Wednesday 16 September 2015

Using some chillis

I am on my own at present. Jane is over in France, meeting our new baby grandson, Owen Mark, and doing all sorts of granny stuff. Meanwhile I am home alone. :(  This means going out to work as usual, but also having to make my own dinner when I get home. I haven't had the opportunity to write much or to do much photography, so this post is necessarily going to be very brief.

Of course I have been looking for things I can cook quickly and easily. One such dinner was this Chinese-style one:

My meal was ready-made egg noodles, accompanied by pork and mushrooms stir-fried in the wok, with a separate dish of braised Pak Choi. Jane dislikes oriental veg like Pak Choi, so I only get to eat it while she is away!

"Quick and easy" is a relative term, and I wasn't going to compromise on flavours, so still wanted to include the usual garlic, ginger, Spring Onions (home-grown, no less) and chilli. I was able to use a fresh chilli from my own "Cayenne" plant. Here is a pic of the fruits I harvested on Sunday:

In Chinese cuisine, cooking times are often short (especially when stir-frying), but preparation times tend to be longer. For instance, I spent some time peeling and "julienning" my fresh ginger - that is to say cutting it into very narrow strips, like matchsticks.  When stir-frying it is a good idea to cut the ingredients into small pieces so that they cook quickly.

Another trick we use with meat that is to be stir-fried is to coat it in cornflour. This helps to preserve its texture, stopping it going dry on the outside before it is cooked on the inside. The cornflour acts as a protective covering. (You can see the floured pork strips in my top photo).

 My last tip is this: if you plan to cook Chinese food more than once in a while, get some Shao Hsing, aka Shaoxing, rice wine (it's a little like sherry). Putting a splash of this stuff into a stir-fry certainly adds a little "Je ne sais quoi". And it's very authentic too.

Anyway, I have to go now. Hopefully I'll be out in the garden again soon, and blogging of course. Bye for now....


  1. The Willis clan has grown again, many congratulations to all concerned, a little boy this time, how lovely.

  2. Congratulations to you all, lovely news Mark & named after you too! I'm sure new followers would be misled by this post thinking that you don't like to cook. Most of us know the truth though. I like stir-fries like this, all the better with produce out of the garden.

  3. My newest nephew is an Owen Mark as well. Congratulations on your wonderful new addition (with a great name).

  4. Congrats! I hope you get chance to teach him about gardening.

  5. Congratulations on your new grandson Your meal looks delicious are the chillies quite hot? Have your harvested your sweet potatoes yet? We dug our one plant up the other day there a crop of small sized sweet potatoes,. We haven't tasted them yet! Sarah x

    1. Hi Sarah; The chillis are not very hot. I think they need lots of sunshine to develop their full potential. And no, I have not yet dug up my Sweet Potatoes. I'm leaving them as long as I dare!

  6. Congrats on the new addition to your family! Boy, that would definitely be one advantage of being on your own - bok choy is one of my favourite veg & if my husband didn't like it, I would be encouraging him to go away on his own a lot more often ;)


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