Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pork and Sweet Potato Green Curry

This is a family favourite of ours. It's an "African/Thai fusion" kind of thing I've come up with; it's spicy, savoury, sweet, unctuous, herbal, and delicious. I hope you like it, too.

Marinate together for 30 minutes:

  • 480 g (or 4 thick-cut) boneless pork loin chops, sliced into thick strips
  • 1 T. Kingfisher Brand Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 2 T. peanut (or coconut) oil)

After meat has marinated, prepare a large, non-stick skillet (with lid) over high heat, until smoking hot. Quickly add the pork, and allow to brown well on each side before turning. When the meat is mostly brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add, in this order, these things - stirring well after each addition:

  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium brown onion, cut into large dice
  • 1 medium hot red chilli, cut into fine rings (pop out the seeds and pith, if you want a milder curry)

Allow the vegetables to become "tender-crisp" (about 10 minutes), before adding in:

  • 1 t. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 t. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 can coconut cream (the real stuff, without thickeners)
  • 2 T. smooth peanut butter

Bring to a simmer, reduce to low heat, pop on the lid, tilted, and allow to simmer for about an hour.

At this point, you want to add in:

  • 1 large (or two medium) sweet potato(es), cut into large cubes

Return the lid to the pot, and allow to simmer on low heat - until the broth has thickened to about a third, and the potatoes are soft enough to pierce through.

Serve over steamed jasmine rice, or rice noodles, and garnish each plate with torn coriander leaves. 

Have Sriracha sauce on the side, for those who like it spicier! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Welsh" Chicken Parmigiana --- SUPER SIMPLE, NO-FUSS!

This is an easy, modern, "semi-homemade" British recipe, that I have adapted from one of my American favourites. It consists of four basic elements; fresh or frozen chicken kievs, jarred pasta sauce, grated cheese, and pre-cooked spaghetti. 

Other additions can be put in, such as sautéed peppers and onions, mushrooms, etc. 

You may also use a different grated cheese; one of my favourite alternatives is Red Leicester. 

If you are gluten intolerant, you can nix the breaded fillets and go for plain; use another brand of sauce, that is *known* to be "free-from"; and substitute cellophane (rice vermicelli) noodles for the spaghetti. 

The brand of sauce I am using (Lidl's "Combino") has all gluten-free ingredients, with no thickeners. It doesn't specify on the label, as to whether it is GF, or not - but I see no wheat products warnings in the allergy information (only "nuts" and "sesame"). Use at your own risk!

This Parmigiana recipe is better than any you will eat in a chain restaurant, I promise ---- and it is super-easy to knock together in a short time, if you tend to keep these ingredients on hand. 

Serve this with a toasted garlic baguette, and a green vegetable.

A warning - the brands of products I use, have been chosen through a long process of trial and error! Do not expect for yours to turn out as good as mine, if you use another brand of sauce! I really don't like Dolmio, in particular (my apologies to the makers, and any fans who are reading), and none of their varieties are suitable for this particular dish! Their sauces are far tooooo acidic! 

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 fresh or frozen Chicken Kiev fillets (or plain, unbreaded fillets will also do, if you are gluten-free)

  • 1 jar of Combino brand (sold in Aldi stores) Chunky Vegetable pasta sauce (be sure it's this variety!)

  • 114 grams of shredded mature Welsh cheddar

  • Dried "Italian" or "garlic and herb" seasoning (optional)

Have ready:

  • Two servings worth of cooked spaghetti. Drain it well, add a drop of oil and toss (to keep it from sticking), and keep it ready in a warm place;


  • Two servings worth of rice vermicelli (cellophane noodles), prepared as directed on the package (these noodles are available at any Oriental grocery), drained well, and mixed with a tiny drop of oil. "Lung Kow" is my favourite brand.

  • Your favourite green vegetable (steamed broccoli, sauteed and seasoned green beans, etc.)
  • A loaf of crusty garlic bread.

To prepare it:

  • Preheat your oven to 150 degrees.

  • Open the jar of sauce, and dump half of it into the baking dish.

  • Now, sprinkle half of the shredded cheddar evenly, onto the sauce. If using the herb seasoning, sprinkle them over this layer.

  • Place the fillets on top of the layer of sauce.

  • Take your leftover sauce, and pour it around the fillets, just getting some onto them, but leaving them mostly exposed (so the exposed breading crisps slightly in the oven).

  • Sprinkle the leftover cheese sparsely and evenly on top of the fillets and sauce.

  • (Sprinkle with more Italian dried herbs, if using)

  • Cover with the lid, and bake on the centre rack, at 150 degrees Centigrade, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Put a serving of noodles onto each plate. Slide a smothered fillet on top of each nest of noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce around the fillets.

  • Serve with the vegetable and bread.

ENJOY the best (and easiest) pseudo-Italian dish, ever.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The wasp trap that changed the world.....LOL

So, I come back to my long-neglected blog, and find that one of my posts has over 13,000 views! I had no idea that my simple wasp trap would be such a big hit! I'm glad that it has been so helpful, for so many, all over the world. Thank you for reading my unintelligible chicken scratchings!

A lot has happened, since the last time I wrote here! It has taken over two years, but I'm ready to buckle down with this "blogging" business! I'm confident that my new-found knowledge of British housekeeping is sufficient to provide a constant stream of fresh ideas!

Let me just say this; from a housewife's standpoint, this has been one of the most difficult adjustments I have ever had to make - learning to keep house, in a foreign country! It's been filled with trial and error, label-reading, and visits to the online thesaurus, every so often! I have noticed my old routines and recipes gradually being replaced by the British accomodations. 

It has been a joyful and wondrous journey, learning to use the superb, fresh produce of Wales. We are truly the nation's breadbasket, here; I have never seen such fantastic farmers' markets, in all of my life! Wales is the most bountiful place I have ever known- yet, sadly, most working-class people live on convenience foods. It puzzles me greatly. I hope to change that, by getting people interested in fresh food, and how to cook it easily! Even on a shop worker's budget, it can be done. I promise!

Speaking of which, I have so many good, new recipes to share with you all! I have mastered the art of substitution, so I will be sharing a few revamps of American favourites, with British ingredient subs. This should please all of the other expats, in the audience - and it will make it easy for the European home cooks to try some American recipes, that they might not have been able to figure out, before!

Anyhoo - here I am, I am back! Prepare for TONS of good things to come from this little digital publication!

P.S. See my newest graphic arts blog at Tinsel & Tarnish (it is 18 and over, but only because there may be some art with nudity), and be sure to visit my crafty Facebook page at Ddewines Coch. I've been up to a lot, since we last met! So much, that crafts are the only way I can manage to stay sane! :)