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Pork Banh Mi

Now I know I'm about to sound ridiculous, but I struggle with food during the warmer months because I don't like cold food. The thought of having cold sandwiches or cold pasta is just vile to me so things like potato salad and coleslaw will never grace my plate. This weird food phobia means that summer can suck sometimes - when it's too hot, you don't want to be eating a hefty hearty warm meal; you just need something light and well, summery. I do love salads, that is one thing I will devour a lot of during summer, but that can get a little same old same old and you need something refreshing and different. So in steps this whopper of a sandwich.

This banh mi is from is based on a recipe from the book, Save with Jamie. Matt and I love using this recipe book because it is the ideal way to use up lots of ingredients so nothing gets wasted. The idea is you make a Sunday Roast with a meat of your choice, then pick and choose following recipes using that meat to make sure you use it all up and nothing is wasted. This is great for families or couples because a) roast dinners can be expensive by time you've bought all the various veggies and factored in a substantial joint of meat and b) it means you can have a roast dinner if you're a couple in a small flat because you will have plenty of ways to use up leftovers before they KO and need to be binned. Matt made this fantastic sandwich which uses leftover pork and is warm and yummy, but has a crisp salad running through it that makes it perfect for summer and would be *amazing* for a picnic. If you'd like to know how to make this for yourself and how to induce yourself into a comfortable food coma, keep on reading.

Total time: 45 minutes
Per serving: 473 calories

Ingredients you need:
- 1 carrot
- 1/4 of a cucumber
- 1/2 teaspoon of regular sugar
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- 200g of (leftover) cooked shredded pork
- 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
- 1 fresh chilli
- French baguette
- Optional: hot chilli sauce

To prep & cook:
1.) First cut the carrot and cucumber into skinny matchsticks - if you have a spiraliser or a julienne peeler, definitely use that! Add the chopped carrot and cucumber to a bowl with the sugar, vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Scrunch it all together together for a minute or two and this will pickle the veggies. Put it aside until serving.

2.) Put a pan on a medium heat and slice up the pork if you haven't done so already. Drizzle over some olive oil (or pork dripping if you have any) and fry the pork for 5 minutes or until it is hot and crispy on the outer skin. During the last minute, add in the sweet chilli sauce to get the pork sticky and finely chop up the fresh chilli (we totally forgot to do this bit!).

3.) Halve the baguette lengthways and butter both sides. Next, squeeze out any excess liquid from the pickled veggies and pile them into the baguettes - put as much as you can into the sandwiches as they're designed to messy! Top the filling with the hot crispy pork and fresh chilli and drizzle over some hot chilli sauce if you want some extra kick.

This sandwich is super quick and easy to make and if you want to spruce it up a little, the original recipe also includes chicken livers, white cabbage, onion, coriander and golden caster sugar however, we just used what we had available at home. Making the banh mi in this simplified way makes it a quicker meal to prepare and it also makes it a sweeter dish to the taste, but if you're a fan of chicken livers, I imagine they will give the baguettes a new dimension. You could also totally do this with leftover chicken, turkey, or beef, and could easily include some finely chopped spring onions and spinach if you fancied more of your 5 a day in there!

- A.
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