a quick dinner

Its been hot the last few days. Really hot for me, but apparently not as hot as its going to get. It’s not summer yet. Its been mid thirties for a week and a half and we had been putting off a little baking adventure till it gets a bit cooler. But the trouble is we keep putting it off and the backlog of eggs just gets bigger. There are limes in the garden begging to be put in something other than another (very tasty) lime and something sorbet and a over a dozen eggs in the fridge. My husband wants to try making macaroons and I love all variations on lemon tarts and citrus/custard combinations so last night we did something drastic. We had a quick dinner and baked into the night.

The extravaganza of lime will be in the next post, so for now you will have to be content with a easy peasy japanesey soup noodles. There is nothing authentic about it but its a recreation of noodles from my favourite Japanese restaurant in Brixton. It was about the only place that I could afford to eat out at on a couriers wage and did big enough portions for us. I missed it when I moved from one part of London to another so had to make noodles from what I could find on the way home from work. A big steaming bowl of soup may not seem like much of a summer meal but when all you have to do it heat up some stock and fry a little steak

the slaving in front of a hot stove time is minimal, and you can always let it cool down a little.

This is not a hard and fast recipe but for one big bowl of soup allow the following ingredients:

  • 600ml stock (I normally use chicken) enough to fill your bowl of choice plus extra for evaporation whilst boiling.
  • 1 tablespoon chilli sauce, sriracha is very good for this, amend to your desired heat level
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • half a red onion
  • half a pepper (or capsicum if you’re Australian)
  • a handful of bean spouts
  • fresh sliced red chilli and coriander to garnish
  • small piece of frying steak (I had some 150g pieces of rump steak to hand, saved form some very large steaks we had a few days previously)
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 10g fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ground nut or vegetable oil
  • 1 packet of “ready for wok” style noodles, udon are my favourite
look how hot that is, thats inside the house at 10.30PM. yuk
look how hot that is, thats inside the house at 10.30PM. yuk

In a bowl big enough to hold your piece of steak, mix together the soy sauce, garlic and ginger. This is just a really basic marinade for your steak so you can use whatever you want. Just pop in your steak and leave to sit in the fridge till your feeling hungry and ready to sweat it out in the kitchen.

Very thinly slice the red onion and pepper and add to your serving bowl. In a small frying pan over a medium heat dry fry the beansprouts for 2 minutes and add to the bowl. Rather than bean sprouts I used juliened carrot and very small brocili florets as that what was in the fridge last night.

Now to make up your broth. In a saucepan add the chilli sauce and miso to your stock. This is my basic broth, sometimes I add soy sauce, sometimes shredded ginger, whatever you feel, its up to you. The Chilli sauce is definiately a to taste thing.

Put the noodles in a heat proof bowl and cover with boiled water and soak for 2 minutes, drain and add to the bowl of chopped veg.

While your noodles are soaking and your broth is heating quickly fry up your steak, rare is good as it will cook a little more once put into the soup. Use the pan you just used for the beansprouts and fry the steak in the oil, just enough to get a bit of browning on both sides. Take out of the pan heat and place on a chopping board.

Pour the heated broth over the veg and noodles, you should have a nice pool of broth with your pile of veg and noodles peeking out in the middle. Slice your steak into chopstick friendly strips and lay artfully over the top and garnish with the chilli and coriander.

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This should take you all of 15 minutes with 5 minutes of actual heating time, once you get your favourite combo of ingredients you will be hooked. The veg arn’t really cooked, so much as steeped so you can use anything that retains a bit of bite. Mange tout work well, as does shredded chinese leaf and both are chopstick friendly. You can cook a small marinaded salmon fillet in the same way or try boneless chicken thigh smeared with a mix of honey, miso and sesame oil roasted in the oven and garnished with sesame seeds. One for a cooler day though.

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