Monday, 11 June 2012

BBC Good Food Satay Pork with Crunchy Apple Salad

I'd like to apologise in advance for the proliferation of BBC Good Food recipes that are about to be tried and tested on this blog.  It's not because I have any affiliation with them in any way shape and form - other than subscribing to the mag - but I have a busy few weeks ahead and I've found it so much easier to do my recipe search by just typing a few key words into a box than sitting and leafing through my recipe books.

I know it's bad and kind of goes against my original reason for starting this blog - to use my cookery books more - but the idea of trying new things is becoming so ingrained in me that I think that even once this year is over, I will continue to explore the depths of my existing (and future!) recipe book collection.

In fact, much as I'm looking forward to my holiday, I'm also looking forward to coming home again.  Because hopefully Amazon will have delivered me my wedding anniversary present to myself - a copy of Thomasina Miers' new book 'Wahaca'.  Expect a flurry of Mexican themed recipes between the end of my holidays and the start of The Olympic Food Challenge.

This week, I'm on a course with early starts and late finishes, plus evenings spent catching up on the day job. So I picked some quick and easy recipes from Good Food and a couple of other websites.

It's not sausages!
As I'm now on the downward slope of this year, there are still a load of things on my 'to-do-list'.  Some are just to try different types of meat, some are specific recipes.  I now know that I'm unlikely to tick all of the boxes in the last three-and-a-bit months.  Partly because of time and partly because of budget.  Pork, however, is something that is quick and relatively cheap - hence the choice tonight.

If you've nothing better to do than search through this website, you'll notice I've not cooked with pork before.  That's mostly down to the 'Bernard Matthews Effect' of my childhood.  I was traumatised by his 'roasts' and by real pork roasts which, whilst I'm sure were very tasty, came topped with crisp crackling.  I don't mind the concept of crackling, but the hairs on the stuff I saw just turned my stomach.  And it always seemed to be really fatty too.  I'm not sure if that was just my perception or the truth.

I do remember being persuaded to eat a small pork steak cooked in tomato sauce once and it was okay.  I'd've much rather had chicken.  But since then, the closest I've come to eating pork is the cured variety - ham, bacon, sausages.  All of those lovely things that will raise my risk of cancer by 1% (before any health zealots care to give me a lecture).  But pork loin, chops, roasts etc?  Nope. And Nada.

When I found this particular recipe, I was actually looking for a recipe for peanut butter cookies.  I really don't know why this recipe appealed when I was after biscuits (I'd only typed in peanut butter, I'd not qualified it with cookies), but the idea stuck in my head and it ticked the 'Try Pork' box.

Having read the advice from other readers, I knew I'd have to adapt the method if I wanted my topping to stay on so I chose to grill the pork on one side first before topping with the 'satay' sauce.  It ended up looking nothing like the picture on the website, but it kept the meat moist.  I also never realised pork cooked so quickly - just eight minutes in total and it was done.

I'm not sure if I enjoyed the dish per se.  It was okay.  I might make it again if I have a random pork steak knocking about (no chance there then!) and I can't help thinking that maybe the two ingredients I used for the satay were the downfall.  The ingredient list just says Sweet Chilli Sauce and Peanut Butter.  But there are so many brands out there, the recipe could vary greatly.  I always buy Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce with Kaffir Lime and Whole Earth Peanut Butter.  My 'PB' was smooth as well (something I switched to when weaning Miss A and have never switched back from - but I must as I prefer crunchy!).  But maybe other brands would've worked better?  Who knows.

That said, I loved the apple salad.  The flavours were amazing.  Sweet, sour, salty.  I used a Pink Lady apple for my version.  In fact, I liked that so much, I'd consider doing the recipe again just for the salad. Or, more sensibly, substituting the pork for chicken.

So I'm still not a pork fan (unless it's been cured and processed to within an inch of its life).  But at least I tried something new today.  And my mother will be proud of me.  I hope.

You can find the recipe here.

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