I had a lovely day yesterday watching my younger daughter and her school team (representing Oxfordshire) play fantastic hockey - and win the regional tournament. So now, for the second year running, they go forward to represent the South of England at the National Finals of the U18 schools tournament in March next year. WELL DONE St Edwards! And GOOD LUCK in the nationals!
I read this recipe in a colour supplement a couple of weekends ago, and I've been wanting to make it ever since. Quick to make, so that's a plus, but not very red, and not as good as its name, although I liked it. Lovely Chinese flavours, much nicer than takeaway.
This recipe is - I'm told - from the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop - great name, or what? WHY didn't I call one of my children Fuchsia? Or, even better, Dahlia? No, I know the answer to that, so please don't tell me, especially if you ARE one of my children (!).
Chairman Mao's red braised pork
500g belly pork (I think it would be better with a leaner cut)
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
20g sliced fresh ginger (don't bother to peel it)
1 star anise
1 dried chilli
1 stick of cinnamon
Boil the pork in water for four minutes. I don't know why you do this, and I'm not sure that I'd bother again, because in the end, you couldn't tell the difference between the bits that had boiled edges and the bits that didn't. Drain, cool, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the oil and sugar in a wok (mine is non-stick). When the sugar has melted, turn up the heat and brown it. Then add the pork. Toss until each piece of meat has been coated in the sugary oil. It will spit at you, and the sugar will stick like superglue to your spoon. You can rectify this by burying the spoon under the meat as it cooks, and the sugar will gradually melt.
Add the wine and the spices. Simmer for 45-60 minutes (it will depend on the size of your chunks of meat). I half-covered my wok with its lid, because I couldn't quite believe that the meat would cook in that time. Which meant I had to reduce the sauce a little at the end, but the original instructions say you should do that anyway (I'm not sure you'd need to if you left off the lid ... there wasn't a huge quantity of sauce). I left it to cook by itself, although I turned it over a couple of times during cooking.
Serve with noodles and stir-fried vegetables. You might want some soy sauce, because it's a bit bland, despite the spices. Perhaps a little more chilli.
Worth a try, even though it's not very healthy.
A garden by the sea - The garden at Dunrobin, looking down from the terrace. The air in this part of Scotland is so clean that lichen grows at a pace - here's a close-up of a br...
13 hours ago