Monday, September 05, 2005

Weekend copycatting: Chinese chicken stir-fry, Roasted peaches with basil, Tuna & chickpea salad

No, I'm not writing about Weekend Cat Blogging, hosted by Clare at Eat Stuff, where foodbloggers show off their adorable cuties. I managed to do quite a lot of cooking this weekend, including 2 dishes I've spotted at various foodblogs. I feel much better for it - both for cooking something nice and for finally managing to cook something other foodbloggers have suggested. There are so many tempting recipes around, and I'm keen to try them all, but there's just not enough time and energy always available.

I hosted a small casual dinner on Friday night, attended by two Edinburgh based Estonian friends and two visiting Estonian friends. We skipped the starters bit and headed straight for the chicken&greens stir-fry that I also cooked for my family in June, then with an addition of garlic scapes.

The recipe comes from February 2001 issue of BBC Good Food magazine, where it is called Chinese chicken stir fry. I guess all 5 of us thought it was a Chinese dinner enough (cooked in a wok, seasoned with soy sauce and eaten with chopsticks:) but again, am not sure whether anyone more familiar with the versatile Chinese cooking would agree, as it didn't seem to be very Chinese to me. But it's tasty and easy, very bright and colourful, and I also suspect it's reasonably light and healthy, and I have cooked it many a time since I saw the recipe few years ago.

Chinese chicken stir-fry
Serves 4 or so, depending on the amount of noodles/rice.

25 grams butter
450 grams sliced chicken fillets
3 tbsp dark soy sauce (I used Kikkoman's)
350 grams broccoli, cut into small florets
200 grams green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
a bunch of sliced spring onions
2 tsp corn flour (Maizena/corn starch)
freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
a handful of fresh basil

Heat a large wok, melt the butter.
Add chicken fillet strips and a dash of soy sauce. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken starts to brown.
Add broccoli florets, green beans and about half of spring onions (the whiter parts). Fry for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Mix corn flour, orange juice and rest of the soy sauce. Add to the wok and heat for another 1 minute, until the sauce thickens a little.
Add the rest of the spring onions and basil.

I served it with some egg noodles tossed with a dash of sesame oil.

Peaches Roasted With Brown Sugar and Basil
(Basiilikuvõiga küpsetatud virsikud)

There have been lots of lovely recipes using peaches recently (check out the fabulous creations at Kuidaore and another lovely peach dish on The Flying Apple blog). I then came across a very tempting and oh-so-simple peach recipe at Gluten-free Girl (originally from NY Times (25.8.2005)) and decided to go for it. This is my first copycat dish of the weekend.

A dessert simply cannot be any simpler - you halve the peaches and remove the stones, fit the peach halves snugly into a baking dish. You fill the peaches with some fresh chopped basil (I'm happily using the crops of my herb 'garden'), some brown sugar, a tiny piece of butter and sprinkle the whole lot with cinnamon:

I was even so lazy as to skip the bit where you're supposed to mix sugar, mint and butter into a paste - it worked perfectly well without that preparatory step as well.

Then you bake the whole lot in a pre-heated 225˚C oven for about 15 minutes, until the peaches have softened, the butter has melted and sugar caramelised.

I served it with my favourite ice-cream - the sticky toffee one from a Scottish organic dairy Cream O'Galloway.

Pertelote's tuna and chickpea salad

On Saturday morning I had another nice and hearty fry-up at Native State (well, I must introduce my visitors to the local food culture!), and thus skipped the lunch. I later attended a lovely BBQ at my friend Helen's place (another local Estonian), where I brought along Pertelote's fantastic tuna and chickpea salad. I should probably say that I made this salad again (photo above) - and this my second copycat dish of the weekend (and a recurrent one).

These lovely dishes and plenty of entertainment made me happy and kept me busy and retained me from missing people who are not around at the moment too much. As for the weekend entertainment - you can't go wrong with some salsa dancing, BBQ, shopping and a highly entertaining La Clique show. PS Aussie bloggers - I thoroughly recommend the latter show, coming to Melbourne in October!


Clare Eats said...

oh that was so sweet of you to mention me :)

I just read all the posts on this main page and loved them all! I don't know how I managed to miss you posting them but it was lovely to read them all!

I am trying to find cucumbers like that so I can get my mum to grow them so I can have a go at pickling them! But I wont be able to get blackcurrant leaves :(

there is atleast one more garlicy plant you should be come acustomed too, garlic chives! Live chives but thicker and they taste garlicy! (chinese)

angelika said...

i Pille, thank you for mentioning my blog - I am flattered ! ;-))
But your recipe sounds scrumptious as well ! And as I have noticed you have found some nice peaches...
Thank you for sharing, especially for allowing us to visit your home country....have a good start into the new week, kind regards, angelika

Shauna said...

Thank you for mentioning my blog as well. Aren't those roasted peaches gorgeous? I've made them three more times since I originally posted, and three other friends have made them too. And every time, they're great. You're right--you don't even have to mix the butter.

This is a lovely site you have here. I'm coming back!

Paz said...

Hi Pille,

Your chicken stir fry looks good. I LOVE brocolli. I've got to buy a wok! I'd really love to try this recipe. In the past, I've only ordered chicken and brocolli from the restaurant. ;-)

Your peaches look good! Earlier this weekend, I bought the ingredients to make the peach recipe from The flying Apple's blog, but I was too tired t omake the dish on Sunday when I returned home from celebrating Brazil Day. Maybe Monday.

From your earlier post, I remember Pertelote's tuna and chickenpea salad! It's on my list of recipes to try.

What a fun food-filled weekend you've had!


J said...

hi pille, what a feast! hope your friends realise what a very very lucky bunch they are...stuffed peaches sound gorgeous...and with your very own home-grown herbs too!

Pille said...

Hi Clare - I posted an article a day for a few days - it was easy to miss them all if you didn't pop by for a few days:) I went looking for cucumbers for pickling in a local and very well-stocked veggie store, but all they had were "normal" baby cucumbers - no good, as you wouldn't get any of the crunchiness that's so good. Oh well, I guess I must keep looking..
Thanks for the tip about garlic chives - have heard about them before, will now try to taste them, too!

Angelika - I had to mention your blog, as you and J@Kuidaore made me hungry for peaches in the first place!

Shauna - these peaches are gorgeous indeed. A friend is coming for dinner tomorrow night and I'm tossing between making these again or maybe trying more traditional apples. Mmm, hard choice..
I'm glad you like the site - am very much looking forward to seeing you again here:)

Hi J - well, my friends aren't complaining, for sure. But again, your hubby must be the luckiest man alive. Such a constant stream of amazing dishes (and three mini desserts for lunch!!!)

Paz - thanks! You must try Pertelote's salad - it's delicious! If you haven't cooked a stir fry before, then this would be a tasty and easy recipe to start with - let me know what you thought of it.
I'm also keen to try The Flying Apple's peach dish soon - it looks lovely, doesn't it?
And i did enjoy my weekend indeed:)

Clare Eats said...

A hint ;)
Pork mince and garlic chives in dumplings is very good!

Pille said...

Hi Clare - after posting about dumplings/pelmeenid, I feel I must try making them myself soon as well. And I guess one of the fillings should be pork mince&garlic chives then:))
Thanks for the hint!

registry said...

Looks delicious!