I look forward to getting our cookery school up and running when we can and I am reminded of it today as the sirloin steak and vegetable stir-fry with cashew nuts was very popular on our parent-and-child courses.

Since we opened six years ago, we had many very enjoyable days and I miss watching children learn and how adventurous they can be.

This is a great dish to start out with learning to cook as it is not too hot.

Folláin Foods in Ballyvourney do a very nice sweet chilli sauce.

The meat is well cooked in this dish, so if you prefer it more rare then simply tip it out of the wok, then add it back in at the end to just warm through again.

Pork is a meat that takes on flavours very well. The key in this sweet and sour stir-fry is not to have it too sweet. The ginger gives that tangy taste. Again, this is a great starter meal and was one of the first Chinese-style dishes I tried in my mother’s kitchen. You could use chicken, turkey, beef or prawns instead. I also like to serve it with noodles.

Thank you for the nice comments on the TV series. See you on Wednesday night.

Happy cooking,



Sirloin steak and vegetable stir-fry with cashew nuts

Sirloin steak and vegetable stir fry with cashew nuts. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

Serves four

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

450g (1lb) sirloin steak, cut into thin strips

50g (2oz) cashew nuts

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 mild red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp freshly grated root ginger

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

100g (4oz) baby corn, halved lengthways

50g (2oz) courgette, trimmed and cut into sticks

50g (2oz) carrot, cut into sticks

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

steamed rice, to serve

  • 1 Put the garlic in a small non-metallic dish with half of the soy sauce and sesame oil. Then stir in the sirloin steak strips until evenly combined. Set aside for one hour, or overnight covered with cling film in the fridge is fine.
  • 2 When you’re ready to make the stir fry, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Toast the cashew nuts for four to five minutes, tossing the pan occasionally to prevent them from burning. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
  • 3 Meanwhile, heat a wok until it’s very hot. Add the rapeseed oil and swirl it up the sides. Add the spring onions, chilli and ginger and cook for just 30 seconds. Add the marinated sirloin strips and stir-fry for two to three minutes, until well sealed and lightly coloured. Add the peppers, baby corn, courgette and carrot and stir-fry for another four to five minutes, until the vegetables are tender but still crunchy.
  • 4 Add the toasted cashew nuts to the wok with the rest of the soy sauce, the sweet chilli sauce and coriander, tossing briefly to combine.
  • 5 Divide the steamed rice between four deep bowls and spoon the sirloin steak and vegetable stir-fry on top. Drizzle over the rest of the toasted sesame oil to serve.
  • Sweet and sour pork stir-fry with pineapple

    Serves four to six

    225g (8oz) tinned pineapple chunks in natural juice

    3 tbsp soy sauce

    1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

    1 pork tenderloin (fillet) or 450g (1lb) boneless pork chops, well trimmed

    2 tbsp rice vinegar

    1½ tbsp cornflour

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

    1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger

    1 red onion, diced into 2cm (¾in) cubes

    2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2cm (¾in) cubes

    1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

    300g (11oz) broccoli, cut into small florets

    Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

    Steamed rice, to serve

  • 1 Drain the juice from the pineapple and put one tablespoon of it in a shallow dish with one tablespoon of the soy sauce and the five-spice powder. Cut the pork against the grain into small, thin strips and add to the marinade, stirring to combine. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes, or up to 24 hours is fine.
  • 2 Put the rest of the pineapple juice in a jug with the rest of the soy sauce, then stir in the rice vinegar and cornflour to combine. Set aside until needed.
  • 3 Heat a wok until it’s very hot, then add the oil and heat until it’s almost smoking. Remove the pork from the marinade with a slotted spoon and stir-fry in the wok for a few minutes to seal the meat. Transfer to a sieve or colander to drain off all the excess oil, leaving only one tablespoon behind in the wok.
  • 4 Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir-fry for 20 seconds, then tip in the onion and stir-fry for another minute. Add the peppers and continue to stir-fry for five to six minutes, until crisp but tender. Add the spring onions and fry for another 30 seconds or so.
  • 5 Return the pork to the wok with the broccoli and pineapple chunks, then give the reserved pineapple juice mixture a good whisk and pour it in. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring for three to four minutes, until the broccoli is just tender. Spoon into Chinese-style bowls and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds, with separate bowls of the rice to serve.