Lemongrass Pork Winter Warmer

This one was borne out of the necessity to use the lemongrass that has been in the fridge for about a week. A simple, broth-y dish which will keep you warm on a cold evening. With an Asian twist ūüėČ

Thin strips of pork (1 kilo), free range is best
2 stalks of lemongrass, bashed and tied into knots
Half a bulb of garlic, crushed
1 or 2 cans of coconut milk
Shredded cabbage
Sliced pepper
Mange tout
Salt (or fish sauce) and pepper to taste

Sauté crushed garlic until aromatic. Stir in pork, cook until all pinkness is gone. Pour in coconut milk. In go the lemongrass stalks too. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the veggies, mix in, and cook for another 3-5 minutes (cabbage should still be green-ish). Season to taste.


Pitt Cue Co.

I know, I know, we are kinda late to the Pitt Cue party with this blog entry as everyone has already been and raved about this place but we did want to put pen to paper on this one since we eventually ate there this weekend.

After a heavy gym session we found ourselves wandering down Carnaby St in desperate need of some protein on Saturday afternoon, we felt if there was ever the time to try Pitt Cue, this was it. We luckily were able to sneak in at the back end of their lunchtime service [12:00 to 15:00].

Amazingly, there was not the lengthy queue that had greeted us several times before. In fact ,there was no queue at all! Were they closed? Well almost. However, a very pleasant lady advised that if we can make quick decision on what to eat we can sit outside [no room inside]. Luckily, the menu is pretty concise so we ordered two lots of pulled pork, one with green chilli slaw and the other with apple and fennel salad. We sat outside and enjoyed the last of the Autumnal sunshine.

The pulled pork did not disappoint; it was plentiful, moist and flavourful. Thankfully the green chilli slaw lacked the chilli hotness I feared it would and was instead subtle and well balanced with the rest of the slaw. Pickles completed the meal. This was a meal definitely worth waiting for and a prime example of simple food done exceptionally well, a growing trend it would seem in the London eating scene [although not everyone is getting it so right!]

We headed inside for a quick comfort break before we hit the road and can now appreciate why we have had always been advised of at least an hour waiting times previously: the place is tiny! However, I can image the small interior inside really adds to the Pitt Cue experience. What could be better on a cold evening than being huddled in a cosy downstairs restaurant with some amazing pulled pork.

Definitely worth a trip.

Pitt Cue Co / 1 Newburgh St / Soho / London W1F 7RB

Asian Beef / Pork Mince

Trying to stick to the Paleo diet, I needed to find more interesting recipes¬†before the curse of food boredom ruins my determination.¬†¬†I had some lemongrass leftover from the trip to the¬†Real Food Festival, so I planned dinner around it. Picked up some shallots, lettuce and¬†beef mince on the way home¬†and got cooking as soon as I got in.¬† Already had some pork mince in the fridge so I thought I’d use that as well.

Here’s the list of ingredients:
500g beef mince
500g pork mince
3 stalks lemongrass
5 shallots
3 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
as much chilli as you can handle (I used cayenne)

To start, I browned the meat and really broke it up.  Mince has a tendency to clump together if not constantly stirred and tumbled. I normally cook mince until all the water has dried up and the fat renders out. Then I leave it to fry and brown in its own fat, and soak the excess fat away with a paper towel.  [Tip the pan at an angle until the fat gathers at the bottom, then let the paper towel do its work ;)]

While the meat is undergoing the Maillard reaction, chop the lemongrass stalks, garlic and shallots finely. Pretend to cry to add a bit of drama.

Once the meat is a little brown, add all the other ingredients and take off the heat.¬†Adjust fish sauce / chilli / lime to taste. That’s it. Really simple.¬† Traditionally, dry roasted brown rice is added to the dish for a bit of a crunch. I left this out as this is supposed to be a Paleo dish ūüėČ You can add nuts if you wish!¬† Serve on little lettuce leaves and enjoy until satisfied.

[‘Fessing up: I forgot to add mint, so shred it and mix in if you fancy. About a handful will be enough.]

Vietnamese Pork / Beef Skewers

Inspired by Luke Nguyen who I stumbled upon on YouTube, this recipe of Vietnamese Pork and Beef was just too good to resist.  I had to tweak it a little bit just to make it more practical and slightly leaner.  The original recipe calls for pork fat and pork skin / rind which make the finished meat lollipops very moist.  As I can’t find pork fat, I used suet instead but only used about half the amount.  The meat mixture is then traditionally wrapped around a lemongrass stalk, but this would have cost so much to make, considering one stalk is 40p at the supermarket (booooo!).  Bamboo skewers make good alternative.

So, to make these, you will need:

250g mince pork (I used free-range for a clear conscience)
250g mince beef (FR too, I should be a saint!)
Small handful of suet
4 tsps sugar (add a little bit more if you want a sweetish caramelised coating)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fish sauce
6 cloves grated garlic
6 finely chopped kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk finely chopped and bruised lemongrass
1 finely chopped chilli
Grated lime rind

For the dipping sauce:

Juice of 1 lime
Fish sauce
Chilli, to taste
Sugar, to taste

Mix all the ingredients well, form into little sausage shapes and insert the skewers through. Job done. If you cannot get hold of the ingredients, e.g., lime leaves, don’t fret. It will still work.  Maybe add a bit of lemongrass and more lime rind to achieve that Southeast Asian aroma.

A barbeque grill is very ideal to cook this as the will fat drip over the coal, giving the meat a smoky flavour. A conventional grill will do ok, too. Cook under the lowest setting for about 15 to 20 minutes turning every now and then.

For the sauce, stir in¬†all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.¬† Fire away!!! ūüėÄ

Pork Meatballs

A lot of people never really consider pork as an option when they are cutting down on calories.  One thing I discovered, is that lean pork mince has less fat than lean some versions of lean beef.  I would normally use beef for chilli con carne, bolognese or meatballs.  This time, however, I thought I would give pork meatballs a go.  And as an added twist, I will use chorizo flavours to make this hearty dish! The broth I made with this is lighter than what I would normally do (there was no tomato sauce / passata in the cupboard, ha! tut tut!)  These are what I used:

500g minced pork
4 tsps smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
6 cloves of garlic (grated)
pinch of salt and pepper

3 plump tomatoes (chopped)
1 large onion (sliced / chopped)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 chicken oxo cube  (dissolved in a pint of water)
4 dried bay leaves
pitted black olives
chopped parsley
2 dried chilli (optional ;))

Mix together the ingredients for the meatballs and shape into bite-sized balls.  This portion made about 30. Place under the grill, turn around a few times to get even colouration. (You can fry these little babies but it just defeats the purpose of low-cal.)

Meanwhile, fry the onion over medium heat until just translucent then add the tomatoes, and further cook for about 3 minutes. Pour in the stock and everything else, and simmer.  When the porkies are ready, dunk them into the sauce and simmer until, say, 10-15 minutes or about a quarter or half of the sauce has evaporated.  The sauce will thicken slightly during the process.  Adjust seasoning, as appropriate, and serve to the hungry!


¬†Of course, I HAVE to have rice. ūüėČ Enjoy!