Tropical winter Sunday dinner

We decided to crank up the heat and go tropical this Sunday! My beloved BBC Good Food magazine had some pretty amazing looking recipes and we decided on a tropical combo with Pineapple/pork skewers, a Beef and Banana curry with cashew nuts rice and a pineapple cake. My husband helped for the savoury dishes and we had a fantastic meal. I even made these place mats by recycling our window blind to go with the tropical theme (have a look here to see how I did it in details).


Pork & Pineapple skewers with chilli glaze

The highlights of the meal was the Pineapple and Pork skewers with hot chilli glaze! I love roasted fresh pineapple, it reminds me of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and their roasted pineapple dessert, so yummy. This recipe asks for Ancho dried chillies, cider vinegar and onions which we’ve swapped for: 1 normal fresh chilli and 1 very hot small chilli we grew last year, red onions and white wine vinegar. They also advise to serve it with a fresh lime, onion and coriander salsa, which we skipped. It was so good I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tonight!


Ingredients for 3 hungry people:

  • 1 pork fillet, about 400g
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 5-6 wooden skewers

For the glaze

  • half a normal red chilli and 1 small and hot red chilli
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into thick slices
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • small pack coriander, stems only (set some leaves aside for decoration)
  • 120ml good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 8 tbsp soft brown sugar

To make the glaze, soak the chillies in boiling water for 15 mins. While they’re soaking, heat a large frying pan (no oil is needed). Add the onion slices and garlic. Season and let blacken on a medium-low heat for about 15 mins. Turn everything so all sides blacken. I know it sounds weird but trust me it will be DELICIOUS! When the garlic is blackened, peel it. Add it to a food processor with the charred onion, chillies, coriander stems, vinegar, sugar and a good measure of salt. Blend until smooth, then scrape into a bowl.

Slice the pork and pineapple into cubes. Thread them onto the skewers and brush liberally with the glaze. You won’t use all of it, but save the rest as a sauce for serving.
Heat a grill to high. Grill the skewers for 5 mins each side until chargrilled. Let them rest for 5 mins under foil, then serve with the remaining glaze.
Beef, potato & banana curry with cashew rice
We’ve followed this recipe word for word. Tasting the sauce during the preparation did not impress us at all, it felt like something was missing and it was very watery. But we patiently waited until the end and after reducing the sauce in the oven for 30 minutes, we could finally taste the creamy curry-heavy delicious sauce. I would change two things to this recipe: first, halve the potato amount as it is already carb heavy with the rice. Second, they say to taste and season AFTER adding the bananas, but I would recommend to season BEFORE otherwise you will mash up the bananas when mixing the salt in. I added an extra tsp of salt and an extra tbsp of sugar at the end.IMG_1249
Ingredients for 6 people:
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 800g stewing beef cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bashed
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 500g new potatoes, halved
  • 2 large underripe bananas, cut into big chunks
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • some coriander leaves for decoration

For the rice: 300g Basmati rice, 100g cashew nuts, toasted for a few minutes

Heat oven to 160C fan and heat half of the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the beef in batches if needed. Add the remaining oil, with the onions and fry gently until softened. Stir in the lemongrass, ginger, tamarind, garlic, turmeric, curry powder and sugar, and fry for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and a can of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven for 1h.
Then stir in the potatoes and cook for another 1h, removing the lid halfway.
Taste and season to your taste (salt and sugar for me), then add the bananas and garam masala and let it cook for an extra 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook the rice and serve it with the roasted cashew nuts slightly bashed.
Cinnamon pineapple upside-down cake
This recipe is from my January issue: a beautifully light sponge cake with a caramelised pineapple top, absolutely loved it! I reduced the butter from 200g to 140g due to unexpected shortage and it was still fabulous! Keep most of the butter for the sponge and fry your pineapple cubes in the smallest amount possible. We tasted it both warm and cold and we preferred it cold
  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cut into quarters, core removed, then cut into 2cm slices
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 200g plain flour
  • 75ml whole milk

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put 2 tbsp of the butter into a 22cm springform cake tin and place in the oven to melt. Remove and stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and ½ tsp of the vanilla paste. Arrange the pineapple in the buttery sugar mixture, tossing a little to coat. Try to fill all the gaps, so you can’t see the base.
In a mixing bowl, beat the caster sugar and remaining butter using an electric hand whisk for 2-3 mins until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg white, one at a time, and the remaining vanilla. Add the baking powder and a pinch of salt, then the flour and milk, beating until they are both incorporated. Beat for 1 min more until smooth.
Spoon the batter into the pan over the pineapple. Bake for 1 hr, covering with foil if it starts to brown. Leave to rest for 5 mins, then turn out onto a platter and serve warm as a pudding, with crème fraîche, if you like. Alternatively, leave to cool completely in the tin and serve as a cake.


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