LINEFISH WITH SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

Serves 4-6

1 whole fresh linefish, scaled and gutted

olive oil

slices of lemon

salt and pepper

Sweet and sour sauce

225g tin of pineapple pieces

100ml reserved pineapple juice

45ml plum sauce

15ml fish sauce

15-20ml grated palm sugar

15ml cornflour

15ml oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 or 2 chillies, seeded and chopped

10ml fresh ginger, finely grated

1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into bite size chunks

1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

80g baby tomatoes, halved

Dry the fish thoroughly and score 3 times on each side. Rub fish inside and out with a little salt.

Put slices of lemon in the body cavity. Rub the fish well with oil and place on a foil lined oven Bake at 180°C for about 45 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested. Remove and place on a serving platter. Pour over the sauce and serve.

SAUCE: Stir the pineapple juice, plum sauce, fish sauce, sugar and cornflour together until smooth. Heat the oil and fry the garlic, chilli and ginger for 1 minute. Add the onion, pineapple, cucumber and tomatoes and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the pineapple juice mixture and cook until bubbling. Serve over the fish.

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SWEET AND SOUR BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES

Serves 4

400g strawberries, hulled

60ml citrus or fruit flavoured balsamic glaze

30-40ml honey

5ml vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder

mascarpone cheese for serving

Put the strawberries in a bowl. Combine the balsamic glaze, honey and vanilla and mix well. Pour over the strawberries and marinate for about 30 minutes. Thread strawberries on to wooden skewers and cook on a griddle for a minute on each side. Put the balsamic mixture into a small pot and boil for a minute to reduce and thicken slightly. Serve the strawberries drizzled with the glaze and mascarpone cheese.

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SWEET AND SOUR BEAN SALAD

Serves 8-10

200g fine green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths

400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed

400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

400g tin of sweetcorn kernels, drained

400g tin of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 stalks of celery, chopped

Dressing

125ml brown sugar

125ml mild flavoured olive oil

60-80ml white wine vinegar

80ml fruity chutney

10ml dried basil

salt and pepper

Blanch the green beans then refresh under cold water. Combine with all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over the dressing and refrigerate for a few hours for the flavours to infuse.

DRESSING: combine all the ingredients and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Adjust the amount of sugar and vinegar to achieve the right balance of sweet and sour.

This salad lasts well for up to a week in the fridge.

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SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

Serves 4-6

500g chicken breast fillets, cut into strips

1 egg white, lightly beaten

45ml cornflour

salt and pepper

30-40ml olive oil

10ml chopped garlic

10ml chopped ginger

1 red onion, cut into cubes

1 green pepper, cut into cubes

1 red pepper, cut into cubes

1 fresh mango, cubed

Sauce

125ml rice vinegar

60ml soy sauce

60ml castor sugar

15ml cornflour mixed with a little water

parsley for serving

cooked rice for serving

Put the chicken in a bowl and add the egg white, cornflour and season well. Mix until the chicken is well coated and set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat some oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the chicken pieces until golden brown. Do this in batches so as not to overload the pan. Remove and set aside. Add more oil to the pan and fry the garlic, ginger, onion and peppers for a few minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and add in the mango. Pour over the sauce and cook until thickened and glossy. Serve on a bed of rice, sprinkled with parsley.

SAUCE: Combine all the ingredients and mix well.

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SWEET AND SOUR PORK WITH LITCHIS

Serves 4

500g pork fillet, cut into 2cm cubes

30ml cornflour

1 egg white, lightly whisked

1 pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks

1 red onion, halved and sliced

1 red pepper, sliced into strips

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut julienne

560g tin of litchis, drained and juice reserved (about 300ml)

30ml brown sugar

10ml tomato paste

125ml white wine vinegar

2cm ginger, grated

60ml oil

20ml cornflour mixed with 30ml water to make a paste

60ml chopped coriander

cooked rice for serving

Combine the pork fillet with cornflour and eggwhite. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile mix together pineapple chunks, onion, pepper and carrots in a bowl. Set aside. Combine the litchi juice, tomato paste, vinegar and ginger to make a sauce. Heat half the oil in a wok or heavy-based pan and fry the pork in batches until golden. Remove. Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the vegetables for a few minutes. Return the pork and add the sauce mixture and cornflour paste. Simmer until thick and warmed through. Add the litchis and coriander. Serve on a bed of rice.

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SWEET AND SOUR MEATBALLS WITH MANDARINS

Serves 4

500g lamb mince

1 red onion, finely chopped

250ml breadcrumbs

2 cloves of garlic, finely crushed

45ml finely chopped parsley

2ml ground cloves

2ml ground cinnamon

5ml ground cumin

2ml ground allspice

2ml dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper

olive oil, for frying

80ml dried cranberries

60ml sherry

30ml olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

310g tin of mandarins, drained and juice reserved, about 150ml

125ml orange juice

15ml apple cider vinegar

45ml lemon juice

15ml tomato sauce

45ml honey

15ml cornflour mixed with water to make a paste

cooked noodles for serving

In a large bowl, combine mince, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, spices and salt and pepper and mix well. Form mixture into small meatballs. Heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs, in batches, until browned. Keep warm. Combine cranberries and sherry in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute on high. Set aside to soak. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the shallots until tender. Add the reserved mandarin juice, orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, tomato sauce, honey and soaked cranberries. Simmer for 3 minutes, then add the cornflour paste. Add the mandarin pieces. Simmer until thickened. Add the meatballs into the sauce and heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve on a bed of noodles. - Angela Day, The Star