Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Beef in Black Bean and Chilli Sauce

Contrary to popular belief (work colleagues) I actually really like Chinese food, the problem is most restaurants or take-aways, serve up the same old thing wherever you go, they all look and taste the same and there’s very little to distinguish the myriad of places I’ve eaten in. Plus if you go with a group, someone usually suggests the set menu and you end up with the usual and stymied choices none of which are exciting or to be honest, that tasty.

Making your own is a much better option. Everything is fresher and of course cooked to your own tastes.

Chinese cooking can require some initial investment and the odd trip to the Chinese supermarket but it can be very rewarding. Some dishes can be complex but the majority are all about the prep and 5-10 mins actual cooking

This dish is one of my favourite Chinese meals, I love the flavour of black beans and amount they deliver is not in keeping with their size. I’ve never seen them in normal supermarkets so you may need to go further afield. Worry not though, they will keep in airtight container in the fridge forever (don’t hold me to this). The chilli gives it that all important kick, the various sauces are pretty standard fare but marry perfectly with the black beans.

Some prep, really tasty, why not give it a go?

600g of Rump steak thinly sliced across the grain
2 Spring Onions very thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons of Shaohsing Rice Wine (or Dry Sherry)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white sugar

Black Bean and Chilli Sauce
1 Small red onion finely sliced
Thumb sized piece of ginger finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons of salted black beans
2 Tablespoons of Shaohsing Rice Wine (or Dry Sherry)
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of malt vinegar
1 Birds eye Chilli , de-seeded and very finely sliced
100 ml of cold water

Mix the marinade ingredient, add the beef and coat thoroughly, leave for 30 mins

Heat the wok until very hot, add a tablespoon of groundnut oil, fry the beef in batches around 30 seconds per batch, remove with a slotted spoon and put to one side

Rinse the black beans in a sieve under cold water, drain and then in a pestle and mortar mash the beans into a paste like consistency

Combine in a bowl or glass the rice wine, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce and malt vinegar

Heat the wok again, add a tablespoon of groundnut oil, very quickly fry the onion, garlic ginger and chilli, stirring all the time for about 30 seconds. Add the black beans, stir fry for another 30 seconds. Stir in the rice wine mixture, bring to the boil, Add the water and combine thoroughly. If the sauce looks a little thick add more water until you achieve the consistency you’re happy with

Add the beef again, bring to the boil, simmer for 2 mins


Stir through the spring onions and serve with steamed rice

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Leftover Potatoes with Bacon and Egg

Leftovers eh? You’ll very probably be hearing, seeing and tasting a lot of leftovers during the next few weeks. To be honest, it is difficult sometimes to know what to do with that bowl of “stuff” in the fridge especially when inspiration is not forthcoming and there’s loads of other food in the house. The thing is though, right, is that when you do create something wonderful with the scraps in the fridge, you get a great sense of achievement with an added dash of go me.

So these little buggers have been staring at me for a few days now, daring me to do something different and I’d toyed with the usual potato salad idea but then I remembered this old favourite, adapted it to what I had to hand and this is how it came out

As well as tasting great this can be done in 10-15 mins or so, which makes it ideal for a midweek supper

Pancetta cubes are awesome, they can form the base of many a dish and for me have the edge over their bacon cousins taste-wise. The potatoes are great on their own, I think they’re available in most supermarkets (certainly Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s) and they’re called apache.

Spring onions add fresh crunch and the parsley adds the earthy depth.
Finally the poached egg, cooked right, the yolk makes the dish self saucing. 
A Drizzle of oil? Don’t mind if I do sir.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Handful per person of pre boiled potatoes cut into chunks
100g Cubetti Di Pancetta
1 Spring onion finely sliced
Sprig of parsley finely chopped
2 Fresh eggs
Splash of white wine vinegar

Fill a saucepan ¾ full of water and put onto boil, or boil the kettle and empty into the pan
In a small frying pan add the pancetta then on a high heat fry until the cubes start to brown and the fat is released.
Empty the potatoes into the pancetta pan and gently warm through, stiring to ensure the potatoes are covered in the lovely pancetta fat.

Add a splash of vinegar to the water, stir through and then add the eggs to poach for 3 mins

Meanwhile stir the spring onions and parsley into the bacon and potato mix, season to taste.

When eggs are done remove from the pan and place on paper towel to soak up any excess water.

Plate up the bacon and potato mix and top with the poached egg, finally drizzle with oil if required.