A new wok...A new recipe...

Recently I have gone through several woks. My first was a Tefal which served me well through uni, then when I really got into Wok cooking I visited my local Chinese supermarket and got myself a carbon steel wok that required seasoning. I then went for a large Wok with a lid, although its a great size I found it to hard to keep hot on my hob. 

So finally I went back to the carbon steel variety but this time I went for one of Ching He Huang's. I got it at the bargain price of £7.50 at Sainsburys and it really is perfect. Its big enough for what I need, Heats evenly and is easy to clean.

To christen it I decided to try a recipe I haven't made before. 

Minced beef and green pepper stir fry.
For this recipe you will need (serves 4-6):

500g Minced Beef
2 green peppers
3 carrots
a big handful of cherry tomatoes
a thumb sized piece of ginger, grated finely
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
one green chilli, deseeded (leave them in if you like the heat)
a teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional, if you like the heat)
2-3 spring onions (to garnish)

For the sauce:

150ml of cold water
3 tablespoons of shaohsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
3 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
3 teaspoons of chilli oil
3 tablespoons of cornflour

Start by preparing all of the vegetables, chop the cherry tomatoes in half, the peppers into strips and the carrots on an angle (about half a cm thick.

To make the sauce simple combine all of the ingredients in a jug, it is really important that the water is cold, warm water will cause the cornflour to clump and it will ruin the meal.

Place the Wok on the hob and allow it to heat until it begins to smoke. Add one tablespoon of groundnut oil and give it a swirl to cover the edges.

Throw in the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir it for a few seconds before adding the beef.

Stir fry the mince for a few minutes, breaking it up into small pieces.

Once the meat has browned add the carrots. Stir fry these with the meat for 2-3 minutes. The Chinese like their vegetables to have bite to them and it really does add texture to the dish.

Next add the peppers and tomatoes and stir for a minute or so before adding the sauce. The cornflour in the sauce will cause it to thicken when it hits the hot wok, making a thick glossy gravy.

Allow it to cook together for a few minutes (Or until the veg is to your liking) before serving.

To serve simple pop it in a serving dish and garnish with chopped spring onion. 

I served this with plain jasmine rice but you could add egg noodles to this dish if you like.

If you like this recipe why not also look at this one for Kung Po chicken.

December in London...Scratch that...Food in London...

...Back in December I made a trip to London to get myself in the festive spirit. Usually when I plan a weekend away I book something to do, like a show or a concert...This time it was just a hotel and a train ticket...
It was quite exciting to arrive and just hurl myself on to the tube and get off where I liked.

My main aim for the weekend was to eat a lot and finish off my christmas shopping.

Lets focus on the food.

A trip to London for me is not complete without a MASSIVE burger, and for me it has to be Shake Shack.

The queue as always was massive, but lucky for me there was someone selling mulled wine near buy so I quickly grabbed one and kept myself warm whilst I looked over the menu.
My order rarely changes as my usual is just SO good. You join the queue and wait to be served, they then give you a buzzer that allows you to wander covent garden until your food is ready. Don't worry though you don't usually have to wait to long.

I went for the Double Smokeshack, Cheese fries and a malted peanut butter milkshake.

This particular photo truly doesn't do the photo justice, it was beautifully cooked. The molten cheese smooches the smoked bacon and I have lost my train of thought... Umm...Burger....
The cheese fries are awesome, I just with that there was more of them.
I have no words for the Milk shake..its peanut butter...PEANUT BUTTER!

Next stop on my foodie adventure was based on a recommendation from Ching He Huang. I sent her a tweet asking what restaurant I should visit in china town for an authentic meal. She graciously replied and told me to try Joy King Lau.

The restaurant is a 5 minute walk from Leicester square tube station and was quite easy to find.
I arrived later in the evening as I was pretty tired after a long day of wandering so popped to the hotel for a quick power nap.

Instantly I knew I was in for a treat, the queue outside was massive and it appeared that the downstairs room of the restaurant was packed out.
I joined the queue and probably waited 15 minutes to be seated which in my eyes was fantastic as they really were busy.
I was taken to the second floor of the restaurant and seated opposite 4 large circular tables that all had large families on.
My mouth started watering straight away. It was a little like the tables in Hogwarts, food covered every inch of the surface and the smell was amazing. One family opposite appeared to have a MASSIVE bowl of noodles to share which contained all sorts of goodies, including crab claws and king prawns.

I decided to go for something with a kick to start with. I went for Hot and Sour soup. It certainly was hot, I remember ordering a beer and thinking "I could really do with a warming cup of tea" and then downing the bottle of beer because I was sweating from the soup. A mix of vegetables, chicken, prawns and tofu swam in a broth so deliciously hot. I recommend you to try it if you go, just bare in mind it is hot!

Next on the menu was Chicken and Cashew nuts with a side of egg fried rice. Simple and so good! The chicken was tender and juicy, the cashews had a soft exterior with a bit of a bite and it was scrummy.
I had 2 courses and 2 bottles of beer and it came to under £20 which I was very impressed with. The staff were lovely and the atmosphere was great. It's lovely to see families enjoying food together.

My one recommendation for this restaurant would be this... If you are planning on visiting, go as a group! Although I felt very welcome and enjoyed every minute of it, the set menu's look and smell amazing. I was a bit jealous of everyone around me.

Give it a go next time you are in London! you won't regret it!

Crab and sweetcorn soup..

...its been one of those weeks again. the kind of week where all you want to do it collapse in a heap when you get home.

today is my last day of work before a weeks holiday and i decided it was time to take action and have something warm and comforting as well as tasty and delicious.
luckily Ching He Huang took the effort out of it and posted a yummy recipe which was really quick and really tasty.

you will need:

1 litre of simmering water
2 tomatos
2 fresh corn kernels (or if tired like me, a can)
1 table spoon of vegetable bouillon
250g fresh crab meat (or canned..)
2 table spoons of light soy sauce
a pinch of ground white pepper
2 eggs
toasted sesame oil
1 table spoon of cornflour + 2 table spoons of cold water

firstly bring the water to simmering point, to me this seemed like a really alien way of starting a soup but trust me its awesome!

whilst the water is heating up cut each tomato in to 6 pieces.

once the water is simmering away, add the tomato...

if you have had a long week forget the fresh kernels of corn and go for a can! crack it open and drain the liquid..

add the corn and allow it to simmer away for 3 minutes to allow everything to soften up.

in the mean time prepare the spring onion, chopping them into small rounds. this will be used as a garnish.

after 3 minutes add the vegetable bouillon and give everything a good stir...

again if feeling lazy crack open the cans of crab meat and give them a quick fork, i found that the meat was very compact in the can so it needed to be broken up slightly...

add the crab to the soup and give it a good stir, from this point onwards everything moves quite quickly as the crab is already cooked so its just a case of heating through...

add the white pepper and light soy sauce and stir once again..

to thicken the soup you need to create a cornflour paste, mix one table spoon of cornflour with 2 tablespoons of COLD water.

whilst mixing the soup pour this mixture in, you should notice that the soup thickens almost immediately...

crack the eggs into a jug and whisk until combined...

with a fork stir the soup and gently pour in the egg mixture. you will notice that as the egg hits the soup mixture it begins to cook, forming a web like structure.

finally add the spring onions and a splash of sesame oil, grab a bowl and enjoy!

the soup takes minutes to prepare and it so delicious. once served you could even sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds if you liked.

i would recommend this to anyone feeling a little under the weather or in need of a food hug.

give it ago, you will love it!