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.


Peanut Butter Cake

This is a belated birthday cake for Mr S. With a hectic weekend, and the fact that Mr S ate all the peanuts, I did not get around to making it. A week later, here it is.

I wish I could bake to half the standard that the people of GBBO do but that is not my forte. I fear Mary would look at me with a look of pity and Hollywood would give a look that suggested I’ve just given him a bake containing a few of my dogs favourite treats! Still, we enjoy them so that is all that matters.

Get set…

  • Butter 2 x 20cm cake tins & line the bottom with baking paper
  • Lightly butter a plate
  • Heat the oven to 160°c (fan)
  • Measure out 200g softened butter
  • Measure out 3 tbsp of peanut butter then keep the tin for however much you want to use for the middle
  • Measure out 200g golden caster sugar
  • Measure out 150ml natural yoghurt
  • Measure out 200g self raising flour
  • Measure out 100g milk chocolate & break into small pieces
  • Get 4 eggs, salted peanuts, icing sugar, milk & Carnation caramel ready

Throw it together…

Beat the peanut butter together with the butter, eggs, sugar and yoghurt.

Fold in the flour then split between the two lines tins.

Bake for 30 minutes. To check it’s done, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, it’s done!

Allow to cool in the tins for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Toss the salted peanuts (I used about 80g ‘cos we love peanuts) in icing sugar and a splash of water to give a sticky coating. Turn the oven up to 180°c (fan) and spread the peanuts on a baking tray. Cook for about 6 minutes, tossing once. Tip onto the buttered plate.

Melt the chocolate with 2tbsp of milk gently over a pan of simmering water then leave to cool.

Spread some peanut butter over one of the sponges then dot with the caramel sauce and spread with a palette knife.

Pop the other sponge on top then spread the chocolate over. Scatter the peanuts.

Dish it up…

Are you a straight up shove the cake in your mouth type of person or do you like to eat it with a fork? It’s quite sticky so I suggest the fork option!


This cake is rich with a capital ‘R’. Find it here.

Vietnamese Rice Salad

Our second Vietnamese style dish this week and just as tasty.

The recipe comes from a Good Housekeeping cook book we picked up on the cheap a couple of years ago called Healthy Family Recipes. It’s been well used.

Cook some basmati wild rice. When it’s done, pop it out in a thin layer on some foil and leave to cool.

Put some muscovado sugar in a small pan with a little water, let the sugar dissolve and add lime juice, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar. Boil gently then remove from the heat and add rapeseed oil.

Grate up some carrot and courgette and finely slice a red onion. Add chopped basil.

Mix everything together then garnish with chopped roasted peanuts, sliced spring onion and rocket salad.



This was dinner…2nd July 2014

Sticky Pork Belly with Vietnamese Style Salad & Smashed Peanuts


I quite like my football. I can hold a decent conversation about it and I know the offside rule.  I’m not a massive fan of one team. There are a few I like to see do OK. Doncaster Rovers  (best not talk about that this season), Arsenal (just because they played excellent football when I got into it – and Freddie Ljundberg) and Newcastle United (Mr S’ team).

However, It’s none of those that I’m off to see. I’m going to watch Fleetwood Town take on Burton Albion in the League Two Play-Offs. It was a spur of the moment decision. After watching Arsenal beat Hull in the FA Cup. Mr S decided we needed a visit to Wembley. Well we know someone who plays for Fleetwood, he’s a wedding off being family so why not?

So I’m off to the big smoke and will be cheering on the Cod Army (I’ve done my research) along with the rest!

I’m embarking on National Vegetarian Week from tomorrow, this was a good way to say ‘see you later’ to meat. It’s in the most recent BBC Good Food Mag.

In a large casserole dish, mix together hoisin sauce, clear honey, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, tomato ketchup and finely chopped ginger.

Remove the rind from a piece of pork belly and mix well in the sauce. Leave to marinate for as long as possible. Mine marinated for approximately five hours.

Heat the oven to 140ºc (fan).

Pop the pork in a snug, foil lined roasting dish along with the marinade. Cover with foil. Cook for about 2 hours, turning the pork half way through.

After the two hours. Take the pork out and transfer the marinade to a saucepan. Increase the oven to 180º.

Bring the sauce to a boil to let it get thick and syrupy. Brush the pork with some of the marinade and pop it back into the oven for about 20 minutes.

Make a dressing of finely chopped chilli, grated garlic, light brown sugar, a little lime and some rice vinegar.

Prepare a salad of cucumber cut into ribbons, sliced radishes, halved sugar snap peas, thinly sliced spring onion, torn basil and mint leaves.

Serve the pork and rice with the dressing drizzled over the salad and the marinade spooned over the pork and rice. You may need to add a little water to the marinade. Sprinkle with smashed salted peanuts.


This was dinner…18th May 2014.