Happy 2018 blog family! I know that I haven’t been posting consistently but I hope I still have a few of you left because I have some exciting news to share! And of course this yummy spicy Sichuan recipe 😉
2017 was quite the year. I started this blog, and this journey almost exactly 1 year ago with the goal of carving out a career for myself in recipe development, food styling and photography. Having absolutely no experience in either of those categories, I had a steep learning curve. My approach was just to go at my own pace and to learn by trail and error. I photographed nearly every meal I have made (and then some) in the last 12+ months and have over 10,000 photos to show for it.
Steadily, I have improved how I present my food and the quality of the images. Thinking about food 24/7 is nothing new but now most nights I toss and turn with ideas of new recipes floating about. And I couldn’t be happier. I am so lucky to have had the time to reset my career and follow my passion. I certainly couldn’t have done this without the support of my husband Kris and my kids cheering me on. Most importantly, I don’t think I would have discovered this passion without having them to cook for!
Ok, now that I’ve shared a little more about what I’ve been trying to achieve this year, I’ll get on to my big news. In an incredible and unexpected turn of events, I have been offered my first freelancing recipe development contract! I have now sold my first 3 recipes to Marley Spoon! I reached out to the culinary director over Instagram in early 2017 to learn a little more about recipe development. She was so kind to share her story and offer some tips and we kept in touch.
Fast forward a few months, she asked if I’d be interested doing some recipe development for them and with just two weeks left in 2017, I was in their test kitchen cooking up my first recipes. It has been such an exciting and rewarding experience working with Marley Spoon. I am learning a lot and I can tell you that my recipe writing is already improving – so hopefully you’ll notice the difference 😉 My first recipes go live in March so I’ll keep you updated with how that progresses. For now I am busy coming up with fun, family friend recipe ideas for their service and am totally overjoyed to be doing it!
I was really unsure about what I was doing this past year, would it work out? Did I have the talent? It feels amazing to be able to answer those questions. It has really given me confidence to set some new goals in 2018. More on those to come!
You may also notice a few changes to my blog. There is a new logo up top and a featured recipes scroll. I hope you like it and find it easier to search for your favourite recipes. I am also going through and updating each recipe with a new more reader-friendly format. I’d love to hear what you think of the new layout so feel free to drop me a line!
Now on to the Spicy Sichuan Pork & Beans. These green beans where one of our favourite foods to eat while living in China and we have been craving them ever since. Unfortunately Chinese food in Amsterdam leaves us wanting – although we have found one decent Sichuan restaurant that we like – they don’t delivery and believe it or not, going out to eat is not that easy or enjoyable with two small children. So it means that I have to figure out how to make it at home. This recipe stays true to its origins, except for the addition of pickled red onions. I always have some on hand in my fridge and I love the balance they give to this dish, a bit of sweet and sour really breaks through the pork and brightens the dish. Even better this comes together in as long as it takes to cook the rice. Quick and easy and packed with flavour.
If the word “spicy” puts you off, don’t be afraid. Sichuan peppercorns are a totally different spice then just heat. I find they have a real floral note to them and are more tongue numbing then burning. It sounds weird but if you are just starting to enjoy more spice in your food, its a great way to develop your taste for spicy food. This recipe also calls for 3 dried red chilis, they are quickly flash fried and don’t add a tremendous amount of heat, just a little background flavour. But don’t eat them whole! I have nearly killed my husband twice when he mistakenly ate them and now I remove them before I serve the dish. (Sorry Kris)
Now For The Recipe:
Sichuan Pork & Green Beans
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Persons: 2
- Difficulty: Easy
- 200g organic ground pork or two organic pork sausages, casings removed
- 400g green beans, washed and trimmed
- 2tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 2-3 dried red chillis
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1tbsp ginger, minced
- 2tbsp Shaoxing or Mirin
- 1tbsp soy sauce
- 1tsp sugar
- 1tbsp Chinese black vinegar or any kind you have to hand
- 3tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4cup pickled red onions
- Mix together Shaoxing, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar until combined and set aside.
- Heat 3tbsp of oil in a wok over medium-high heat and add Sichuan peppercorns. Fry until they have turned dark brown in colour and fragrant. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Carefully add in green beans and fry, turning often, until the beans have started to wrinkle and brown – about 5 minutes. Remove with tongs or slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add pork and continue frying, breaking it up with a spoon into pieces, until it is golden brown in colour – 6-7 minutes.
- Add green beans, pepper corns, pickled onions and chillies into the wok and toss to mix together. Then pour over Shaoxing mixture, stirring frequently to combine. Continue to stir until almost all the liquid as been absorbed – about 2 minutes.
- Serve over warm bowls of rice and don’t forget to remove the chillies before serving! Enjoy!
This could also be done with tofu to make it vegan and equally delicious. I might marinate the tofu first in the Shaoxing mixture to add more flavour. Shaoxing is a Chinese rice wine and tastes delicious. You can find this at any Chinese grocery.