One Thursday afternoon I had some ironing to do and I usually watch television whilst ironing. There was a food show on and when they asked to telephone for participations I phoned. They were anxious to come for the shooting even the following day but I was not ready, so the appointment for cooking was fixed for the following Tuesday and the show was on Thursday. They asked me to suggest four dishes and the final decision of what I would cook would be theirs.
The reporter with whom I had spoken to on the phone and the cameraman were the only ones who came and I was feeling nervous. However, they were both very friendly and I soon relaxed and everything seemed to be going very smoothly. I had prepared the marinated pork from the previous night but of course the procedure was repeated in front of the camera. The meat I prepared for the shooting was in the marinade for two days and I cooked it on Thursday to take with me to the show.
After showing all the ingredients and describing the procedure, I started sautéing the meat. However, everything had to be done quickly so the meat did not strain properly and whilst being sautéed the oil started to drizzle out of the frying pan and the stove and the kitchen floor and stove top became a mess and I was beginning to panic. I asked the cameraman if we could stop the shooting and they had a short break while I transferred the meat into another frying pan and cleaned the stove, mopped the floor and washed the frying pan. I then put fresh oil in the clean frying pan and continued as if nothing happened.
On Thursday we had to be at the studio one hour earlier. We had the map with us, found the street but could not find the number they told us, nor anything that looked like a studio. The road stopped at a dead end. There was not a soul there to ask if they knew where the studio was and when we finally found someone to ask they did not know. The time was passing and I didn’t have the studio’s phone with me. I called home and thank God my son answered the phone. I told him to check on my desk and see if he could find the note I had with the reporter’s telephone. He couldn’t find anything on my desk (I had it in the drawer) so he checked on the internet and found the Channel’s website. However, this studio and the T.V. channel were not in the same place but when I eventually managed to get through, they gave me the studio’s number. Apparently the road was separated by a small stream and had to find a bridge to cross it and we finally found the studio. They rushed me to the make up and I had to wait because there was another lady who did not seem very happy with her make up and kept wanting more and more make up on so that the wrinkles would not show on her face and as I found out later she was the belly dancer who danced later.
I was ready just in time and was escorted to the front seats, where my husband was already seated there. After a short introduction I would be the first to be judged. I was trembling and shaking and feeling very nervous. During the first commercials we were offered some wine and I had a couple of sips to relax but they did not seem to be working. After showing the video with what they had filmed at home Mrs. Anna Drouza, the host greeted me and introduced me to the judges.
There were four judges. In the picture you can see from left to right the belly dancer, the dietitian, a restaurant owner from Egypt, a singer and the fourth Mr. Baxevanis, a well known Greek chef. Finally the host, Anna Drouza. The first one to speak was the dietitian. He started by saying that the dish was well balanced, tasty, not at all oily but as he always stresses he is against meat dishes and will support only the healthy, vegetarian dishes. He was holding a 9 to show and Mrs. Drouza was annoyed by his attitude and told him that the only thing women will be cooking on the show would be lentils. I also spoke and said that if we were to be judged on healthy dishes they should have told us so and I would have prepared something else and his only comment was that if the dish was vegetarian he would have given me a 10 and changed the 9 and gave me an 8. The remaining three judges although they liked the dish and had nothing bad to say gave me each a nine. The 35 points I won gave me this trip to Thessaloniki. We went last week and had a great time. We stayed at a five star hotel with spa and everything was perfect. Shall tell you all about the trip soon.
Sweet and Sour pork
Serves: 5 – 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Marinating time: at least three hours
Cooking time: 1 hour
1 kilo boneless pork loin, sliced 1 cm thick
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can (560 grams) pineapple in juice (cut in quarters)
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup of milk
1 ½ cups of peppers, green, yellow, red, cut in cubes
1 small orange, cut in cubes
2 carrots, grated
½ cup orange juice
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of barbecue sauce
Serve with rice pilaf.
Cut pork into thin slices, wash, drain and place in a big bowl together with all the marinade ingredients and marinate overnight or for at least three hours, in the refrigerator.
Strain meat but reserve the marinade.
In a skillet heat the olive oil and brown meat but do not put too many pieces together as they will not form a crust but will boil. (I fried them in three batches). When fried remove to a sauce pan and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent, then add the peppers, pineapple chunks, orange cubes and carrot. Transfer to sauce pan, add marinade, salt and pepper and water to cover.
Cover with τηε lid, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Add the orange juice, stir and simmer it for 5 more minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and add to the pan. Stir until sauce is nice and thick.
Half way through cooking the meat, prepare the pilaf. Strain any excess water and add 1 spoonful of margarine and 2 – 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or preserved Piperies Florinis (Greek red sweet peppers) and mix.