Saturday, June 1, 2013

Winning Recipes

After reading and writing, my next big love is cooking.  I enjoy spending up in the kitchen concocting all kinds of tasty dishes but I seldom work from recipes as I experiment with what I find in my grocery cupboard.  Nothing is carefully measured but somehow it all works.  So when people ask me for my recipes I really have to give it a lot of thought and consciously try and remember what I've put in,  Recently, I've been asked for my sweet and sour pork and butternut soup recipes, so here we go!
Sweet and Sour Pork (have used this with peeled prawns/shrimps and chicken)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 and 1/3 cup stock (water with a stock cube in)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons tomato sauce/ketchup
1 finely chopped onion
1 carrot sliced into julienne strips
a half a green or red capsicum or mixture of both, chopped into small blocks
ginger and garlic to taste
a dash of chilli
4 teaspoons cornstarch mixed to a thin paste with a little water
Put everything in a pot except the cornstarch paste, and bring to the boil stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the cornstarch paste.  Keep stirring until it has the desired thickness.
4 eggs
1 cup apple cider
2 cups flour
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together, as easy as that.  I put some cornstarch in a container with a lid, drop the meat pieces in that first and shake it so they meat is coated with cornstarch, before I dip the meat in the batter.  I use chopsticks to hold the meat when dipping into the batter.
Preparing the meat
If using shrimps keep them whole.  Chicken or pork dice into bite-sized cubes.  I marinate them for a little bit in a mixture of 2 tablespoons apple cider, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and a pinch of ginger, garlic and chilli.
Fry the batter dipped meat cubes, cover with some sweet and sour sauce and serve on a bed of rice.
Butternut Soup
1 finely chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 teaspons finely grated ginger or ginger powder
1 finely chopped chilli
Oil to coat bottom of pot
4 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled de-pipped and cubed
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup plain yoghurt
Salt and coarse black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon thyme
Coat bottom of pot with oil and saute onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and butternut.  Sprinkle on the sugar and caramelise.  Add the stock and simmer for about half an hour until the butternut is soft.  Puree the butternut/stock mixture in a blender.  Put the puree back into the pot and add the orange juice, yoghurt, curry powder, nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper.  Bring back to the boil.  Reduce heat and serve.  Enjoy!
Cindy Vine is the author of Defective, C U @ 8 and the children's picture book The Midnight Mouse.  All books are available as paperbacks or on Kindle.

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