I have what some would call ‘an obsessive personality’; once I like something, I really like it. One time, I went through a frittata phase where I ate at least one every day for three weeks. Thankfully, I counter this obsessiveness with an equally ridiculous laziness, thus all these meals that I’m crazy about are one pan, as the only thing I love more than eating one meal all day, every day, is only having to wash one pot…or you know, not washing it at all. So here we have the mother of all quick delicious meals: noodle broth. Is it a noodley soup? Is it soupy noodles? Does anyone really care? This meal is hot, spicy and uses all the sad little vegetables left in the fridge. Lone carrots. Wilted cabbage. Deformed mushrooms. Now is your time. It is a lovely blend of hot stock and noodles, layered with spicy vegetables and fried nuts – all together now, mmmmm. I eat variations of this at least four times a week depending on what I have at hand, but though the vegetables and meat are negotiable, garlic and chillies really are the heart of this meal. This holy pairing is the foundation of almost all of my meals and now my sole source of heat since we’ve got our electricity bill. I personally like it so hot that the chilli catches in everyone’s throats and makes them cry in rooms all over the house, but only add as much as you are comfortable with.
Remember to slice the vegetables finely, so they cook quickly and at the same time, or you will end up with a mouth full of raw garlic. Yum. It’s worth remembering that the joy of living so close to the city is all those lovely little foreign shops everywhere selling delicious, fresh mystery vegetables and we really should take advantage of it. Last week, I bought a huge chunk of fresh ginger and a bag of blindingly hot scotch bonnets for 40p from a Jamaican shop and they were truly wonderful! It was like eating magma. Anyway, to recap: throw anything and everything into your noodles, go shop at foreign markets and buy stuff that you can’t recognise and finally, if you do plan on becoming besotted with any one meal, make it this one; it really is great.
What You’ll Need
1 stock cube
Handful of broccoli, cut into piece
Fresh chilli pepper, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
Half a red pepper, sliced
1 carrot, finely sliced
3 mushrooms, sliced
Small handful of peas
Optional: handful of cashew nuts, sliced meat
1. Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover your noodles and a crumbled up stock cube. Cook for 3 minutes then add the little broccoli florets. Cover and leave to bubble away for another few minutes.
2. When the noodles and broccoli pieces are cooked, put in a bowl and cover with the lid to keep it hot. Add oil to pan, turn up the heat and leave to get hot. (Things all happen very quickly after this point so make sure all your vegetables are sliced and ready by this point)
3. Fry garlic and chilli until it begins to smell lovely (try not to burn them). Once cooked turn the heat up and add the carrot and peppers. Let them cook for a minute or so and then add all the other sliced vegetables. Move them like a madman.
4. Give it a good splash of soy sauce and let everything get saucy. Keep frying! Once cooked add to the broth.
5. Add a little more oil to the pan, fry some cashew nuts and any leftover meat (chicken, turkey, whatever you have) in a little soy sauce (yes, even more soy sauce!) until hot then add to your bowl and eat!
As you can’t eat something spicy without balancing it out with something sweet, here is something to follow the noodles. Just when you thought butter couldn’t get any better, sugary cinnamon butter came along. So sweet! So delicious! It is so simple, it doesn’t really require much in the way of instructions. Don’t be too exact with measurements either; just throw it all together and add more cinnamon, sugar or vanilla if you feel like it.
What You’ll Need
1 heaped tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Vanilla essence (optional)
1. Mix cinnamon and sugar then beat in the butter until all the sugar is combined. Add a few drops of vanilla essence if you want to make it sweeter.
2. Spread thickly on one side of toast and grill until the butter is melted and the sugar is golden brown. Eat!