We've got another delicious #podtoplate recipe from another young-gun masterchef who's killing the kitchen game right now. We interviewed Chloe Carroll from MasterChef Season Ten about where her passion for food started and how she likes the Vegepod for growing her greens in. Scroll to the end to see a yummy Kangkong Pork and Pepper Stir-fry she's whipped up that you can #podtoplate at home.
1. Tell us about who you are and what got you into food?
For as long as I can remember, food has been the driving force behind everything I do in life. I’m that annoying person who eats breakfast and is asking everyone what they want for lunch and dinner, or simply planning my life activities around each mealtime. To say I’m obsessed with food is a huge understatement.
I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment of what got me into food, but I guess for the most part my mum was a huge influence. Cliché I know! Compared to my other friends’ parents, I found my mum was quite adventurous in the kitchen, thus I was introduced and gained a greater appreciation for different flavour profiles, cultures, cuisines, and techniques from an early age. That along with cooking for my family a few times a week, combined with growing up with a health-conscious mother steered me towards completing a degree in Nutrition and subsequently applying for MasterChef Australia season 10, 2018.
I have since gone on to run my own cooking classes, which focus on reconnecting families to our food source through procuring produce from farmers markets while also teaching the fundamentals of cooking, techniques and simplicity; and how to navigate the world of health and nutrition.
2. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this recipe?
Growing up in a pretty large family, takeout was a rarity. On those special occasions where we did get to indulge, I fondly remember my parents frequenting this little inconspicuous Vietnamese restaurant in my hometown of Canberra. One of the dishes we would routinely order was this pork and pepper stir-fry - which has made an ever-lasting impression on me. For this reason, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create and share this recipe with all of the pod-heads out there.
Although this dish is very simple - in my book, all the better for it! It has all the typical flavour profile that we (Aussies) have come to love and expect from South-East Asian cooking.
The simple ingredients (kangkong, pork and onion) are accentuated through wok hei - a technique often used in Asian cooking to impart a smokiness, then combined with the aromatic properties of pepper, ginger, garlic, chilli, Thai basil and seasoned with fish sauce and sugar to bring you a dish worthy of attention any night or occasion of the week.
3. How did you find using the Vegepod to grow the Kangkong (water spinach)?
A few years ago, after some unsuccessful attempts of trying to grow a number of vegetables in pots, I thought it was time that I invested my money is something more viable and less time-consuming for the future – insert the Vegepod.
The Vegepod has been an absolute saviour for me, particularly during the harsh sub-tropic summers of Brisbane where the attack of pests (possums, bugs), disease and severe storms are a continuous threat to the livelihood of the veggie patch.
I’ve grown my fair share of common ingredients in the pod, but of late, I’ve decided to branch out into more unfamiliar territory. I first stumbled across kangkong at my local farmers market and after some thorough research, I found that it was super easy to grow – by propagation of stem cuttings. A couple of days after planting the cutting in the Vegepod, there were a number of new shoots appearing and within the fortnight I was harvesting this super nutritious green leafy veg for use in cooking.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Kangkong also commonly referred to as water spinach or morning glory - it’s a fast-growing perennial that has long hollow stems and slender leaves, packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
4. Chloe, you speak beautifully and passionately about cooking and we're sure our audience will love this recipe. Where can they find you if they want more Chloe Carroll recipes?
I’m currently in the process of building my own website – called VEGGIN OUT! It’s expected to launch just before Christmas. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with all thing’s food, plants and nutrition through my Instagram account @chloeanncooks.