Stir-Fried Pork Fillets and…I Will Survive

I had it all in the bag.  It looked like it was all about to happen – an enormous stroke of luck that would see Archie out of my hair for a good few months.

Archie had an audition.  A few weeks ago he phoned me from Uni to let me know he wouldn’t be home for dinner.  ‘My agent’s just phoned and I have an audition tomorrow for something, I don’t know what it is, but I have to be in Redfern tomorrow and I have to sing and dance and act so I’m going to stay the night at a mate’s place because he can help me with my monologues and then I’ll see you after the audition’.

Stir-Fried Pork Fillets with Hoisin Sauce

‘An audition Archie?  What’s it for?’

‘Oh, I don’t know, some show or something’.

‘What do you have to do?’

‘Well, they want me to sing and I have to do a monologue so I’ll do Rubin Guthrie by Brendan Cowell because I really like that one’.

‘What are you going to sing?’

‘I don’t know.  Probably ‘I’ve Been‘ from ‘Next to Normal‘.’

‘Oh, well you don’t think you should come home and get some rest and go in completely fresh in the morning?’

‘Oh no, she’s right.  And my mate can run lines with me so it’s all good’.

‘Oh, okay, well call me after the audition and let me know how you went, okay’.

‘Yeah, sure mum, and don’t worry, she’s right’.

So Archie went off to the audition in Redfern for something he knew very little about and unlike his mother, wasn’t desperate for more than the vague information he’d been given.

However when he arrived at the cattle-call audition he noticed the room was filled wall to wall with drag queens.  Archie was wearing the clothes he wore to uni the previous day including Sebago Docksides, jeans and a crumpled shirt he hadn’t bothered to iron.

He phoned me after the audition.  He told me he had ‘nailed it’.  ‘It was a great audition mum, one of my best ever’.

‘Did you find out what it’s for?’

‘Yeah, yeah, it’s for a new reality TV show on Channel 10 called, ‘I Will Survive‘.  It’s to do with ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ musical and the winner will perform in the Broadway show in the role of Tick, you know mum, that’s the role Hugo Weaving played.  Each week someone is eliminated and you end up with the survivor.  The survivor wins $250,000 cash and gets to perform as Tick on Broadway.’

‘That’s really exciting Archie, and I’m so glad your audition went well’.  And I was thinking how great it would be for Archie (and me) for Archie to go overseas for a while and someone else pick up the tab.  But then Archie said, ‘But you know what mum?’

‘What Archie?’

‘The casting agent really wanted me but then she phoned my agent and found out I’m only 19.  To be in the show, because of some US law, you have to be 21 to play that role on Broadway so they can’t put me forward’.

My heart sank.  ‘Really?  I’m so disappointed for you’.

‘Oh don’t worry mum.  It’s all good.  I got to audition in front of one of the best casting directors in the country.  And she loved me.  That’s got to be good.’

Archie is always so positive.

Channel 10 has started advertising their new and upcoming show, ‘I Will Survive’.  Jason Donovan is one of the judges as is the writer/director, Stephan Elliott.  NIDA graduate, Hugh Sheridan from Packed to the Rafters is the host.  But lately the show has run into difficulties with Broadway announcing it is closing the Broadway production in June, long before ‘the survivor’ heads there to claim his prize.  Hmmm.  Channel 10 is now scrambling to find a comparable prize for their winner.

When Archie finally arrived home after a defeat caused by a lack of age, he was in need of a shower and a change of clothes.  He asked what was for dinner and was relieved and excited when I told him I was cooking Chinese.

Pork with fresh ribbons of cucumber

Stir-Fried Pork Fillets with Hoisin Sauce

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I found this to be a very affordable family meal.

  • 600g pork fillets cut into 5mm (1/4 in) slices
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 2 tbspns vegetable oil
  • 1 tbspn light soy sauce


  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbspns malt vinegar
  • 2 tbspns shao hsing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tbspn light soy sauce
  • 2 tspns white sugar
  • 1 tspn five-spice powder
  • 1/2 tspn sesame oil
  • 1/2 tspn sea salt

Combine pork with marinade ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Using a vegetable peeler, finely slice cucumber lengthways into ribbons.  Set aside.  (I used a mandolin)

Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly.  Add half the marinated pork and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Remove from wok with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add remaining pork with all the marinade and stir-fry fro 30 seconds.  Return reserved pork to the wok with soy sauce and stir-fry for a further minute or until pork is just cooked through and lightly browned.

Serve immediately, garnished with reserved cucumber.

Stir-Fried Pork Fillets with Hoisin Sauce

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  1. Every experience is a step toward success. And it sounds as if Archie got some great positive feedback. So that’s good. Very good.

  2. I’m hungry!

  3. How wonderful that Archie always sees the glass as “half full”.  I have a child like that (Miss Sunshine, we call her).  What a valuable personality trait; I hope that he keeps that for the rest of his life!
    Nice Chinese, too!

  4.  First of all the view of this recipe is great… your presentation is so artistic… and yes, made me hungry too 🙂 You are amazing. Archie is so nice young man, Blessing him. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  5. How great that he can always look on the positive side, that’s really important especially in that kind of business 🙂

  6. I admire Archie’s optimism.  My son was in a Discovery Channel reality show that took him from Alaska all through South America–what a grand experience.  Archie’s attitude and confidence will take him far, I’m sure.  As for the recipe–another easy, appealing stir-fry that makes me want to get in the kitchen!

  7. I’m really enjoying your Chinese cooking adventure! Chinese is always a favorite around our house, and I like the idea of it freshly prepared. I’m really interested in hearing more about Archie’s talents and interests in performance. Good for him! I’m sure there will be other opportunities, and he’s so right to recognize that he got some good exposure with his audition. He more than likely really did make an impression that may serve a good purpose later! Does Arabella have acting ambitions? It seems to me she has an excellent start down the path towards a career in dramatic acting! 🙂 Debra

  8. Gretchen says:

    Shoot!  But it’s great that they liked him a lot – that has to be encouraging!

  9. Sounds like a lucky save to me, Charlie.  Could you imagine Archie getting on the show, winning, and then finding out there wasn’t a show to perform on? The $250K would have been nice though.. 😉

    I love your Archie, his self-esteem and resilience is bulletproof! 🙂

  10. You seem to have 3 very positive/optimistic children. It must be hard to be the voice of reality sometimes when they need to be reined back. 🙂 I love the pork dish … the cucumber, not so much.

  11. Choc Chip Uru says:

    That is such encouraging feedback for Archie – good on him and his ever optimistic nature 😀
    Beautiful Chinese dish to reward him with!


  12. the only cin says:

    Bad luck, Archie, but I bet dinner more than made up for it!

  13. Damn, I just looked at Jason Donovan’s website…. he got *old*!!! I can remember him still as a late teen from Neighbours…. and now?! 🙁

    Love the look of the pork – the little ribbons on top are so pretty.

  14. Anna @ the shady pine says:

    I love Archie’s resilience! Sounds like he still had a win In the audition and hopefully this leads to a future success!

  15. Bitsandbreadcrumbs says:

    Sounds like it all worked out for the best…great exposure for Archie since no one can be on Broadway in the show after all. Though as was said before, the 250,000 would have been sweet. I’m loving this pork dish. I’ve bookmarked it to make!

  16. Good for Archie! Yeah, the old Standards & Practices laws in the U.S. are seemingly stricter for non-US citizens. It’s odd because most US child actors just become emancipated from their parents and can do whatever they want acting wise.

  17. I suspect that darling Archie is a whole lot like his mum.  Life is full of opportunities and there’s one with Archie’s name on it — in lights.

    The pork dish looks really good!

  18. I love Archie’s attitude! That’s fantastic that he got to audition in front of the bigwigs. 

  19. Archie sounds like the sort of person we could all do with modelling ourselves on, at least a little bit! Congratulations to him for the audition going well, even if he had the misfortune to be born two years too late!

  20. ChgoJohn says:

    This is such an easy dish to prepare but Ii can easily see why Archie liked i. It sounds delicious, Charlie.  Archie seems to have the right attitude for an audition-based career.  And he’s right. Making a good impression with an important casting director is a very good thing. She hasn’t seen the last of Archie.

  21. Dear Charlie,

    How exciting and there is definitely 2 years to look forward to when Archie turns 21 🙂

    The cucumber ribbons are such a great idea. I think Chinese restaurants are so reluctant to “experiment” with something new like this for fear of losing loyal clientele who may be so used to traditional tastes and flavours.

  22. I’m ridiculously impressed with Archie’s positivity! Also, Superboy and the Invisible Girl from Next to Normal is one of my current favourite Broadway songs 🙂

  23. Ah, I’ve been turned down for a couple of jobs because of my age 🙁 totally sucks. Good luck to your son, I’m sure he’ll get something great soon!

  24. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    That’s a great attitude! I like his perspective on things 🙂

  25. justonecookbook says:

    I really liked how he responded and he appreciated the chance given.  What an amazing son you have, Charlie!!!  And this dish looks delicious and easy for week night!

  26. Juliet Batten says:

    Good for Archie, finding the best in the situation. And he came home to some fine food, which must have helped.

  27. Archie is awesome! I wish more young people were as optimistic and as unwhinging (is that even a word?) as he is!

  28. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Wonderful attitude to have, good boy Archie!
    Another scrumity meal too.
    🙂 Mandy

  29. Where do they come up with these ideas for shows? Good on Archie for being so positive, that is such an awesome trait to have. Maybe we need to organise a mums shopping trip to NY…. although we may have to wait until they come up with a show for us Mums that we can audition for.

  30. That’s too bad for Archie but he sounds so positive about the whole experience 🙂

  31. InTolerant Chef says:

    Perhaps just as he wasn’t old enough. At least its all good experience for him.
    Just my style of dinner, yummo!

  32. Oh it’s a shame that Archie didn’t get it and it’s a bit silly because he’s 19… but I like his positive attitude 🙂 that’s the way to be ~ lol funny how I don’t really like Chinese food and don’t cook it very often ~ you make it look so effortless Charlie!  

  33. Glad that Archie had a good audition.  The pork looks like another winner!

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