Category Archives: Using leftovers

A vegetarian Ken Hom classic…teen friendly, home-made super noodles (Singapore noodles)!

I seem to find it more and more of a struggle to find meals that will tick all the boxes for my carb addicted, vegetable dodging daughter. I swear she gets worse with every year. I often wonder why I even bothered with all those pureed organic vegetables, fresh fruit compotes and sugar-free yoghurts. My endeavours do not seem to have created a discerning gourmet and any influence I might have as a chef falls on deaf ears.

Anyway, her latest addiction is supernoodles. Cheap, yucky packet ones, the worst kind of junk.

‘Please Mum, they only cost 36p in Lidl’ she cries, as I sigh with resigned horror.

Since I can’t keep her from them I have set out to create my own healthier version of her beloved dish, ones with proper added protein (a bit of chicken; I think I’ve mentioned more than once she won’t eat any other flesh…she is now known as a chickenarian), real vegetables and more recognisable spices and flavourings.

My latest attempt to transform a junk food dinner into something resembling real food was a Ken Hom vegetarian classic; a version of Hong Kong or Singapore Noodles. Quick to prepare, made from store cupboard basics and with a few added vegetables is even vaguely healthy, very tasty and teen friendly.

Vegetarian Singapore noodles:

300g rice noodles (I used some super quick straight to wok ones by Amoy but you may have to pre-cook them if you are using dried noodles)

50g Welsh shiitake mushrooms, soaked for 20 mins and then drained and finely diced…(so the teen doesn’t realise they are there!!)

250g fresh or frozen peas/petit pois (if using frozen cover with water in a bowl and allow to thaw, then drain before use)

250g finely shredded chinese leaf cabbage

couple of tables spoons of groundnut oil

3 cloves of garlic crushed and finely chopped

1 dessertspoonful grated fresh ginger

a couple of fresh or dried chillies finely chopped

1 teaspoon of salt

a small tin of drained water chestnuts, sliced

4 spring onions finely chopped

For the curry sauce:

2 tablespoons of light soy sauce

1 tablespoon of Pataks curry paste, I used madras

2 tablespoons of rice wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

400ml tin coconut milk

Fresh coriander to serve

extra salt and pepper if necessary…season to taste

To make: Heat the oil in a large wok over a high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for about 30 seconds.

Then add cabbage, mushrooms, water chestnuts and salt and stir fry for another minute. Next add peas and rice noodles and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add all the sauce ingredients and allow to bubble for about 5 minutes until the sauce cooks down and starts to evaporate. Serve sprinkled with chopped spring onion and coriander. Eat immediately.

NB: This is real cold weather comfort food that according to the teen is ACTUALLY better than supernoodles!

NNB: If you want to make a meaty version chop 250g chicken or lean pork into thin strips and stir fry with the garlic and ginger at the very beginning.

Leave a comment

Filed under British food, family budget cooking, home cooking, local produce, Recipes, seasonal food, Uncategorized, Using leftovers, vegetarian dishes

Stop press: Rachel’s Organic new range of yogurts

On my return from London I was pleasantly surprised to find a delicious delivery of goodies from Rachel’s Organic. My neighbour had mercifully spotted the perishable sticker on the front and kindly opened the box stacking everything neatly in the fridge. Usually on return from a holiday the fridge looks depressing bare, maybe a limp carrot has been left to shrivel at the bottom of the veg drawer and a few half empty jars stand forlornly on the top shelf. This time it was different. On this occasion a pleasingly full fridge greeted us. A whole shelf full to the brim with with Rachel’s products. We had to take everything out just to check what was there!

Along with their new range of fat-free yogurt, they had sent me several packs of creamy rice pudding (which I love heated for 30 seconds in the microwave and topped with a teaspoon of home-made jam, lemon curd or fruit compote. They make the perfect lunch box treat for someone with a sweet tooth, like myself); plus a few tubs of low-fat natural yogurt, four granola pots (which we devoured immediately as we were hungry from the drive home), a special edition four-pack of coconut (two with passionfruit and two with pineapple and banana) and a low-fat apple & elderflower. The three new limited edition fat-free flavours were blackcurrant, strawberry and rhubarb and peach and passionfruit.

I’d not tasted the apple and elderflower before so this was the first large tub that I opened. Sprinkled with a handful of Mornflake Orchard Granola it made the perfect breakfast. The blackcurrant almost disappeared before my eyes as my son decided to test this one out when I wasn’t looking. Sprinkled with Jordans Super Berry Granola he loved it.  I did get a small look in before it went completely.

To be honest I often avoid fat-free varieties of yogurt and produce as I find them a little insubstantial flavour wise. I like something with a little creaminess which is why I would go for a low-fat variety and not totally fat-free. The apple and elderflower, which is from their low-fat range really hit the spot and I loved it. I wasn’t so sure about the fat-free blackcurrant. A creamier yogurt might have offset the sharpness of the blackcurrant I little better so I wasn’t quite sold on this version. In contrast I loved the Strawberry and rhubarb (which was my favourite) and Peach and passionfruit. The more delicate and somewhat sweeter fruits seem to work better with the fat-free yogurt.

This surprise delivery filled me with enthusiasm. Usually after a long drive my desire to stand cooking for ages is understandably diminished, but armed with a fridge full of yogurt, a large chunk of left over lamb (from Easter Sunday dinner) and a garden which had grown with a vengeance (despite the snow) I managed to create a feast!

Leftover spiced lamb paired with a mint and cucumber yogurt dip, lemony couscous with wild garlic and parsley and steamed purple sprouting broccoli (which had gone mad in the garden!).

Lamb: 400g leftover roast lamb chopped in to pieces, 1 large red onion finely chopped, a couple of cloves of garlic finely chopped, tablespoon rapeseed oil, 2 teaspoons of roasted cumin seeds crushed lightly, 2 teaspoons coriander, a pinch of chilli flakes, a tin of chopped tomatoes, quarter of a pint of chicken stock, a dessertspoonful sumac, slat and pepper (and fresh coriander to finish but I didn’t have any).

Cook the onion gently in oil until softening. Add garlic, coriander, cumin and chilli flakes and cook gently to release the lovely aroma. Add tomatoes and stock and cook for a few minutes until bubbling then add the lamb and sumac, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Couscous: put enough couscous to feed four into a shallow bowl (a mug full should do it depending on how hungry you are), pour over enough boiling vegetable stock (for speed use Kallo organic stock cubes or vegetable bouillon) to cover. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to stand for about 10 minutes. When you are ready put the couscous in a serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Stir in chopped herbs, a handful of wild garlic finely chopped, salt and pepper, juice of half a lemon and a good glug of olive oil. Steam the broccoli lightly and serve on top (I admit I slightly overdid mine…I was getting tired by this point!)

Yogurt dip: One tub of Rachel’s organic natural yogurt, half a cucumber grated and squeezed to remove as much juice as possible, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon or so of finely chopped mint leaves. Mix together in a serving bowl.




Leave a comment

Filed under British food, family budget cooking, home cooking, Recipes, seasonal food, Sources and suppliers, Uncategorized, Using leftovers