Sunday, 9 March 2014

Star anise plum glazed pork chop

It's been a super weekend with some wonderful warm rays of sunshine. An incredibly British habit to constantly start conversation off with weather, but it can't be helped when we have such little time with the sun. And what followed this British habit was quite the British weekend. Long walks in the park, trips to Maltby street market and foodie treasures and a few setbacks of disappointment. A little house trip to the zoo was thwarted when we arrived just at closing time. Not to worry, we'd booked into a nice supper at Bumpkin, which does beautiful seasonal British food. I was double thwarted when I had set my eyes on the specials - pork chop with kale, only to be told as we were ordering that all the specials had finished. 'Maybe try the pork belly?' said the waiter I then bore a strong disliking to for the rest of the night for not telling me earlier what was available. A delusional and internal rant was circulating around in my head....What sort of crazy substitute is pork belly to pork chop? When you're really happy you've made a decision for pork chops I tell you it's a difficult thing to change your mind. I think I was irrationally upset because I know Bumpkin do such great food, I could imagine exactly how perfect it would have been prepared - quality produce, simply seasoned and immaculately cooked for that memorable and moreish first bite. I settled (hardly settled as it was very tasty) for their 'Cow Pie' but my childish side was still yearning for something I couldn't have. I must have looked up longingly at the specials board at least 10 times. To console myself I set my eyes on their legendary apple pie with hazelnut crumble, which I always like to treat myself to. 
The waiter failed to remember that the apple dessert was off the menu as well. I decided to put him on my hitlist and grumble about my crumble all the way home.

However, with the pork chop craving still set, I decided to create something to satisfy my cravings. Plums are a great fruit to work with, pretty much enough varieties to mean they're always in season, and sweet and tangy enough to add to a sauce for savoury. It's almost a twist on sweet and sour pork, but the star anise and oyster sauce give a more darker and sophisticated flavour. It's surprisingly quick to make, so perfect for a mid week dish.

3 ripe plums, halved and stoned
55 grams of light brown sugar
100 ml of water
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 inch of ginger, sliced thinly
1 shallot, sliced thinly
2 star anise
2 pork chops, room temperature

In a frying pan, gently fry the shallot until softened (approx five minutes). On a medium/high heat, add the sugar, water and oyster sauce and mix. When the sauce starts to bubble, place the plums cut side down alongside the ginger. Bubble away on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes for the plums to seep out their juice and the sauce to thicken (the bubbles will get thicker).
Meanwhile, heat a spoonful of oil in another frying pan and when it's searing hot add the pork chops in. Depending on the size of them, heat for about 3 minutes on each side (try not to overcook as the meat becomes very tough, quickly). Turn the heat off and add the glaze sauce over the pork chops. Cover with a lid, and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with some greens ( I used choi sum) and little potatoes or rice to lap up some of that sweet glaze.
This post is dedicated to my favourite waiter at Bumpkin. Without him, my pork chop cravings wouldn't have manifested itself in this post.

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