Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Delicious green stir fry

I love a tangy stir fry, and I’ve been reading a lot of Vietnamese and Thai recipes lately. I've been buying old cook books from charity shops, and they have reminded me of the time, not so far away,er when recipes mentioned garlic in hushed tones. No more sotto voce now, I don’t know many people who don’t want the kick of spices, garlic and ginger.

This dish is bright green and fresh, the cabbage is just cooked, accompanied with green peppers, peas and onion. I pair it with coconut dhal, and prefer bread to rice as an accompaniment. It's easy to make, you do all the slicing in advance, heat up the pan and go. The dhal can be prepared in advance. This is enough for two people, on the greedy side, more with the dhal. 

Base for blitzing:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 slice ginger
1 shallot (1/2 small onion)
handful of fresh coriander, washed, with roots on
1 large pinch of salt
a couple of spoonfuls of water

Stir Fry ingredients
1/4 savoy cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
2 large shallots/1 onion, sliced lengthwise
2 handfuls frozen peas
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon+water or thai fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar or honey
1/2 lime

  • blitz or pound together 1st six ingredients
  • prepare all other ingredients
  • heat up wok, adding a slug of  oil (corn, groundnut or veg oil)
  • add half the blitzed ingredients and stir, turning down the heat if it starts to brown
  • add half the sliced veg, stir and add a slug of water (or fish sauce) cook for a minute, stirring all the time
  • add the rest of the veg and blitzed mixture, bouillon and the frozen peas, keep stirring, adding water if necessary, cook for 30 seconds, until the cabbage starts to wilt
  • add sugar or honey, stir and turn off the heat
  • squeeze over the lime


This combination was a favourite of my Aunt’s, especially when her cancer meant her appetite was reduced. The strong flavours seemed to cut through, so she enjoyed eating again. The stir fry is light and flavoursome with a citrus tang, and the curried dhal is easy to eat, as well as being a good contrast in terms of texture and flavour. The other pleasure is how the food looks on the plate, a patchwork of greens contrasting with a golden yellow. 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Pan cooked cornbread

I found this recipe in the Weber cookbook. That's the cookery book published by the manufacturer of the original kettle barbecue. It's meant to be cooked on the barby, lid off, in a cast iron skillet. I cook it in the oven, in a frying pan. I also use tinned corn, just one large tin, and I don't leave the seeds in the chilli. Thank you Mr Weber (or Ms?).  I use coarse cornmeal and gluten free bread flour, so it's a wheat free recipe. It is sweet and flavoursome and beautifully yellow, really golden. It makes a large loaf. I will try it again in a smaller pan, with two eggs, and halve rest of the ingredients, using a smaller pan, 8"/20cm, not a cake tin, because it's not heavy enough.


you'll need a heavy 10"/25cm pan, that can go into the oven.

set oven to medium hot

1 large can of sweetcorn
2 cups coarse cornmeal (polenta)
1.5 cups gluten free bread flour
2 tsps baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 large pointy red chilli
.5 cup of marg or butter
pinch salt

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together and stir through until well mixed.
Split chilli down the middle and deseed, slice finely.
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, chilli pepper and corn.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Melt the butter in a heavy 10"/23cm pan over gentle heat, swill it around and pour it into the mixture, stirring until it's well blended. Don't wipe the pan.
pour batter into the pan and level off.
Put the pan into a medium oven and cook for 25m or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. The cornbread will have shrunk away from the sides.

This bread is delicious with sour cream, or soft cheese. Of course it goes well with bbq'd meats and salads.

If you fancy it, add some roasted red pepper.