Chinese Crispy Beef with Noodles

This recipe was requested by friend Gemma in order that she could forego the expense of the Chinese takeaway. Naturally, I wanted to provide for this wee Scottish lass, but the idea also tickled my frugal weak-spot since one of my pet hates is perpetual takeaway eating – as Gemma’s request suggests, it isn’t particularly cost effective. Oh and your waistline may well benefit too!

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Lamb is, bar none, the favourite meat of those who consider Wales to be the land of their fathers. It is the quintessential meat and taste of my ancient, proud Celtic nation, which also, as the English would have it, finds itself inhabited solely by ‘sheep-shaggers’ or, to put it more politely, ‘wool-fondlers’. However, as the landscape of New Zealand or the cuisine of Greece suggests, Wales isn’t the only country in the world in which lamb reigns supreme. It is a meat considered by many, including me, to be the perfect balance between flavour and tenderness. Indeed, if you don’t mind my saying so, there are few things which exist on God’s earth as pleasant as the feeling of the freshly braised neck of a young wool-covered ruminant on one’s tongue. Anyway, that’s enough ruminating; too much deep-thought can do catastrophic damage to one’s mind.

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Baking bread is one of those ironic acts that everyone wants to do, but very few actually go ahead with. Yet, despite the evident irony, the state of laziness in which we find ourselves is understandable; there is something magical about the smell and taste of freshly baked bread, hence the desire; yet the process itself can appear rather time consuming. Indeed, those of us who do occasionally succeed in baking a loaf of bread do so on days on which one has the luxury of being able to potter around the house. We all fall foul of such lethargy from time to time, myself included, so I shall try my utmost to instil within you an overwhelming compulsion to leaven on a regular basis. That is, assuming indolence isn’t the reason behind your lack of freshly baked bread.

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You were all right – making ice cream can be wonderfully addictive. In fact, you could say that my frozen dessert making exploits have turned me into quite the busy bee. There’s something special about the dulcet whirring of an aged ice cream machine that keeps me coming back for more. However, such an addiction causes obvious problems – ice cream contains cream, cream has the potential to give one a little unwanted flab. Clearly the answer to this is frozen yoghurt which is infinitely better for you and potentially a lot tastier. As it happens, this particular batch was utterly mouth-watering and the best thing about it is that it is an acceptable breakfast.

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As you might have heard, the weather in Britain has brightened up in rather balmy fashion. I’m sure that in the last week we have experienced our hottest weather of the year, though that isn’t saying very much at all. Such delightful weather declared unequivocally that I must make my first ever attempt at homemade ice cream. So, after procuring a relatively aged ice cream maker (one that works surprisingly well), I set about simultaneously using up our left over raspberries and cooling myself down.

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