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        When I was growing up in the kitchen drawer there was a knife known as "The knife"! It had been a carbon steel dinner kni...


Summer time

    Summer is coming fast and I’ll be back teaching eight year olds plus to cook every afternoon for the summer. I enjoy the challenge and I hope the young people have a good time too. We’ll do lots of different recipes over the five days and if each person takes away one recipe that they try again I’ll be very happy.
   Working every afternoon leaves little time for preparing an evening meal so quick one pot or frying pan meals, served with a salad are great.
I did a stir-fry demonstration for a wok promotion recently and two people asked to take me home with them! I was very flattered.
    I did some very simple stir-fries. Vegetables and Noodles, Egg Fried Rice and a version of Sweet & Sour Chicken. I also used the wok to pop popcorn and seasoned it with soy sauce, an old family favourite.
    Here are two recipes I’ll be feeding the family with over the summer. I may even teach my children to make them. Bring on the Summer! And I’ve added the popcorn recipe too.

Open Spinach and Tomato Omelette

250g fresh spinach
1 clove of garlic
1 small onion
30g butter
200g feta cheese
6 eggs or 4 duck eggs
salt and pepper
2tbs oil
2-3 tomatoes
2tbs grated parmesan

Wash the spinach and dry it well.
Peel and chop the garlic and onion. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the garlic and onion until soft, but not coloured. Add the spinach and stir well. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low.

   Cook for about 4 minutes and stir again. When the spinach has wilted increase the heat to boil off the excess moisture.
Turn the cooked spinach into a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

   Crumble the feta cheese into the spinach and crack the eggs into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and stir gently to break up the eggs and mix the spinach and feta through them.

   Heat the frying pan and add the two spoons of oil to it, pour in the spinach, cheese and egg mix and leave to brown on a medium heat.
   Pre-heat the grill to medium high and slice the tomatoes thinly. When the omelette is golden underneath and is almost set on top, cover the top with tomatoes, season and sprinkle over the grated Parmesan.
Place under the grill and grill until golden and the tomatoes soften.
Serves 4

Vegetable and Noodle Stir-fry        

125g egg noodles
1 large onion sliced
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 small piece of ginger peeled & cut in thin strips
1 chilli sliced
200g cashew nuts
1 red pepper cut in narrow strips
1 pac choy sliced long ways
8 button mushrooms sliced
125g baby sweet corn sliced
2tbs sunflower oil
2tbs soy sauce
50ml water
3 scallions sliced
2tbs chopped coriander

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet and drain well.
Heat the oil in a wok over a medium to high heat. When the oil shimmers add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the onion softens. Push them to one side.
Add the cashew nuts to the empty side of the wok and let them toast for a minute or two.

     Then add the sliced pepper, pac choy, mushrooms and baby sweet corn. Mix everything well together and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and water.

    Cover the wok with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Leave to cook for about 3 more minutes. The broccoli and baby sweet corn should be just tender.

    Add the drained noodles to the wok and mix everything well together and cover again.
Finely slice the scallions and coriander.
Take the lid off the wok taste and season with pepper and more soy sauce if necessary and pepper. Sprinkle on coriander and scallions and serve.
Serves 4 as a side dish.


      Popcorn is also excellent made in a wok just put 1 tablespoon of oil into the heated wok and add 1-2 tablespoons of popping corn and put the lid on, shake occasionally over the heat until the popping stops. Season the popcorn with light soy sauce for a different flavour.
     Toss half teaspoon of chilli flakes or some smoked paprika through the popcorn to add a grownup flavour.

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