The last three months have been crazy busy. Any attempt at routine has completely gone out of the window. A change of job, combined with serious family health concerns has really put Love the Kitchen on the back burner. Worse than normal bouts of chronic obstructive sleep apnoea have certainly not been stacked in my favour, either. Have I been cooking? totally. Have I been cooking at a time convenient to take photos in natural light? – sadly not. Here lies my problem during the winter months – if I am not met with good lighting conditions between 1200 and 1600 at weekends, little of anything presentable happens in the photography department. I am seriously considering venturing into the dark side (or quite the reverse, if being literal) of artificial lighting. It would align so much better with when I do most of my cooking. Fortunately, my other concerns in life have shown great signs of improvement – buying me what I treasure so preciously – time.
It certainly does not stop me from trying to be creative in the kitchen – I just have to rely now on my once elephantine memory to reproduce some of those more ad hoc efforts – and some I really cannot wait to try again. Thinking back of what I’ve cobbled together since my last post – there have been some totally new dishes and recipes which I will certainly make again and add to Love the Kitchen before they fade away into a distant memory. I have also found a really good source of quality organic Halal meat (essential to survive Christmas at home) and really hope to have done the ingredients justice. I need no excuse to cook these again, and this time around – take decent photographs.
So, after this significant hiatus, I guess the expectation is that my first post of 2017 would be screaming ‘wow‘, ‘sophistication‘, ‘ something which meant I had to disappear for 2 months and train in the mountains of Japan to master..‘- none at all.
My egg fried rice with cashew nuts, ginger and lime recipe (let’s call it my belated and slightly underwhelming homage to the Chinese New Year) is something I will make a variation of on an almost weekly basis.Not only it is a simple dish to prepare, but also helps to use up fresh ingredients which may otherwise become casualties of neglect and end up destined for the bin. I really try to minimise food waste wherever possible, and kick myself whenever I have left ingredients beyond their last legs (or worse still, grown legs and scampered off to wither and die in the back of my fridge – OK, a slight exaggeration).
For anyone who likes to keep vegetables and fresh herbs as long as possible, I highly recommend Sealapack’s Fresher 4 Longer bags– I have managed to keep Fresh herbs in the fridge for over two weeks and considerably past the best before date. To save time, I always cook a much larger batch of rice than I need for a specific recipe and find if stored correctly, keeps for a good few days.
The other great thing about this recipe – the leftovers heat up really easily and make a great and quick lunch on the days that I’m working from home, or very pleasant fuel before a wintry cycle ride (and guilt kicking in again – another much neglected pursuit). Contrary to my norm, this egg fried rice with cashew nuts, ginger and lime is vegetarian, but feel free to adapt. Prawns or chicken seem to go really well, and I am certainly game for giving squid a go. What does help to pack a punch in terms of flavour is a the addition of a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice. It really works.
- 2-3 x large free-range eggs
- 0.5 x tsp sesame oil
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil (or quality vegetable oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 x thumb sized piece of stem ginger, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 x red chill, finely sliced deseeded if you require less heat)
- 1 x large red onion, finely diced
- 1 a large carrot, peeled and diced
- I red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large handful raw cashew nuts
- 1 x cup frozen garden peas, defrosted
- 2 x 3 cups cooked brown basmati rice
- 2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3-4 medium spring onions, cleaned and finely sliced
- juice of one lime
- handful of coriander leaves, chopped
- freshly milled sea salt and black pepper
- extra lime wedges to serve
- First, crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk. Add the sesame oil (only ½ teaspoon), season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and lightly beat again. Set aside.
- Next, great and finely slice or grate the garlic, chilli, and ginger. tip this into a small ramekin.
- Then, finely dice the carrots and red bell pepper.To do this, julienne the vegetables into thin strips then line then up and dice against the grain.
- Heat up a large nonstick wok to medium high then, as it starts to gently smoke, add 1 x tbsp of the oil. Swirl the oil around the base so that it is evenly covered, then pour in the egg mixture. Swirl the egg around the base of the wok, and ensure that it is as even and thin as possible. Leave for a minute or so then flip, the omelette over using a non-stick nylon turner and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Next, add the remaining oil to the wok followed by the ginger, garlic, and chilli and stir so that the oil infuses these great flavours. Then add the diced red onion and stir fry for another minute.
- Tip in the diced carrots, red pepper, then cashew nuts and stir fry for 2 more minutes.
- Then, add the rice steadily, mixing through the other ingredients as you do this until all the rice is in the wok.
- Now, turn down the heat by a notch or two, then compress the rice between the turner and the base of the wok, then fry for a minute. Turn the rice over, then repeat. the idea here is to slightly firm up the rice.
- Next stir in the garden peas, stirring continuously. drizzle the light soy sauce over the rice, and mix thoroughly. Leave for a minute, then carefully cut the egg omelette into cubes, and stir into the wok.
- Mix thoroughly, then add the sliced spring onion and stir-fry again.Add coriander leaves, the lime juice, stir again then serve with additional lime wedges.