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Stir Fry > Spicy Sweet and Sour Pork with Vegetables 29 November 2006

Posted by cath in mildly spicy, Recipes, stir-fry, variations, vegetables.

Sweet and Sour Pork - Cookalicious Style

Spicy Sweet and Sour Pork with Vegetables


This isn’t the battered pork balls that you may think of when you think of sweet and sour pork – instead, this is a Thai/Chinese fusion of healthy, local, in season vegetables, with lean pork, stir fried in a spicy sweet and sour sauce.

I like to try and encourage home cooking, and all in one dishes are a popular choice. The stir fry, although Asian in influence is made with mostly local produce – carrots, courgette, Savoy cabbage, sprouting broccoli, onions, garlic, mixed mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh coriander. The only imported ingredients are my chillies and ginger – not bad.

Any lean pork will do, here I’ve used tenderloin – that’s like the fillet of beef in pork. The meat has a mini-marinade before cooking. This is often the case with Chinese recipes and can be done for as little as 5-10 minutes, or you could leave it longer but not overnight. I usually prepare the meat first then leave it to marinade for a bit whilst I chop the vegetables.



The sauce is easy – I’ve used it before.

  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice (from the tinned pineapple)
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a dash of tomato puree for colour.

Just mix it together in a bowl and set aside.


Sweet and Sour Ingredients

The ingredients

(Clockwise from Top-left: Sweet and Sour Sauce, Pineapple pieces, coriander, chili and tomatoes, chopped courgette and cabbage, carrot and broccoli, sliced onions, garlic and ginger. Bowl of mixed mushrooms in the centre.)


  1. Thinly slice the pork and combine it in a bowl with 1 tbsp dark or light soy sauce, 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or you can use white wine or dry sherry if you have it) and 1 tbsp sesame oil with 1 tbsp of cornflour.
  2. Chop the vegetables – carrots, courgette into thin sticks, cabbage thinly sliced, small sprouts of broccoli trimmed, slices of mushroom. You can chop more than you need for one night and keep half aside for an even quicker meal the next day. (If you have this dish with noodles rather than rice that also makes it quicker).
  3. Chop the base ingredients – thin slices of onion (red or white as you like), garlic and ginger.
  4. Chop a couple of tomatoes if you still have some from the “summer”, some chillies (2 large red chillies is a good heat) and some coriander stalk and leaf.
  5. Drain a tin of pineapple (natural juice or fresh if you can get it) and chop into bite-size pieces.


Cooking Instructions

When you’re ready to cook, start with the rice. The stir-fry will take only 5-10 minutes to complete, so when you’re ready to begin cooking, heat up the wok with a little oil (groundnut is good) in the base. Heat it up well, then add the sliced onion, followed by garlic and ginger. Stir fry for a few minutes but do not brown (particularly the garlic). You can add some chillies here if you want it hot and spicy.

Then add the marinaded pork and stir fry on a medium high heat for 2-3 minutes until nearly cooked. You can choose to remove the pork, onions etc. now if you like – to stop the meat drying out and to give you more room for the vegetables – remove and leave on a warm plate.

Now add the carrots, mushrooms, then broccoli, cabbage and finally the courgette (add them in the order of size and crunchiness – carrot usually takes the longest unless it’s been grated.) Use the remaining pineapple juice and water to loosen the stir fry rather than adding more oil.


Stir fry until all the vegetables are cooked. Then put the pork back in the wok with the sauce and stir through, heating the sauce. Finally, add the pineapple, tomatoes and decorative chili slices. Sprinkle fresh coriander on the top and serve with the rice.


Desserts > Raspberry Pavlova 25 November 2006

Posted by cath in desserts, easy, fruit, Recipes.


This is a really quick Raspberry Pavlova you can also eat throughout the winter…all you need is meringues, frozen local raspberries and a tub of double cream.

I like M&S meringues, they use free range egg whites and they are the best bought meringues I’ve tasted.

You can make this dessert in the summer with fresh summer soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. But it’s winter now, and I don’t think buying imported strawberries etc. is worthwhile – especially when you’ve got a supply of frozen raspberries. I buy mine from the Strawberry Shop at the farmers market here in Edinburgh.

This pavlova is easy, it makes a great winter dessert as it’s rich and creamy and very reminiscent of summery days. (Of course it makes a nice summer dessert too…when the time comes…)

You will need

Double cream – roughly 1/4-1/3 pint per person

At least a dozen raspberries per person (fresh, frozen or a mixture of other fruits)

1 meringue nest per person

Icing sugar to sprinkle on top


  1. If you’re using frozen raspberries, remove the raspberries from the freezer to begin to thaw whilst you whip the cream. (They do not have to be totally thawed, if they’re still frozen this will cause some of the cream inside the pavlova to freeze – like instant ice cream.)
  2. Pour the cream into a large bowl (see picture below).
  3. Using a whisk (electric assistance is good for large quanities) carefully whip the cream until it holds a peak (see note below for tips).
  4. Now you can build the pavlova. On each plate place a meringue, top with a spoon of cream, then top with half the raspberries. Continue to add a spoon of cream, then a few raspberries in layers until you run out. You can either go high, piling each layer on top of the last, or sprinkle more rasperries around the meringue. For extra indulgence you could make a sandwich with an extra meringe on top. Finish with a rasperry on top.
  5. For an extra sweet, snowy finish, sieve half a teaspoon or so of icing sugar all over the top.
  6. Serve immediately.


Whipping Cream: This can be a little tricky until you get used to it, here are some tips…

preparing to whip cream


  • Use a large bowl, you can get a better whipping action and won’t splash as much.
  • It will take a while before you start to notice the cream thickening, especially if whisking by hand, but it will happen – just persevere!
  • When you notice the cream starting to thicken be careful not to overwhip – the best way to do this (especially when using electric whisks) is to stop now and then and try to form a peak with the cream.

soft peak
beginning to form a soft peak


  • Once you start to get some very soft peaks (they will fall back down quickly if soft), only whisk without electrical help. With a few extra turns of the whisk, you should notice the cream thickening quickly and you’ll soon get a soft yet thick cream.
  • Once it holds a peak – stop whisking.

whipped cream
soft whipped cream


The finished Pavlova

Basic Recipes > Roast Tomato Sauce 21 November 2006

Posted by cath in easy, freeze-friendly, vegetables.
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Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes


Adapted from a recipe by Hugh F-W, I’ve skipped some of the more fastidious bits – namely the sieving of the seeds and skin from the roasted tomatoes. Honestly – you can do it either way, but I hate waste and have never been bothered by the taste of the whole tomato. This recipe is so quick and simple, you should try it.

The sauce can be quickly made into a multitude of sauces – add lightly fried onions, wine and some stock and you have an instant rich tomato sauce for pasta, add extras like sliced chorizo, olives, extra garlic, a handful of mixed herbs, chillies, anything you like…

You can also add this sauce to many different dishes including meat bolognese, chilli-con-carne, soups. Finally, it makes a pretty good ketchup for burgers or bangers and mash.

I’ll often stick in a tray whenever I’m using the oven, and freeze or refrigerate the sauce for use in other dishes.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degC.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into halves and fill up a baking tray (or two), placing them closely packed, cut side up, in one layer (don’t stack them).
  3. Sprinkle over some pepper, salt and a teaspoon or so of sugar (especially if you’re using late crop tomatoes – they will be less sweet naturally)
  4. Now roughly crush and chop a couple of cloves of garlic (to taste) and sprinkle them on top.
  5. Finally, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil carefully zig-zagging across the tops of the tomatoes…be careful not to pour on too much, just a fine trickle will do!
  6. Place in the oven for 45 minutes until browned then remove.
  7. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes then deglaze the pan – two options for this, either:
  • Remove the tomatoes and deglaze with a glass of white or red wine, stock or water – boil up the liquid and scrape off all the caramelised residue in the tray then reduce down and add to the tomatoes – you can use a hand blender to very gently break up any large tomatoes or chunks of garlic (but don’t blend smooth as this will break the seeds and produce a bitter flavour).


  • For those who are even more pushed for time, you can actually deglaze the pan with the help of a glass of liquid (wine/stock/water) by just crushing up and heating the tomatoes in the pan all in one go – once the pan’s deglazed the tomato sauce should be thick and slightly caramel in colour.

Ready to Roast

Tray of Tomatoes – Ready to Roast



Roast Tomato Sauce

Roast Tomato Sauce