Thursday, 30 July 2015

Vibrant Veggie Pork (NOT vegetarian!)

 Good evening lovely readers! I thought I needed to follow my title for this post with a little disclaimer, since it contains the word "veggie," which to many would imply vegetarian, but in this case merely describes the presence of vegetables in a dish which is not veggie in the usual sense of the word, since it contains meat. Phew! However, should you wish to make this dish without meat, please go ahead and omit the pork. You could easily replace it with some fried tofu cubes, which I suggest not as a dull meat substitute but as an ingredient in its own right which would happen to go very well with the other flavours present. I also need to make an apology at this early stage, because, although in my ingredients photo you will see a packet of feta and an avocado, I decided to omit the avocado because as I went on with the recipe I decided that I would add the mango to the frying pan rather than add it cold at the end with the avocado. This then necessitated a decision as to whether I wanted to include the avocado at all, as it would have been the only cold element to the dish, whereas it would initially have had the mango as a partner, so I decided against the avocado this time round. I need to make sincere apologies to my block of feta though, as I replaced it in the fridge after shooting the ingredients, only to entirely forget to add it to the final dish. Look out for all these ingredients at the end of the post, in the alternative ingredients section!


(To serve two adults and two small children)

1 courgette
1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
1 sweet pointed red pepper
2 pork loin steaks
160g brown rice
1 mango
100g feta
1 -2 tbsp coconut oil


Dice the courgette and sweet red pepper and set aside in a large bowl, then chop the onion and garlic and set aside separately.

Chop the pork into small cubes, approximately 1 1/2 cm square

Measure out the rice and cook according to packet instructions, usually around 20-25 minutes, and add the coconut oil to a large, deep frying pan. Turn heat up to medium high.

Once the coconut oil has melted, add the pork and cook until light golden-brown on all sides.

Add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring from time to time, until they are starting to turn golden and crisp up.

Add the courgette and red pepper and fry, stirring occasionally, until everything looks nicely cooked and coloured.

While the ingredients in the frying pan are cooking, prepare the mango. Using a swivel peeler, remove the skin.

Holding the mango upright so the long sides are perpendicular to the chopping board, take a couple of slices off either side of the mango, slicing parallel to the stone, followed by slicing off the remaining flesh in such a way as have as much usable as possible. Chop the flesh into 1-2cm chunks.

When the veg and pork in the pan look rather like this...

...add the mango and stir in. Cook on a medium heat for about five minutes.

As you can see in the next photo, my rice was pretty much ready at this point, so keep a eye on yours and remove from the heat when it's ready.

Once the mango is warmed through and starting to soften, as above, add the cooked rice to the pan and mix well with the vegetables and pork.

If you have feta now is the time to quickly dice and sprinkle it over the top. Serve!

I have to tell you that I actually topped ours with a generous serving of green goddess dressing from the delicious recipe I told you about in my last post, courtesy of Half-Baked Harvest. It went astonishingly well with the flavours in the bowl, and I imagine it would complement feta and avocado too.

It's just occurred to me that I omitted a very important fact at the beginning of this post, which is that I designed this recipe from ingredients I already had in the fridge and cupboards. I know that doesn't particularly sound like something to shout about, but sometimes I can write a whole week's shopping list and even actually do the shopping, and then discover a large quantity of something in the fridge which I really needed to make use of and to include in a recipe. For me to have ingredients for a whole recipe without having to buy even just a herb to complement it is unusual. This is probably because I shop to a recipe list and don't buy random things from the supermarket shelves for which I have no immediate use. However, I still don't end up using all the ingredients I buy as two of us are small. I'm sure they'll make up for it in years to come though!

On this note, I really wanted to bring to your attention the blog of a woman who strives to eat from as many leftover or storecupboard ingredients as possible. It's called Leftovers for Lunch, and I think it's such a great premise and ideal, though I know I couldn't adhere to it. So I have been totally inspired by Abbie, who is the writer of the blog, in creating this dish and thinking more about what I already have in the house. If this is something you've been considering lately too, the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign has lots of tips on how to make use of the food you have, and how to plan so as to reduce your food waste. I will admit I haven't had a good look at the website yet, but they had a stand at a community food forum I attended the other week, and I really believe it's such an important thing to do, to try to reduce our food waste. I do find with small children that I never know how much they'll eat from one evening to another, so if they've had very healthy appetites one evening, the following evening I will give them a generous portion, only for one of them to hardly eat anything and I end up creating more waste. I know that if I keep the meal for lunch the following day they will turn their noses up at it. What advice do you have in this situation? It's something every parent serving their child with food has to deal with.

I recall promising some alternative ingredient options back at the beginning of the post, so here you go. I already suggested fried tofu, you could also try diced chicken. I would definitely try dicing a mango and an avocado and adding them both together, cold, at the end. This could actually work rather nicely with chicken. Rather than using diced mango in the dish, you could just throw the (diced!) mango in a blender with a few tablespoons of water to make a mango drizzle to finish it off. The possibilities are endless; let me know if you try any of them.

Thank you so much for reading.

xxx Sam

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