Tag Archives: vegetables

Chicken and Bean Sprout Stir Fry

We all know how difficult it is to keep eating healthily when there’s so much temptation out there, especially when there are so many meals you could cook on a Sunday. To try to keep things exciting, I spent Friday night flipping through cookery books and writing a shopping list. I always find that trying new recipes is the best way to make the effort less tiresome. 

This isn’t the most exciting or glamorous looking dish, but it’s light, quick and healthy with plenty of flavour. Besides, I rather think the chopped fresh veg look pretty exciting.

 
You will need:

A couple of handfuls of bean sprouts or mixed stir fry veg

1 chicken breast, or whichever fish or meat you like.

Additional vegetables according to your taste or what you have in the fridge. I sliced up some mangetout, half a red pepper, a few florets of broccoli and a third of a tin of bamboo shoots. 

1 tbsp oyster sauce 

1 tbsp soy sauce

A dash of sesame oil 

1 tbsp xaioshing rice wine or sherry 

A dash of groundnut oil for frying

Rice or noodles to serve

  
1. The key to stir frying is to be prepared! I like to chop up all my veg first, mix the sauce ingredients up in a ramekin and get the pan nice and hot (as well as timing your accompaniment so it will be ready at the same time – I used brown rice so I had that on the go before I started cooking anything else).

2. Once your oil groundnut oil is up to speed in the pan, chuck in your harder veg, such as the peppers, to let it soften a little first.  Add in the rest of the veg and slice your chicken.

3. Add about a third of your flavouring mixture to the veg, then add the rest once the chicken has taken on colour on both sides.

4. Stir, and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve and enjoy!

  

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

As I do every year, I spent Christmas 2014 with my family, surrounded by far too much rich food and wine and generally loafing around for too long.  So, by the time the new work year swang around, I was really craving something fresh, tasty and simple to cook to start my recipe diary.  This recipe is really quick, very simple, delicious and looks fairly impressive, as well as filling you up with lots of wholesome, fresh ingredients.  You should know, as an aside, that I have as many recipe books as I can possibly fit into my one-bed flat, but I hardly ever use them.  Even when I do read them, I generally just flick through them for inspiration.  When there’s something I like the look of, I Google, read other books and watch videos on YouTube to get the general gist of something before making up my own version, as there are generally ingredients I want to miss out (lemongrass, fresh coriander etc.) as well as extras I think will add another dimension to the dish.  True to this ‘philosophy’ as it were, feel free to add or take away anything you like or dislike – I’d love to hear what makes your version yours!

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You might want (to serve one, or multiples of to serve the masses):

1 steak (I used topside because it was on offer in M&S but use whatever quality of beef you like)

1 clove garlic, grated or crushed

1 inch square piece of ginger (none of this thumb-sized nonsense), grated

1/2 an onion (I used a white one to give things a Chinese takeaway feel), sliced

1/2 a red pepper, chopped or stripped

6 or so florets of broccoli

3 spring onions, chopped

1 tsp brown sugar/honey if you want it a bit healthier

beef stock

soy sauce to taste

a small amount of cornflour and cold water to hand

1.  Take your steak out of the fridge half an hour or so before you plan to start cooking, although this step is less essential when the temperature in the kitchen is hardly any higher than the temperature in the fridge!  Slice into strips and toss in a bowl with around a tablespoon of cornflour and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. You may prefer more or less of either, but the idea is to give the steak a good coating and then leave to sit for 10 minutes or so.

2.  At this point, if I’m using regular broccoli, I stick it in some hot water for a few minutes to start cooking it through.  This is an optional step depending on the tenderness of your broccoli and how crunchy you like it.

3.  Put some oil in a large pan or wok and turn up the heat!   When the oil has reached a fierce temperature, throw in the beef strips in small batches – you’re looking to sear these to seal in the beefy juices and get some good colour on the outside, because it’ll look nice and taste better, without cooking the beef through. If you chuck it all in at once, there’s likely to be too much water in your pan, meaning the beef will boil rather than sear.  Remove from the wok as soon as it has good colour on both sides and place somewhere relatively cool to stop the cooking process in its tracks.

4. Without wasting any of the nice caramelisation in the pan (although you may want to add a little more oil), sauté the onion, garlic and ginger then add the pepper, depending on how crunchy you like it, and then the broccoli, bearing in mind that you want to get more heat and flavour into the broccoli than colour – you might want to turn the heat down and allow everything to soften and sweeten a bit – for 5-10 mins.

5. Mix the stock, sugar/honey and soy together in a bowl and add to the pan, cranking the heat back up to let everything reduce down.

6.  Mix a couple of teaspoons of cornflour with enough water to cover it then add to the pan, stirring rapidly to let the mixture thicken the sauce.  You’re aiming for a sauce that will coat the beef and veg – not a pool to drown your rice in.  Add half of the chopped spring onions to wilt a little.

7.  Once you’re happy with the consistency of the sauce, put the beef and its resting juices back in the pan for a minute or so, depending on how well done you like it – pink is best!

Serve with jasmine rice, brown rice or noodles and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped spring onions.

 

5-a-Day and 40 Minutes

So, it’s February already and I haven’t done so well with my 2015 challenge. Well, I have in some ways, but not in terms of the feats that require just a smidge of bravery.

This year’s challenge was born out of a desire to step up my relatively new exercise regime a bit, but also to start eating fresher, healthier, more local food.   This effort was was to be several-fold:

1. Eat more fruit and veg – 5-a-day, if possible

2. Cook more often and more widely

3. Keep a recipe diary

4. Exercise 5 times a week, 30-40 minutes per day (except when on holiday)

5. Do more of what I’m passionate about.

This has meant gorging myself on soup, fruit and vegetables and avoiding, as far as is humanly possible, guilty lunch-time panini and cheesy, carby suppers, then fitting in 40 minutes of jumping around in front of my iPad every evening (much to my neighbours’ chagrin) before settling in to revise and cook a fresh, wholesome supper which takes in howevermany of 5-a-day I missed at work.

I’m doing ok, I think, but I keep falling behind on my recipe diary.  So, something drastic has to be done. THE BLOG is promising me it will be the answer.