Love Crispy Chinese Duck? Try Crispy Chinese Pork!

Since we have been in France, one of the things we occasionally miss is going to the local Chinese restaurant for crispy duck with pancakes. I have been unable to find anywhere to buy the pancakes, though I think that doing crispy duck would be really easy, if you start with duck confit. 

But this isn’t about duck, it is about pork. Over the last year or so I have heard a lot about Pulled Pork, but had never tried it. Then last week, there was a special pork promotion on and I bought a pack of two boned and rolled pork shoulders for a bargain price. 

Chinese Pancakes with Pulled Pork Chinese Pancakes with Pulled Pork

Turning to my frequent source of good ideas and inspiration, the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet Recipes from Around the World group on Facebook, I found a recommended recipe for Pulled Pork. I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, with a little less sugar, although I was really worried that it was going to be too much smoky paprika flavour (it wasn’t).

I marinaded the pork overnight in spices. The next day I baked both the joints for 5 hours. Then I finished one of them off on the BBQ.

That first night we had it in a baguette (a treat in itself for us these days), with home made cole slaw alongside. It was really lovely. Graham said “this is very much like Crispy Duck, can we have it again but with pancakes, cucumber and spring onions?”.

So the next step was to see if I could find a good straightforward recipe for the pancakes. I had always imagined that they were made from rice flour, but no, just a very simple recipe using plain flour, water and a small amount of vegetable oil. The master stroke was in rolling two at a time, with a coating of sesame oil between them, then dry frying them as one and separating after cooking. It worked really well. A final steam for 10 minutes before serving. Here’s the recipe and method for Chinese Pancakes.

The Hoisin Sauce was based on some Black Bean and Garlic paste that needed using up (if you want to find ingredients like that in South West France, try Paris Store in Toulouse). I started with this recipe (but note I didn’t use that recipe for the pancakes and I used a lot less sugar in the sauce).

So our Saturday night Strictly supper on our laps, was Crispy Pork Pancakes. So good, we did it all again on Sunday….. 🙂

Seasonal lusciousness – Walnut and Chestnut Tart, with Figs

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I was reminded of my alternative to Pecan Pie recently, but when I looked at the recipe I had included in my first book, Focus on Flavour, I realised that it was very calorific and much richer than we have become used to. So here is my (somewhat) reduced calorie version. It is still at least 300 calories per portion, so not something for a fast day….

I used ready rolled brisée pastry for mine, but you could use a basic shortcrust or sweet shortcrust pastry.  I have noted the ingredients in order to get the calorie count to match what the packet told me… 

Because we have so many fabulous figs in the garden this year, I have added two, which gave a really lovely flavour and texture for variety, but it would be equally good without them.  I served it with a fromage blanc and walnut ice cream. A lovely seasonal weekend treat.

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Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower Gratin – 350 calories

Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower GratinWe really enjoy tasty smoked haddock on a fast day, but were getting just a tad bored with the same old simple wilted spinach, smoked haddock and poached egg that we have had so often.

IMG_1810IMG_1815So I looked online for some inspiration and found an interesting recipe on BBC Good Food, from which I developed this fast day friendly version.  Using cauliflower on top of the spinach and fish turns this into a complete meal.

Choosing a strongly flavoured cheese like parmesan means that you can use a lot less but get a fantastic flavour. 

This got the thumbs up from us both and I will definitely be making it again!

For a vegetarian version, you could use smoked tofu, which would have a similar balance of flavours. But I also think that it would be lovely with a couple of big mushrooms each and maybe some chopped walnuts in the topping and some extra cheese. 

 

 

 

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