Two music graduates chronicle the culinary delights of Leeds and London and explore the height of fine dining on a limited budget.

Good food is well punk.

April 29, 2011

If ginger be the food of music, make a stir fry!

In the last few months, I've started singing really seriously again. I'm taking my Grade 8 and everything. Yeah. This means, in foodie terms, that I have an awful lot of raw ginger lying around. Raw cubes of ginger and a couple of lemon slices in hot (not boiling) water is wonder nourishment for a poor, ailing throat and I get through the stuff in buckets.

When I came in from work last night, what luck that in my fridge I didst find a pork chop! A good ol' slice o' pig to help eat up some of the masses of ginger. Luckily, I also had lots of crunchy veg; what follows is a fab stir fry that takes all of half an hour to prepare and make when you come in knackered after work.

A couple of points. THIS mofo greatly helped me with flavours and that:

but of course, a decent vegetable or corn oil with more ginger and some raw chilli would do exactly the same job. Ooh, I feel like Delia recommending a product. I must admit, I served this with spaghetti as I couldn't be bothered to walk all of 10 yards to the shop and buy noodles (and raw chilli for the oil!), but I didn't cook loads and didn't find it was overly carby for quite a heavy accompaniment to a stir fry. Also, I used pre-bought sweet chilli sauce instead of making my own, but, like I said, convenience yeah.

For one Hungry Maz portion:

1 large park chop, cut into bitesize chunks
1 orange pepper, diced (half for stir-fry, half for snacking?)
15-20g/large piece of raw ginger, finely cubed
50g baby sweetcorn, diced
50g sugar snap peas, diced
20g baby button mushrooms, halved
Stir fry oil
Sweet chilli sauce
Cracked black pepper

Work quickly. Have the pork and all the veg chopped and ready to go beforehand. Make sure your wok or, uh, malleable pan, is nicely warmed and then put a good glug of the stir fry oil in. You know the oil's hot enough when it's spitting and there are bubbles rising to the top. Test with a bit of pepper if unsure. When the oil's nicely fizzing, tip the ginger and all the veg in (including mushrooms, the water'll evaporate off pretty sharpish). Keep stirring, cook for two minutes. Throw the pork in, cook for a further five minutes until the pork is only just done. Take off the heat and add a generous squirt of sweet chilli sauce. You want everything just coated, with no excess sauce. No salt needed (think of the sauce!) but crack a lot of black pepper over the top. Serve immediately, feel satisfied.

The other advantage, of course, is that it leaves your throat so happy and raring to go that you can operatically sing into the night and make your neighbours want to leave the area. Mwahahaaaa. Happy nomming.

March 04, 2011

Butter Fetish: Lactic Pasta Spectacular

Suffering from a heavy dose of manflu today and faced with lunch alone, I decided to whip up some comfort food. It's a pretty simple recipe, but I now feel good enough to blog about it and may even leave the house.

Serves 1 hungry, ill person

150g spaghetti or similar
40g butter, or as much as you feel your cholesterol can take
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dried rosemary
1tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried parsley 
Salt & pepper

Put a saucepan on for the pasta in the usual manner, remembering to salt the water (no need for oil - contrary to popular belief it doesn't do anything). Mince the garlic and dice the onion as small as possible, and ever-so-gently melt the butter in the smallest saucepan possible. When the butter is melted, but before it begins to clarify, toss in the onion, garlic and herbs and keep stirring. You don't want anything to turn brown. Cook the pasta until just cooked. Halfway through, take out a bit of the cooking water with a mug or something and add it to the buttery onion mix. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving the cooking liquid. This is very important! Not only does that starchy water help the buttery goodness spread throughout the pasta, it makes deliciously warming broth for after. Honestly, it's not as disgusting as it sounds.


Anyway, add more of the starchy pasta-water to the onion mix if it needs it, and toss in the pasta when the onion's softened. Stir through, using a bit more starchwater if necessary and garnish with pepper, parmesan and more butter if you feel like you can take it. Eat quickly to nourish both body and soul.

It's a far cry from my normal style of cooking a pasta sauce, but there's something about it that just feels so good on a miserable sicky day. Try it! Just don't complain if it gives you a heart attack.