Tuesday 13 December 2011

Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)

This is my all-time favorite Vietnamese dish. I scour every city I am in to find an equivalent that matches the dish I love. I decided I was going to give it a go and try it myself. I took a recipe I read an adapted it to what I wanted in my dish. It’s a pretty time consuming dish so make sure you have some time to devote to it. The results are well worth it. This serves 2.

250-300g (½ lb.) pork shoulder or rump. (The cheap frying steaks)
4 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 chillies
1 lime
3 carrots
1 tbsp. jarred lemon grass
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
Iceberg lettuce finely shredded
1 cucumber
Coriander (handful)
Mint (handful)
Crushed peanuts
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
Fish Sauce for serving (recipe follows)

To start:
Put your pork in the freezer for 30 minutes for easy thin slicing.
Finely slice carrot into strips or grate, shred lettuce, chop up coriander, mint and finely slice cucumber into strips. (Set aside).
Dice spring onions, garlic, chilli peppers.

When the pork is firm to the touch in the freezer, slice it as thinly as you can and place in a large bowl.
To the bowl add spring onions, garlic, chili peppers, lemon grass, sugar fish sauce lime juice marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.

To Continue:

While that is marinating, bring a large pot of water to boil.
Blanch the carrots in the water and take out and place in ice water, being careful to save the water (Blanch means to lightly cook for a short period of time). In and out.
Put the vermicelli noodles into a large bowl and pour the boiling liquid over and sit for about 10 minutes until plumped.

To cook:

Heat a pan with the oil until the oil is smoking. (I prefer using a cast iron skillet for this)
Take the marinated meat and flash fry in the pan for about 5-8 minutes until the color is a charred type rustic grilled color. (There might be a lot of water you have to burn off before this)

To Serve:

Place the noodles on a plate or large bowl and layer with the coriander, mint, bean sprouts, blanched carrots, and peanuts.
Dress with the fish sauce (recipe below).

Fish Sauce:
I make this in a plastic seal tight container so that I can keep the extra. I kept this recipe exactly as I read it online as I really love the sauce and wanted it to be authentic.


¼ c. water
¼ c. fish sauce
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 garlic clove crushed
1 chili pepper sliced in rounds
1 carrot shredded or finely sliced

To Make:
Mix together all of the ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved.
You can adjust sugar and lime juice as needed to even out the flavor.
Make before you make your meal so the flavors can melt together.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Salsa Especial de Regina (Regina's Salsa)

I love this salsa. I make a varied edition about twice a month but this is the basic recipe. I use it on everything but mostly we pile it on breakfast tacos, eggs, fajitas, enchiladas, beans etc...

2 desired chilli peppers ( you can use any kind you want)
½ onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes (no Italian or any other flavor)
Handful cilantro/coriander (optional)
½ tsp. Pepper
Salt to taste

To cook:
Boil the chillies, onion and garlic in a shallow pan with water covering them.
Boil on a med-low heat until most of the water is evaporated and the chillies are soft.
You can either use a hand blender or a food processor.
Combine the boiled chillies with the tomatoes and blend lightly or to desired thickness (Add a handful of coriander/cilantro at this point).
Salt and pepper as needed.
I keep mine in old jars and it’s better the next day! Lasts about 2 weeks.

Friday 2 December 2011

Bisquick Banana Bread

This is the simplest and most delicious banana bread I have ever made and have always stuck with this recipe. This recipe makes one loaf but easily doubled for two.

1 ½ c. mashed banana (2-3 bananas ripe)
2 1/3 c. Bisquick baking mix (If in the UK Betty Crocker bisquick baking mix is the exact same thing)
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. vegetable oil
½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts

To start:

Mash Bananas in a large bowl.
Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil in next and combine.
Next incorporate the baking mix.
Then the nuts.

To Cook:
Heat an oven to 180C or 350F and bake in a greased loaf tin for 35-1hr depending on oven.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon

I had never eaten Brussels sprouts before coming to the UK, but I hear they’re a bit part of the holiday season. I imagined that they would taste very bitter if boiled, so I wanted to try them differently for the first time and roast them. I absolutely think they’re the most delicious things I could possibly roast besides roasted beet root. This dish makes a great side to roast dishes along with any meat. My recipe serves 2-4. (I browned mine just a bit too much!)

250g Brussels sprouts, cleaned and tatty leaves taken off
4 turkey bacon slices (regular bacon is fine)
½ onion
2 cloves garlic
Oil for roasting
Salt and pepper

To Start:
Dice the onion, bacon and garlic.
In a skillet heat some oil and fry the onion, bacon and garlic until caramelized.
Set aside once done.

For the sprouts:
Heat an oven to 200C or 400F.
Place the cleaned sprouts on a foil lined baking tray.
Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.
Mix with your fingers until all is coated with oil.
Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden.
Remove and combine with the bacon mixture in a bowl and serve hot.