lime

Noodles with kale, pork and sesame

kaleporkstirfry.jpg

What I love about the internet is that you can search quickly for a recipe based on what’s in your fridge. There’s no trawling through badly indexed recipe books in the vague hope of finding something suitable.

And the internet is exactly how I found this one – in a rush when we were starving and my husband was reaching for the takeaway menu.

It’s not going to win any gourmet awards but it’s perfectly tasty and a good dish to have in your repertoire of quick, easy (and relatively nutritious) weekday dinners.

Noodles with kale, pork and sesame

Serves 2

  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
  • 250g of pork mince
  • 200g of kale, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced (or ¼ teaspoons of dried chilli flakes)
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • A thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of kecap manis (Malaysian sweet soy sauce – or use regular soy sauce with a teaspoon of sugar)
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and shredded
  • A pack of straight to wok noodles (I buy mine from Lidl, you get two small portions in a pack and I use both)

Optional (i.e. don’t be put off making this if you don’t have these in your fridge)

  • A tablespoon of fresh mint, chopped
  • A tablespoon of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Lime wedges or bottled lime juice, to serve

Put the kale in a small saucepan, add a tiny splash of water, put a lid on and turn the heat up high until the water is steaming. Then turn off the heat and leave for a few minutes to wilt.

Stir fry the sesame seeds and pork mince until cooked through and a deep brown colour (about 5 minutes on high). You should not need any extra oil as the mince has a high enough fat content as it is.

Add the kale, chilli, garlic and ginger to the pan and stir over a high heat for a few minutes. Add the kecap manis and sesame oil and stir again. Then add the noodles and stir fry until the noodles are cooked through. Finally add the spring onions and fresh herbs and mix well.

Serve with lime wedges.

Roasted beetroot with cumin, lime and mint dressing

beetroot salad

We have beetroot coming out of our ears. This is great news, but after using it in all our best-loved beetroot dishes (borscht, Russian salad, my husband’s legendary pink risotto) we are running out of ideas. So this week I’ve been experimenting with dressings for cold, roasted beetroot so that we can have it on its own for lunch, or on the side with any old meal.

So far this is my favourite. The flavours of cumin and lime are fantastic with the sweet beetroot.

Roasted beetroot with a cumin, lime and mint dressing

  • 4 large beetroot

Dressing

  • 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin seeds (don’t be tempted to cheat and use powdered cumin – it’s just not the same)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • A table spoon of fresh mint leaves, chopped

For the roast beetroot, first cut off the leaves and trim the root, then scrub to remove as much dirt as possible.

Place in a baking tin, cover tightly with foil, and bake in an oven heated to 160oC for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The beetroot is cooked when a skewer goes all the way through without resistance. Leave to cool and then slip the beetroots out of their skins and chop into small chunks or thin slices.

For the dressing, first dry fry the cumin seeds in a small frying pan, without oil, over a high heat for about 30 seconds until brown and fragrant. Crush in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of coarse sea salt.

Add this mix to the other ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Spoon over the roasted beetroot and serve.

NOTE: This beetroot salad goes really well with brown rice and flaked hot smoked salmon.

Pork with cashew nuts, lime and mint

pork lime cashews

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)

Serves 2

  • 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.

Ode to the digestive – part 3, Key lime pie

key lime pie

This is another really easy recipe with a digestive biscuit base. There are so many versions of Key lime pie knocking around, some baked, some not, some with a biscuit base and some with pastry. I think a truly authentic pie should actually have a pastry case, a similar filling to mine but uncooked, and then the addition of a meringue topping, rather like a lemon meringue pie. Put like that my version has so little in common with the real thing that maybe I ought to give it a new name.

The benefit of this version is that it’s cooked so you can serve it to pregnant women. The sharp lime flavour means that it works well as a dessert to follow a Thai, Indian or Mexican inspired menu where you’ve used lots of spice and garlic. The lime flavour is pretty intense and if you’re not a fan of limes then you can use lemons instead.

A sort of Key lime pie

Serves 8-10

Base

  • 200g digestive biscuits crushed with a rolling pin or in a food processor. (I think it is fine to use cheaper value digestive biscuits for bases.)
  • 75g butter

Filling

  • Zest of 3 limes (leave this out if using bottled lime juice)
  • 150ml lime juice (about 4-5 large limes, or use bottled lime juice)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 x 397g tin of condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 160oC fan.

For the biscuit base melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the crushed digestives. Stir to combine and then tip into a loose bottomed flan tin with a diameter of 23 cm. Press the biscuit mixture up the sides of the tin as well as on the bottom. Leave to chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and lime zest (if using) and mix with an electric hand whisk until thickened. This usually takes about 2 minutes. Then add the condensed milk and whisk for another 4 minutes. Finally add the lime juice and give it another quick whisk (it will really thicken up now)*. Then pour into the prepared base and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

* I’ll let you into a secret, the last time I made this I misread the recipe and added the lime juice to the eggs instead of just the zest in the first step. In a panic I just bunged in all the filling ingredients together and whisked for a couple of minutes (it thickened up immediately because of the lime juice). I have to say that the result was exactly the same but I feel I should give you the legitimate recipe in the first instance.

When it’s completely cool cover and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve. I don’t cover with cling film as the top is very fragile and comes away with the cling film when you remove it. I tend to cover with a shallow bowl which fits neatly over the tin without touching the surface of the pudding but you could also just put it in a large Tupperware container and then in the fridge.

Remove from the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. I like to decorate with a dusting of icing sugar (don’t do this in advance though as the sugar just melts into the surface). You can also drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top if you want to be really fancy.

I like this dessert just for itself but if you want to work the presentation then a dollop of crème fraiche with some lime zest grated over the top works well.