite liquid smoke
Stuff you’ll need, for serving:
  1. Good sized burger buns or white baps
  2. Coleslaw
Other stuff you’ll need…
  1. Good slow-cooker, or large stewpot with lid
  2. Tray for cooling and shredding the pork
  3. Good size mixing bowl
  4. A liquidiser or food processor
Slow cook!
  1. Begin my browning the pork on all sides (even the fatty side), as this will help to seal in the juices. Keep the strings on the pork as well as it will hold it together while it’s slow cooking.
  2. If you’re using a slowcooker, just put everything in the pot, cover, set to low heat and either leave overnight to tend to in the morning, or leave it all day whilst you’re at work, and come home to dinner ready-made!
  3. If you’re doing this on the hob however, once you’ve browned the pork, simply toss everything into a large stockpot, mix it about, and then bring it up to a gentle boil.
  4. Don’t worry about trimming the pork shoulder or cutting fat, it’s much easier to do later once it’s all warm and falling apart, plus the fat adds a great flavour to the cooking liquid.
  5. Once boiling, cover, reduce temperate to lowest heat, and simmer. This should take about 4-5 hours on the hob before it’s ready to fall apart. Stir the pot and rotate the pork every hour or so, but keep covered. You’ll know when it’s done.
  6. Remove the pork to a baking tray or deep baking dish for cooling, and reserve the cooked vegetables and cooking liquid for your BBQ sauce.
  7. You won’t need to cool the pork completely, just enough to handle it without burning. At this point you can pull off or cut off the excess fat — don’t be afraid to take the pork shoulder completely apart. Any connective tissue will have nicely gelatinised by this point, but you don’t want too much fat in the pork, so remove as much as you like.
  8. Now, divide the pork into workable chunks, and shred in the baking pan with two forks, pulling the fibres apart finely. This both increases the volume of the meat as well as making it ready to soak up all of the lovely BBQ sauce. You can use your fingers for a more “rustic” shredding, instead, if you like.
  9. Once it’s shredded, drizzle over a ladle or two of the cooking liquid, mix, cover, and set aside.
  10. Now for the BBQ sauce…
  11. In your liquidiser/food processor, combine the reserved vegetables, cooking liquid, garlic and ginger, and process until smooth, and about the thickness and consistency of ketchup. Add the remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. The proportions are to taste, but this will, on its own, be a sweet, slightly tangy sauce. Mixing it with the pork results in a really rich, tangy sauce. Some like it sweeter, some like it with less cider, let your taste buds guide you.
  13. Toss the pulled pork with about 2 cups of the sauce, and set aside. If it looks like it needs more sauce, add away. The remainder is just used for dipping on the side anyway.
  14. You can prep all of this in advance and just reheat in a wok or stewpot, adding a -little- water to reheat it when it’s time to serve.
  15. Serve it with the coleslaw on top of a goodly pile of the pork on toasted buns. We serve this in the States with chips and spears of gherkin (The Polish kind, with Dill, not the sweeter British ones).
Hubby says...
  1. You can use a pork loin roast but the yield will be much lower. A shoulder will comfortably feed four. If you get this at the supermarket the size should be ok, so go for a weighty one. Careful asking for this at a butcher as they’ll often give you the whole shoulder + shank, which is frankly massive.
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Blueberry Glazed Pork Pies

Blueberry Glazed Pork Pies

Wow! Christmas, pre during and post, was BUSY! Lots of time spent celebrating the holidays with family, and mostly by eating, marvellous 🙂 So rather than dwell on how quiet this blog has been let’s just move swiftly along and greet the New Year with a new recipe!  And what a fab new recipe it is too! I do like a cheeky pork pie, but Hubby isn’t a big fan of the jelly (understatement…), so when I saw this recipe in the Great British Food magazine I thought it might keep both of us happy.

I am happy to report that it most certainly did, and then some!  They may not be picture perfect (somewhere Paul Hollywood is twitching and he doesn’t know why!) and half of my bluberries may have popped, but I love the homemadeyness of them all being a little uneven, and they were hella good fun to make 🙂 And the joy of readymade pastry makes this recipe a total doddle and something you can rustle up in a little under half an hour.

Any worries I might have had that the blueberries would be a little tart were for naught as they sweetened up perfectly when combined with the redcurrant jelly and were a wonderful counterpoint to the savouriness of the sausagemeat. Next time I make these I’m going to experiment with the filling…  Our local butcher, Crombies, does an amazing pork and caramalised onion sasuage that I think would work an absolute treat!  And!  My sister in law gave me a bottle of her delicious homemade bramble vinegar which I’m going to sub in for the red wine vinegar as I think it’ll be amazing with the blueberries.

We ate half our batch for lunch, and popped the rest in the fridge to snack on. I suspect they won’t last the weekend…

Blueberry Glazed Pork Pies
Yields 12
Sweet blueberries compliment savoury sausagemeat, stuffed in lovely pastry pie cases.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 65g dried sage and onion stuffing mix
  2. 500g readymade chilled shortcrust pastry
  3. flour for rolling or waxy baking parchment (really!)
  4. 3 spring onions, snipped into slices
  5. 400g good quality pork and herb sausages, poked out of their skins
  6. freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 egg, beaten to glaze
  8. 175g blueberries
  9. 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  10. 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  11. 1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
  12. butter for greasing the muffin tin
Other stuff you’ll need…
  1. 11.5 cm biscuit cutter or small coffee cup saucer
  2. 12 section muffin tin
Stuff to do first…
  1. Put the oven on and preheat to 180C/350C/Gas Mark 4. Lightly butter the muffin tin, including the areas around each of the muffin cups. Wash the spring onions.
Bake!
  1. Start by making up the stuffing mix per your packet instructions – I used Paxo – and set to one side.
  2. Roll out your pastry, either on a floured surface or be sneaky like Hubby and snub flour completely by rolling your pastry out between two sheets of waxy baking parchment! Properly genius!! You’re aiming to get the pastry quite thin yet sturdy enough to hold the filling without breaking when they’re cooked and you’re gently wrestling them out of the muffin tin (can you tell I learnt this the hard way?!).
  3. Cut out 12 circles using the biscuit cutter/saucer, re-rolling the pastry until you have enough. Then gently press the pastry circles into the muffin tin (using the ball end of the rolling pin to lightly poke them in works a treat) so that the pastry stands a little above the top of the tin in a wavy edge. Set to one side.
  4. Snip the spring onions into your mixing bowl and then snap on the CSI vinyl gloves and get the sausages! Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut a slit up the length of the sausage skin and then poke all the sausagemeat out into the bowl with the spring onions. Give it a good few grinds of fresh black pepper (since the sausages were seasoned before they were cased you shouldn’t need to add any salt) and then get your hands in there and mix it all up. Tip the stuffing in and mix that all in too.
  5. Divide your sausagemeat mixture between each of the pastry cases, using the back of a spoon to even them out.
  6. Brush the top edges of the pastry cases with a little beaten egg, then pop into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until that top edge of the pastry is golden and the filling is cooked through. Leave them to cool for 15 minutes, then carefully free them from the muffin tin (I found a butter knife really helpful) and place them on a cooling rack.
  7. While the pies are cooling down, put thevinegar and redcurrant jelly into a small saucepan. Stir on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the jelly has melted and then add the berries. Mix the cornflour and water to get a smooth paste and then stir into the berries and cook until the juices have thickened a little and the berries are starting to soften – don’t cook the berries for too long or they’ll pop. Leave to cool before spooning over the pies (if you’ve overdone the cornflour then spoon while its hot because once it cools it will be impossible to work with, again, as I found out the hard way!).
Notes
  1. The cornflour may take the sheen off the blueberry topping mix in which case brush a very VERY little bit of olive oil over the berries to give them a glaze. Scoff!
Adapted from Great British Food Magazine
Adapted from Great British Food Magazine
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Piquant Pork Chops

Piquant Pork Chops

When my little brother was at University he used to come home at the weekends with a pack of hungry lost boys in tow and I’d go into surrogate big sister mode and feed them all.  One even took to phoning me on a Thursday night to put in a request for his favourite dish!  But my culinary repertoire must have been getting repetitive because my brother bought me a cookbook one weekend, and then pointed out which of the recipes in it he’d like me to make…  Cheeky!  Years later, the cookbook still gets hauled out every couple of months, primarily to make this which is still one of my favourites.  It’s more of an Autumn/Winter kind of a dish, but seeing how this has been the wettest summer since records began in 1910 (!) forgive me while I opt for a little comfort food this weekend 🙂

This recipe has become “a little” adapted over time, I like more Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice than the original recipe because I like the sauce seriously tangy (and it is!).  If you find it too much, a spoonful of creme freche stirred in at the end will mellow it out, or cut back on the Worcestershire sauce/lemon juice the next time you make it.

This is good with a heap of creamy mash but its even better with boiled rice, but then, I think everything is better with boiled rice…  When it comes out of the oven I like to slice the pork chops up and then mix them back into the sauce to coat every last bit before ladling up over rice.  Serve with something green, like stir fried broccoli or garlicky butter-fried courgette slices, and get stuck in!

If you are going to eat it with mash you can double the number of chops to four and use the measures for sauce as per the recipe.  Rice just soaks up “jup” in a way that mash doesn’t (because rice > mash!)  If you don’t believe me, scroll down to the bottom of this page to see my proof 😉

Piquant Pork Chops
Serves 2
Tender pork chops in a tasty tangy sauce, great with creamy mash but even better with rice!
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 2 lean pork chops, trimmed of fat and rind
  2. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 tbsp unrefined brown sugar
  5. 1 tbsp dry mustad
  6. 2 tsps tomato puree
  7. 1 beef stock cube
  8. 280ml/half pint of cold water
  9. 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  10. 3 tbsps fresh lemom juice
  11. salt and pepper to season
Prep...
  1. Dice the onions. Mix the sugar, dry mustard, tomato puree and beef stock cube together (if using a beef stock pot rather than a cube leave it out)
Cook!
  1. First things first, get the oven on to 180 C/350 F.
  2. Pan fry the pork chops on a high heat for a couple of minutes each side to seal and brown the meat. Remove to an ovenproof baking dish.
  3. In the same pan, heat the oil and fy the onion gently until it is lightly browned.
  4. Stir the sugar, mustard powder, tomato puree and beef stock cube into the cooked onion and mix it all together well (if you’re using a beef stock pot rather than a stock cube, mix everything else in first and then mix in the stock pot last) before stirring in the cold water (it has to be cold or else the mustard powder has a hissy fit!).
  5. Bring it all to the boil, stirring continuously, then add the Worcestershire sauce and the lemon juice into the onion and spice mixture, then check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the sauce into the baking dish and over the pork chops.
  7. Pop in the preheated oven and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
  8. Remove the chops from the sauce and leave to rest for 8-10 minutes, while you pop the sauce back into the oven to keep warm.
  9. After the chops have rested, slice thinly and pop back into the sauce to coat before serving over rice.
Adapted from Hot & Spicy Cooking
Adapted from Hot & Spicy Cooking
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/