As it is Chinese New Year it made me think that one of the few things that is still on my ‘must do before I die’ list is to visit China. We were going to do it this year, but instead somehow were sidetracked and it changed to India, which is another culture I am attracted to.
For now, though it is Chinese New Year, the year of the Rabbit. Those born under the sign are purported to be calm, diplomatic, sensitive and considerate to others. They are not risk takers, preferring the safest option every time – so that is obviously not me. I was born in the year of the Pig that is characterised by a quick temper, yet we hate arguments and quarrelling, we are also impulsive, but in our favour, we are very loyal to our friends and family. Seems there could be quite a bit of truth in that, especially the impulsive bit!!
There is nothing about being creative though and that is one thing I believe I am. I love drawing, painting and sewing, particularly embroidery and here is where I tend to lean towards all things oriental, particularly Japanese. I have pictures of cranes, oriental maidens, samurai and peacocks. Well the peacocks have been on the go for around 7 or 8 years, just one of those things I pick up and put down. But I find picking up a needle, a pencil or paintbrush is very therapeutic. Painting can be difficult living here, especially water-colours, my favourite, as they tend to dry before they hit the paper so a bit like the peacock, that has gone on a back-burner of late.
So nothing really Chinese oh dear!, I did have a Shih Tzu aren´t they supposed to originated from China, or is that Tibet? There is only one way to rectify the situation, tonight I will cook Chinese Pork chops with stir-fried vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce. If that sounds good, here is the way I do them.
2 pork chops,
salt and pepper
1 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 stalk celery, very thinly sliced diagonal
3 or 4 tablespoons stock
For the sweet and sour sauce
1 teaspoon corn flour
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet and sour sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large frying , when very hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork chops to the pan and cook for 2 minutes each side. The pork chops will still be rare-ish in the middle. Remove the pork chops to a plate.
3. You should still have some oil left over in the pan, turn the heat to medium-high and add the onions. Fry until starting to get translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots and the celery and fry for an additional minute. Pour in the beer and let simmer for 30 seconds. Pour in the sweet and sour sauce and stir to coat evenly. Once the mixture is bubbling turn the heat to medium, return the pork chops back into the pan. Cover and let cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pork chops.
In the meantime, Happy Chinese New Year everyone and maybe I will get to China in 2012.