Cooking certain dishes like roast pork reminds me of my mother.- Maya Angelou
I abso-most-certainly-lutely concur with Maya Angelou, I can remember having roast pork at the club when I was young, and the Knorr Roast meat marinade that my mother used to make and that became a go to pork recipe for me until the supermarkets no longer stocked the marinade and I mourned for the longest time. But the good thing is I was then forced to become creative with my pork recipes and I now have an arsenal of go to recipes for whichever occasion.
Another pork dish that sticks out in my mind is a roast pork and pineapple dish that we had at the Mombasa Club I think it was in 2009, when Pookie and I were on holiday…ahh! May the Chef’s hands be blessed!
…It’s a Monday and Pookie bear calls me and asks “Mookie, will you Make apple fresco salad for dinner today?”…..his voice all syrupy and sweet, so my knees buckled, my heart skipped a beat and to stop myself from giggling and twirling my 4 inch weave around my index finger as my colleagues watched I gave him the list of items to pick up…it doesn’t really qualify as a list since it was 2 items – blue cheese, walnuts, celery, lettuce, and apples…ok i guess it WAS a list! (Now bear with me as I ramble on about how apple fresco salad is Pookies favourite salad ever, we first discovered it at the Nairobi Java House – Nyali Branch and it was the only salad he’d bother having, so when the coffee-house removed the apple fresco salad from their menu Pookies heart was broken 😱😢🙊💔. He called me to share the sad! sad! news…and I knew I had to do something FAST…his ailing heart was at stake! so a little online research, a stop by the grocery…and our home-made apple fresco salad was born!)
As soon as I hung up I started thinking of what would complement the apple fresco salad and I decided a pork dish was just what I needed. So the next step in my thought process was, which pork recipe and I knew I would either brine it and grill it or use the oranges I have been planning on picking up from the market since hangnails have become eponymous to my hands (if you look up hangnail I guarantee an image of my hand will pop up!!… did you know hangnails are also refered to as stepmother’s blessing!) and the ginger rhizome that was starting to dry out in my pantry. The raisin coconut rice was left over from the weekend when Pookie made us his special chicken dish (yes he cooks!😍).
The only time to eat diet food is while you are waiting for the steak to cook – Julia Child
Wise words never rang truer!!!
For the pork chops:
- 500g Pork Chops
- 1 Tbsp Freshly Ground black Pepper
- Orange rind from 2 medium-sized oranges (approx 2 tbsp)
- Freshly squeezed juice from 2 medium-sized oranges
- Orange flavoured basalmic vinegar
- Ginger sliced into thin strips
For the brine:
- 1/2 a cup of sugar
- 1/2 a cup of salt
- 1 cup water
For the Apple Fresco Salad:
- 2 green apples
- 1 pink lady apple
- 1 cup of walnuts
- 2 cups basil (lettuce can work as a substitute)
- Blue cheese
For the vinaigrette:
- Olive oil
- Orange flavoured basalmic vinegar
- A pinch of salt
- Some bicep power
For the Rice:
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 a cup raisins
Prepare the brining solution by mixing the sugar salt and water and place your pork chops in the solution to brine. If you can do this overnight awesome!- if not then you can brine for at least an hour – I guarantee the world will still rotate on its axis if you have to brine for an hour!! (confessional 🙏… I sometimes double the quantities of salt/sugar and only do it for 30 mins or however long I can manage coz lets face it sorties you just want to get over the cooking part and get to the eating!)
For the marinade, in a large bowl, mix the orange juice and rind, add the orange flavoured basalmic vinegar and sliced ginger and stir. Remove the pork chops from the brining solution and place in your marinade grind so black pepper and sprinkle. (let the chops marinade for at least one hour)
Pre-heat the oven to 180º celsius.
Place the chops in a baking tray (ensure the tray isn’t too large or else the chops will dry out, you want the chops to fit snuggly together…we want to get a sauce out of that heavenly marinade.) Then pour the marinade over the chops.
Bake the chops for 40 mins.
Bring the water to a boil, add the coconut milk and bring it back up to a boil. add the rice and raisin’s and let it cook.
Thinly slice the apples into half-moon shapes and chop up the celery, in a large bowl mix the apples, walnuts and basil (if using lettuce tear it to bite sized pieces) break the blue cheese into small pieces ( and under no circumstance should you smell your hands coz the blue cheese smells like rotten socks…. but it tastes sooooo good- One of life’s major paradoxes!!) Pour in the vinaigrette and toss the salad- for those of you with x-rated humour-NO PUN INTENDED.
Plate…or not! and enjoy… i won’t judge I have been known to eat from the pot or in this case the baking tray… for all those raised eyebrows- it’s very eco friendly- all the water saved!