Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sweet & Sour Pork

A bit fiddly, but well worth the effort. I find that marinating the pork overnight is a must for this dish – the flavour is so much more intense. The double frying is also essential to get that incredibly crispy texture of the pork fillets. For a healthier version, you can pan fry the pork instead.


600g pork scotch fillet, cut into 1.5cm pieces or 1.2kg pork spare ribs
Vegetable/peanut oil for deep fry

3tbs cornflour
2tbs cold water
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 tsp light soy sauce
4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sea salt

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 tbs peanut oil
1 green capsicum, chopped
1 red capsicum chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 brown onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup (125ml) white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs tomato sauce
1 cup (250ml) water
2 tbs cornflour mixed with 2 tbs water
½ small ripe pineapple, peeled and chopped or use 425g can pineapple pieces in natural juices if fresh unavailable
Red food colouring (optional)

1 cup tapioca flour
Salt and pepper

  1. For the marinade: blend cornflour with water in a medium-sized bowl until dissolved. Add egg yolks, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt and mix well to combine. Add to pork. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight if time permits.
  2. For the sauce: heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, capsicums, carrot and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, tomato sauce and water until sugar dissolves. Combine the cornflour and 2 tbs water. Add to the pan and whisk until it comes to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the pineapple. Add red food colouring if desired. Set aside.  
  3. Heat the deep fryer to 190°C. Meanwhile, make the batter by combining the flour with some salt and pepper. 
  4. Dip the marinated pork cubes in the batter. Deep-fry pork in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the deep fryer. Deep fry until pork is almost cooked through/golden brown. 
  5. Remove from deep fryer and drain on kitchen paper.
  6. When oil is reheated again, return the pork to the hot oil and deep-fry for a further 3 minutes, or until lightly browned, crispy and cooked through. 
  7. Remove from deep fryer and drain well on kitchen paper.
  8. Combine pork with sweet and sour sauce. Serve with rice.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Carrot Cake

I felt like doing some baking today, so I made this carrot cake which is just so moist and full of taste. WARNING though- It's not for the diet conscience.

I would normally add ½ cup walnuts to my carrot cake but today I just simply forgot! So I added some to the top of the cake as decoration instead :P

The mini carrots around the cake are made out of marzipan. Marzipan is a sweet almond and sugar paste. It can be moulded into any shape and is commonly sculpted and painted into fruit, animals, and flowers. When used to ice a cake, marzipan can be rolled into thin sheets and draped over the cake. It is then carefully smoothed down to provide a uniform look- wedding cakes are commonly iced this way.

You can easily make your own marzipan or purchase it in the baking section of your supermarket. I didn't have any in my pantry and just made it from scratch. I used ½ cup almond meal, ½ cup icing sugar, ½ eggwhite and 1 drop vanilla extract. I then kneaded all the ingredients together until I had a smooth pliable dough. The marzipan carrots are easy enough to make, and they just simply look adorable on top of carrot cake or cupcakes!

Adapted from the recipe in Fresh Living magazine- 9 August 2004, page 53

This recipe makes one 20cm round cake or sixteen 1/3 cup capacity cupcakes


Oil, to grease
2-3 (about 300g) carrots
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup golden syrup
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup walnuts, chopped


250g spreadable cream cheese (softened)
½ cup icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence

Marzipan carrots

Red and yellow food colouring
Icing sugar for dusting
Edible sprigs of herbs for decoration, such as dill or parsley (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 20cm (base) round cake pan lightly with oil, and line with non-stick baking paper. Peel and grate the carrots, and set aside. Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl. Mix well together.
  2. Put the brown sugar, oil, golden syrup, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl. Use a balloon whisk to mix until combined.  
  3. Pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to stir gently until just combined. Stir in the grated carrot and walnuts. 
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Set aside for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  
  5. To make the icing, place the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
  6. Spread the icing over the cake. Decorate cake as desires
To make the marzipan carrots

Coat your hands with icing sugar, or wear plastic gloves (this prevents the marzipan from sticking to your hands).

Knead the marzipan until it has softened slightly. Flatten the marzipan into a disc, and add a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to the middle, using a ratio of 1 drop red to 2 drops yellow. Fold the marzipan into a ball and begin to knead the color throughout the dough, adding more food coloring if desired, working until the marzipan is one uniform color.

Roll the dough into small balls the size of a 5 cent piece. Roll the balls between your palms, elongating them into thin tubes and tapering one end, so that they are shaped like carrots.

Take a toothpick and, holding it perpendicular to the carrots, make horizontal indentations all along the length of the carrot to create slight creases.

If desired, poke holes in the tops of the carrots, and insert the sprigs of herbs to be the carrot leaves.

Store marzipan carrots in an airtight Tupperware container for up to two weeks
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