Regular readers will know—I’m upfront about my addiction to a certain fizzy drink. I have, however, never cooked with it before*.
Fair enough. Why would I? I’ve seen recipes that use the regular version for glazing ham or even chocolate cakes. I did try something this weekend though, using the sugar-free kind. I love pulled pork—it’s the most flavoursome thing you can do with the meat. It’s cheap, easy and a crowd-pleaser. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s tried it and didn’t love it.
Most recipes quote quite a bit of sugar in the sauces for pulled pork. My version uses a big fat zero, unless you include the natural sugars in onions and tomatoes. Try it and see!
Slow Cooker Sugar-Free Pulled Pork
- 1.5-2kg pork shoulder
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 can diet cola
- 3 tbsp hot smoked paprika
- One small onion, finely chopped
- 100ml cider vinegar
- 1tbsp rape seed or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
Cut the skin off the pork shoulder. Slice into strips and put it in the fridge. This will make your crackling.
Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the pork shoulder. Sear all over. Place in your slow cooker and top with boiling water. Mix in two tablespoons of the paprika and cook on slow for 10 to 12 hours.
Half an hour before the pork finishes cooking, heat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the pork strips with a little salt and half a tablespoon of the paprika. Place on a wire rack over a tray and cook at the top of the oven.
Make the sauce 15 to 20 minutes before you want to serve your pork. Blend the onion, tomatoes and garlic together and add half a tablespoon of paprika. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the tomato mix with the vinegar and the diet cola. Bring to the boil turn to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce should be a little thicker, and smooth.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker, place in a rectangular dish and use two large forks to shred. Add the sauce and mix well. You’ll need plenty of salt and pepper.
Serve with the crackling and home-made coleslaw.
About 5g carbs per portion.
*Partly thanks to those conspiracy theories that went round in the 90s about Gulf War Syndrome.
Peanut butter is one of my favourite foods. Of course it’s incredible on toast, but toast is out of bounds when you are low-carbing. It’s great as a snack though with apple slices or sticks of celery. You can choose the worthy peanut butter – the stuff without sugar or salt – but I suspect most people love the cheap stuff. I find most own-brand peanut butter indistinguishable from the brand leaders.
Anyway, I created a new recipe this week – Peanut Pork. It’s basically a satay sauce type recipe that makes the most of peanut butter and pork, two ingredients I really love. You can double it up easily enough to serve more people.
Spicy Peanut Pork
- 200g, pork shoulder steak
- 50g creamed coconut
- 1 tbs, coconut oil
- 75g crunchy peanut butter
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 75g baby sweetcorn chopped in half
- 1 medium red pepper, sliced
- 50g mange tout
- 300mls boiling water
- 2 red chillies, finely sliced (keep the seeds if you like your food spicier)
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Cut the pork steak into evenly-sized cubes (about two centimetre squared).
Melt the coconut oil in a wok and add the spring onions, pepper and baby sweetcorn. Stir-fry for five minutes.
Chop the creamed coconut up and add this and the peanut butter to the boiled water. Whisk well to combine. Add this to the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Add the pork and allow to simmer for five minutes. Add the mange tout and simmer for another five minutes.
Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Serve with cauliflower rice or in bowls with a spoon.
Allow 20g of carbs per portion.
Thanks to the recent spell of good weather (in Scotland too!), we’ve got a glut of herbs. There’s something special about going out into the garden to pick herbs for a dish you’re making, but at the moment I can’t keep up with our herb growth rate.
I found a recipe for pork loin steaks the other day which neatly took care of some of the excesses. The delicious, tender results were an added bonus.
If you have any left-over herb paste, use it to baste fish or chicken, or dilute it slightly with more oil and a little vinegar, and use it in salads.
We got our pork steaks from the wonderful Nethergate Larder stall at the near-by Farmers’ Market, which runs at Loch Lomond Shores the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.
Pork Loin Steaks with Herb Paste
- 4 pork loin steaks
- Fresh basil (2-3 generous handfuls)
- Flat-leaf parsley (1 generous handful)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 4tbsp rapeseed or olive oil, plus a tsp
- 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
Take the pork steaks out of the fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C.
Place the basil, parsley, lemon zest, 4tbsp oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a mini food processor or blender and whizz till you get a thick, green paste.
Brush the pork steaks with the tsp of oil and fry on each side for a minute to seal and colour the meat. Remove from the heat, brush with the herb paste so each steak gets a thick coating.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the individual steaks. Pork meat should be cooked through and the meat white, but be careful not to overcook the steaks.
Serve with salad and green beans.
Carbs – about 2g per serving.