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Free recipe Friday – Hot, sweet and sour pork chops with vegetable stir-fried rice

The title says hot, but you can make it as spicy or mild as you like by adding chilli flakes or fresh chilli. So why not skip the take away and finish off the week in style with this take on a takeout.

 

Hot, sweet and sour pork chops with vegetable stir-fried rice Serves 4

For the pork:

½ cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp orange juice (1 orange)
2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
4 pork chops

For the stir-fried rice:

300 g long grain rice
1½ cups water
4 tbsp rice bran oil, for frying
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
4 eggs
4 cups green cabbage , shredded (½ small head)
4 small carrots, diced
4 spring onions, sliced
2 green capsicum, diced
4-6 tbsp soy sauce, to taste

Method:

Prepare in advance: For best results marinate pork chops in the fridge overnight. For an authentic fried rice dish, cook the rice the night before and store in the fridge, which will remove the moisture.

For the marinade, combine ingredients in a zip lock bag or bowl. Add pork and coat well in the mixture, set aside.

To cook the rice, place in a medium pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, stir once, then cover with a lid and reduce to a low, yet steady simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, resisting the urge to lift the lid. Remove from the heat and rest with the lid on for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pre-heat the grill to high and line an oven tray with tin foil.

Prepare the vegetables while the rice is cooking. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Shred the cabbage finely. Peel and finely dice the carrot. Dice the capsicum very finely, discarding the core. Slice the spring onion on the diagonal, including most of the green part.

Place the marinated pork chops on a rack over the foil-lined oven tray and place under the grill. Grill on each side for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the oven and rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Handy hint: Don’t be tempted to remove the fat from the chops before cooking, as it will add flavour. Cut off fat just prior to serving if you don’t wish to eat it .

Stir-fry the rice once the pork chops are cooking. Heat a large pan or wok over a medium-high heat and add some of the rice bran oil. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds without burning. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, discard, and add the eggs. Beat the eggs in the pan as they scramble, then remove from the pan. Keep heat at medium-high and add more rice bran oil. Once hot, add the cabbage, carrot and capsicum and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Bring heat up to high and stir in the rice. Let the rice heat through for 2-3 minutes, then place the scrambled eggs back in and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add half the spring onion (the white ends) and reserve the rest for garnish. Add soy sauce and cook out for another minute. Add more to taste if desired. Once the soy sauce is cooked out and the rice begins to dry out, remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.

To serve, heap vegetable rice onto plates and top with pork chops. Garnish with the remaining spring onion.

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Quinoa – magical, wonderful super-seed

I love quinoa, don’t you?! If you don’t, chances are that you’ve done something wrong… no offence… My love for this superfood was recently re-ignited when we discovered a new quinoa grower, based right here in the North Island of New Zealand. With food miles of just over 200 km, it doesn’t quite qualify for our local badge (who is lovingly nicknamed Farmer Joe by team EFB) but it’s far more local than the previous supply, which was from South America. What’s more, the cool kids over at the Kiwi Quinoa Company grow their seeds without excess pesticides and sprays – far gentler on the environment. According to their website, Dan and Jacqui had the idea to grow quinoa in the Rangitikei after travelling through South America and noting the quinoa-growing regions of Peru bore quite a resemblance to home. And boy, am I glad they did! Thanks for the hard work team! It also makes me so happy to see that we can be part of making their family business a success, so I tell everyone about this! As a nutritionist, quinoa ticks so many boxes for me and as a foodie, just the same. There is just so much to love about this tiny power-house. So let me share with you:

My top four fun facts about quinoa:

It’s not a grain – it’s in fact a seed

You know the tiny spiral that appears when you cook quinoa? That’s the germ – i.e. the very inner of the seed. Although people often refer to quina as a grain  it’s botanically a seed of a plant that is closely related to spinach. This also means that quinoa is gluten free, making it a great alternative for couscous for coeliacs.

The year 2013 was officially the year of quinoa

That’s right. In 2013 the UN deemed that quinoa would solve so many of the world’s economic, cultural nutritional and food supply related issues that it gave the super food it’s very own year of distinction. The UN regognised quinoa as a potential tool for empowering farmers in underdeveloped areas, primarily in South America, to produce this adaptable crop for the local community, providing empowerment and good nutrition.

It’s a complete protein

Not many vegetarian proteins can boast this fact. Without boring you all with a full biochemistry lesson, it basically means that the protein is complete with all nine essential amino acids. Essential means that the human body can’t make them for themselves, so we need them from the foods we eat. Incomplete proteins need to be consumed alongside other foods (within a 24 hour period) that have the particular amino acids that are absent in that food – these are known as the limiting amino acids. Foods such as quinoa that have a complete set of essential amino acids will act as a valid protein component of a meal and don’t need to be combined with other grains or pulses.

If it’s bitter, it’s your own fault

Each quinoa seed is coated with a bitter, waxy substance called saponin, which needs to be rinsed off before cooking. Simply place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under a cold tap for a minute, then place ain in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.

We have featured many quinoa recipes on our menus in the last five years and most of them have been delicious! I’d love to hear which one you loved the most!
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Free recipe Friday – Emma’s Macedonian Spice Mix

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Emma likes to experiment with herbs and spices in the kitchen. Just over a year ago she put her researching hat on and worked hard to perfect this Macedonian spice mix which features in our Macedonian lamb moussaka with yoghurt-dill dressing and side salad. Don’t confuse this with a Greek Moussaka, which features aubergines and a different spice combination, like one of our proof-readers did. There were some heated discussion, but they all made friends in the end 🙂

Macedonian lamb moussaka with yoghurt-dill dressing and side salad

           

For the moussaka:

2 tbsp olive oil
¾ red onion, finely sliced
500g lean lamb mince
2 tbsp Macedonian spice mix (see below)
800g potatoes, sliced
Butter for greasing

For the topping:

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black or white pepper

For the dressing:

2 pots natural yoghurt
2 tbsp dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt

To serve:

150g mesclun, torn
2 carrots, grated
¼ red onion, finely sliced
Drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar

For 2 tbsp Macedonian spice mix:

2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried dill or parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin

Method:

Pre -heat oven to 210°C. <

Get started with the moussaka. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion (reserving some for the salad) and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add mince to the pan and cook until is lightly browned – about 3-4 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Sprinkle in the spice mix and cook out for a minute or two, then remove the pan from heat and set aside. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if it’s burning or looking dry.

Scrub and slice the potatoes thinly into 2-3 mm rounds while the mince is cooking. Set aside. Combine the eggs and milk in a bowl for the topping and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Handy Hint: Take a moment to read the following paragraph and gauge the quantity of ingredients to choose an oven dish of the appropriate size.

Butter a deep baking dish, then lay out half of the sliced potatoes and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Spread out all the mince, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay out the remaining potatoes and season again with salt and pepper. Press down to firm up the mixture and remove any air pockets, then pour over the milk and egg mixture. Ensure the potatoes are covered in the egg.

Cover the dish with tin foil and pop in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a knife. Remove the tin foil and cook for another 10-12 minutes, finishing off under the grill to brown if needed.

While the moussaka is in the oven, prepare the rest of the meal. Finely chop the dill and combine with the remaining ingredients for the dressing. For the salad, shave or grate the carrot and combine with finely sliced red onion and torn mesclun in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and vinegar if desired.

To serve, dish up the piping hot moussaka straight from the oven. Serve the salad on the side and dot with the yoghurt dressing.

Enjoy!