Prawn Chow Mein

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Chinese cuisine is one of my favourites, but I have very little experience of cooking it. I imagined it to be terribly complicated, but after watching “Gok Cooks Chinese”, where he declared “anyone who tells you Chinese cooking is hard is NOT your friend”, I decided to buy the book and give it a whirl. I know people had mixed opinions on the series, one big talking point was his use of Nam Pla (fish sauce) in Chinese cookery, as it’s traditionally a Thai ingredient, but personally, I really enjoyed watching it.

Gok Cooks Chinese

So I decided to make the Prawn Chow Mein (p.54 in the book). One substitution I made was cooked prawns for raw, only because I had a packet of them already in the freezer. I just added them at the end to warm them through instead of at the beginning to actually cook them.

Cooked, peeled prawns.

Serves 4

  • 500g medium egg noodles (I used fresh from the Chinese supermarket, dried work just as well)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 300g fresh raw prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 200g mangetout, thoroughly washed
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • salt and ground white pepper
  • 2 spring onions, finely shredded into 4cm long strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  1. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and tip into a bowl. Pour over the sesame oil, tossing thoroughly to coat the noodles. Put to one side.
  2. Heat the groundnut oil in a wok over a high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds before adding the prawns. Continue to stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. The prawns should begin to turn pink and a little brown on some of the edges. (I omitted the prawns at this stage, as mine were already cooked)
  3. Add the mangetout and mix to incorporate. Pour in the Shaoxing rice wine and leave to almost evaporate before adding the previously cooked noodles. Toss well so that all the ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add both of the soy sauces and a pinch of salt and pepper. (It was at this point I added my cooked prawns to warm them through.) Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes before spooning on to a plate and dressing with the spring onion and carrot.

It was really easy and totally delicious. My husband isn’t a foodie in any way, shape or form, he often “forgets” to eat, if I am not here to cook, (HOW DOES ANYONE FORGET TO EAT??!) but even he declared it “nice that Chinese stuff, love”.

High praise indeed.

Prawn Chow Mein

Lamb Rogan Josh

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So after a few occasions this week where I’ve eaten out, yesterday after work it was time to get cooking! We are BIG curry fans in my house, so I’d decided on one of our favourites, lamb rogan josh. The recipe is originally from a Slimming World cookbook called “Curry Heaven”, but I’ve tweaked it a bit over the last year or so that I’ve been cooking it!

Lamb rogan josh

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • low cal cooking spray/splash of oil
  • 1 tsp each of ground coriander, paprika, ground ginger and chilli powder
  • 1lb lamb steak, fat removed and cut into bite sized pieces 
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 1inch pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2tsp artificial sweetener
  • a small handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Fry the onion and garlic in the cooking spray/oil until soft. Add all the powdered spices and fry for one minute (add a little water if it gets too dry).

Add the lamb, tomatoes, bay leaf, cinammon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, stock and sweetener and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until reduced. Stir occasionally to stop it sticking.

Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately with your choice of side. I cheated and used Tilda 2 minute pilau rice for the microwave! Well, it’d been a long day 😉

Try it and let me know how you get on!

Ping Pong Dim Sum

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So last night (Fri 13th!), I went out. I don’t go out very much in the evenings, my job means I have to get up for work at early as 3.45am, so late nights and me just don’t mix! But I had the day off today, so I made arrangements to meet my friends Ally and Maddie at Ping Pong Dim Sum, on Great Marlborough Street W1. It’s just over the road from Liberty of London, where incidentally, Maddie works in the press office! I met Ally through Twitter, and through her I met her sister Maddie – the power of social media eh?

Anyway, we arrived at Ping Pong at about 8.20pm, it was very busy, and we were told there would be a 30-40 minute wait for a table. No worries, we hit the bar for a cocktail!

I chose the “lemongrass and limes” long cocktail, made with Smirnoff Black vodka, lemongrass, limes and lychee juice. Oh my, how delicious? VERY! After much chatting, we were shown downstairs to our table. Ping Pong is very noisy, the tables are close together, not somewhere you’d go for an intimate date, but I’d been before, so I was expecting it.

Myself and Maddie chose the Ping Pong set menu (Ally chose the vegetarian set menu), for £9.95, you got:

From the baked, fried and griddled category: One roast pork puff, one crispy duck spring roll, one Vietnamese rice paper prawn roll, one mixed vegetable spring roll

From the steamed category: One chicken and cashew nut dumpling, one har gau (king prawn and bamboo shoot in translucent pastry), one chicken shu mai (chicken, asparagus and mushroom in an open top won-ton pastry), one spicy vegetable dumpling and one chive dumpling.

From the rice category: one king prawns and scallop sticky rice (seafood and rice steamed in a lotus leaf)

Ally and I also shared some coconut braised vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts and a hint of chilli in coconut sauce).

A second cocktail was ordered, and we all chose the Hong Kong Colada – “a classic tropical cocktail with a twist – pampero especial rum, abruzzo liqueur, coconut and pineapple juice with lime wedges and goji berries”. Very tasty, including the occasional goji berry that got sucked up the straw!!

Thoroughly delicious food, lovely cocktails and great company, what more could a girl ask for? We paid just under £30 each, the majority of that being the cocktails which came in at around £7 each – still not bad for a Central London restaurant.

There are some photos below, unfortunately I was so busy chowing down that I forgot to take a photo of the steamed dumplings, so I guess I’ll have to go back… shame 😉

Jamie’s Italian!

Last weekend, my best friend in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Lorna, came up to London from Plymouth for the day, her train survived heavy flooding in Devon, and so we treated ourselves to lunch at Jamie’s Italian, at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.

We already had a voucher for free Prosecco from the ever generous Mr Oliver, which was lovely, and we spent many happy hours during the preceding week, perusing the menu and exchanging excited texts (Lorna is a fellow foodie!).

For a starter, I chose ‘baked chestnut mushrooms’ (mushrooms are my all-time favourite vegetable), with smoked mozzarella, thyme and crispy bread. It was absolutely delicious! Lorna had a bruschetta with smoked mackerel paté which she also declared to be ‘gert lush me babber’!

For my main, I chose a British lamb breast, slow-braised with mint, chilli and sticky balsamic, served with quick pickled green beans and a heritage radish salad. I also had some Markham Farm asparagus and we shared some polenta chips. The lamb was absolutely divine – it fell apart as I touched it with my fork, and literally melted in the mouth. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and incredibly tasty, just drizzled with a little butter and dressed with shaved Parmesan. We both declared the polenta chips bland and not to be repeated! Lorna had ‘Ravioli Primavera’ stuffed with smashed new-season peas, mint & ricotta in a silky asparagus sauce with mascarpone and Amalfi lemon. I tried a bit, as you do, and my goodness it was gorgeous.

I’ve always been a big Jamie Oliver fan, with his Naked Chef series he made cooking fun, easy, and dare I say, a little bit sexy again? He has done wonders for food education all over the world, and still comes across as a thoroughly nice bloke.

Here’s a few photos of the food, but having eaten in three different Jamie’s Italian branches now, I wholeheartedly recommend it. The service is wonderful and they treat children really well, when we visited back in January 2012, my then 5 year old son was chuffed that he got his menu on a Viewmaster toy camera, and he got a badge for finishing all his salad! But what matters of course is the food, and the price. I personally think it’s amazing value for money, and simply beautiful food.

We paid just over £50 for two courses each, with an extra glass of Prosecco too! Without the wine it would have been about £42. As Jamie might even say, “Pukka!”.

 

Hello!

I’m Rachel, and I live in London with my husband and our son who is 6.

I love to cook and eat – simple as that! I’ve been inspired to blog about my cooking and eating adventures by a friend, so here I am. I want to share what I cook with you all, and also what I eat when I’m out.

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Happy reading!