The other week my parents had some guests over for the weekend. In amongst the various plans and whotnots was the slightest sledgehammer of a hint to have them over at mine. Not being as dim as I could pretend to be I offered my place up for lunch.
"Oh, can you make dessert, then?" asked my Dear Little Cardamummy.
"Yeah, no problem but I'll bake at yours." Beelzebub is still as trustworthy as whichever politician who's causing the greatest grief in your life at the moment.
The day before I went over to make the cakes and the super secret DB August 08 Challenge, I arrived at theirs to hand over one of the giant courgettes my colleague made available.
"How are we going to have lunch?" she said.
"Well, we'll serve it on plates and eat." I responded.
She glared at me...that special Mummy glare that means "behave."
"Well, I'm making the dessert, so I thought you'd be bringing the rest." I said...feeling I was being set up.
"Oh, that's too much work," she said.
"Well, what do you want to do?"
"I want to make pork chops."
"You make such nice ribs," she said setting me up.
"Are they difficult to make?"
"No. You just need the rub and the barbecue sauce," really feeling set up.
"Do you want me to make the meat?"
"Oh, that would be a great help. Wow look at that zucchini--what do I do with that?"
"Well, you could make fritters--like your corn fritters, but with grated zucchini."
"Hmm...that's too hard."
"No it isn't"
"Yes it is...but they would be nice to have."
She blindsided me with that one.
"Do you want me to make them?"I asked (sighing on the inside, rolling my eyes on the outside).
"Oh yes. That would be good."
"Okay...but you're grating it." (it was the only victory I could claim).
For the next couple of days she asked about what I'd do with the pork chops, assuming I'd make them the same way as I did the ribs. At the last minute I changed my mind and decided to forego my ribby ways.
"So what are you going to do?"
"Will it be good."
"It's always good."
"But what will you do?"
"You'll have to wait until Sunday to see."
My parents weren't happy with my responses, but then again, from whom else would I have learned such deflection and vaguaries?
The truth was, after going through Beyond The Great Wall, I was still in a mood for China-influenced cooking. I flipped through the book along with a few others, but doctored marinade found in Nigella's How To Eat (p443). She followed Dr. Jonathan Miller's lead and called it "char siuish" as it's not quite char siu, but instead inspired by Chinese barbecued or roasted pork.
The greatest departure from her marinade is my inclusion of orange marmelade for citrussy notes along with a bit of garlic and hot red chillies. The quantities I'm giving will fill a 400ml jar--there were a lot of porkchops--if you have unused marinade, it can be refrigerated.
I made the marinade the day before and let the chops soak in the flavours overnight. The verdict? Everyone liked it--and my dad is itching for the recipe...so consider yourselves blessed as you'll be getting it a few hours before him.
If Nigella's version was char siuish, mine is that much farther removed from the original inspiration...I suppose it could be called ishy char siuish.
Ishy char siusish marinade
90 ml hoisin sauce
60 ml soy sauce
60 ml black bean sauce
60 ml tomato ketchup
60 ml black rice vinegar
2 bulgey tablespoons runny honey
2 bulgey tablespoons orange marmelade
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 thumb of grated ginger
2 minced hot red chillies
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chilli oil