Sweet and Sour Pork, Thai Style

This little hummer (to channel my dad) is on page 210 of 400 Recipes: Wok & Stir-Fry edited by Jenni Fleetwood, which I gave the Pie for Christmas years ago.  I also gave him a wok, which has since self-destructed, but enough about that.

We made this recipe precisely because we had exactly those ingredients in our fridge and we needed to use them up.  And I got to use my new scale on this recipe, too, which was a plus.

Slice yourself up 350g/12oz lean pork (about four small boneless porkchops).  If you put the pork into the freezer for about 30-40 minutes beforehand it will be easy to slice it into thin pieces.  I didn’t do this, and that’s why my pork bits are fat.  But they are happy with the way they look, thank you very much.Cut one small red onion into thin slices (we had half, so were content with that).  Seed a red pepper (see my how-to on doing this quickly) and dice it.  Seed half a cucumber (cut it into quarters and slice off the seed part) and cut it into thin strips.  I misread the recipe at this point so mine ended up in chunks.  Pauvre moi.While you’re in the process of seeding, why don’t you take the seeds out of two plum tomatoes (we used roma) and cut them into wedges as well?  As a finishing touch, cut 115g/4oz of pineapple into chunks (more if you like the stuff, see my how-to on coring) and slice 2 spring onions or scallions (we used 4 green onions) into thin strips.  I set all the veggies in a nice mise en place for the Pie so he’d have everything at hand.  In a small bowl, mix together one tablespoon brown sugar with two tablespoons fish sauce and some ground black pepper.Heat two tablespoons oil in a wok or large frying pan.  Drop in four cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (or, if you are us, 4 spoonfuls of garlic in a jar).  Cook over medium heat until golden, then add the pork and stir-fry for four or five minutes.  Slide in the onion slices and toss.

Add your fish sauce mixture and toss over the heat for three or four more minutes.

Drop in your fruits and vegetables and stir-fry for another three to four minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Spoon into a bowl (we served ours over rice) and garnish with more sliced onions or fresh cilantro if that floats your boat.  Serves four.

Pineapple Corer – A perfect gift

I know what you’re thinking.  A pineapple corer is some elaborate gadget that you don’t really need.

I was like you.  Then my mother-in-law, knowing my obsession with fresh fruit (seriously, offer me a plate of cut fruit and a plate of chocolate and I’ll take the fruit every time and eat myself sick), gave me one for Christmas a few years ago.

HOLY SMOKES.  This is the best thing ever.

Normally when cutting a pineapple you slice off the outer skin, then you either cut the fruit away from the core or you manhandle your way into cutting through the core and you cut it away after.  This little gadget does away with the core all together.

Pick a nice large one with lots of leaves.  You can smell a good one by sniffing its bottom.  If it smells nice and fruity then it’s good.  You can leave less aromatic ones to ripen on the counter for a few days.  And in my experience, a wee bit of mould at the bottom is okay.

Simply cut off the top and bottom of your pineapple and set it in a pan to catch the juice.  You can leave the bottom on if you want to use the shell for something decorative but it’s a neater job if you cut it off.

Put the corer on top and start twisting it like a corkscrew.  The jagged teeth will bite in a circle around the core.

You can see the pineapple fruit start to feed itself through the little hole as you twist it further and further into the fruit.

The juice will start to bubble up around your cuts.  This is why you have the pan.

Keep twisting until you break through the bottom.

Lift the corer out of the pineapple shell.  It’ll make a lot of revolting sucking sounds.  It’s great.

The fruit has been cored and already sliced in a nice spiral for you.

You can just pop the handle off the corer.

Tip the corer upside down to get your spiral off.

Push the core out with your thumbs into the compost.  And you can drink all the juice you produced.

GENIUS.