Monday, August 18, 2014

Pulled Pork Fajitas


I love pork, but I'd never cooked pulled pork. It seemed a bit hard. I would read everyone's facebook posts about pulled pork and I'd think, Gee those people are clever! Then one day, I woke up determined to cook some pulled pork by jinkies! If I failed, then I would never speak of it again. So I did some internet research (leaning heavily on this), came up with my own recipe, and guess what? It came out alright! It was delicious! Yay!

Besides being delicious, the best part is that it cooks in the slow cooker all day, and you just pull a few easy things together in the half hour before dinner. Then everyone can build their own fajita at the table! I've left chili out of the rub to suit small children in my house, feel free to include as much as you like.


Pulled Pork
Ingredients

  • about 2 kg of pork shoulder, in one piece. 
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Rub ingredients
    • I tablespoon of fennel seeds
    • half a tablespoon of peppercorns
    • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
    • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
    • 4 cloves of garlic
  • BBQ sauce ingredients
    • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
    • 4 tablespoons of molasses (or use brown sugar if you like)
    • 1 tablespoon of horseradish (or hot mustard, or chili)


Method
  • First, lets action the pork. Cut the skin off, place it in a small baking dish lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil, cover and refrigerate until later. You could put it in the freezer for extra crackling when you next cook roast pork, but I couldn't deprive my youngest child from adding pork skin to his fajita. He has a crackling deficiency. #true
  • Use a mortar and pestle to grind all of the rub ingredients into a paste, chop the garlic a bit first to make it easier on yourself. It won't be a smooth paste, but amalgamate it as much as you can and it will soften in the cooking, I promise. 
  • Before you massage the rub into your pork, flash fry the pork in a fry pan using a little bit of olive oil; then after it has cooled a little, rub the rub (heh) into the pork, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. It sounds weird to do it this way, but if you put the rub on first it would burn in the fry pan, and we don't want that.
  • Put the pork into the slow cooker. Pour the vinegar over the top, put the lid on and set it to low. Cook for about 5 hours or so.
  • 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, lift the pork out of the slow cooker (it will fall apart at this stage, so be careful!) Leave it to rest under a blanket of foil, and a tea towel. When you are ready to eat, use two forks to shred the meat. It will be easy! The hardest thing about doing this is stopping yourself from shoveling it in your mouth. (What, just me?)


BBQ Sauce
  • Pour the pork juices into a saucepan with the remaining sauce ingredients, stir over high heat until the sauce is reduced. Taste test - you might want to adjust seasonings. When ready, pour some over the shredded pork and put the rest in a jug for the table.


Other Fajita ingredients for the table
  • The crackling! Go back in time about an hour and whack it into a very hot oven, then cut into strips and place in it's own dish on the table. 
  • Simple Coleslaw. Its traditional and the clean crunchiness is a nice contrast to the rich pork. Finely shred some cabbage, carrot, and cucumber and toss into a bowl. Sprinkle with some rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar) and a little oil.
  • Pico de Gallo! Chopped tomatoes, green onions, red onions, coriander, parsley, minced chili, a pinch of salt, the juice of 1 large lemon and a glug of oil. Combine in a bowl and rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. Actually, this is nice just with corn chips.
  • Whole lettuce leaves to use as a waterproof liner on the fajitas and stop them going soggy.
  • PLUS grated cheddar, sour cream, Srirarcha or other chili sauce of your choice, fajita bread warmed in the oven, sliced, perfectly ripe avocado, plenty of napkins.......

NOM. I've read recipes that say there will be leftovers but seriously? No such thing this time. Hope you love this as much as we did! 

xx



Monday, August 11, 2014

Silky Sweet Eggplant with Pork

I've tried so hard to like eggplant, but our interactions have always been a bitter experience. I've tried different sizes and colours, I've tried them cooked a variety of ways, I've cooked them so fresh they where in the vegetable garden that morning. I've tried them cooked by other people! I had almost given up when I spotted the idea for this on facebook, and I thought 'Eggplant, this is your last chance.' It must have heard me, because this particular dish is delicious. 




 Silky Sweet Eggplant with Pork

Ingredients

  • 1 large purple eggplant, cut into pieces about 1cm x 2cm, salted well and left to drain away the bitterness for an hour.
  • 500g of pork mince
  • a glug of olive oil (a few tablespoons)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • About 3 large tablespoons of Kecap Manis
  • A big handful of chopped coriander, parsley or spring onions to garnish.

Method
  • Rinse and drain the salted eggplant, dry roughly in a tea towel or paper towels.
  • Saute in a large pan with the olive oil until a little golden on most sides. 
  • Add the mince and continue stirring over high heat until all the mince is browned.
  • Add the ginger, kecap manis and chicken stock, stir well and simmer over low - medium heat for about 1 hour, until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked and soft. 
  • Serve topped with the coriander, parsley or spring onions. 

I didn't have any greenery to put on top, and I was sad! I think coriander would go particularly well with this, and it sort of needs something pretty for the top. The eggplant is still it's bitey self but the long slow simmer has tamed it's bitterness very well, and the kecap manis has helped it become sweet and moreish.

Good effort Eggplant, I think we are going to get along after all.

xx




Monday, August 4, 2014

Passionfruit cupcakes with passionfruit curd.

My Mother in Law came to stay in the holidays, and bought a bounty of passionfruit from her garden. She has a bit of a sweet tooth, so we had a bit of a passion fruit festival for afternoon tea! Feel free to use your favourite vanilla cupcake recipe, or even a packet one; just mix in 1 cup of fresh passionfruit pulp.



Passionfruit Cupcakes with Passionfruit Curd


Passionfruit Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • half a teaspoon of bicarb soda
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder
  • half a cup of milk
  • 1 cup of passionfruit pulp
  • Thick cream to serve

Method
  • In a food processor or cake mixer, (or by hand if you are strong and brave) mix the butter, sugar and vanilla essence together until smooth and creamy looking. 
  • Mix in the eggs, combine well.
  • Mix in the milk, combine well. 
  • Mix the flour, bicarb and baking powder separately then mix into the butter/sugar/egg combo. (If you cannot be fussed with this, just use self raising flour instead. Adding this ratio of bicarb and baking powder to plain flour turns it into SR flour. I like to do it myself because sometimes the SR flour has sat on the shelf for a while and isn't so SR any more) 
  • Finally, stir in the passionfruit pulp, seeds and all. 
  • Place equally into lined cupcake tins (recipe makes 24 min cupcakes or 12 regular) and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the top is lightly golden and springs back when you press it with your finger.
  • Place on a rack to cool.



Passionfruit Curd

Ingredients
  • 125g butter
  • 3/4 cup of castor sugar
  • 1 cup of passionfruit pulp
  • 4 egg yolks

Method
  • Combine everything in a saucepan over low heat and stir constantly for 10 minutes or so until thickened. Place in an air tight container and refrigerate until cool. It's like Lemon Curd, but not, and it wont keep as long. Eat within 4 days at the most.


Assembly
  • Use a spoon to divot a round wedge out of the top of each cake, making the cupcake into a small cup. Don't hollow it out completely, just enough for a dollop of curds and cream.
  • Dollop in a spoon of passionfruit curd.
  • Dollop in a spoon of cream.
  • Dollop a spoon of passionfruit curd over that.
  • Put the lid of the cake back on.
  • Arrange on a serving plate. If you want to be fancy (and you are cooking for your mother in law, so go for it) sprinkle with powdered sugar and decorate with a few edible flowers.


I think this curd would be delicious on banana bread, but it was eaten very quickly (I suspect from the container with a spoon) so I guess I'll just have to make another batch to find out.....

xx


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