Sharing my recipe for Apple Braised Pork with Cauliflower Rice, and some reflections on cooking as a hobby!
I love it when a meal turns out great the first time your tinker with it. This Apple Braised Pork with Cauliflower Rice is one of those said victories. I have really been upping my cooking game recently and pushing myself to learn more recipes. They’re not (almost never) that complicated, really. But it is still an amazing feeling to come up with a great meal, especially for a mere cooking enthusiast like me.
Thought, Effort, and Accomplishment
In our home, because my husband is busy with home renovation, I get the fun task of planning out the weekly menu. Planning a menu is a challenge if you want to do it right. We do meatless meals 2-3 times a week. I make it a point to not have carb heavy nights or the same kind of cuisine back to back, and also try not to have the same side or salad in one week. We can get easy and less healthy food on Fridays. We do a heavy meat meal on Sundays. A lot of thought goes into this, people! I try to consistently step up my game when it comes to food menu planning. Also, I heard from someone in the past that the best way to enjoy food is placing importance on the quality, and not the quantity of what you eat. It’s true. Somehow, when a meal has had effort and thought put into it, you tend to enjoy it better.
Our hard work, coming together! My husband cut, edged, and installed these iroco counters himself, and they are now looking gorgeous with our new blinds and the new range cooker. Excited and a bit emotional. One week to go before kitchen completion!!! I might never leave this kitchen when it’s finished. 😂
I’ve been enjoying cooking so much that I have not repeated the same dish more than three times in the last six months. There’s just so much to cook, so many cuisines, so many different ingredients to work with! Mixing it up and experimenting in the kitchen has become a great source of fulfilment these last few months. I know it might turn out differently when I start working a full time job, but while I have the time, cooking dinner has become one, if not my favourite thing, to do throughout the day.
Experience is the best Teacher
I think the best thing about having all this time to experiment is learning the fundamentals by trial and error. For example, I am learning different meat cuts, and found out that a pork shoulder is great when braised or put in stews and that it is also economical as well. I’m learning that the best dishes play with the balance of different flavors – sweet, salty, bitter, tang, spice, umami. I learned that searing apparently doesn’t help seal moisture, but only enhances the smokiness of a dish. I also learned never to underestimate a spice or seasoning. Experience truly is the best teacher.
If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram, you’d know. I seem to always be on there eating or cooking something. Lol.
I think that finding something that makes you excited and inspired is a wonderful thing, especially at this age. As an adult, life can sometimes feel like it is just passing you by. Whether it is cooking, sport, art – being able to zone out in an activity and make you feel gratified at the end of it can really help center you and keep you sane.
That being said, I hope you find that one thing and that you are able to keep at it.
Also, treat yourself to a well thought out and delicious meal. You deserve it. Try my recipe below for Apple Braised Pork with Cauliflower Rice. Enjoy!
- 800g Pork Shoulder
- Salt and Pepper
- Onion, Sliced
- 2 Rashers/ Strips of bacon
- 2 Green Apples
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- A handful of Parsley, finely minced
- Start by seasoning both sides of pork well. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a deep pot/ dutch oven. Fry rashers and place in a plate when begining to crisp up.
- Turn up the heat a little bit. Fry the pork steaks in batches in the same oil. Brown them on both sides and place on a plate.
- When done, turn down the heat a bit and caramelise the onions. Once transparent, add vinegar, water, and wine. Mix with pork drippings and onions, and allow it to simmer.
- Return the cooked pork and half of the amount of sliced apples into the simmering sauce. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Cover pan and braise in oven for 1 hour or until fork tender.
- Checking halfway through, at the 30 minute mark, add the rest of the apples and stir and the pork pieces so that the other side soaks in the sauce. Make sure the sauce does not dry up too much. The sauce should be slightly thickened and reduced when it is done.
- You can start making the cauliflower rice at this 30 minute mark as well. With a food processor, blitz the cauliflower so that it looks like couscous.
- Spread out the cauliflower rice on a baking tray, and sprinkle cumin and a dash of salt.
- Place the tray in the oven for 8 minutes. When done, fluff the rice with a fork and mix the parsley.
- Serve pork and cauliflower rice together warm.