Spicy Peanut Noodles (2)

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The local Chinese restaurant near me does a spicy noodle dish as a side which is served cold Now that we live far away I don’t seem to have come across it. So I experimented and have, I think, come up with a good approximation. Getting the correct balance of ingredients and consistency has been an interesting process – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, how salty do you want it – until it finally tastes right. I combined the sauce with rice noodles and ate it as a vegetarian meal with scallions scattered over the top, but it could also be a dipping sauce for crudites, if you don’t dilute it too much, or as a satay sauce for chicken.

Boiling water – both for cooking rice noodles and for diluting the peanut sauce

4 oz. rice noodles

Pour boiling water over the rice noodles in a pan and let stand for 10 minutes during which time you can make the sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

Bunch of scallions – finely chopped (reserve some for sprinkling over the top)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce (depending on how salty you like things)

Juice of half a lime

Boiling water to dilute sauce to a coating consistency for the noodles.

Place the peanut butter, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk together, adding boiling water to get the desired consistency.

Pour sauce over the noodles, mix together well and sprinkle chopped scallions over the top.

Serve immediately or you will find that the sauce tends to thicken up again.

 

 

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Tamarind Orange Chicken (4)

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Tamarind paste may be an ingredient you are unfamiliar with but you will probably have tasted it in Asian or Indian cooking. The flavor by itself is sour so many recipes use some sort of sweetness as a counterbalance – in this case freshly squeezed orange juice zest. Tamarind paste is easily found in Asian or Indian food stores or online if it is not stocked in your local supermarket. This dish goes well with brown rice.

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces

1 onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 x 2 inch piece of ginger – grated

1 tsp. turmeric

1 can of lite coconut milk

1 1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest of half and orange

Cilantro – finely chopped (enough for sprinkling over the top)

Heat oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let it just start to brown before adding the garlic, ginger and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes until you can smell the ginger then add the pieces of chicken and lightly brown.

Then stir in first the tamarind paste followed by the orange juice and zest and the coconut milk.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro.

Jo’s Chinese Chicken (4)

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I have played with the flavors here and they are less salty as there is no soy sauce. Good both hot and cold. I have introduced rice noodles (Annie Chun’s brand) into my diet and used the very fine ones – even better if you can find a brown rice variety. Love the ‘A Taste of Thai’ brand as the products mainly seem gluten and diary free (but I always check). Incorporated water chestnuts and baby sweetcorn as well as spinach. There is ginger too and garlic – healthy.

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 large tbsp. ginger – grated

Kettle full of boiling water

4oz. rice noodles

2 x chicken breast – sliced thinly and halved into bite-size pieces

10 oz. baby spinach

1 x 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts

1 x 15 oz. baby sweetcorn  (pre-cut into chunks)

Juice of 1/2 lime – freshly squeezed

Handful of unsalted peanuts – bashed with a rolling pin

Place oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add shallot and garlic, turn down heat and let soften. Then add ginger and cook for a few minutes.

Add chicken and let brown a little, then add 1 cup of sauce (see below) and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.

Add water chestnuts, baby sweetcorn, 5 oz. spinach and rest of sauce.

Cover with lid and let spinach wilt for 5 minutes or so and then add 5oz more of spinach and the lime juice

Cook for 5 more minutes.

During this time bring kettle full of water to boil then pour over rice noodles and let noodles sit for about 6 minutes. Drain, wrap in tea-towel and when water has been removed chop rice noodles into 2 or so inch pieces. Add to chicken mixture. Mix together and sprinkle peanuts over the top

SAUCE

2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. A Taste of Thai Garlic Chilli Pepper Sauce (aka sriracha)

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and it will make just about 1 cup of sauce.

Satay Zucchini (2)

photo - zucchini sataySatay sauce is delicious. Normally it accompanies pieces of chicken or beef on a skewer. Today I spiralised zucchini/courgettes and served them with a satay sauce. Because I used Fish Sauce in the Satay sauce it isn’t vegan or vegetarian but it may taste OK without that ingredient. It is important to dry the zucchini ‘spaghetti’ well after it is cooked

3 x largish zucchini/courgettes – spiralised, boiled for a couple of minutes and turned out onto a clean T-towel or paper towel and dried well.

The Satay sauce is quick to make and there will be some left over.

Place 1 can lite coconut milk in a skillet/frying pan

Add 1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter, 1 tbsp. grated ginger, 1 large clove of garlic (grated), 1 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce and 2 tbsp. fish sauce

Stir well and bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes.

Tuna, Edamame and Avocado Salad (serves 4)

Tuna, Edamame and Avocado Salad (serves 4)

Inspiration came from opening freezer and finding edamame beans/broad beans staring me in the face. I got busy thinking what I could do with said edamame beans. Result, this recipe to which I added tomatoes and scallions/spring onions and a proper French vinaigrette taught to me when I was an au pair in France (1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 good teasp. Dijon Mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper). Mix vinegar and mustard together until runny, add oil and shake in a jar (I keep an old Dijon mustard jar or Bonne Maman jam jar for this purpose).

1 x 6.7oz jar of tuna in olive oil or 1 can of tuna

5oz cooked edamame beans

8 cherry tomatoes – halved of quartered

1 avocado – diced

1 bunch of scallions – finely chopped

Mix all together in a serving dish and pour over vinaigrette

Asian Chicken and Vegetables with Jo’s Brown Sauce (serves 4)

Asian Chicken and Vegetables with Jo’s Brown Sauce (serves 4)

How many times do you go to an Asian Restaurant and the menus says ‘Chicken/pork/beef and mixed vegetables with Brown Sauce and your choice of rice – white or brown’? and you have no real idea of what the ingredients are except that it is tasty and probably everyone has their own recipe and throws in a bit of this and a bit of that. So this is what I threw into the mix (and I literally placed everything in the food processor which cut out a bit of washing up!). I believe that often a thickener is used for the sauce but I decided not to. The resulting meal was really authentic tasting (except that you don’t usually find new potatoes in Asian cooking).

P.S. think this would make a great dressing for a salad

2 inches of fresh ginger – peeled and finely grated

2 cloves of garlic – peeled and finely grated

4 scallions/spring onions – finely chopped

2 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce

2 tbsp. seasoned rice wine vinegar

4 tbsp. sesame oil

1/2 cup veg. broth/stock

Literally, place everything in the food processor.

8 oz. chicken tenders – cut into small pieces

1 large carrot – cut into thinnish slices and then halve the slices

4 oz. snowpeas/mangetout – cut into thirds

4 oz. broccoli – cut into small florets

6 oz. baby sweetcorn – cut into bite sized pieces (found in a can in Asian section of supermarket)

4 oz. new potatoes – pre-cooked and cut into quarters

Place chicken and carrots in a skillet and pour over the sauce.

Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add rest of ingredients and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Jo’s Stir Fried Vegetables (serves 4)

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At the weekend I was visiting the Morikami Gardens and Museum in Delray Beach, FL. The Japanese Gardens and setting are very authentic and very peaceful. The restaurant there overlooks a lake and serves a variety of Japanese food. I so enjoyed my duck with stir fried vegetables in a ginger sauce that I decided to try and re-create the dish. I don’t have a wok so used a large metal bottomed frying pan. For the Japanese flavor I used garlic, scallions,  fish sauce and ginger. For the veg. I used carrots, broccoli florets, green beans and baby bella mushrooms. You could serve duck, chicken, pork or beef on top of the veg. with  quinoa on the side. For vegetarians/vegans probably soy sauce would be a substitute for the fish sauce.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with freshly ground black pepper (no salt needed because of salt in the Fish Sauce)

2 large cloves garlic – grated

1 bunch of scallions – finely chopped (only used white ends)

1 tbsp. Fish Sauce (Thai Kitchen brand Premium Fish Sauce)

1 piece of ginger (size of thumb from first joint to finger nail) – finely grated

4 tbsp. vegetable broth

2 medium size heads of broccoli – torn into smallish florets

2 medium carrots – very thinly sliced

Handful of thin green beans (amount you can get between thumb and forefinger) – topped and tailed and cut into thirds

6 oz. baby Bella mushrooms – washed and cut into 1/4’s or 1/6ths, depending on size

Heat the oil in frying pan and when sizzling add garlic and scallions and cook for a few minutes.
Add grated ginger and Fish Sauce and stir.
Add the vegetables and veg. broth/stock and cook until ‘al dente’ (about 5 minutes) stirring frequently.