Chinese pork lettuce cups



I thought I’d share with you another recipe from my column that I did a couple of months back. This dish has been in my life for a long time and I always make these for many different occasions.  I even make them for just a snack, they are that moorish!

  So, I think the earliest memory of me having a version of this dish, must have been when I was only about 4 years old. But back then, they would wrap it all up in a large lettuce leaf. It is quite a retro dish for these days but I have come up with a version that I feel never dates or fails.

  The sauce is something I have been having for years with these, noodle soups and Chinese dumplings so I thought I’d share that with you too. When you drizzle that sauce on top, it will give it a real kick.
  I love serving these little cups when entertaining, they always look great served up on trays for people and they always seem to get an “ooh” when they come round. You can also use this recipe for a starter one night, a light Lunch or even on a Chinese banquet as my “Chinese nights” always seem to end up as! 
  They are very quick to prepare and they don’t break the bank to buy the ingredients either. 
  Lately I’ve being seeing a lot of Pork mince reduced so if you aren’t sure what to do with it, buy it and fear no longer.



Chinese pork lettuce cups:







Ingredients:
–   1 tbsp of Rapeseed oil or you can use, sunflower or groundnut oil
  • Pork mince 35og will make about 12 cups
  • Half a green chilli chopped finely
  • 4 Spring onions, half of pork mix, half for garnishing
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice blend ( I use Spice Kitchen )
  • 1 tbsp of Light soy sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • small grating of fresh Ginger (about a small thumbnail amount)
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces
  • For the garnish: Thinly sliced cucumber 
                                      Thinly sliced Spring onion
                                      Thinly sliced carrot (julienned)
                                     Handful of fresh chopped coriander
                                      Red chilli chopped finely

                                                                           

Hot Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp of Sriracha sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong)
  • 1 tbsp of malt vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Tomato ketchup
  •  1 tbsp light soy sauce 
  • sprinkle of chilli flakes ( put more if you want it hotter )
  • sprinkle of caster sugar
N.B If you find the sauce is too tangy, sometimes I add 1/2 tbsp Oyster sauce to this also.




Method:
  • In a wok or a frying pan start to fry off the spring onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for only a minute.
  • Add your pork mince and stir for a couple of minutes breaking up all clumps of the meat.
  • As your pork mince is starting to turn brown, add in your Chinese five spice and again, stir for a couple of minutes
  • Add in your soy sauce, stir and when your Pork is cooked, turn your heat down just to keep warm.
*  Assemble your Pork mince into the lettuce cups, garnish and serve with your sauce.







Chinese steamed Sea bass with Stir Fried Greens for Food Friday on BBC Leicester


One thing that I get asked a lot by people, especially Mums with children (Teenagers more) is how to create take away favourites at home.  If I am not mistaken, I do believe we are calling this a “Fake-away” .  I have always cooked Takeaway favourites at home particularly Chinese dishes for many reasons: 1, Healthier. 2, It’s being Frugal. 3, you know exactly what is in your food and 4, you can get the Children involved with you in preparing it.  I could go on. 
  So last Friday was my Slot for doing my regular Food Friday programme with Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester.  I felt that I wanted to do a “Fake-away”dish that is super Healthy, Super quick and also fairly Cheap… Well it’s certainly cheaper than picking up the Phone and ordering a banquet! 
  It’s also January, you may want to loose a few pounds? Or just changing the way you eat? Get some more Fish into your Diet? It was Friday after all, so a healthier Fish Friday! 

   I felt I should share a dish I regularly cook for myself.  It has hardly any ingredients in it but is PACKED FULL of flavour. Plus this style of cooking is so easy to do and such a great interacting dish, by if you put this in the middle of the table, you can all get stuck in. It’s a great dish to do for an intimate dinner also where you just do not want to spend all night slaving over the stove, if you know what I mean! 
  Even though it may not look spectacular, it has been a real hit so far. Listen here to hear Myself showing Ben how to do this Quick, Simple, healthy dish.
  
By the way, Ben couldn’t wait to dive in as you can see by the pictures as I haven’t one with all the fish intact! Sorry! 

Chinese Steamed Sea bass with Stir fried Greens


Ingredients:

(For the Sea Bass)

–  1 whole Sea bass or Sea Bream
–  3 inch piece of Fresh Ginger Julienned (Sliced finely length ways)
–  5 spring Onions julienned (sliced Length ways)

(For the dressing)

–  2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce (I used one specifically for Seafood) (I buy all my sauces from my local Chinese Supermarket Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)
–  2 Tbsp Dry Sherry ( I used Pedro Ximenex )
–  Juice of 1 clementine or half an Orange
–  2 Tbsp of Water

(For the Sir Fry Veg)

–  2 tsp Raw Organic Coconut oil ( I use Lucy Bee )or another oil you have but Coconut will add extra flavour
–  5-6 Leaves of Pak Choi
–  3 inch piece of cucumber Sliced length ways 
–  approximately 10 sugar snap peas Sliced Length ways
–  2 cloves of Garlic sliced (Chopped Roughly)
–  1/2 Red chilli Diced finely 
–  2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce ( Wang fung Hong )
–  1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce ( Wang fung Hong)
–  2 Tbsp Water
– Pinch of caster Sugar

Method:

–  Preheat your Oven on a warming setting, about 100c

–  Take a Large Wok and fill with approximately 1/4 Litre of water and place a grid of some kind so you can place a plate on top or if you have a bamboo steamer…Even better! 

–  Turn the heat up high so your water will start to boil but not too Rapid.

–  Put in Half of your sliced Ginger and Spring onions into the cavity of the fish, score diagonal lines through the skin of the fish, about 4 but making sure you don’t go too deep.

–  Place the fish onto your Plate or Steamer and cover with a lid or in my case I used another Wok. Steam for about 10 minutes.

–  After 10 minutes place the rest of your Spring Onions and ginger on top and half of your dressing over the fish. Continue to stem for a further 5 minutes.

–  Once cooked and the flesh will just flake away, place into the oven on a large serving dish with the dressing, veg and juices to keep warm.

–  In the meantime Stir fry your veg in the Coconut oil and as the veg starts to cook down after a couple of minutes add your sauces, water and sugar.

–  Serve as it is on large dishes so people can dive in and you could also serve some Noodles and Boiled Rice if you wish.





French Onion Soup (East meets West) style



When I was given the details for this Development Project for Lee Kum Kee, I thought of this recipe first, not sure how? Just I suppose I think that way and wanted to start with something fairly simple.  I believe I thought of a way in which the earthiness of the Oyster sauce and soy would work together well in which a traditional French soup has that strong  flavour.  I wanted this to be Sweet, yet powerful. 
   I would like to add that this Soup may look like you can eat tonnes of it, but do believe me, with all the flavours and Croutons, it is very filling!  This is why I feel this recipe goes to 4 people. 
  I imagine coming home from a cold hard day, need to use up an old, slightly crusty baguette and a bit of cheese in the fridge…Get that bubbling away while you’re in the bath and Bloody great stuff!  You’ve got yourself a filling, slightly different soup/meal.




French Onion Soup with Giant Garlic Cheese Croutons:



Ingredients:

(Serves 4) 

Soup:

–  3 onions sliced
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed or Olive oil
–  A good Knob of Unsalted Butter (40g)
–  Pinch of Caster Sugar
–  1 Heaped Tbsp of Plain Flour
–  150 ml of dry white wine
–  0.75 litres of Beef stock (1 1/2 cubes)
–  1 Bay Leaf
–  A very Small Sprig of Fresh Thyme
–  Cracked Black Pepper
–  2 heaped Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Oyster sauce 
–  1 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Double deluxe Soy Sauce
–  Fresh Parsley chopped to serve

Giant Croutons:

–  A day old Baguette
–  2 Garlic Cloves
–  Grated Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese Or Gruyere 


Method:

–  In a Large Saucepan, (Heavy bottomed if possible) fry off the sliced onions in butter 
and add the glug of oil to Soften over a low to medium heat.

–  Once the Onions have softened, Add the Sugar to help the onions Caramelise.

–  When the Onions are more Sticky and golden in colour then add your flour and coat.

–  Then add the White Wine, Beef Stock, Bay Leaf, Sprig of Thyme and some Cracked Black Pepper. Partially Cover and Simmer for about 20 minutes. Checking in between if you need to top up with a little extra water.

–  After 20 minutes add the Oyster Sauce and Soy sauce and repeat for a further 20 minutes.

– Just before the Soup is ready, preheat your Oven to 180c. Place some sliced Baguettes into the hot oven for about 3 minutes. Take out. Rub some fresh garlic clove onto the bread. Cover with grated cheese and cook for a further 3 mins or until melted.

– Serve the soup with chopped fresh parsley and the Giant Croutons.

*Note* –  This Soup should Taste Sweet yet Earthy and deep from the Oyster sauce, beef stock and Soy sauce.  If it needs Salt, add extra Soy sauce. You can always add a little more   sugar also if you want it sweeter.






Hot Smoked Salmon Salad (East Meets West)



Carrying on from My last Post, this is the next Recipe that I want to share with you in my “East Meets West” Recipe development project for Lee Kum Kee. 
  At the time when this was done, Jersey Royal Potatoes were in season along with the watercress and peas. The summer was on its way, the sun was shining and this salad just blew my partner and myself away!
  It’s not an overly complicated salad at all with hardly any ingredients to it, but that dressing with the Salmon, potatoes and Watercress really made it “Sing”! I feel that this is a great Salad to serve if you have people coming round, especially in Spring/Summer time. Not much cooking, but will certainly give your guests something to talk about! You could also reduce the portion down and serve as a starter.
  Who would have thought that these certain ingredients would be put together and to create an amazing Sexy Salad like this?
  I was so pleased with this recipe and will always use this in future. It’s making me want to eat it now!




Hot Smoked Salmon, Jersey Royal and Watercress Salad with an Orange and Teriyaki Dressing:

Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Salad:

–  Approximately 7 Jersey Royal Potatoes (Or New Potatoes) 250g
–  25g of Baby Leaf Spinach 
–  25g of Watercress
–  75g of Frozen Petit Pois defrosted or could use fresh Peas
–  100g of Cooked Hot Smoked Salmon Flakes

Dressing:

–  2 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Teriyaki sauce
–  A drizzle of Clear Honey 
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil
–  The juice of half an Orange or Half if large
–  1 Tsp of Cider Vinegar
–  Cracked black Pepper to season


Method:

–  Boil the Potatoes until starting to soften

–  Drain the Potatoes and allow them to Air dry

– Wash all Salad and Peas and Arrange accordingly on your serving plate

–  Place the Potatoes on when cooled along with the salmon

–  Mix all dressing ingredients together, drizzle on top and serve.







Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus (East Meets West)


Some time back, ooh a few months ago now, I was approached by the Chinese company Lee Kum Kee to do some recipe development Work for them.  I am always passionate about Oriental and Asian food in general so I was keen to know what they wanted.  They wanted me to help out with Recipes regarding an “East meets West” Theme. Something that would later go into a Cookbook, some neck tags and any other promotional material regarding this.  I love a good task on hand and felt that this would challenge me, as my first thought was you should never “fusion” things too much? Surprisingly,  I was proved wrong, in this case anyway…by myself! 
  I don’t normally show much of my Recipe development work but I feel this is very interesting to see how Chinese sauces can be mixed with another cuisine. I won’t post all of them, just the ones I feel stood out the most.  Now, because this was a few months back, some ingredients may not be in season anymore, but certainly squash was a good starter point as, well we see a lot of those in October hey?! 
  You will see a few of these recipes of mine “pop” up so I will put in brackets (East Meets West) so you will know it is from this Project.



Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus:


Ingredients:

–  1/2 Butternut Squash copped into inch squares
–  2 Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil
–  1  Garlic Bulb split through the middle to create 2 halves to roast.
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed Oil
–  200g of Tinned Chick Peas
–  1 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
–  A squirt of Lemon Juice (Fresh)
–  1 Tsp of Ground Cumin
–  Salt and Pepper to season
–  Fresh Coriander for Serving

Method:

–  Preheat your oven to 190c.

– Place the Butternut Squash into a baking tray and drizzle over the Chilli oil. Place next to it (in foil) the Garlic bulb in two halves, drizzle over with Rapeseed oil, close up like a Parcel and Roast both in the oven for 20 minutes or until soft.

–  Allow the Squash and the Garlic to cool.

–  Squeeze out half of the garlic cloves into a Blender or Processor along with the Butternut squash.

–  Add the rest of the ingredients and Blitz to a smooth Paste. You may need to add a touch  more lemon juice, salt or oil to get the correct consistency.

–  Serve with some Warm Pitta Breads, an extra drizzle of Sesame oil and fresh Coriander on the Hummus. (You could even try my Flatbread recipe which is under my Spiced Moroccan soup recipe)