Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cumin Pork with Hand Pulled Noodles

A few months ago, it seemed like Xian Cumin Lamb was all over the internet, everywhere you looked. It sounded delectable, but I'm not a massive lamb fan and I did have a few gifted Murray Valley Pork tenderloins just waiting around, so you know, one thing led to another and Cumin Pork was created. I'm sure I broke lots of cooking rules about regional spices, and it's true that I didn't exactly follow a set recipe, but you guys. YOU GUYS. This is probably the most amazingly delicious thing that has ever come out of my kitchen. Was it the tender treatment of the pork or was it the drool worthy flavour of the spices or was it a marriage made in taste bud heaven? I think the latter.

Cumin Pork with Hand Pulled Noodles
OK, there are a lot of ingredients, and we are making noodles by hand, but don't worry, it isn't that difficult. It's the layering of spices that make it so special, and it comes together in minutes at the end. Plus it is so, so worth it, I bet you don't just make it once.


  • 2 Pork Tenderloins - I was lucky enough to have Murray Valley Pork on hand.
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • a big handful of green beans, topped and tailed.
  • a handful of fresh coriander and mint, chopped. 

Pork Spice Mix
  • 2 Tablespoons of ground cumin
  • half a teaspoon of soy sauce
  • half a teaspoon of kecap manis
  • half a teaspoon of ground coriander root
  • half a teaspoon of minced chili
  • half a teaspoon of minced garlic
  • a big pinch of ground white pepper
  • a big pinch of ground black pepper

  • A big glug of olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of minced ginger
  • 1 large sliced red chilli
  • a big pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a big pinch of ground white pepper
  • a big pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • half a teaspoon of brown sugar
  • small pinch of salt.

  • 3 cups of plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • about 1 cup of water
  • about half  a cup of olive oil


  • Cut the tenderloins into slices about 2cm thick, then lay them on their side and bounce a heavy, sharp, chefs knife across each side. The aim here is to NOT cut all the way through, but to open up the surface by putting little cuts across the meat. This allows the pork to hold more spice mix and therefore more flavour. 
  • When you are finished, mix all of the spices from the spice mix together and rub into the pork. Use your hands to massage it in thoroughly, you want to get into all the nooks and crannies. Set aside in the fridge for a few hours. 

  • Mix the salt, flour and water into a smooth dough, and knead for at least 15 minutes. Do this in a bowl to reduce mess - do it in a food processor or mixer with a dough hook if you like, but reduce the kneading time. Set aside to rest for at least 1 hour. 
  • Oil your hands, and roll the dough out until it is 1cm thick. Cut into about 20 strips. Oil the strips so they stay separate.
  • Take one strip at a time, and use the heel of your hand to smash the strip into a long flat, misshapen noodle, if it breaks into a few sections that is OK. Pick up the noodle (or noodle sections) and stretch gently it using both hands. Pretend you are in a noodle shop and practice your Cantonese vocabulary, the noodle will thank you. No, not literally! Continue until all noodles are smashed and stretched, cover with some grease proof paper. 
  • Cook each noodle separately in a large pot of boiling salted water, until they float to the surface, remove with tongs and set aside for a minute. 

Finish and Plate
  • Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pork, spread in a large hot pan and sear for 1 minute, then saute until pink. 
  • Add the onion and beans to the pan, stir. 
  • Add the sauce ingredients, stir. 
  • Add the cooked noodles, toss to combine. 
  • Sprinkle with coriander and mint and serve.

HEY! This post is not sponsored but I am so happy that Murray Valley Pork gift me with their amazing product to take with me on my cooking adventures. Thanks MVP! Also thanks to this website and this one too for their inspiration. You guys rock. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

While I was gone

You may have been wondering why I've hardly posted over the last few months, or you might not have even noticed - that is OK too! I haven't been winding the blog down, or any such thing; I've just been busy, working on transforming my life out of it's little cocoon. My wings are almost ready to unfurl and take to the skies, I just need a little more fairy dust application, so watch this space.

I have been doing an online course called Miracle Worker, run by one of my favourite internet people, Gala Darling; and the very talented and wise Ellen Fondiler. I really needed a cosmic kick up the bum/slap on the forehead/effectively gentle push toward realising that I don't have to live a small life, BECAUSE MY LIGHT IS ALLOWED TO SHINE DAMNIT! and this course is doing wonderful things to light up my inner glow. It's allowing me to get a move on and realise my dreams. Do you ever feel all cob webby inside, like you need a blast of sun light and fresh air to make you understand that you had the power all along, Dorothy? This is exactly what this course is doing. I highly recommend it. There are weekly workbooks and play lists and homework and a great facebook community to keep you inspired. I love it.

During the school holidays my nephew came to stay with us. This sounds like such a non big deal, but honestly....for a start he came all the way from New Zealand. Due to a lot of tragic and complicated family situations neither I or the boys had ever met him. I can't imagine how nerve wracking it must have been for a young teenager, but he handled it with aplomb, and soon was right at home mucking around with the boys and basically being the perfect cousin/nephew. He is such a lovely, well mannered, mature and kind hearted young man, I hope we get to spend more time with him soon.

Did you know we have some extra livestock around the Casa Chaos? A friend and fellow blogger was enduring a bit of a life changing experience and was having trouble re-homing the family dog, and knowing how important the family dog is in times of trouble we put our hand up to be his foster parents. It was touch and go at first but he has settled in beautifully and I think he might end up being our forever dog. Even Kora loves him, although she is certainly giving me a tonne of attitude. We also have a couple of chickens, that are absolutely part of my urban garden oasis ideal but actually have stopped laying (it's too cold, it's too hot!) and in the meantime have ruined my garden oasis. I don't want the garden to look like Stalag 13 but I think a liberal application of chicken wire is required. Ideas, anyone?

Lastly, I have re entered the workforce after 8 years of not being in the paid workforce. I know, huge! It's only a few days a week as receptionist in a psychologists clinic, close to home. I really didn't want to get a job as I thought it would take time and energy away from SHINING MY LIGHT, but it's worked out really well. The people are lovely and the job itself is kinda neat. Now I can pay the bills and fund the light shining plans, while still having time to follow my dreams. Quality time, not spent stressing about money. Phew!

So tell me, what have I missed? What have you been up to while I was gone?


Monday, June 1, 2015

Strawberry Tart Recipe, and a Pyrex Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Pyrex, who have provided the world with the most fantastic cookware for the last century. Happy 100th birthday, Pyrex!

Strawberry Tart, eh? If you have been following along on instagram you will know that my first born works at a strawberry farm, and regularly comes home with trays and trays of gorgeous strawberries; luscious, sweet, perfectly ripe and just picked strawberries. When Pyrex contacted me and suggested I make an apple pie to help them celebrate their 100 year birthday, I thought Hmmm, apples? I have a better idea....

Strawberry Tart

Break this down into a few steps and it is easy as, well, pie. I've made this egg free due to my son's egg allergies, and I'm so happy with the way the sweet shortcrust turned out I can't wait to cook with it again.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry


  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 250g butter
  • about 6 tablespoons of ice water

  • Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a food processor, pulse a few times to mix.
  • Cut the butter into squares about 1cm big, pulse into the flour mixture until it's a bit lumpier than if your were making scone dough. You should still see tiny bits of butter.
  • Pour the water in a few teaspoons at a time, just until the dough forms together in a ball, not a second more. The easiest way I find with the ice water is to put some water and ice cubes in a small jug and drizzle it in as you need it, that way the water stays very cold and stops the protein strands from developing in the dough, which ensures the delicious 'short' part of short crust pastry. 
  • Wrap the dough in glad wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour or so, or even overnight. Just let it rest on the bench top a bit before you roll it out.


  • 60g butter
  • half a cup of castor (regular white) sugar
  • 1 and a half cups of ground almonds. 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons of milk

  • Puree everything in a clean food processor until well mixed, keep in the fridge until ready to use. 

Assembling the Tart

  • Strawberries! I used maybe two punnets worth.
  • Strawberry jam, for glazing.

  • Roll out the sweet shortcrust in between some glad-wrap, so it's easy to transfer to your pie dish. I lined the pie dish with some baking paper to make sure it didn't stick, but it wasn't neccesary. Gently push the pastry into place in the pie dish, and trim any excess. Use your fingers to flute the edges of the pie, which is made easy when the pie dish itself has fluted edges! Put another piece of baking paper on top of the pie shell, and weigh down with rice or uncooked legumes. Bake 10 minutes in a medium-hot oven.
  • Remove pie from oven (it won't be cooked) and remove the baking paper and rice/legume situation. Use a spoon to spread the frangipane evenly over the base of the pie, and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until cooked.
  • Wash and cut the green leaves of the strawberries, cutting them flat so they have a stable base to sit on. Arrange your strawberries in the pie, pushing down slightly into the frangipane.
  • Heat a few tablespoons of strawberry jam in the microwave, and use a pastry brush to gently glaze the strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with whipped cream. 

This was supposed to be taken on a picnic to celebrate the last day of autumn but the weather was a bit threatening, so it was eaten in the backyard for Sunday morning tea with the neighbours. Delicious!

Pyrex Giveaway

To celebrate Pyrex's 100th anniversary, Pyrex are giving away all the Pyrex equipment you need to bake your own amazing pie! All you need to do is follow the easy Rafflecopter prompts. Make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you!

The Prize Pack consists of;

  • Pyrex Large Spatula RRP $10.95
  • Pyrex Measuring Cups RRP $14.95
  • Pyrex 22.5 cm Pie Plate RRP $9.95
  • Pyrex Basting Brush RRP $9.95
  • Pyrex Serrated Peeler RRP $9.95

But first, some Pyrex trivia:
  • Approximately 65 million pieces of Pyrex have been sold in Australia to date, meaning one in five households own at least one piece of Pyrex. Considering it hardly ever breaks, that's a lot of Pyrex!
  • Approximately 315000 Pyrex jugs (my personal favourite) are sold in Australia each year!
  • Pyrex is super convenient and can be used in the oven, freezer, and microwave and will also survive the dishwasher.
  • The clean design of Pyrex pieces absorb heatwaves in the oven, which speed up cooking time and save energy.
  • Pyrex are available practically everywhere, check out the website for more information and everything else Pyrex.
Good Luck!
Australian residents only xx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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