Friday, 19 March 2010

Have an eggroll, Mr Goldstone

Have a napkin, have a chopstick, have a chair...

I have a lot of love for Patti LuPone, and the very exciting time I saw Gypsy with my friend Lauren in New York. This is a slightly tenuous link to what I actually cooked, but I completely failed at finding any lyrics that included noodles. I contemplated going down the campfire route and quoting "On top of spaghetti" but these were rice noodles and I'm nothing if not a stickler for the details. Plus this way I get to talk about Patti LuPone and the amazingness of Gypsy. In case you missed the revival, here's the performance from the 2008 Tony's (I know it's the wrong song... but still GreaT! PlaTe! *faints*).

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there, forgetting that I had actually cooked something for this post, but first I must apologise for the photo quality. The light in my kitchen is rubbish, but I normally manage to get a passable shot. I have no idea what went wrong this time, it's out of focus and the colours are a bit peculiar. I can only grovel. I swear if my local Adult Ed college does a photography course that doesn't clash with my Guiding activities I will be there, plate of cakes and digital camera in hand.

As you probably know I'm quite a hardcore Nigella fan (the woman, not the flowers) but mainly stick to her baking recipes which I must say I largely find faultless. This month's challenge was to try her Seared Salmon with Singapore noodles (from Nigella Express). The rules for our challenge are that if you don't like something about the recipe you can make substitutions but you should stick to the main idea as much as possible. For me this was the first month I needed to make a substitution, but I loathe Singapore noodles because of the curry flavour in the stir fried noodles. I love noodles, pad thai is one of my all time favourite dishes, and although Singapore noodles has a different flavour, the idea of it is one that I like in theory, just not in execution.

Seared Salmon with Singapore Noodles - serves 4

Nigella says: I know the list of ingredients is long but a lot of this is stuff that will help you generally if it's part of your storecupboard stash. If you don't want to go in for specialist shopping at all, replace the tiny dried shrimp with about 100g of frozen prawns (thaw them first). Sherry could be used instead of the Chinese cooking wine, though I should tell you I get this very easily from my local supermarket.

2 teaspoons medium madras curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 salmon fillets approx 200g each
Tablespoon of garlic oil.

Mix the curry powder, salt and sugar in a wide shallow dish and dredge the salmon in this. Turn all the pieces over in the rub.

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan and cook the salmon fillets on a high heat for about 2-3 minutes a side, searing the sides as well if the fillets are very thick.

250g Vermicelli rice noodles
50g dried shrimp (or 100g prawns)
125ml chinese cooking wine (or sherry)
Tablespoon garlic oil
100g finely sliced chinese leaf
125g baby corn cut into rounds
2 spring onions finely sliced
2 teaspoons medium madras curry powder
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
250ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
150g beansprouts
handful of fresh chopped coriander

Put the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 4 minutes and then drain.

Soak the dried shrimp in the wine.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the chinese leaf, baby corn and spring onions for a few minutes.

Add the curry powder and ginger to the wok, and add the stock and soy sauce. Pour in the shrimps and their wine and the drained noodles. Toss everything together.

Finally, stir in the beansprouts and give everything one final toss before turning out into a bowl and sprinking with coriander.

OK, so as always, these are the changes I made, and my random ramblings about it.

Firstly, it's a lovely easy recipe - if for some reason you've stumbled across my blog and found this page - try this. Like her banana bread, it's lovely and easy.
I probably doubled the veg she suggested you put in. I just think on something like this the more veg the better, it's healthier, it's economical (as you can use up everything in your veg tray)and it goes further. All bonus points in my book.
I substitued the chinese leaf for savoy cabbage. Sainsos wanted £1.79 for a tiny amount of pak choi, but only 69p for a whole savoy cabbage. I love dark green cabbage so it was a winner for me. I used about half in the noodles.
North London is a veritable wasteland where dried shrimp is concerned - I trawled the supermarkets and grocers in a desperate attempt to find it - all the while knowing that I could probably schlep to Whole Foods and get them (albeit exorbitantly priced) so decided to do without.
As I said, I don't like the curry flavour in Singapore noodles so omitted the curry powder (although I do still have the leftover curry powder from the Malay Korma which is still begging to be used up)
Oh, I forgot the coriander. Again.
This was a lovely dish, I would definitely cook it again, but I might try it with the curry powder just to see. I was so sure that I wouldn't like it that now I'd quite like to try it as I felt the dish needed more oomph.

This bowl food, has a lovely soothing effect. The fact that you cook the noodles in stock gave some fantastic extra flavour - I used homemade chicken stock which I think made a real difference as you get the flavour without the saltiness of stock cubes. Have I done a post about how I make stock? I'll check and if not, next time I do a roast will do a post on making stock.

Things here are still quiet, reserved and a bit down, although I did a better job at being a bit more like my usual perky self today (a large quantitiy of skittles helped here). I'm making the Easter chocolate truffles with the Guides on Tuesday, so will do a picture post of the glittery goodness we come up with. Other than that I was going to have a freezer week so there's unlikely to be anything thrilling to blog, although I might make some scones tomorrow morning to take over to my sister's for a bridesmaid dress fitting. If I manage to get up and get organised to do that you can expect another post soonish.

There is a part b to this challenge which was a sweet dish from Nigella Express, Caramel Croissant pudding. As I'm a bit lacking in the appetite department at the moment I feel no real urge to make this, but I might give it a shot!


Claire said...

That looks very tasty :)

Please post about chicken stock too, I haven't made it from scratch as I am scared of using whole chickens/carcass etc. so a post on how you magically make a chicken last a week would be good!


Pen said...

I will try and do chicken stock this month - and my many ways with 1 chicken post as well! Need to finish the ham first though!



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