Some of my most creative dishes come together from nothing. Literally, when shopping hasn’t been done and lunch or dinner still rolls around and like clockwork the boys start to get antsy; Mama…..mama!! I need a snack.
I don’t need them chiming in about how, we already had this, or I don’t like that. What I would do is go into the fridge and bring out everything that’s almost done, all the odds and ends from the previous weeks cooking. I place them on the kitchen counter and stare at them, with hopes they begin to say cook me like this, or combine me with this and that...lol. Honestly these types of meals are also a great way to clear out your fridge and with some handy tips and tricks you are most likely not going to throw away as much as you might ordinarily. Managing wastage has a positive advantage on the pocket and the environment ultimately.
Frittatas are an excellent way of using up vegetables, chop and dice all your veggie cut offs, cheese and herbs, whisk 6 to 8 eggs and bake, not only is this a great brunch feature, you can enjoy it any time of day. Fruit that’s gone soft and mushy can be frozen and used at a later date in a quick on the go smoothie or baked in a crumble. Bread that is going stale or is no longer fresh can be frozen to be made into a bread pudding or toasted and turned into bread crumbs for the perfect chicken, fish or pork coating.
To have a complete meal you need, some grain of sorts, sauce, protein and vegetables, then you make the ingredients work for you. This creativity includes preparing certain foods differently from how you typically do, by doing so you also give the foods new purpose as they bring new flavours and textures to life. Ie bread as crumbling for fried chicken as opposed to a crustless sandwich. In making a leftover stir-fry and a fresh stir-fry you will find that very little changes; A medium-high stove-top temperature works well as it grills nicely and seals in flavours. Let the pan heat up for a minute or two before adding enough oil to lightly coat the ingredients, and then let the oil heat before proceeding.
There are very few rules when it comes to the ingredients you can use. Chicken, fish, beef, shrimp, pork, I settled for (wors/sausage) boroso, cut up into bite size pieces and every type of mushroom and non-leafy vegetable are good to go. I added nuts for an authentic touch. Sauces are similarly varied: There are a myriad store-bought versions, or you can blend honey, Dijon mustard and soy sauce; vinegar, brown sugar and pineapple juice...the list goes on. I have come to appreciate that cooking Asian inspired dishes is the least stressful style of cooking. While the list of viable ingredients is long, its best to apply the less is more principle, a single meat and no more than two or three veggies plus your sauce. It is always a good idea to have all your bite-sized ingredients chopped and near the pan, as you need to add everything one after the other to the hot oil.
You can finish chopping while the pan and oil are heating, and while any raw meat is cooking. Always remember that carrots and broccoli, for example, take longer to cook than minced garlic, mushrooms or onions. When all the veggies are cooked with a little crunch – add any extra items, noodles or rice plus eggs and your sauce of choice, followed by the pre-cooked or leftover meat. Then give it all a final two-minute stir with a wooden spoon or spatula and serve. It is advised to serve your dish as soon as possible, as the bite-sized pieces cool quickly. This stir-fry came together in just about 15 minutes and the boys not only lapped it up they all came back for a second serving.
Cook rice and set aside Grab all the left over veggies in the fridge before they go off and give them a gentle fry. Re introduce the rice, and create a well in the middle and scramble eggs. Add source and stir. Dress with nuts and fresh spring onion.