cookery chat with david & sandra biddle
11: chinese beef with red and green peppers
We did live on our previous boat full time for around a year and during this time we ‘loaned’ our house to our daughter and her husband. Even though we had been boating for 25 odd years and this had always been a dream of ours – we realised that it wasn’t fulfilling all of our needs. We missed our friends, family and the luxuries of our cars and the space of the house and indeed the community (and pubs!) of our town. When we decided to return back to house living our daughter (our only child) decided she liked our house so she didn’t want to leave it!!. After a little negotiation and indeed coming to terms that with just the two of us we no longer needed a big house with all those bedrooms, office and bathrooms etc., it was decided we would look for a smaller detached house in the same town. We are now settled in maybe our last home.
So you may be asking, what this has got to do with boating and cooking! Nothing really, we just wanted you to know just a few facts – Our water bill is £42, Electricity and gas £125 and rates around £300 per month and that isn’t including insurances, maintenance and so on!! Compare this to boating and you realise why many house owners are opting for the boating life. Our concern is that boating for us, albeit probably only 4 or 5 weeks a year now, was and is still, all about the life style, the countryside, the amazing people you meet along the way as you travel and of course the social gatherings in the various pubs and bars – it was never about a cost saving style of living. It makes us wonder, after reading so many negative posts on social media about the poor behaviour of some boaters, many owner boaters, whether our wonderful waterways are changing – not for the good but for the worse as this new type of boater arrives, many (in our opinion) not interested in the love of the waterways but purely as a way to live cheaply, we can only hope they learn fast that kindness and the eagerness of helping one another is what it’s all about – like the old saying goes – on a boat you are never alone. Fingers crossed we can keep hold of our chosen way of life.
Now, back to cooking!! Outdoor cooking is now over as winter comes our way. It’s all about keeping warm and cosy and sitting in front of the fire with a nice glass of something in your hand and a full stomach of hearty food. Funny, during winter we drink less wine – and replace it with spirits, usually whisky. Believe it or not, like our Gin, we find Aldi meets our requirements in this regard – no snobbery from us! Although I do like a single malt every now and then. One thing we did miss food wise when we lived on our boat was the ease of having a delivery of take-away Chinese or Indian food. That’s why, rather than stews, casseroles and pies we thought we might share our favourite recipe for a simple Chinese meal. Something easy and very tasty for you to try.
Chinese Beef with Red and Green Peppers
- 2 Peppers – Red and Green
- 1lb of frying steak
- 2 Leeks or Onions
- 1 tsp of Chilli powder (or fresh chilli chopped finely)
- 2 tbsp dark Soy Sauce
- Salt – if needed (remember Soy sauce is salty), pepper and oil
This will serve 4, unless you are hungry.
This dish is all about speed and to ensure this, prepare the meat and vegetables ready to put in the wok or large frying pan beforehand. We find it best to thinly slice the meat and vegetables into strips – Chinese restaurants usually dice theirs – but they have big woks and plenty of heat to speed up the cooking process. Heat the oil until hot – not smoking - add the beef and stir fry for around 5 minutes. Now add the vegetables and stir fry for a further 3 minutes, add the seasoning and soy sauce and stir fry for another 3 minutes – the dish is now done, however, throwing in half a tin of chopped tomatoes and a squirt of tomato ketchup and a bit of Worcestershire Sauce can benefit this dish no end.
Fried Rice (egg fried rice)
Heat 3 tbsps of oil in a wok or frying pan, add 8oz of long grain rice and salt and stir fry for 5 minutes.
Pour in 1 pint of boiling chicken stock (water with chicken stock cubes), cover and simmer for 20 – 25 mins.
A whole range of things can be added to this rice once cooked – garlic slices, onion finely chopped, frozen peas or even cooked chicken – just add and cook for a further minute or two.
For Egg fried rice – take the rice out of the wok and wipe round the Wok. Now add 1 tbsp of oil and add one or two beaten eggs and stir until half done – add the hot rice and stir well for a minute or so.
Hope you enjoy this meal. Being heat lovers we add three or four fresh chillies to the Beef dish – but be warned – you will need a few cans of beer close by. See you next time.