Spicy Beef Noodle Salad

This is a really easy and healthy salad which will make you forget you are actually eating something healthy. The important thing here is the sauce. I mean you could do without the beef (but who would want to?!?) and change up the vegetables but the sauce really just brings everything together. For this amazing sauce you will need:

  • Ginger (minced)
  • Lemongrass (minced)
  • Soy Sauce (half cup)
  • Fish Sauce (one big tablespoon)
  • Sriracha Chilli Sauce or chillies (as much as you like)
  • The juice of one lime (and more if needed)
  • Garlic (minced)
Mix all the ingredients together and keep tasting until it feels right – it should be salty and tangy. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour to infuse all the flavours…The best is to do a big batch and use it throughout the week in different salads, it will keep well for at least five days.
For this salad you will need:
  • Beef, seared and then sliced finely
  • Red Peppers, chopped.
  • Spring Onions, chopped.
  • Noodles, cooked according to instructions, chilled (I used thai bean vermicelli, but this would be nice with some thicker thai noodles).
  • Coriander, chopped finely.

To prepare it..well it’s a salad! So just mix everything up, add as much sauce and you want go eat this amazing tangy,spicy, fake salad.


Pork Loin Tacos with Black Beans and Leftovers Healthy Salad

I will start by saying that this recipe is AMAZING and that you need to go and do it now and that the photo really does not do it justice… Also I understand that for students pork loin comes a bit on the pricey side, but you can easily substitute it for pork shoulder or pork belly and just cook it slower. Anyway what’s important here is the marinade! Spicy, sweet, smoky and tangy all at the same time. For a medium size pork loin, you will need:

  • 3 chipotle chillies in adobo, with two teaspoons of adobo ‘sauce’ that comes with them. You can buy these at Whole Foods, Borough Market, Cool Chile and other shops/supermarkets that sell Mexican products. These chillies are incredible: not too spicy and very smoky. Once you try them you’ll want to put them in everything you cook… which I do!
  • 3 tablespoons of your favourite bbq sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of ketchup.
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed.
  • enough salt to season your piece of meat (not much needed if you are using pork belly or shoulder)
  • half a lemon’s juice.

Put all of this in a ziplock bag, get your pork loin in there and chill in the fridge for a few hours. Now on to the black beans! You will need (for a generous serving):

  • 2 cups of uncooked black beans which you will soak overnight (or buy some canned black beans, but it’s definitely not as good. If you are using canned beans skip to step 2.).
  • 2 bacon rashers or pancetta, sliced finely (you can also use spanish spicy chorizo, tastes great!).
  • half an onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced.
  • one chipotle chili (see here they are again!) finely chopped.
  • salt and pepper for seasoning.
  1. Start by cooking the soaked black beans in their soaking water (adding more if needed) on a medium heat until they are fully cooked. Take them from the stove and reserve (you can do this hours in advance and then start from step one just before you want to eat your beans).
  2. Now heat some oil in a heavy pan and fry the bacon for a few minutes until it starts to render fat. Add the onions and garlic and fry for a bit until they become soft. 
  3. Add the chilli and the beans and cook on a very slow heat, adding water if needed. The beans should be getting soft and soupy. 
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. There you go, ready for your tacos!
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Now it’s time to go back to that amazing marinade:

  1. While the beans are simmering away take the pork loin from the bag and brown it on both sides, until it’s quite dark. Move it to an oven-proof dish, along with the marinade, cover it with foil and cook it for 30-35 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees. 
  2. After the pork has been cooked, leave it to rest on a cutting board and take out the marinade into a blender. Add some more lemon juice, some coriander and blend it into a sauce. 
  3. Slice the pork into thin slices and serve with the beans, coriander and your preferred salsa on corn tortillas (the best are from Cool Chile – no they don’t endorse me in any way… but if they want to, I’m more than happy with that!)
  4. Now eat those amazing tacos and curse the time when you didn’t know about chipotle chillies or this marinade!
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Now if you weren’t greedy enough last night and there are still some slices of pork loin around and some of that spicy sauce, it is a good idea to turn them into a salad. For that you will need: 
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  • A mix of cooked grains and pulses (I used quinoa, bulghur, red rice and Puy lentils).
  • Two handfuls of salad leaves per person.
  • A mix of crunchy vegetables (all I had were spring onions and celery…).
  • Some chopped herbs (here I used coriander).

Mix all the ingredients together, incorporate the spicy sauce so that it’s coating everything and add the cooked pork loin on top.