Thursday, 25 March 2010

A Miscellany

Red sky at night certainly wasn't a shepherd's delight this morning, which was grey, cold and damp. But oh my, the sky was beautiful last night. It really did look just like this - those are magpies in the tree.

This is what we had for dinner last night - C had neglected to find out what his niece and nephew-sitting duties over Friday and Saturday involve, and I wasn't prepared to do a supermarket shop when I didn't know what meals he'd be around for, so it was a store-cupboard meal apart from buying the baby corn. Really it's pasta and stir-frried vegetables in a Chinese-style sauce. An odd combination, but a good compromise for one pasta-lover and one who just about tolerates it...
Vegetable and Pasta Stir-Fry - serves 4
400g / 14 oz pasta shells or similar (I find this too much, and drop the amount a bit)
1 tblsp olive oil
2 carrots, thinly sliced
120g / 4 oz baby sweetcorn
3 tblsp oil
1" fresh root ginger, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced,
3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 each small green and red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 tsp cornflour
2 tbslp water
3 tblsp each soy sauce and sherry (I use light soy, so as not to overwhelm the taste)
1 tsp honey
optional hot pepper / chilli sauce to taste
Bring a large pot of water to the boil,  add the olive oil and cook the pasta till tender. Drain and keep warm.
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the carrots and corn and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Stir-fry the ginger slices for a minute to flavour the oil, and then remove. Add the onion, garlic, celery and peppers and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the carrots and baby corn and stir-fry for another two minutes. Stir in the pasta.
Mix remaining ingredients for the sauce, pour over and cook over a low heat for two minutes.

A note on sloes:
My mother taught me to tell the blackthorn and whitethorn (Hawthorn, May) apart because on the blackthorn the flowers come out before the leaves, while on the whitethorn the leaves come out first. It's lovely in May when the hedgerows turn into a foam of green and white with a pink blush here and there. Personally I think you can tell them apart even when there are no leaves, flowers or fruit because the blackthorn is much spikier and thornier. Traditionally you were meant to use one of the thorns to pierce the fruit when making sloe gin! I must admit I settle for something more comfortable to hold, like a skewer, or a needle in a cork . Usually sloes are highly astringent and impossible to eat raw - I still remember the first one I tried as a child, on a dog walk at the beach in Killoughter - but the ones we picked in the Burren a couple of years back were positively sweet and juicy.


  1. Oh my, what a gorgeous sky. That picture is wonderful. It would make beautiful notecards! The recipe sounds delicious and thanks for the info on the sloes. You are so good!