You know how some colours just go … they blend in a perfect coordination of appealing shades … they make your eyes sit up and sing (ok, so I know your eyes can’t actually sing, but if they could then at this point they would! 😉 ) … your heart skips a tinsy winsy little beat at the thrill of a beautiful sight, at the satisfaction of combining colours to create a thing of beauty …
And of course, if it’s food …!! Well, then you get the delicious combination of flavours and the wonderful cooking smells floating around you as you stir and chop and fry and minute by minute approach dinner time, with your stomach growling a little bit louder every few minutes … Am I the only one who is convinced that food tastes so much better when it looks amazing too?! I’m most definitely convinced!! 😀
This yummy stir-fry I cooked up on Friday evening made me feel all summery – of course, the sun coming through my windows and the warm breeze blowing in through my wide-open windows helped with this feeling! 🙂
I chopped up 2 onions, a big chunk of ginger, 3 large cloves of garlic, a large red chilli and a bunch of coriander (cilantro) stalks …
Onion, garlic and chilli are 3 of my top favourite ingredients and make their way into my dishes quite a lot! 😛 Isn’t the colour of the chilli magnificent?!
Another 4 key ingredients in my stir-frys: olive oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and a beef stock cube …
About 3-4 tbsp of olive get heated on a high heat in my large wok-like frying-pan/skillet, then the onions, garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander are added to fry for roughly 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Next I add somewhere between 200-400 grams of whichever meat is on offer in the supermarkets!! 😛
I know, you don’t have to tell me – I’m rubbish at quantities, aren’t I?! I’m not sure that I can say I have ever used the same quantities twice in a row … except for in baking! Basically, I use a standard-size pack of meat and, because I have this things about raw meat, I always buy it pre-chopped unless there is absolutely no option!! After barely a minute I had to fish (hmm, can you fish meat?!?) these large chunks of pork out of the pan and slice them up, as stir-frying needs small pieces which will cook well in a short amount of time.
At this stage, I sometimes add some dry-roasted peanuts, if I’m using chicken.
I fry the meat for about 5-12 minutes, depending on what meat it is, until I’m satisfied it’s cooked through. (I always forget that the onions need to still be almost raw when I add the meat, otherwise they’ll burn … oops!)
While all that stirring and sizzling is going on, I peel and slice the fresh veggies – aren’t these colours breathtaking?! Quantity-wise, I’ve got 1/3-1/2 a head of brocoli, 2 carrots and a big ol’ red pepper. I always cook enough of this for that evening and re-heated lunch the next day.
I change the vegetables I use, depending on either what I have in the fridge leftover from other dishes, or what’s – cringe! yes, on special offer in the store, gulp! – so I’ll try and use at least 3 veggies from broccoli, mongetout, carrots, peppers, baby-sweetcorn, green beans, bean sprouts and I might have a go with some asparagus this summer … hmm … As you can see, out of carrots, broccoli and peppers, two out of these three are guaranteed to feature in every stir-fry!! 🙂
The first time I ate coriander/cilantro, when I was about 13, I flat out hated it – bleh! Nasty stuff!! But now – I love it!! 😀 Every Asian/Thai type dish and every curry or Indian dish I do has a helping of this yummy herb and, if I have some hanging around, it ends up in the hubby’s lunch of pasta and bean salad.
I usually buy it in a small to medium sized bunch, unless I know I’m going to be cooking more than one dish with it. I attack it for a bit with my knife and 2/3rds gets added to the pan with the vegetables and the rest is sprinkled over the finished dish to serve.
So now veggies and coriander get cooked for about 2 minutes, then 2-3 tbsp of toasted sesame oil and 4-5 tbsp of soy sauce get added, along with the beef stock cube and a sensible-looking amount of hot water – basically enough to make a sauce. Then fry ‘n’ stir for another 2-4 minutes, depending on how crisp or soft you like your veggies. I scoop a few spoons of the noodle-cooking water in instead of fresh water.
… while I’m whipping the above concoction together, I cook 2 nests of egg noodles for 4 minutes … then add them to this delicious-looking pan of goodness …
… the noodles get mixed in for 1-2 minutes, to get all the flavours of the sauce round them and to make sure they are integrated evenly … at least, that’s how it work in theory!
The finished plate of satisfyingly-coordinated, summer-coloured food, made all the more enticing for me by the chopsticks ready to be picked up and used – yup, I adore using chopsticks!! 😀
The glorious evening sun and summer breezes spilling in through my open windows! Ahh!! 🙂
Oh, and today, I did one of the things on my Summer Projects List:
I baked muffins for the first time in ages!! Sigh of content!
They are summer berry muffins … with 2 ounces of the flour swapped for 2 ounces of oats and crunchy flaked almonds sprinkled over the top before baking, for added goodness – shh! Don’t tell!! 😉
What are some of your favourite summer dishes? What vegetables do you come back to time and again?