Unless of course you are tasked with biting into hundreds of fortune cookies, reading each one aloud in a quest to find the elusive one that will end the mouth destroying task. Then you are permitted to mope a little despite the promises of handsome strangers and profound yet confusing proverbs that read suspiciously like they’ve been translated using Google.
Yes, this was the first challenge that the remaining 10 teams of The Amazing Race Australia (featuring none other than my sister and brother-in-law if you missed this post) had to face in the third episode on Monday, after travelling to Hong Kong.
Every team managed to complete the mouth desiccating task, though I was bitterly disappointed that no one threw in the classic Dad joke of reading out their fortune as “this insert has a protective coating”. If no one is willing to risk their chance at $250 000 for the sake of a Dad joke, perhaps they should call it The Amazing Race unAustralia.
I think most of this dad joke cringing nation, if my lounge room is a sufficient sample size, was also disappointed that the Focus Believe Achievers Richard and Joey managed to snap up the Fast Forward, by way of agreeing to shave their heads, and swagger into first place. Still, every show needs a villain and perhaps it is good for the remaining teams to have a couple of catfish snapping at their heels (I just watched the documentary Catfish the other night, and you should too if you haven’t seen it already. Watch it when you can, I mean, not watch it the other night. Just don’t read anything about it before you watch it, which would be easier to ensure if you could somehow watch it in the past. If you do manage to get back there then, please also tell me to go to bed earlier).
Whilst many will be hoping that next week’s episode will see someone serving up a cold dish of revenge or a steaming bowl of just deserts (yes, apparently this is spelled with one ‘s’!) to Richard and Joey, I have no idea what I will be serving at our regular Monday night lounge room party. Possibly some sort of South African speciality, given that that is where they are next jetting off to. Which now I think about it isn’t exactly the best place for the freshly skinheaded Richard and Joey to be running around madly in.
Deciding what to make for this week’s regular viewing party however, was too easy. Hong Kong makes me think of bbq meat, and I am pretty sure the only (non-Asian, props to Apex and TFP) person I know who might be more bbq pork crazed than myself would be my amazing sister. I liked the idea of making char siu bao from homemade char siu, but time was not my friend and I needed a cheat’s version of this. So, I decided to buy the char siu from my favourite local haunt – fittingly called Hong Kong BBQ – and instead of making steamed buns I thought to encase the sweet, sticky piggy in cornmeal muffins. Just call me Big Mama Siu, doing what I can for US/China relations.
I also had big plans to be religiously inclusive in this baking fest too. When I announced on my Facebook page that I would be getting my pork on for the next Amazing Race party, Mos – one of the two good Muslim boys on the race – announced that he liked poached eggs. I decided to make a non-porky muffin in honour of the boys, but then got carried away and completely forget until half way through the baking process. Although I’d already put pork inside all the muffins, I thought I’d make one with no pork on top in honour of any lapsed Muslims who might like to act like they’re doing the right thing but secretly are not. Perhaps next week I’ll disguise some lobster bisque as French onion soup for lapsed Jews, before making an early start on some sneaky meat dishes for lapsed Catholics during next year’s Lent.
I think Allah had the last laugh though – I somehow managed to give myself a blister while chopping up all the pork.
BBQ Pork Cornmeal Muffins
BBQ Pork Mixture
- 250 g bbq pork, diced fairly small (<1cm)
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tb oyster sauce
- 1 Tb dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- 2 good splashes rice wine vinegar – I didn’t have a more suitably Chinese acid
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup flour (I used gluten-free)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp bicarb soda
- 2 Tb chopped lemon thyme
- 1.5 Tb thinly sliced sage leaves
- good sprinkling sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups sour cream (I used light)
- 4 eggs
- Chilli oil
- Prepare the pork mixture first by heating ~Tb peanut oil in a saucepan, then lightly sautéing the shallots until softened and translucent. It’s fine to get a bit of colour on them too. Add the pork and sauces, then have a taste and add some more of anything until you’re happy with it. I also meant to add some water mixed with a little cornflour to give a bit more sauce, but I forgot and I was actually happy with how they turned out anyway.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and grease two muffin trays well.
- Into a bowl containing the cornmeal and herbs, sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb soda. Add the salt and pepper, then the cream and eggs. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Place a good spoonful of mixture into each muffin hole (there must be a better word for this thing) and then place a teaspoon of pork mixture on top, keeping it away from the sides. Cover each one with more muffin mixture to encase the porky innards.
- Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, then remove and place another teaspoon of pork mixture on top, pressing it down just a little. Return to oven and cook another 1o minutes or so, until they are ready! I checked mine down the edge with a skewer, and also waited until they had just, just started to crack a little on top, if that makes sense.
- Serve warm, with a dish of chilli oil to spoon on top at leisure – this is a crucial component as far as I’m concerned!