Fiery(?) Dan Dan Noodles

So I’ve been thinking about making this dish for a while now. I have a bit of a strange relationship with Jamie Oliver recipes. Sometimes they’re fantastic but sometimes they’re really just ok. The only trouble is, Jamie Oliver is so enthusiastic about everything, that its difficult to tell from the outset what is amazing and what is merely alright. Anyway, I was attracted because there didn’t seem to be too much prep and it would be quick. Also, I really want to cook more chinese food.

The only way that I changed from the original recipe is that I didn’t use four types of greens – I just bought a large bag of choi sum from my chinese grocer. It doesn’t quite look the same as in Jamie’s picture but I didn’t have a food stylist or photographer. I just had my iphone.

Anyway, it was perfectly edible. I’d probably use fresh chilli next time rather than the chilli oil, as I think 5 tablespoons is too much – it tasted more oily than it did spicy – causing Greedy Guest to ask ,’Did you say they were fiery?’. I might also consider using finely chopped lean steak  instead of the mince . But it’s a very easy recipe, and it is quick. It wouldn’t serve four adults with average appetite, more like 2 hungry people. It didn’t set my world alight. But it was nice. Fine for a wednesday night quick dinner anyway.

The Tastiest Cornbread

As comfort food goes, this is possibly the best, certainly best return on effort I’ve found in a long, long time.More akin to baking cakes than breadmaking as we understand it, I can usually knock one up in ten minutes or so, and I would usually make two of these loaves at a time just because they go so quickly in my house. It goes for an afternoon snack, straight out of the oven, it goes with ham & eggs for dinner, it goes at breakfast time and in packed lunches. I imagine it would be perfect with a bowl of soup too.

This is my own recipe, but I have taken inspiration from Momma Cherri’s Soul in a Bowl Cookbook, and Jamie’s America

  • 165g cornmeal (polenta)
  • 125ml full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 30ml butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • half a large onion, thinly sliced
  • small bunch of spring onions, diced
  • 200g sweetcorn – fresh from the cob is ideal, but it is January – canned or frozen is fine.
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 80g cheddar or similar hard cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper (quite a lot)

Melt your butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the two onions and cook, stirring regularly until they are soft and starting to brown a little. Add your sweet ccorn and cook for a few minutes more. Take off the heat to allow to cool down for a little while.

Preheat your oven to gas 6. In a large bowl addd your eggs (beaten), cornmeal, flour and milk. Stir, until combined. Add your cheese, chilli, thyme and salt and pepper and then add the onions/corn. Put in your baking powder, give a final thorough stir and then pour into a greased and lined 2lb  loaf tin, or deep sandwich tin and put into the oven for 40 mins or so. The cornbread is cooked when you stick a skewer or thin knife in, and it comes out clean.

Jamie Oliver’s American Roadtrip

Jamie Oliver. There’s a complex case for you. For me, anyway, for as much as I know, Reader, your views on Saint Jamie of Essex may be as polarised as mine are on.. avocado. I just don’t know anymore whether I love him or complely loathe him. For every animal welfare campaign (good)  there is a nauseating Sainsburies ad (bad). For every working parent he teaches basic, healthy cooking to (good) there is a ‘flavour shaker’ (bad). For every brilliant, tasty recipe he has ever presented to us in a book, there is a recipe for a bacon sandwich, or pages and pages of photographs of Jamie. Usually, standing with his arms crossed against a wall. With graffiti on it. Cos he is down with the kids, a’ight?

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