Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers

With the warmer weather having (finally) arrived, I expect you will see more and more BBQ-cooked meals on the menu at our place. For why mess up a pan and heat up the kitchen, when you can cook dinner on the BBQ outside instead!

And while I enjoy the ease and simplicity of throwing some steak or sausages on the BBQ, those dinners can get a little meat-heavy when repeated throughout the warmer months. Instead, it’s nice to change things up a little from time to time –  and these vegetarian sweet potato and quinoa burgers are just perfect for a meat-free BBQ meal.

Combining sweet potatoes, chickpeas and rice / quinoa, you can easily make these burgers in advance and keep them in the fridge until it is time to grill. Throw some extra vegetables on the BBQ too – and you will soon have yourself a tasty meal with very little fuss!


Print Recipe
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers
Course BBQ
Cuisine BBQ, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course BBQ
Cuisine BBQ, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Steam sweet potato for 5 minutes or until tender. Mash, then set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place cooked sweet potato, chickpeas, paprika and cumin in a large bowl, and mash until well combined. Stir through the rice / quinoa and egg, until well combined.
  3. Shape the mixture into 4 large patties, and place on a plate covered with baking paper. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm.
  4. Cook patties on the BBQ or a large frypan (sprayed lightly with oil) for 10 to 15 minutes (turning as required), or until golden brown. Serve with salad and toasted Turkish bread.
Recipe Notes

I served these patties with salad, but you could easily serve them 'burger-style' in a bread roll too.

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Spicy Chicken Tacos with Avocado Dressing

I’m sure it will come as no surprise when I tell you that our evening routine is a little “unpredictable” at the moment. Nothing too dramatic, just a bit more on the relaxed side as we settle into life as a family of 5. Miss Maggie tends to want to nurse, pretty much non-stop, from around 5pm – which coincides with the other girls’ dinner and bath time, and the time I’d usually be spending working on dinner for the ‘grownups’ too.

But we all need to eat, and I am trying to avoid takeout where I can, so I’m pleased to report meal planning is still in full force. Actually, if anything, meal planning is probably a tad stricter than ever at the moment as ducking to the supermarket with three kids in tow is not all that appealing. I’m doing the bulk of our grocery shopping online, and loving being able to sit down and order groceries from the comfort of the couch after the bigger kids have gone to bed. Not to mention having a weeks worth of fresh ingredients literally delivered to my kitchen at a time that suits us!

The meals themselves, however, have generally been quick and easy to prepare. Leftovers are then tucked away for a quick lunch the following day, or frozen for future dinners when cooking one-handed is inevitable.

One of our favourite meals, lately, has been tacos. The kids prefer the crunchy shelled tacos, generally filled with some sort of savoury mince and vegetables. While I tend to go with soft tortillas, filled with whatever we have on hand.

On this occasion, I found inspiration in a Healthy Food Guide magazine – in the form of spicy chicken tacos. The added bonus being that they came together in no time at all.

Chicken – spiced and grilled in the sandwich press – piled high onto wholemeal tortillas and topped with pre-cut coleslaw. Actually the only real effort, if you could even call it ‘effort’, was blending up the avocado/ yoghurt dressing to serve alongside.

Definitely a winner all round!

Spicy chicken tacos with avocado dressing (serves 4)

  • 500g chicken tenderloins
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbs lime juice
  • Bag of pre-cut coleslaw
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • Warmed wholemeal tortillas, to serve
  1. Combine the spices, oil and 2 tbs of the lime juice. Add the chicken and toss to coat well.
  2. Pre-heat chargrill pan or frypan over a medium heat. Grill chicken until cooked through. Place on a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the avocado, yoghurt and remaining lime juice in a small bowl, and stir until smooth. Season.
  4. Fill the warmed tortillas with the chicken, coleslaw and avocado dressing.

 

Our “Eat the Freezer” Week

Over the last weeks months year, our freezer has become a receptacle for quite the manner of things. A bit of this, and a bit of that, hidden within the icy depths.  And while the additions are always placed there with good intention, generally when we have leftovers or something that is about to shortly expire, I don’t tend to keep an eye on what we have placed inside. Meaning a lot inevitably gets thrown out in a year’s time.

But not this time. For I was determined to use up what we could from the freezer before adding anything new. I did have to throw some items away (apparently I am an expired puff pastry hoarder from way back??), but I was pleased to be able to pull together a weekly meal plan recently that used up some of the bigger items just nicely.

Day 1 – Leftover Calzone

We made batch of spinach and feta calzone a month or so ago, and I forgot to halve the recipe.

So I froze the (cooked) leftover pastries, and after 30 minutes or so in the oven they reheated beautifully. Topped with some passata and grated mozzarella – and baked for an extra few minutes, then served with a side salad.

Day 2 – Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Not only did this dinner use up some leftover chicken thighs I had in the freezer, it also used up a little portion of ramen noodles that I had in the pantry.

And while I know that ramen noodles are traditionally used in soups, I went with a noodle / salad bowl instead.

Chicken, grilled with a little teriyaki marinade, served with  the pre-cooked ramen noodles, carrot, grilled zucchini, greens, coriander and sesame seeds.

Day two….done!

Day 3 – Potato and Leek Soup

Yes, this nondescript tuppaware container held a quick and easy soup dinner for one when my husband was out for the evening.

Just reheat and eat. Served with a toasted English muffin (also from the freezer!!), one half topped with cheese and tomato, the other topped with ham and avocado.

Day 4 – Veal with Marsala Sauce

I was so pleased to find a use for these veal schnitzels that I were tucked away in the freezer.

Last time we crumbed them, but this time I went with something even simpler. Just defrosted and pan-fried, and topped with a marsala sauce (made simply with a good splash of marsala and cream, seasoned). Served alongside potato mash and steamed beans / zucchini.

Day 5 – Savoury Mince with roasted sweet potatoes

I found some portions of savoury mince hiding at the back of the freezer too, that were the perfect base for dinner on day 5. For the kids I used the mince in tacos, which were a big hit, as always.

While for the adults I added some extra spinach to the mince and used it as a topping for a roasted sweet potato. Drizzled with chilli sauce and served with a side salad.

Easy dinners all round!

Day 6 – Beef Massaman Curry

Since discovering that you could freeze roast meats, and that they reheat quite wonderfully, I’ve never looked back. It’s not unusual for us to have portions of roast beef or lamb in the freezer, or even some pulled pork after I’ve made a batch. Tonight’s inspiration came courtesy of one such portion – a portion of frozen roast beef.

I  defrosted the beef overnight, then reheated it gently in a frypan, before adding some store bought massaman curry sauce, zucchini and beans. Simmered until cooked through and the meat was back to its tender self. Served with brown rice, spinach and fresh coriander – and you’d never have guessed that the beef had been in the freezer only the day before!!.   

Day 7 – Chorizo Pizzas

We love these pizza bases, but they come in a packet of 4 (and we don’t always get around to finishing them all). They do, however, freeze wonderfully – and offer a quick and easy dinner at a later time. So day 7 saw us cooking up a couple pizzas – with the added bonus that we could also use  some chorizo that was tucked away in the freezer also.

 These pizzas ended up being a great way to finish off leftover veggies we had in the fridge too – zucchini, spinach, tomatoes and pineapple. All topped and ready to bake!

Day 8 – Souvlaki Bowls

I couldn’t resist adding an extra freezer-inspired meal to our meal plan, when I discovered half a packet of Lebanese bread in the freezer.

 On the menu? Souvlaki bowls! Filled with grilled lamb (that I had marinated in lemon, garlic and oregano), pearl couscous and roasted vegetable salad and greens.  Topped with some natural yoghurt and hummus and, of course, the Lebanese bread – which was perfect for dipping!

And so – our “Eat the Freezer” week came to a close – with our freezer looking  emptier (but happier!) after our efforts. While I’m determined to keep a better eye on things so we don’t get quite the stockpile in the future, I suspect there is also a very real likelihood that I will be doing a Part 2 to this series in 6 months’ time….

What about you? Do you have a favourite ‘freezer’ meal?

Tuna and vegetable stuffed sweet potatoes

Growing up we never ate sweet potatoes. I don’t even remember if they were all that available…?  Rather, our plates usually had some sort of white potato on it – generally mashed with lashings of butter and milk, or on the odd occasion they would be oven roasted.

These days, however, I don’t tend to reach for white potatoes in our grocery shop.  Not unless I’m making a potato salad or perhaps to go along with a roast dinner. Instead, I grab sweet potatoes – orange, white or purple – whatever the local green grocer has. The kids love them when they are sliced into wedges and oven baked, or steamed and mashed, and served alongside whatever else they are having for that particular meal.

On this occasion, we went with “stuffed” sweet potatoes. Aka. little roasted sweet potato “boats” that we filled with tuna, vegetables and cheese, and grilled til they were nice and golden.

I added a good drizzle of chilli sauce for the adult’s version (#cravings), while the kid’s ate their version plain. Served with a pile of greens on the side, and this turned out to be one tasty meal indeed!

Tuna and vegetable stuffed sweet potatoes  (serves 4)

  • 4 small sweet potatoes, halved
  • 300g mixed vegetables, steamed (I used carrots, broccoli and corn)
  • 185g tin of tuna in spring water, drained
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chilli sauce  and leafy greens to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop out the potato flesh and place in a large bowl. Mash until smooth.
  3. Place the remaining potato skin ‘boats’ onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Add the steamed vegetables, drained tuna and sour cream to the sweet potato flesh, and stir until well combined. Season to taste.
  5. Spoon the tuna / potato mixture back into the sweet potato skins and top with grated cheese.  Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with fresh parsley and chilli sauce, and alongside the leafy greens.

Honey miso chicken meatballs

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Meatballs are one of those dishes that I really enjoy, but rarely make.  This is, until, a recipe captures my eye, or a particular craving strikes.

Both happened recently, when I saw a recipe for honey miso meatballs in Taste magazine . I knew I had half a container of miso paste in the fridge, and the flavour combination really appealed to me, so needless to say the dish was added to our weekly meal plan without hesitation.

img_8399 I relied on this recipe, but made a few changes along the way. I used chicken mince in place of turkey mince, and added  baby spinach leaves for some extra green.  I had a bag of frozen edamame in the freezer so there was no problem there (although I can never seem to stop myself from snacking on edamame before it is added to a meal…yum!)

The result? Delish!

I really enjoyed the new spin on an old favourite, and was left wondering why I had not gone with an ‘Asian’ style meatball before. The miso shone through, and I loved the sticky honey and ginger glaze.

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Even the kids jumped on board, and were more than happy to gobble up the leftovers the next day.

Well the meatballs and noodles, at least. The greens….yeah not so much.

 

Father’s Day 2016

As has become tradition, we celebrated Father’s Day this year with an internationally themed lunch with Mr BBB’s family. You might recall that we’ve previously done Turkish, Mexican and Chinese themes, but this year it was all about…

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Italy!

A great excuse to fill the table with copious amounts of food. Not that I generally need an excuse though….

Again, like other years, it was more of a late lunch (or linner?), which soon turned into dinner as we ate, drank and chatted our way into the evening.

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The Food
IMG_9625 We started with a big antipasto platter, with lots of favourite items picked up from the markets. Truffle salami, goats cheese, prosciutto, artichokes and chilli olives, just to name a few.

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For main – we also had quite a few dishes on offer.  Veal involtini and baked gnocchi with pancetta and sage were the main stars, with a leafy salad, eggplant caponata, caprese salad and a garlic sourdough served alongside.

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All together now!

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And for dessert – well I couldn’t pick just one. So a selection of Italian desserts it was!

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Cranberry and pistachio nougat, almond biscotti, cannoli (I bought the shells but made two fillings – a vanilla ricotta and a lemon ricotta).

IMG_9661And finally – mini tiramisu cups – for what Italian-themed meal would  be complete without the iconic tiramisu!

To drink

We started with an Italian-inspired cocktail, made with Campari, Cointreau, orange juice and lemonade. Slightly bitter, but very refreshing. IMG_9695

While during the meal, we had Italian beer and this lovely Chianti on offer.
IMG_9637 Before too long, the sun started to set, and it was time to bid farewell to the family.  I don’t know about them, but I’m pretty sure I had to let out my belt buckle a notch or two, which is always a sign of a good family gathering right? Not to mention the smiles all round from these two cheeky monkeys (or is that four!?)
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A very Happy Father’s Day indeed!

Warm honeyed sweet potato salad

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Yesterday there were hopeful signs of Spring in the air. I left my heavier jacket at home, and embraced the shining sun and blue skies when I went to collect Miss C from school.

Today? Well sadly I can’t say the same thing. The temperature has dropped, my heavy jacket was definitely required for the school drop off, and I can hear the rain falling steadily as I sit here typing.

But chilly days make for great ‘catch up on work’ days, so I’m doing just that. Starting with a long overdue post – on a recipe that has become quite a favourite in our household nonetheless!

Warm Honeyed Sweet Potato Salad.

A.k.a. a great compromise when you want salad for dinner, but the weather calls for something warm too.

I really love how quickly this salad comes together. It would be a lovely little side dish, although it easily extends to a main course.

IMG_8682 Simply – sweet potatoes – sliced and drizzled with spices and honey – then roasted. Piled atop a bed bed of lettuce and purple cabbage, and sprinkled with parsley, almonds and persian feta. Completed with a warm honey vinegar dressing.
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But now…where did I put my slippers??

Warm Honeyed Sweet Potato Salad (serves 2)

  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 cups mesculin lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 tbs flaked almonds
  • 2 tbs persian feta
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley
  • 1tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 200C, and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place sweet potato on tray, and spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with cumin and cinnamon, and drizzle with 1tbs honey. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, combine 1 tbs honey, vinegar and juice in a small dish, and microwave until warmed through.
  4. Place salad leaves and cabbage into two large serving bowls. Top with the cooked sweet potato, almonds, feta and parsley. Drizzle with warmed dressing.

Chilli lime turkey salad bowl

Do you ever find yourself grabbing the same thing off the shelves when it comes to grocery shopping?

I certainly tend to head to  ‘regular’ sections and throw staple items into the trolley without much thought. This is particularly so now that the ability to linger in the aisles and casually consider any new additions is generally thwarted by the kids demanding blueberries or yoghurt (or sneaking treats into the trolley while my eyes are looking elsewhere…)

But on a recent shopping trip,  I skipped our regular pack of chicken, and replaced it with turkey. A protein that I really do enjoy – although often forget about outside the Christmas period.

And with the addition of a few other ingredients, I was quite pleased with the end result.

A chilli lime turkey salad bowl.

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The dressing – made with chilli sauce, oil, cumin, garlic, lime juice and brown sugar – had just the right balance of spice and sour.

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Half was used as a marinade for the turkey, the other half used as a dressing over the salad.

And, as for the rest of the salad bowl, well this saw us using up whatever we had on hand. There was some leftover brown rice from a previous meal, salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, capsicum and avocado. Finished with a sprinkling of feta and chia seeds.

IMG_7596 A lovely (non Christmas) use for the turkey!

Chilli lime turkey salad bowl (serves 2)

  • 300g turkey steaks
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salad ingredients – we used salad leaves, brown rice, sliced avocado, sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes, feta and chia seeds
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place the turkey in a glass dish, and spread with half the dressing. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Cook the turkey steaks for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile – build a salad with your chosen ingredients in 2 bowls. Slice the turkey and divide among the bowls. Top with the feta cheese, chia seeds and the remainder of the dressing.

What about you? Are you a fan of turkey?

 

Our Carnival Legend Cruise – The Highlights

Part 1 – The Details

Part 2 – The Islands

I am sure, by now, that you can guess just how much we loved our recent cruise. And for want of sounding like a glossy brochure (and no, these are not sponsored posts), I just really enjoyed our holiday!

While the Islands were wonderful, and the on-board activities a lot of fun, often our daily highlights were the small things. The simple things.

Let me break them down for you!

part3

The Hospitality

This was definitely a major highlight for me. For there was not a snobby hipster cafe attendant in sight. Rather, every staff member that we passed would greet us with a friendly smile and a ‘hello’.  Every single time.

It was gloriously polite and refreshing, and really set the tone for the holiday.

The evening dinners

Perhaps following on from my last point – our evening dinners ended up being one of my favourite parts of the trip – mainly because of the service.  We were allocated 3 waiters (Nyoman, Rodgie and Ronnie) who knew our names from day 1 and made such huge efforts to keep the kids fed and entertained.  After main course was served, a song would come on and all the wait staff would dance with the kids (and adults!) which both our girls thought was pretty much the best thing ever!

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Charlotte still talks about Nyoman, in particular, and is constantly asking me when we can go back on the ship to visit him!

The photographers

Ok it was incredibly cheesy, and a tad expensive at ($39 a photo), but it was lovely to have lots of opportunities to get family pictures taken.  Generally there were ship photographers at the various events and when boarding / disembarking the ship (seriously, how can I get this job??), along with backdrops set up as you entered the dining hall for more ‘staged’ portraits. The photos would then be displayed the following day, so that you could decide whether to purchase them.

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I couldn’t resist the corniness of this one – with accidental colour co-ordination and faux chandelier in the background. We also picked up some lovely ones of the whole extended family!

The sunrise

As you know, I am 100% a morning person (as is Josie), so it was not unusual for us to be up and wandering the decks as the sun rose.
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It was a perfect way to start the day.

The cocktails

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I sampled pretty much the entire cocktail list. Enough said.

Cat in the Hat breakfast

With Dr Seuss being a big hit in our household, it was no surprise that the Cat in the Hat breakfast was a highlight for our girls. This was a special breakfast on the final day, for an extra fee, with various Dr Seuss characters popping in to say hello.

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But my number 1 highlight….

The Chef’s Table

I had read somewhere that if a Chef’s dinner was on offer, it really was an experience not to be missed. And boy were they right.

It was $75 per person, which for what was included, was an absolute bargain.

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We started in the kitchen with appetizers and a glass of champagne, while the Chef chatted to us about all things catering on a cruise ship.

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We were then given a short cooking demonstration, before being taken to a gorgeous dining room to begin our feast.

And what a feast it was!

Seven  immaculately presented dishes – from which I could not pick a favourite (although the crab stack with passionfruit caviar and  the wagyu bone marrow soufflé were definite contenders).

And the dessert! Oh my – it was a feast in itself. Sea salt praline chocolate, raspberry mojito, key lime cake, apricot vanilla gel and citrus cream.

Paired with white and red wine, and some magic tricks for entertainment in the middle, I loved every moment of the Chef’s table from start to finish (and most certainly needed to loosen my belt buckle on the way back to  our cabin).

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(As for the logistics of doing this dinner with kids, we put Charlotte in kids club for a few hours over dinner, and managed to get Josie to fall asleep in the pram alongside the table. Karma was fortunately on our side as she stayed asleep for the entire meal!?)

Stay tuned for my final post – tips for cruising with kids!

Chipotle pulled pork and pineapple tacos

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While I’ve not yet travelled to Mexico (and any long-distance overseas travel is probably not on the cards anytime soon) I really do enjoy Mexican food. Perhaps it is because it is relatively simple to create, with a focus on lots of fresh and interesting flavours? Or perhaps it is the spice-factor, that keeps my palate happy?

And these chipotle pulled pork tacos did not disappoint – in  both flavour and spice factor.

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Created with the help of my trusty slow cooker  and time. Lots of time.

With 8 hours taking a large piece of pork shoulder from this…

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To this!

IMG_5565We loaded up the soft tortillas with the pork (of course) and a variety of other toppings – including red cabbage, a spicy green coriander sauce, lime mayonnaise, and grilled pineapple. IMG_5568 And our craving for Mexican food was thereby sated!
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Chipotle pulled pork and pineapple tacos

  • 5 chipotle chillies in adobo
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 150g pineapple, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin + 1 tsp
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs white vinegar
  • 1.5kg boneless pork shoulder
  • a bunch coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • To serve: soft corn tortillas, mayonnaise (mixed with a splash of lime juice and sprinkled with lime zest), shredded red cabbage, grilled pineapple slices and lime wedges.
  1. Place pork into the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. Process the chillies, orange juice, pineapple, tomato, garlic, 2 tsp cumin, oregano, salt and vinegar until combined. Pour over the pork, turning to coat.
  3. Cover and look on low for 8 hours. Remove pork and shred, then return pork to the sauce to keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, make a spicy green sauce by processing the coriander, chilli, spring onions, ground coriander, juice/zest and oil – until well combined. Season to taste.
  5. Serve the pulled pork in tortillas, and top with cabbage, mayonnaise, spicy green sauce and grilled pineapple – and finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

What about you? Do you have a favourite Mexican dish?