Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pork with Mushrooms

Look for dried cloud ear mushrooms in Asian or Oriental food shops for this simple stir-fry. Or if preferred, use other dried mushrooms instead. Recipe serves 4.


1 ounce (30 g) dried cloud ear mushrooms or other dried mushrooms
Boiling water
1 pound (500 g) pork fillet
Salt to taste
Freshly milled black pepper to taste
4 teaspoons cornflour
5 ounces (155 g) fresh spinach leaves
5 ounces (155 g) fresh bean sprouts
1 medium onion
1/2 ounce (15 g) fresh chives
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sunflower or corn oil
1 tablespoon blanched almonds, cut into slivers


1. Rinse mushrooms. Put into bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 30 minutes to soak. Tip into sieve. Rinse under cold, running water. Drain thoroughly and cut into small pieces.
2. Cut pork into 1/2 inch (1 cm) strips across the grain. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cornflour and rub well into flesh with fingers.
3. Wash spinach leaves thoroughly to remove grit. Drain well and tear leaves into strips.
4. Rinse bean sprouts under cold, running water. Drain.
5. Peel and finely chop onion. Snip chives into small pieces with kitchen scissors.
6. Mix remaining cornflour with soy sauce, vinegar and stock in small bowl until smooth.
7. Heat oil in wok until very hot, but not smoking. Add pork. Stir-fry briskly for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Add almonds. Stir-fry with pork for further 1 minute. Remove pork and almonds from wok with ladle and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
8. Add onion, spinach, bean sprouts and mushrooms to remaining oil in wok. Stir-fry over moderate heat for 4 minutes. Return pork and almonds to wok. Add cornflour mixture and bring to boil, stir-frying continuously. Simmer for 2 minutes over low heat. Mix in chives. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with rice or pasta.

Light Lemon Muffins

A light touch in mixing these easy citrus fruit-flavored muffins helps give a delicious result. Recipe makes 12 muffins.


2 cups self-rising (raising) flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 ounces (60 g) unsalted butter
200 g natural yogurt or lemon-flavored yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup honey
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
8 teaspoons demerara sugar, to sprinkle


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin tray with melted butter.
2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar.
3. Put the butter in a saucepan and melt over a low heat. Remove from the heat and beat in the yogurt, milk, egg, honey, lemon rind and juice.
4. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Stir together quickly with a fork - about 16 stirs - until just combined. Do not over mix or the muffins will be heavy.
5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared muffin cups, filling each almost to the top. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch. Allow the muffins to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.

Tip: To make turning out the muffins easier, line the muffin tins with large paper muffin cases.

Sauteed Radishes

The red and white coloring of the vegetables make this a spectacular side dish. Try to select fresh, evenly sized radishes. Recipe serves 6.


2 tablespoons butter
24 radishes
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Ground black pepper to taste


1. Melt butter in a fry pan. Add radishes and mix to coat in butter. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add sugar and vinegar and stir. Cook 5-10 minutes depending on size.
3. Season with pepper, add basil and dill. Mix and serve.