Sticky Pork Belly Bao Buns

On 5th June 2016, This was Dinner

As soon as I saw this I knew I had to have a go, I even bought a bamboo steamer for the occasion. As I steamed my buns I was wondering if I had wasted my money but if I never use my steamer again (which I will) it was worth it and I’m now in love with the steamed bun!*

Get set…

  • Cut boneless pork belly into pieces
  • Finely slice a few garlic cloves
  • Finely slice some ginger
  • Cut some spring onions into strips
  • Cut some cucumber into strips
  • Chop some coriander
  • Roughly bash some roasted peanuts
  • Get muscovado sugar, star anise, shaoxing rice wine, dark soy, five spice powder, 250g plain flour, 1 tbsp white caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast, 50ml milk, togarashi spice**, oil & seasoning ready
  • Preheat the oven to 140°c (fan)

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a flame proof dish and brown the pork belly in batches. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle over the five spice powder.

Pop the sugar into the pan and cook until it starts to dissolve and caramelise then add the garlic, ginger and star anise. Do it quick! Add the rice wine and the soy (and make sure you are wearing an apron and don’t mind the clean up afterwards!) Stir in the pork along with it’s juices then add a little water and leave to simmer for a few minutes.

Pop the lid on and transfer to the oven. Cook for an hour and half.

Put the sugar, flour, baking powder and yeast into a mixer with a large pinch of salt.Using the dough hook, pour in the milk and a tbsp of oil along with 100ml lukewarm water and mix for about 10 minutes.

Transfer to an oiled bowl and leave for an hour to double in size.

Take the pork out of the oven and leave to one side whilst you get everything else ready.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface. Roll it into a sausage shape and cut into 10. Roll each of these into a bun then roll out into an oval, lightly grease then fold over a chopstick or something similar and place on an oiled baking tray and leave for another hour.

Mix the peanuts with the togarashi spice.

Heat the steamer (put some baking paper on the bottom) and steam the buns for about 10 minutes.

Pop the pork back on the heat and cook until the sauce is thick and sticky.

Dish it up…

Make an effort! Sprinkle the pork with coriander and serve separately and let everyone build their own. A nice beer wouldn’t go amiss either.


* Oh and the pork was very good too 😉

** Whilst I was ordering the steamer I bought some togarashi spice too.

Find the original recipe on BBC Good Food here.


Sausage & Kale Gnocchi Bake

On 14th April 2016, This was Dinner

More kale!  Not that I’m complaining. It’s delicious and a £1.20 bag from the market will do two meals.

As soon as I see the words ‘gnocchi’ and ‘bake’ I’m in. Mr S made this one, I just walked in and served it up. He added some green olives to the bake as we have tons of them at the minute.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Skin a few pork sausages & break into bite sized pieces
  • Chop some kale
  • Finely chop an onion
  • Break up some mozzarella
  • Get passata, gnocchi, olives, basil, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Boil a pan of water , add salt then add the gnocchi and kale and cook for a minute. Drain and refresh in cold water.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until softened. Remove and set aside.

Add the sausages to the pan and  cook until browned. Add back the onion and pour in some passata. Season well, tear up a few of the basil leaves and cook for a few minutes

Mix together with the kale and gnocchi and pour into an oven proof baking dish.

Pop in some olives and dot the mozzarella all over then put it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Dish it up…

Just a pinch of black pepper and a couple more basil leaves will do it.

TWD_1404_Gnocchi_BakeYou can find the original Delicious Magazine recipe here.

Sesame Pork Stir Fry

On 30th March 2016, This was Dinner

I had a couple of pork chops hanging around the freezer and thought there would be loads due to the size of the bag I pulled out. Turns out there wasn’t loads due to the size of the bones but luckily there was the perfect amount for this dish.

Get set…

  • Cut some pork chops into strips, discarding any fat & bones
  • Peel & grate some ginger
  • Deseed & slice a red & a green pepper
  • Slice some spring onions
  • Get soy sauce, mirin, hot banana sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Mix some of the oil with the ginger, soy sauce, mirin, banana sauce and sesame seeds. Add to the pork and mix well.

Add more oil to a pan and cook the pork for a few minutes.

Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring all the time, until the pork is cooked through. Season if required.

Dish it up..

Perfect served on a bed of rice.


Original recipe here.

Smoky Sausage Casserole

On 19th March 2016, This was Dinner

We had a great day today. We went off to see my cousin’s new home where she cooked us our breakfast sandwich of choice. Bacon and mushroom for me, sausage and tomato for Mr S. The only down side was that her labrador was so excited to see me that she head butted me, causing a nose bleed. All was forgiven though as she is the reason we have Walter.

Afterwards we went for a walk in the woods. It’s always so good to see Walter off lead and this is possible for most of the time in the woods as the only people you tend to come across are others with exuberant dogs who just want to play.

When we got back we had big appetites so were ready for this.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Finely chop an onion
  • Crush a garlic clove
  • Finely chop a stick of celery
  • Cut a red, green & yellow pepper into chunks
  • Drain a tin of cannellini beans
  • Whizz up some bread for fresh breadcrumbs
  • Great some mozzarella
  • Get pork sausages, smoked paprika, ground cumin, chilli flakes, 2 tins chopped tomatoes, spinach, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a casserole dish and brown the sausages. Remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil if required and cook the onion until softened.

Add the garlic, celery and peppers, stir well and cook for another five minutes.

Add the chilli flakes, paprika and cumin and stir. Pour in the tomatoes and bring to the boil then turn down and add the sausages back to the pan. Season and stir.

Pop the lid on and pop and cook for 20 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes.

If you have a grill setting in your oven, turn this on. Sprinkle the casserole with the breadcrumbs and the cheese and cook with the lid off in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Dish it up…

Nothing extra needed here. Just a bowl will do.


The original recipe can be found here.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly

On 15th February 2016, This was Dinner

As I said yesterday, this was supposed to be our Valentines meal. Not that it was rubbish, it was nice enough but oh what a lot of effort for not enough reward.

The full title of this Gordon Ramsey dish from BBC Good Food is

Twice-Cooked Pork Belly with Onion & Apple Velouté

I had to defrost the pork belly on Thursday, marinate it on Friday, cook it for three hours on Saturday, then weigh it down and fridge it until Sunday. Phew! By this time I was expecting the greatest meal I had ever made. Meh!

I could only get my hands on strips of pork belly so didn’t do it in a full piece.

Get set (2 days before)…

Crush some coriander seeds and two star anise in a pestle and mortar then add sea salt.

Season some belly pork strips with the salt mix then scatter over some rosemary leaves and some sprigs of thyme. Cover and pop in the fridge overnight.

Get set (1 day before)…

  • Preheat the oven to 140°c (fan)
  • Heat some goose fat in a saucepan

Lay the pork in a baking dish then ladle over the goose fat until all of the meat is covered.

Cover with foil and cook for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and leave for about 10 minutes then line a tray with greaseproof paper. Pop the pork on top. Lay another peice of paper on top. Pop another tray over the paper then put something heavy (I used the pestle and mortar) on top.

Let the meat cool then pop the lot in the fridge.

Get set..

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Finely chop a couple of onions
  • Core and slice a granny smith apple
  • Prepare some chicken stock
  • Get butter, double cream, oil & seasoning ready.

Throw it together…

Remove everything from the top of the pork then pop the pork in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

While it cooks, heat the butter in a pan and add the apple and onion to soften.

Pour in the stock and simmer until the apple starts to break down.

Stir in the cream and simmer then season and blend*.

Dish it up…

We served ours with some roasted potato slices and green veg.


I took the easy route and used a hand blender, it was a bit thick but I wanted to save on washing. If I’m honest this tasted more like onion sauce, I wasn’t really getting the apple.

I also take issue at the term Velouté. Apparently, derived from the French for velvet (which mine was most definitely not!), it is one of the ‘five “mother sauces” and is equal parts by mass butter and flour to form the roux and a light chicken or fish stock, with some salt and pepper to season as needed. (source: Wikipedia).

Pork Chops with Tomato & Blue Cheese

On 19th January 2016, This was Dinner

This went from being Lamb with tomatoes and feta to this. Mr S didn’t see any nice looking lamb chops at the market so picked up some pork. As he never knows what things are for he still bought the feta but we had some blue cheese in the fridge that needed using up. I’ll think of something to use the feta with.

You can cook the steaks however you want but I always prefer my pork finished in the oven.

Get set…

  • Trim & season some pork steaks
  • Roughly chop some tomatoes
  • Crumble some blue cheese
  • Tear up some basil.
  • Get white wine vinegar, oil & seasoning ready
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)

Throw it together…

Mix the tomatoes with the cheese, basil, vinegar and oil. Season.

Heat some oil in a pan and cook the pork for a couple of minutes each side then transfer to a baking tray and cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pork. Let the pork rest for a minute or so.

Dish it up…

Serve the tomato mixture on top of the pork and drizzle with any juices. We had ours with some crusty bread.


The original recipe comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things which is a great book. I highly recommend it.

Sausages with Onion Marmalade

On 17th January 2016, This was dinner

I have to start off with a heartfelt apology to my sister for the abomination that was dinner yesterday. I’m sure you enjoyed your cereal when you got home. The moral of the story is always trust your instincts with a recipe and try and read through and do the prep before you a) natter as you cook and b) drink wine! We ended up with a very dry and tasteless butternut squash lasagne. I will redeem myself next time, I promise.

Sunday’s dinner made up for it (for us, not for my sister). You can’t go wrong with sausages, onions and gravy can you?


  • Finely slice a couple of red onions
  • Finely slice a couple of white onions
  • Finely slice a couple of shallots (my white onions were tiny)
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Get sausages, red wine, white wine vinegar, caster sugar, oil & seasoning ready


Heat some oil in a pan, brown the sausages and remove from the pan.

Make sure there is enough oil on a very gentle heat and add all of the onions. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the wine, vinegar, sugar and seasoning and turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir for a couple of minutes then transfer to an over proof dish.

Pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir will then add the sausages, after 15 minutes, stir again and then but back in oven for another 15.

We served ours with chips and gravy. Yum.


The original recipe can be found in Mary Berry’s Cook Now Eat Later.

Walter saw his first snow today. We got up bright and early as we knew it wouldn’t hang around. There wasn’t loads to throw him into confusion but there was a lot of sniffing involved and a lot of us laughing and disappearing snowballs. Like an idiot I forgot to take my phone to get some photos.