Homemade Chinese Take-Away

Now this was a bit full on. Create five dishes in less time than it takes to holler ‘I’m starving, feed me noooooooooooooow!’

Holler? What the hell kind of word is holler? Let’s change that to ‘yell’. Or scream. In Hell’s Kitchen (and I would have called this blog Hell’s Kitchen if I’d thought of it at the time, but I didn’t so there you go) you sometimes have to cook fast and cook clever. Generally that happens when a) children are around and b) wine is not flowing too quickly.

Chinese food is characterised by salty, sweet flavours. It’s also supposed to be made fast.

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Vegetarian Steamed Buns

I am developing a new list. I call it the ‘Irritating List of Annoyances’, or ILA. The ILA currently comprises:

  1. Our intermittent leaking roof. How can a bloody roof leak intermittently? How does it do that? Why does it not leak when the roof man comes round to investigate? And then start leaking once he’s gone, and it isn’t even raining.
  2. The Highways Agency. They decided that to ease the traffic problem on my way to work they would make the road narrower. Yes narrower. The reason? To make more space for the pedestrians. But there aren’t any bloody pedestrians because the road is a dual carriageway and no one walks.
  3. Squeaky noises from the car. I hear a noise and noises = £££s. But was it a noise from my car or the old banger in front? Has life come to this? Listening out for noises and then cursing other people for having noisy cars?
  4. BBC Weather forecasters. No one has any idea what the weather is going to do. But some people get paid for not knowing.

I will add to my list as time goes by. Then I will publish it and people will buy it and I will be rich and drive my car straight into my roof and that will deal with a lot of the things that annoy me.

Food doesn’t annoy me.

Some time ago I decided to try out Pork Steamed Buns. They were delicious but I had to eat all of them because the wife is vegetarian and the children were indisposed. So I thought I’d try a vegetarian version, with mushrooms replacing the pork. Maybe they’d turn out better, maybe not.

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Vietnamese Style Caramelised Pork

In my increasingly desperate attempts to find something new to cook I happened upon this creation in the Good Food Magazine. I doubt it’s very Vietnamese but sweet and meat are usually a good combo.

It occured to me; would a food blogger in Vietnam be interested in recreating a classic English roast beef dinner? Do Mexican food bloggers try making Spotted Dick when they get sick of quesadillas? Something tells me they don’t. Don’t get sick of quesadillas and don’t try making Spotted Dick. I don’t know whether many of you have tried Spotted Dick, it’s not worth the trouble really.

If I had kept up my series of ‘Quick & Easy’ recipes, this would have made it into that category. But I didn’t; lets just say this is quick. And easy.

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Satay Sirloin Steak – delicious and that is a fact.

Now you hear a lot of ‘facts’ on TV, radio, the internet. ‘Experts’, with ‘opinions’, about ‘things’. For example:

It’s an absolute fact that if everyone in China jumped up and down at the same time, the orbit of the Earth would alter sufficiently for us to be put on a collision course with the Sun. Why? Well because the Chinese just get on and do what they are told.

If the population of Europe tried to do it everyone would start arguing; the Germans would want to tell everyone else what to do, which would cause the French to sulk, and the Italians would put two fingers up and go sleep with each other, whilst the Spanish would be too busy having a siesta anyway and would miss the whole debacle.

What about the English I hear you yawn. Well, we aren’t European are we?

Of course the Americans might be able to do it, but the Japanese would probably do it better. And cheaper. Probably more reliable as well. Now, where was I? Oh yes, facts.

If a butterfly in the Amazon farts, a dog gets a bad case of the shits in Hyde Park, London. (I put the London bit in there because there is a Hyde Park in NY State apparently, and I don’t want anyone there thinking their dog might take a random dump on the lounge carpet because of a butterfly; it won’t, he will do it deliberately to piss you off). Anyway, small changes having big consequences is called the ‘Butterfly Effect’. I think that’s it.

So I can handle being told all these interesting facts. Useful information even. I mean if I ever end up as head of the Chinese State and then go mad with power, I will just shout ‘jump’!

But being told what is good for you and what isn’t frankly gets on my tits. Red wine causes cancer, but it’s good for your circulatory system.

Red meat causes cancer, heart disease and bowel obstructions. But it’s got iron and protein, and they are good things.

Quinoa is an excellent healthy food, but looks like desiccated fish spawn.

So when is he going to get to some food you might well ask, if you’ve got this far. Well right now. Today’s offering on the culinary merry-go-round is ‘Satay Beef with Noodles’.

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The combination of sirloin steak and peanut sauce was a new one for me, but it worked well (if memory serves).

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Take-Away Style Marinated Chicken Breasts with Tofu Kedgeree

This recipe takes me back to my time in the Indian sub-continent. My placement there, as an attaché to the chargé d’affaires, inspired much rabble rousing, and the unfettered consumption of earthly delights to be found in and around Delhi expanded both my mind and waistline.

Outwitting the outraged Lords and Ambassadors of compromised wives was as much of a lark as bagging a tiger in the dense and steaming bush….

…Hang on, piss off my blog. Sorry about that. Some ponce managed to infiltrate the safe, suburban world of Happiness Stan.

In reality this recipe does remind me of the Taj Mahal. The one down the road in Croydon, not the palace near(ish) Delhi. In classical Asian tradition it combines what we Westerners would consider vegetarian fare (in this case Tofu) with good old meat (chicken).

And that reminds me. My wife, who is well travelled (unlike me) toured the Orient some time ago, and as a committed vegetarian struggled to find reliably meat-free dishes. For example she once ordered tofu stir-fry in a Singapore street market, which sounds a safe veggie bet, and it was duly served up piled high with beef.

I’m getting seriously lost. Back to the food. Now tofu’s a funny old thing. It’s either wet and falls to bits when you open the packet (soft), or wet and doesn’t fall to bits when you open the packet, but tries to fall to bits when you start to prepare it (we’ll refer to this one as ‘not-so-soft’).

I determined to make a kind of kedgeree, substituting fish for tofu.

Then I decided to chuck in some chicken because to be honest tofu just doesn’t do it for me. So I prepared some chicken too, in the style of a Chinese Take-Away.

So in the end I created some Asian Fusion cooking which I am calling Take-Away Style Marinated Chicken Breasts with Tofu Kedgeree.

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