Recipe: Five Spice Pork with Caramelised Apple

This recipe came to us through Andy’s mum, Janet. It’s one of our favourite home-cooked meals that we are treated to when we visit Arrowtown, but for some reason it’s never occurred to us to cook it ourselves.  The perfect occasion arose due to a combination of a few different factors. First, we were at the supermarket a few weeks ago and pork tenderloins were really cheap. It’s not something we would usually buy, but we divided it in half and froze them for a future use. So we had the meat. Second, living in isolation means we have a lot more time to experiment with food and think of different dishes. To liven things up, we have started doing ‘Friday night date night’ where we take turns  cooking a meal and planning out an evening for the both of us.  I went first, and knowing just how much Andy loves this meal, I took it upon myself to make it (paired with a cookies and cream brownie for dessert!).

When Janet sent through the recipe, it was hard not to marvel at it. It was one of those recipes that was printed way back when newspaper recipes were a thing. Janet had cut it out and preserved it all these years – and despite her concern, it is definitely still readable. Being me, and knowing Andy’s preferences, I couldn’t help but mix the recipe up slightly: a bit of extra apple (who doesn’t love caramelised apple – it’s like dessert for dinner!) and a hearty pinch of cinnamon to give it that warming flavour. It is such a delicious Sunday roast vibe meal and it was actually much quicker to make than I expected.


  • 600g – 800g pork fillet (we used tenderloin and I didn’t really notice a difference)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 T light soy sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1/2 t five spice powder
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 hearty pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 225°C. While the oven heats, put the pork in a large, unpunctured plastic bag. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and five spice powder. Massage the bag so everything is mixed and the pork is well coated. Leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Core the unpeeled apples and cut each into 12 – 16 wedges. Halve and peel the onion, cutting into thin slices.
  3. Line roasting dish with baking paper. Add the apple, onion, cinnamon and second measures of honey, soy sauce and oil. Toss until evenly coated. Put the pork on top of the apple mix and drizzle with sauce remaining in the bag. Cook for approximately 25 minutes or until the juices run clear.
  4. If apple mix is not browned, keep cooking while slicing the pork. Serve with mashed potatoes/kumara and greens.

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