Author Archives: veronikaskitchen

Roast (spiced) pumpkin soup.

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Autumn is here and blazing, so I figuered out it was time to stop neglecting my blog, and make a lovely,harty soup! And what vegetable just screams ‘’autumn’’ to you? You’re right, it’s pumpkin. So today we’ll make a lovely roast pumpkin soup. It’s loaded with heart-warming spices, it’s thick and you’ll love it,because it’s just oh-so easy to make! Just cut everything up and let the oven do the hard work. 😉 let’s get started!

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You will need:

1 pumpkin, I used hokkaido but you can use f/e butternut squash, seeds removed,skin ON,cut into chunks. – about 1,2kilos of pumpkin

3 onions, cut into rough pieces

5 cloves of garlic, skins ON.

3 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of honey

2 tbsp of creme fraiche

Dried thyme

Cayenne pepper or chili powder

Paprika powder

Cumin powder

Curry powder

Chicken stock – or vegetable if you’re vegetarian

Salt

Pepper

Parsley to decorate

2-3tbsp of water

And whatever you want to serve it with: f/e croutons etc.

Step 1:

Take your pumpkin chinks,onions and garlic, chuck it into a baking tray, add your oil,honey, ½ tsp of dried thyme, ½ tsp of cumin powder, 1 tsp of paprika powder, ½ tsp of cayenne(or more if you wish) , ½ heaped tsp of curry powder, season generously with salt and pepper,add the water  then mix with your hands and pop it into a preheated oven, 180C hot air setting for about 45min or until it’s nicely baked, golden brown and carmelised on the edges!

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Step 2:

When it’s all nice and baked, take it out of the oven and let it cool until it’s cool enough to handle. Take the garlic cloves out and squeeze the lovely baked garlic flesh out of the skin and into the baking tray. Discard the skins.

Step 3:

Tip everything that’s in the baking tray into a pot,add your hot chicken stock (use it gradually or the soup might be too thin,best to add about half to begin with,blend it and decide if you need more). For a whole pumpkin like hokkaido I used about 1l of stock).

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Blend everything until smooth. You can now regulate the thickness of your soup by adding some more stock. Blend until you like how smooth it is,some like it chunky,some like it silky-you can also pass the soup through a sieve to remove all the chunks and have wonderfully silky soup. (I sometimes do if I can be bothered that day! 😉 )

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Step 4:

Add your creme fraiche and mix through well, heat the soup up on a stove top and most importantly – TASTE IT! If it needs more salt,pepper or spice,now is the time to add it.There’s nothing worse than bland soup, so take care of it 😉

Serve hot,with some additional creme fraiche if you’d like,some parsley and I like to add a sprinkling of chili powder,just for the kicks 😉

The flavours marry perfectly and it’s a true match made in heaven. Sweet pumpkin,salty chicken stock,the kick from the spices and sour creme fraiche. Autumn perfection in a bowl! Gotta give it a try. Enjoy!

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Fast Food at home:Healthier,tastier options. BLT cheeseburgers,oven fries and fish&chips with tartar sauce.

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Sometimes only fast food will do…but it’s not exactly lean cuisine..it’s expensive and most of the time You don’t really know what they put in..which can make you doubt whether it’s quality ingredients..or if you’re getting the right value for your money.

So, I came up with three ideas,for this little segment, you can make at home easily. They’re healthier,better quality,lower in fat and SURELY they taste better 😉 hope you like them!

  • My first idea: BLT cheeseburgers.

Those babies are really easy to make and make for a really quick mid-week dinner. For four burgers you will need:

-500g of lean beef mince

– 9-12 slices of bacon

-8 slices of tomato

-4 big pieces of lettuce, f/e iceberg

– 4 slices of cheese, I love Comté cheese,but use any type you like: gouda,cheddar,blue cheese,it’s up to youJ

-4 burger buns

– salt,pepper,cayenne,hot mustard (f/e dijon) , ketchup, light mayo, smokey bbq sauce, liquid smoke(optional) maggi.

So what you need to do is preheat your oven so you can toast the buns off! (sounds fun,doesn’t it?;-)). I do it for about 10min,170C fan,I cut the buns in half and place them cut side down on a lined tray.

In the meantime take your mince,season with salt,pepper,a bit of maggi to taste,2-3tbsp of ketchup, 2-3 tsp of hot mustard,1tsp of liquid smoke(gives an amazing bbq flavour to it).Add cayenne and 1-2tbsp of smokey bbq sauce. Mix well and portion into four even burgers,about 3cm thick.

Your buns are toasting,your burgers are ready,slice your tomatoes,wash your lettuce,slice your cheese to have everything on the go and ready.

In a dry pan fry off your bacon till nice and crispy,take it out onto a plate and rest.DO NOT REMOVE THE BACON FAT. We will fry our burgers in it,which will make for an amazing smokey flavour.

Bring it up to heat then pop your burgers into the hot pan and fry until nice and charred on the outside and cooked through the way you like it. They won’t take long to cook,once you flip them on the other side,place cheese slice on top to melt,while the other side is cooking 😉

When everything is ready, take your toasted buns,smear some ketchup on the bottom bun, then bacon and lettuce.Your burger and tomato come next.. as some mayo on the top bun! And that’s it. I pinned the burgers together with a skewer for more stability..they’re delicious and juice and the smokey flavour comes through incredibly. You HAVE TO try them. Enough said.

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  • FRIES!

Fries are delicious but deep frying doesn’t make for the healthiest foods. I made this version and we immediately fell in love with it, they’re very easy to make..they’re not soggy at all,spicy in flavour,crispy..and perfect to go with your burgers 😉

For 4 portions you will need:

-8 large,oval potatotes,peeled and cut into wedges

– salt,garlic powder,paprika powder,pepper and cayenne.

– 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil.

Bring a large pan with a generous amount of water to boil,salt it very well to taste and cook your potato wedges for about 5min before draining and cooling them completely. Preheat your oven to 190C in the meantime..

Take your cool potato wedges,season again with salt,pepper,garlic powder,paprika powder and cayenne.Add the oil and mix with your hands. Place evenly on a baking tray,lined with baking paper and bake until golden and crispy (about 40 min).

What I like to serve them with is a garlic yoghurt and sour cream dip,which I make by mixing even amounts of sour cream and greek yoghurt..I season with salt,pepper and some garlic powder and mix 😉 hope you like them!

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  • Fish & Chips..With tartar sauce.

Now that’s a classic I just had to make! I used store bought fries here,which makes this dinner really simple..and because they’re oven baked,they’re really low in fat.As is the fish. You can use any fish you like..cod,tilapia,panga.. w/e you feel like. I used frozen cod fillets which I breaded in flour,egg and breadcrumbs while frozen..and froze them like that.Then You have breaded fish,ready to go in the oven at your conveniance..no defrosting or breading needed anymore.

For 2 portions you will need:

750 g of frozen fries

2 cod fillets (previously breaded)

5-6 gurkins

1 small onion

Fresh or dried dill

Sour cream

Low fat mayo

Salt,pepper.

Once You have your fish done…and its waiting in the oven,you can cook it straight from frozen-in a really hot oven.I take a large baking tray,put my frozen,breaded fish in the middle and drop fries around it in a single layer.No extra oil needed,I just bake it in a preheated oven, 225C fan, for about 35min..in that time the fries are crunchy and the fish is crispy on the outside,cooked through inside and just delicious.

Also,when the fish is baking-I make the tartar sauce by simply throwing gurkins and the onion into a small food processor,for a fine dice.You can do it by hand ofcourse;-)

I chop them finely,before placing the mix in the bowl,seasoning with salt,pepper,adding dill,2 tbsp of mayo, 2 tbsp of sour cream.I mix well and then add about 2-3 tsp of the vinegar from the gurkin jar.

I serve it really simply,with a parsley leaf for decoration..tartar sauce in a nice little dish.Simplicity at its finest..just sprinkling some salt over the fries and the fish..a lemon wedge would be nice too 😉

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Enjoy and get cooking! Just because it looks like fast food and tastes 100times better..doesn’t mean it has to be really unheatlhy or complicated 😉

Passion fruit cheesecake

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I think mostly everyone likes cheesecake. Hot,cold,creamy,fresh,fruity or rich..there’s a version for just about anyone.

This one was a true act of improvisation. Normally I like a baked cheesecake, but I wanted something impressive,sweet,creamy and fast..so I made this cold style version out of all the stuff I had home. It was really nice and simple (delicious too obviously) so I decided to share it here with you.

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For 3 cheesecakes you will need:

200g of cream cheese

50ml of double whisking cream

6 passion fruit (3 for jelly topping, 3 for serving decoration)

Vanilla sugar or vanilla extract

Sugar to taste

2-3 tsp of powder gelatine (or whatever other type you like to use)

2-3 tbsp of butter

Graham crackers for the bottom

Lemon juice

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  • My gelatine needs soaking,so I soaked it in a tiny bit of water before melting it.
  • I scooped out 3 passion fruit into a small pan,added lemon juice and sugar and brought up to a boil.I then added 1 tsp of soaked gelatine powder,turned the gas off and mixed it through until well combined and melted.I set the mixture aside to cool down.
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  • In the meantime I melted the butter , placed my graham crackers (about 4-5 per person) in a food processor and blitzed them with the warm butter until fine crumbs.
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  • I use metal rings for my cheesecake but I also made one in a tea cup, just to show you that you don’t have to have metal rings to make them 😉

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  • The last stage of preparing the cheesecake was mixing (by hand) my cream cheese at room temperature,sugar,vanilla extract and cream.When it was well combined I’ve added the rest of soaked gelatine which I heated up gently in a table spoon of water and let it cool slightly. Mix it very well through the cheese mix and then you’re done!
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  • Now, for the assembly: I placed a portion of the cracker bottom in the rings and in the cup,as seen in the pictures.A portion of the cheese mixture on top , then topped it off with the passion fruit jelly (room temp.)Now all you need to do is put it in the fridge for 1-2hours max and serve it with some fresh passion fruit and you’re done!
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  • And here is the finished product:
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TIP: passion fruit pulp is very seedy and crunchy.I like that and I think it just looks better with the dark specks..You can strain the pulp though and have a clear,yellow jelly instead.

Enjoy!

Kebab style pizza

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Maybe kebab and pizza sound like a weird combination at first, but it’s a really popular combo where I come from.

My favourite pizzeria served it and I couldn’t find anything just as good since I movied abroad.

I’ve tried many pizzas that claimed to be a ‘’kebab style pizza’’, some turkish pizzas even, but they just didn’t cut it. Maybe the one I had as a teenager wasn’t very authentic, but it certainly tasted the best to me. So I’ve decided to replicate it..and replicate it I have. It was amazing and tasted just as I remember it! 😉

I like to use my own pizza base, but you can use a shop bought dough if you don’t feel like making it. I’ll take you through every stage of making this amazing unconventional pizza 😉

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Ingredients for the dough:

300g of plain white flour

8-9g of instant dried yeast

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of sugar

about 350ml of warm water

3 tbsp of olive oil.

toppings:

400g of chicken breast, finely diced

2-3 tsp of curry powder

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of cayenne pepper

salt,pepper to taste

about 150g of shredded cheese f/e gouda

1 ball of mozarella (about 100g)

tomato sauce (I’m using store bought)

extra ingredients:

1-2 tomatoes

1/2 cucumber

1/4 of small iceberg lettuce

4 tbsp of lemon juice

100g of mayo

50g of yoghurt

3 cloves of garlic

extra curry powder

1 tsp of turmeric

salt,pepper

1) Make your dough by placing all your flour in a big bowl, add your salt and olive oil. In a cup or a mug mix your yeast, sugar and warm water. Let the yeast activate by letting them foam up (it will take about 5minutes). Remember that the water musn’t be too hot, just warm, or you’ll kill the yeast.

2) When your yeast is foamed up, add it to the flour and mix with your hand until the dough starts comming together. You may need to add a touch more water or flour, as flour absorbs water differently depending on the weather,day and some other factors. The dough needs to be soft, elastic and springy. I knead mine by hand and it takes me about 15min of kneading before the dough is nice and smooth. (good workout too!). When your dough reaches desired texture, put it into a clean,oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size for about 2 hrs.

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3) while your dough is rising, you can do everything else (Your salad topping, meat for the kebab filling and the garlic sauce).

4) Meat for the kebab topping: dice your chicken pretty small, 2cmx2cm , season with salt,pepper,generous amount of garlic and curry powder.Add cayenne pepper and fry until golden and cooked through,on a minimal amount of oil.When ready,leave to rest while you prepare other things.

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5) combine your mayo,yoghurt,turmeric powder,curry powder,remaining lemon juice. Chop your fresh garlic (or use the garlic press) and add to the mix. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and leave in the fridge so the sauce gets a nice yellowish-golden  colour from the spices.

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6)  remove the seeds from your cucumber and tomatoes. Dice them roughly and place in a bowl, chop your lettuce and add to the vegetables. season with salt,pepper and half the lemon juice. Mix well and place in the fridge so the flavours combine. It might be weird to dress the salad so early on, but that’s how I remember it so that’s how I do it with this pizza topping, and it just works.

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7) Meanwhile your pizza dough should be ready. Preheat your oven to 225-230C on hot air oven function. I preheat it for at least 20min before baking my pizza, which makes for a nice crust and no soggy bottom!;-)

8) take your dough and flatten it on a baking tray lined with baking paper.I don’t use a rolling pin, I just use my hands instead and I always get a nice round shape. You want a nice big pizza, even thickness of the bottom. I also leave an edge of about 1-2 cm ,sort of a rim, which is my guideline as to where to stop smearing the sauce 😉

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9) Take your tomato sauce, if you have home made – great, I use a store bought sauce I really like,it contains some ricotta so it’s mild and creamy, but feel free to use any brand you like the most. I smear all around,trying to be even, leaving the 1-2cm edge sauce-free.

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10) I take my shredded gouda and sprinkle around generously. There’s a common misconception that the cheese should go on top of all your other toppings! well, that’s not true.You can put some additional cheese on top if you want but there should be a generous amount of cheese on the sauce, it will stick all the toppings to the pizza and they won’t slide off like an avalanche when you eat your pizza 😉

11) I place all my chicken pieces on the gouda layer and shred mozarella on top. that’s it! it’s pretty simple. Place your pizza in hot-hot-hot oven and bake until it’s bubbly,crispy,golden and ready. In my oven it takes about 15min for a big pizza, but PLEASE keep an eye on it because every oven bakes a little differently.

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12) When I take my pizza out I like to slice it, serve some garlic sauce over it along with a portion of the salad. It’s delicious, the combo of a fluffy crust, well seasoned meat,gooey cheese, spicy sauce and fresh, crisp veggies is just to die for 😉

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I hope you’re gonna like it! it’s really worth trying out! enjoy!

Ultimate Swedish Meatballs!!! (sorry Ikea)

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I know I say this A LOT, but swedish meatballs are really simple to make. I have been a fan of ikea meatballs for a while now, but I know that they’re not really made of meat.. therefore I have decided to try to make some of my own.
I found a lot of recipes.. some really basic and some weird- with a grated apple in the meat mix.I decided to stick to the basic version at first..and when they came out all delicious and divine, I was sold.
for about 25 meatballs:
500g minced meat (mixed of beef and pork,for some fatyness,otherwise your meatballs will be dry!)
1 medium onion, shredded or finely diced in a food processor.
8-10 slices of simple white toast bread, no crusts!
about 100ml of cold milk
salt,pepper and grated nutmeg
That’s all you need for the meatball mix. Grate or shred the onion in the food processor (that’s what I do), add to the mince meat, then shred the white bread in the processor very finely and also throw into your meat mix. It’s important not to use dried breadcrumbs, they just don’t taste the same.Use fresh white bread. Season to taste with salt and generously with black pepper. I add about 1/3 of grated nutmeg to the mix, then I add the milk and mix very well with my hand. You’ll have a sticky mix that needs to swell in the fridge for at least a couple of hours,preferably overnight. (the bread needs to absorb all the moisture,get all soft and the whole thing just needs to sit together and get really familiar with eachother ;). )
After 3-4 hours minimum, you can use your meat mix. form about 25 walnut sized meatballs , preheat a heavy based skillet with a bit of oil and brown your meatballs evenly.Once they’re all browned , remove from the pan and set aside for now.
Cooking and making the  meatball sauce:
You will need
1-2 tbsp of additional butter
500ml of dark beef stock
3-4 tbsp
salt,pepper,nutmeg
100ml of whipping cream
possibly worcestershire to taste( if you don’t like it leave it out).
Use the oil you have in the pan (some more should come out of the meat when we’re browning the meatballs) to make a dark roux. ( mix of fat and flour that’s been fried off and used to thicken the sauce).
Add the butter into the pan and mix with a wooden spoon,making sure all the carmelised bits and leftover of the meatballs that were in the pan are loose and off the bottom of the skiller. They will flavour the sauce, but we don’t want them to burn.
Once the butter is melted, add your flour and stir it in, keep mixing on a low heat until it gets golden brown and foamy. Don’t let it burn, don’t leave it, just keep stirring 😉
Once your roux is ready, add your beef stock and keep mixing-I like to use a whisk at this stage, it prevents any lumps from forming in the sauce.Keep stirring and heating up the sauce continously until the sauce thickens up. Then season it to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, add the cream , 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce then mix them in well. Add all of your meatballs back into the pan full of sauce, cover them well with sauce,put the lid on, turn the gas onto the lowest possible setting and simmer for about 15 min, or until the meatballs are cooked through. (NOTE: the sauce does need a good grating of nutmeg just to offset the flavours in the meat).
You can serve your meatballs with whatever you like, Ikea serves them with fries, I like them with simply boiled potatoes, cooked in salted water, with some chives or dill over them, the signature ikea meatball lingonberry-sauce (available in their swedish food shop), some little gem lettuce and red cabbage (pickled). Feel free to serve them with whatever you like though 😉
here’s how they looked! enjoy! 😉

 

 

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Jello cake, perfect for kids.

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Jello, or as we call it in polish “galaretka”, is an awesome,awesome thing. It’s sweet,fruity,refreshing, it wobbles..and you can make it out basically anything. Wine,tea,fruit juices,champagne,booze,beer-You name it!

This is a jello cake I made in a bundt cake form (in polish it’s babka form). I used store bought jello powders, mainly because of the intense colours.

This fake-cake serves about 10-12 slices. 

Ingredients:

2 red jellos (I used cherry and strawberry)

4 green jellos ( I used two apple&kiwi  and two gooseberry flavours)

About 50-100ml of cream

About 1-2 g of butter

Red and blue food colouring

Some patience 😉

 

1)      Step one is basically making the jellos. I made them in smaller amount of water than they advised on the packaging. (they said 500ml I used about 400ml,so it sets better and faster.)

2)      I  put the jello powders in separate bowls( all jello powders apart from the 2 gooseberry jellos,those I reserve for later.) cherry and strawberry go into separate bowls, kiwi&apple can go in together,because it’s the same flavour.Add boiling water,mix until the powder is disolved. When the mix is a bit cooler, add half of the cherry jello into a separate bowl, also add half of the kiwi&apple jello into a separate bowl. You should have 5 bowls by now.

3)      Add a few drops of red food colouring into the strawberry jello and make it even more red and intense.

4)      Add a few drops of blue colouring to half of the cherry jello to make it nice and dark blue. Add only a tiny bit of the blue colouring to the remaining cherry jello to make it purple.

5)      Add  a bit of blue to the half of the green jello to make it turqoise, leave the other green jello as it is.

6)      When all the mix is starting to cool significantly,add a splash of cream to all of them,that will make the colours pop and they won’t be see through anymore. Pour all the jellos into separate containers and leave in the fridge to set. The colours will split , because the cream will float to the top,giving you a cool double-effect jello.

7)      When the jellos are setting, mix your remaining two jellos with hot water (about 800ml for both of them), stir until disolved, let it cool,then add a few drops of blue colouring and some cream- that is going to be your jello casing for all the jello pieces, and you want it to be nice colour such as turqoise-aqua green-blue sort of thing.

8)      Remove all your set jellos from the fridge,cut into rough squares or other shapes.

9)      Grease your bundt cake tin with a tiny bit of butter.(I mean TINY!) , place all of your jello cubes in, overlapping the colours,so its nice and psychodelic..then pour over the cooled turqoise jello. Let it set in the fridge overnight.

10)   When you’re ready to serve, just place the tin in a sink full of hot water for about 5 seconds. The jello will slide easily out of the form that way.

 Enjoy!

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Stir fried noodles and marinated pork

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This is something that I honestly just threw together in a hurry, it seemed like a good idea and indeed it was.Full of veggies,full of flavour. After having a taste I knew I had to put it up on my blog.

It’s not authentic chinese, it’s just my interpretation of what a stir fried noodle dish could look like.Feel free to substitute the pork with anything else- sliced steak,pork tenderloin,prawns,fish,minced beef or just keep it vegetarian. It’ll all work well in the end!

 

For 3 generous portions I used:

About 300g of pointy white cabbage,thinly sliced (you can use chinese cabbage-chop it a bit more coarse then.. or regular white cabbage,just slice it very thinly)

1 pointy red pepper, (sweet in flavour) sliced

3 carrots, cut into julienne

1 small leek cut into julienne

1 large onion, cut into half-slices

4 thick,boneless pork schnitzels, cut into battons

Soy sauce

Sesame oil

Garlic

Fresh ginger

Fresh and dried chillies

Sichuan pepper

Salt,pepper

Sweet paprika powder

Maggi (liquid form)

Some sesame to garnish

Wok noodles (mine are the type you add to the wok raw,then you add water and stir-fry until the water is absorbed,you can use any type of noodles,those are egg noodles,feel free to use glass noodles,rice noodles,soba noodles,angel hair noodles or whatever you like.You can also use some noodles you have left from the day before, if not,just cook some and cool them before stir frying).

1)      First off I marinated the pork with sliced onion, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 1cm of grated ginger, ½ tsp of sichuan pepper, ½ tsp of paprika powder, ½ tsp of hot chili flakes, 2tbsp of soy sauce,2 tsp of sesame oil, 1tbsp of maggi. I mixed it all together and let it marinate for about an hour,covered in the fridge.

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2)      While your pork is marinating, you can slice all your veggies and get them ready for frying. The usual mistake people make with stir frying is not preparing all the ingredients beforehand..then your meat is already overcooking and you’re still trying to chop your veggies. Do your mise-en-place in advance, saves a lot of trouble!

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3)      When your veggies are sliced and your pork is marinated, heat up a wok with some neutral , high smoking point oil in it. While it’s heating up chop  1cm of fresh ginger,1 hot chili and 2 cloves of garlic.I used a small food processor, as you can see in the pics.

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4)      Your wok is nice and hot, now throw in your meat with all the marinade and sear it well,you don’t want to cook it all the way through,just  more or less for about 2min max. When that’s done,remove the meat from the pan,onto a plate and bring your wok back up to the temperature.

5)      Now it’s the time to bring it all together,so have all of your ingredients on hand J when the wok is nice and hot and your ginger-chili-garlic mix and fry for 30sec until nice and aromatic.(holy trinity of asian cooking!). Add your carrots and fry for about a minute,then add your leeks, fry for another minute,continue stirring. Add your cabbage and fry for about 3min,until it’s starting to wilt. Then add your red pepper and place the meat back into the pan. At this stage I add my raw noodles and add water,soy sauce,pepper and mix until it’s absorbed  and cooked through..You however can add the meat along with your pre-cooked , cold noodles and stir until the meat and noodles are back up to the desired temperature. Check the seasoning at the end for soy sauce or salt,you can also add more chili or some sweet chili sauce, it’s all up to you! serve with some sesame on top, enjoy!

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