I was rather mean about Nigel Slater in a recent blog post and it’s been bothering me. Being horrible doesn’t sit well with me – I was just trying (and failing) to be clever and cutting like many journalists (forgetting that I am not clever, or indeed a journalist). So I’m sorry Nigel, as I constantly remind my children, how someone looks should never be important.
And my view that Nigel is a really good food writer was strengthened recently when I picked up his recipe book ‘Real Food’ in a charity shop. It was written 16 years ago and it’s brilliant. A no nonsense cookbook, full of straightforward recipes with big flavours – just the sort of food I like. It also includes several Nigella recipes (from the time before she was on the telly).
I’ve tried a few recipes but so far this ‘pork with cashews, lime and mint’ is my favourite. It’s punchy, refreshing and just perfect for a Sunday evening when you’ve drunk a little too much over the weekend. If you like powerful flavours and a feeling that you’ve in some way cleansed your body then you should definitely give this dish a go.
Nigel Slater’s pork with cashew nuts, lime and mint (in my own words)
- 400g of pork fillet (trim off as much fat as possible, then cut into 1/2 inch thick medallions and cut these into thin strips)
- 5 tablespoons of groundnut oil
- 90g of cashew nuts (finely chopped with a knife or roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar)
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- a 4cm knob of ginger, finely shredded
- 4 small red chillies, finely chopped, (or I use 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes)
- The zest and juice of 3 limes
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- a handful of mint leaves, chopped
- a handful of basil leaves, torn
Pour three tablespoons of oil into a really hot wok and stir fry the pork for three or four minutes, keeping the heat high and stirring from time to time so that it browns nicely. Tip the meat into a bowl along with any juices.
Return the wok to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the spring onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for a minute, stirring constantly so that they don’t stick or burn.
Then add the nuts and stir fry for another minute.
Add the meat back to the pan, along with any juices and stir in the lime zest and juice and fish sauce. Fry for a couple of minutes and then stir in the herbs.
Serve with plain rice.