Budget

10 Minute Lunches: Sriracha Egg Fried Rice

Sriracha Egg Fried Rice

I’m having a Sriracha moment. Or maybe it’s a Sriracha life. I put the stuff on anything and everything, and it’s bloody delicious. I had some rice left over from cooking Cashew Chicken the other night, and what with a hot dinner being far superior to a lowly sandwich or salad, I took it upon myself to spice it up. 

Sriracha Egg Fried Rice

I’m often in a rush at lunch time. If I’m lucky, the twins will be napping, but more often than not I’m trying to grab a few minutes between feeds and nappy changes, all while keeping a keen eye on the bouncer and the Jumperoo. Ten minutes is often all I have, so I try to be resourceful. This recipe can use any leftover rice you have, along with any stray vegetables sitting woefully in the crisper drawer. Today, I had half an onion, a few wrinkly chillies, a can of sweetcorn and a couple of limp spring onions. You can throw anything in there – some grated carrot, a bell pepper or a handful of mushrooms if you have them lying around. 

Sriracha Egg Fried Rice

It takes no time at all, it’s crunchy, spicy, sweet and satisfying, and it only uses a wok – or if you haven’t got one, a large frying pan will do it.

Sriracha Egg Fried Rice
A quick and delicious lunch dish, perfect for those in search of something spicy and warming to fuel their afternoon.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of leftover rice
  2. ½ an onion
  3. 1 small can of sweetcorn
  4. 2 red chillies
  5. 2 spring onions
  6. Sprinkling of parsley
  7. 2 eggs
  8. Sriracha
  9. Light soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Chop your veg. I recommend slicing your half an onion into nice, thick wedges - the heat of the wok means it chars around the edges and cooks super quickly while still keeping a bit of its bite.
  2. Heat your wok until it smokes, then add about 3 tbsp of a flavourless oil - I used veg. Once the oil is hot, throw in your onion.
  3. Leave the onion to char, only moving it after a few minutes have passed. Once it starts to brown and soften, add the chopped chilli and sweetcorn and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Dump in the cold rice and stir. Leave it to cook on full heat without moving it around in the pan - that way you'll get brown, crispy bits as well as soft, plump grains.
  5. After another 2 minutes, add around 3 tbsp of soy sauce and the same again of Sriracha. Mix in well and try it, add more to taste.
  6. Beat the eggs. Tilt the wok towards you and clear a space to pour your eggs. Once you add them, the edges should start to solidify quickly. Leave for 30 seconds to make sure the bottom is cooked, then gently fold it in on itself, as if you were scrambling eggs.
  7. Once the outsides are cooked through, break up the egg. Level your wok again and fold the egg through the rice mixture. Stand the wok on the heat and stir for another 1-2 minutes to combine.
  8. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley (or coriander if you prefer) and sliced spring onions.
  9. Add to bowls and zigzag with more Sriracha. Serve and enjoy.
whip until fluffy http://whipuntilfluffy.com/
It’s really important to use cooked and cooled rice for this – for some reason it just doesn’t work if you cook the rice fresh (and that kinda defeats the point, anyhow). If you have it in the fridge you could shred and add cooked chicken, sliced sausage or even strips of beef to this if you wanted. Plump little pink shrimps would work too, or squid rings if you’re fancy. I prefer the ease of this veggie version and I love that it basically clears my kitchen out any sorry looking leftovers.

Sriracha Egg Fried Rice

I’ll be back with more of these 10 minute lunches in the future, partly cuz I’ve bet myself I can go a whole month without resorting to a sad sandwich. Standing at the stove with the sunlight flooding in through the side window, it feels like there’s no better way than this to prep for the afternoon ahead. What do you eat for lunch?

Stocking a Store Cupboard [+ Free Download]

Store-Cupboard-Essentials

Today is a day for making lists. For standing in front of your freezer and taking inventory. For opening the fridge door to observe your leftovers. It’s a day for browsing cook books – for inspiration not instruction – for thinking forwards and getting your affairs in order. Because tomorrow everything starts again, and it’ll be a good few days before you get the chance to step back and take stock again. 

I seem to have made somewhat of a transformation over the past few months. I think I’ve finally become one of those things I thought I’d never be: an adult. Weekends have become a time for being at home, for catching up with each other and the house. My Sundays so far this year have been restorative, an exercise in boosting morale and getting excited about being organised, as sad as that may be. Yesterday we cleared out our box room. I now have a dedicated space for my food props and styling stuff, and the idea is to slowly turn it into a Utility Room/Pantry – a plan I couldn’t be more pleased with. This plan will free up space, find a place for those things that float around the house without a designated home, and it gives me somewhere with shelves and boxes, to be calm and quiet.

These days, I find planning a treat. As I mentioned in 5 Steps to a Happier Kitchen Life, I’ve stocked my cupboards and I have everything I need to make the basis of delicious meals all week – without having to spend loads of cash on a weekly shop. Honestly, a well-stocked store cupboard can really sort you out. The cost of every single meal you prepare at home will start to go down, and paired with a fit-to-bust freezer, soon all you’ll need is a few fresh ingredients to serve up a banquet. It encourages you to cook seasonally and allows those one or two fresh ingredients you have to really shine. A well-stocked store cupboard saves money and it gives you free reign to get creative.

Give it a quick Google and you’ll find there are hundreds of “Store Cupboard Essentials” lists on the internet. Everyone from Jamie Oliver to Mumsnet has their recommendations, and honestly, I think it’s a very personal thing. Each household uses ingredients differently, so I don’t see how one list can fit all. As you cook, you’ll start to gain an idea of what your own personal taste is. If you cook a lot of North African dishes, you’ll need more couscous and sumac, if Asian’s your thing you’ll need to stock up on egg noodles, Szechuan peppercorns and anise. You’ll fashion your own list for must-haves, and that’s what we’re aiming for. For now, this is just a starting point to help you on your way. 

Whip Until Fluffy Store Cupboard List
(click image to download pdf version)

A few notes:

– Spices and Herbs Dried Bay is the only green herb you’ll find in my cupboard. I keep small plants on the kitchen windowsill which provide me with coriander, parsley and basil, and I have rosemary in the garden too. I know that isn’t possible for everyone, so while supermarket packets aren’t the most cost-effective or sustainable things in the world, a pack each of rosemary and thyme will serve you well and their woody nature means they have a longer shelf life than most. Freeze your leftovers.

– Olive Oil Buy the most expensive olive oil you can, but use it sparingly. I use vegetable oil or butter for most of my cooking, reserving olive for pasta dishes, salad dressings and roasting vegetables. It should taste so good that it feels like a treat, and it should really make the difference to your dishes.

– Rice Vinegar A lot of lists will have white wine vinegar in place of rice vinegar. Ideally we’d all have both, but if you have to choose, I think rice vinegar is a more versatile investment. Great in Asian dishes, for dipping sauces and pickling liquor, it does the job of white wine vinegar and much more besides. The same can’t be said in reverse. 

– Beans This is just down to taste. Tinned beans can be anything from Borlotti to Chickpeas, and you’ll work out your own favourites. In my household we use a lot of Cannellini and Black Eyed Beans. They go a long way and they’re extremely cheap.

– Anchovies, Capers & Redcurrant Jelly These last items on my list are great for packing in flavour and are worth a look even if they don’t seem necessary. They seem costly upfront but they last for ages. Lots of people think they hate anchovies, but chopped and added to dressings and sauces, they add a layer of umami that’s hard to find elsewhere, plus they’ll make a whole meal simply by lying them on top of garlic-rubbed toast. This works similarly for capers in salads and pasta sauces. Redcurrant jelly is perfect to stir into gravy or to glaze meat with.

Further reading on this subject:

For a general philosophy of eating what you have, and making use of seasonal ingredients – try Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. For example, on this day in his book he ate pork chops with chard, topped with a herb butter he made from fridge-dwelling odds and ends. Well worth a look, and if you’re anything like me – a game-changer.

A few years ago I was given Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace. I’m currently rereading chapters like “How to Boil Water” and “How to Have Balance” with added interest. You’ll look at your kitchen, ingredients and equipment differently after reading this.

I hope this list helps. These ingredients have come to be the ones I live by and rely on, and they haven’t let me down yet. Here’s to a tastier 2015! Any thoughts or questions? Leave them down in the comments or catch me over on Twitter @WhipUntilFluffy.

 

Goats Cheese, Chorizo & Chilli Scones

GoatsCheeseChorizo&ChilliScones4

One of the only things my mother has ever truly mastered in the kitchen, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me saying so, is the humble scone. I didn’t exactly grow up in a home-baked household – my mum didn’t teach me the culinary basics and she certainly isn’t the kind I’d call to request fondly-remembered childhood recipes, years later. She has a go, bless her, with varying results, and I can’t fault her for that. Scones though, that’s different. Years of practice have lead to success, and somehow I don’t think anyone’s can beat hers. 

We hail from Bristol, all of us, the Neales (though my sisters and I have all given up the name, the characteristics are forever embedded). But since we all left home, my parents have moved even further into depths of the West Country, and now live in the quaint little seaside town of Sidmouth, Devon. As you can probably imagine, scones (plus the obligatory clotted cream) are a very important part of their lives. 

As a child with diabetes, baking with mum never consisted of fairy cakes and Rice Krispies folded into melted marshmallows, but being the great mum that she is, she was determined that we’d still give kitchen creation a go. After a short dalliance with peanut butter cookies packed with a teeth-squeaking amount of Canderel,  we almost always defaulted to scones. We thankfully stuck to caster and simply halved the sugar content, and we packed in raisins to make up the shortfall. I always ate the scones hot, straight from the wire rack, twisting and pulling the two halves from each other with my fingers and dabbing on too-cold butter before it was ready. The texture was, and still is, something that dreams are made of: soft, buttery and comforting – the three characteristics that describe most of my favourite things in life.

GoatsCheeseChorizo&ChilliScones2
GoatsCheeseChorizo&ChilliScones3

Because of all that, scones are a fairly regular occurrence in my own kitchen. As always, I favour savoury over sweet, so more often than not I’m packing in leftover cheese and morsels of salty, fried pork, cut through with a bit of garlic or a wilting spring onion or two. Whatever’s in the fridge, basically. And that’s how we got here, today: a dreary Sunday filled with fluffy socks, the Observer Food Monthly and linen laundry. January budgets and an enthusiasm to just be better has lead me to another of those fridge-raiding meals that’s somehow managed to become something quite delightful. Nigel would be proud. See also: Beetroot & Carrot Gyoza from a few weeks ago.

Mostly, I eat scones on their own, but they also work amazingly well on top of stews and chillis, as an inventive alternative to rice, bread or potatoes – indulgent and packed with flavour. 

GoatsCheeseChorizo&ChilliScones6

Previous experiences with scones… the first bacon and stilton, I think, followed by gorgonzola and spring onion atop a beef and ale stew

And in the spirit of frugality, these babies freeze like a dream. Portioned and unbaked, they’ll last in the freezer for up to three months. Just defrost them thoroughly before putting them in the oven. If anything, a bit of time in the freezer improves their texture. For us, there was no need for freezing this time, Matt and I devoured two for a low-key Sunday lunch, spread with soft, salty butter and garnished with a scoop of last night’s fiery coleslaw. Two more are currently sitting in a tin for tomorrow. Take that, January. 

GoatsCheeseChorizo&ChilliScones5

Goats Cheese, Chorizo & Chilli Scones
Serves 4
Soft, buttery and comforting - a quick, cheap and easy alternative for lunch
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Ingredients
  1. 315g Plain Flour
  2. 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  3. ¼ Bicarbonate of Soda
  4. 1 tbsp Sugar
  5. 115g Salted Butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  6. 120ml Natural Yogurt
  7. 1 tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
  8. 100g Goats Cheese
  9. 100g Chorizo, chopped
  10. 1 Onion, diced
  11. 2 Birdseye Chillis, chopped and deseeded
  12. Pinch of Black Pepper
  13. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 220ºC.
  2. Combine your flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar. I used golden caster sugar because it was all I had, but you could use normal caster or granulated without a problem.
  3. Make sure your butter is very cold, in fact, freeze it if possible. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix until the butter is in roughly pea-sized lumps. If you're using a mixer or processor this'll be easy enough, but if using your hands just rub the butter into the flour, trying to handle it as little as possible - you don't want it to melt!
  4. Add the yogurt and mustard, mix to combine, and then follow with the goats cheese, chorizo, onion, chilli and black pepper. The mix should come together to form a rough, sticky lump - this is what you want.
  5. Turn the lump out on to a lightly floured surface and shape into a smooth ball. Flatten so as to form a round cake, 4-5cm high. Divide into 4 or 8, depending on your preferred portion size.
  6. Brush the beaten egg over your scones and place on the middle shelf of the oven.
  7. After 17 minutes, remove your scones and poke them in their fattest part with a skewer or fork. If it comes out clean, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. If still raw in the middle, pop back in for two minutes at a time until the skewer comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy warm with lots of butter.
Notes
  1. Can be frozen in portions before baking. Defrost thoroughly before putting in the oven. Will last for up to three months.
  2. Eat within 48 hours of baking.
whip until fluffy http://whipuntilfluffy.com/
You can mix things up a little by switching your extras. In place of goats, use blue cheese or parmesan. Try bacon or ham, or throw in half a tin of sweetcorn or some sorry-looking herbs languishing in the fridge door. There are loads of variations to be enjoyed and the formula is simple. Get creative and enjoy. For example, these Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Skillet Scones by Joy the Baker look awesome.

Got a favourite scone recipe? Share it with me down in the comments or over on Twitter @whipuntilfluffy. Let’s talk soon!

Meal Planning: W/C 01/09/14

Meal Planning 01/09/14

This self-employment malarky is confusing. One month you’re eating like royalty, bouncing around town at all of the cool spots. What’s that? You can’t be bothered to cook? Let’s go out! Another round of drinks? I’ll get these! Tasting menu? Don’t mind if I do. Then the next month rolls in and suddenly you’re gazing at your bank balance in some sort of a daze, thinking “Where did all the money go?” Prince to Pauper in the extreme. 

Alright, so some of that is down to my poor household and financial management, but after three long years of going it alone, I still can’t manage to get into that swing of saving when I’m busy so I don’t need to scrimp when I’m not. Hence the meal planning. August has been my summer holiday month. I didn’t go anywhere exotic, but I took a week off and did a bit of hopping around the country visiting various friends and relatives. Thing is, when you pay yourself and you don’t do any work, well… there’s no payday. Still getting my head around that one.

So this week I’m trying to keep the costs down. I’ve had my jollies, checked out the new openings, but now it’s time to sit back and cozy up for Autumn. I don’t mind staying at home when the weather’s bad. I’ve got £50 this week to feed Matt and I, which may sound lavish to some, but trust me, we can spend a lot more than that. Hey – food is our hobby. I haven’t budgeted for breakfast because generally Matt doesn’t eat it and I have the same thing, of which I have plenty in stock. We’re not big on desserts, either, so you won’t see many of them. This is my plan: 

Monday: Because he works in street food, Matt’s weekends generally fall on a Monday and a Tuesday. Sometimes we go out, but this week I’ll be cooking at home so he can put his feet up. Lunch is soup and bread, which I’ll hopefully homemake on Sunday. I have everything needed for bread in the cupboards. Soup will be made from whatever leftover veg we have from the week. Tea will be a courgette risotto – it’s the end of the courgette season and you gotta get those babies while you can. This needs fresh courgettes, goats cheese and a bottle of wine – I have the rest. £10.

Tuesday: For lunch, it’s sliced minute steak from the freezer folded through couscous with harissa, roasted onions and pine nuts. Time to replenish those pine nuts, they’re seeing a lot of use lately. Tea tonight will most likely be cooked by Matt. It’ll probably be that bit of pork belly we’ve got in the freezer if I know him at all, maybe with borlotti beans (cupboard) and cider. I’ll give him a budget of £8 to spend just in case, he’s pretty good at coming up with impressive meals on limited funds. £11.

Wednesday: For lunch today, I’m taking more of the soup I made on Sunday to work. I’ll heat it up in the microwave at lunch time and eat it with bread – homemade if it’s not stale yet, but otherwise I’ll pick up a fresh roll from Co-op on my way in.  Left over risotto means one thing only – arancini. Tonight’s tea is light on the spend, heavy on the prep. I’m thinking Italian Small Plates. Arancini, deep fried courgette with mint, homemade garlic bread and aubergine parmigiana. Raspberry ripple ice cream (homemade) to finish.  I need an aubergine, a new bulb of garlic and a packet of mint. Eggs and cream for the ice cream. £6.50

Thursday: I’m styling and shooting for a client during the day, so don’t need to plan lunch. For tea? Matt’s working so it’ll be simple pasta for me, linguine from the cupboard, plus pine nuts, diced bacon and peas from the freezer, lemon and a splash of cream leftover from Wednesday’s ice cream. £2.50.

Friday: Another morning full of styling and shooting, this time I’m collaborating on a recipe for Food&. I’ll scrounge what I can from what’s left. In the afternoon I’m finishing off the copy for a client’s website and then shooting out to dinner with friends. No grocery spend today.

Saturday: Realistically, I’ll be out and about during the day on Saturday. I might meet friends for a coffee, Mrs Athas most likely, and pick up lunch while I’m there. Or maybe at Trinity Kitchen. For dinner I’m on my own again, I’m cooking honey sesame chicken with egg fried rice – I’ll make a double portion so Matt can have some when he gets in. The chicken comes out of the freezer, two thighs left over from another meal. I need to replace my honey and buy spring onions. Luckily I have sesame seeds and rice already in store, plus eggs leftover from the ice cream. Will treat myself to a bottle of slimline tonic so I can have a gin or two – it’s the weekend after all. £4.

Sunday: If it’s not a roast on a Sunday afternoon, it’s most likely a bolognese on Sunday evening. I’m alone, so I’ll have a late brunch and a few coffees at my local shop, then pootle home to get the stove fired up. Brunch will be waffles with syrup, for which I’ll use the last two eggs I bought earlier in the week. I’ll make too many waffles and freeze the rest for easy breakfasts – you can reheat them in the toaster. For the bolognese I’ll get mince out of the freezer (Matt picked up five packs for £1.49 each in the reduced section a few weeks ago), I have onions, milk, tinned chopped tomatoes and stock in already, and I can use the rest of the bacon I defrosted on Thursday night. I need to pick up a bottle of red wine, celery, a carrot, basil (our plant died) and gnocchi from the shop. £12. 

Total: £46 – wahey, £4 left over for snacks – maybe a few pieces of fruit and a packet of biscuits.

If you like these kinds of posts, take a look at Nelly’s and Tracy’s blogs. Those girls have it down. Me? Must. Try. Harder.

You can probably tell from reading this that my freezer, cupboards and spice rack are extremely well stocked. The spices and herbs have taken a long time to build up – but we tend to buy in bulk from the local Asian supermarket and keep everything in clean, sealed jam jars. When it comes to freezing, we buy the majority of our meat from the butcher but also use supermarket reduced shelves to grab things while they’re cheap. The extra cost at the time will pay you back in spades and if you have a lean month, your stress will be halved. Meat packs from your butcher or market really help too, and also encourage you to experiment with cuts you wouldn’t usually buy. Grains and dried goods can be stocked up on every few months with an online shop, but I love Millie’s for big bags of rice, couscous, pearl barley and lentils, along with large bottles of vinegar and oil. Having these things readily available makes for easy meal planning. 

Do you plan ahead for cooking in the week? Are there any tools you use to make life easier?