Tag Archives: food

Stir Fry

How to Write a Food Blog

Like this:

Stir Fry

I got a new wok for Christmas, so I’m stir-frying quite a lot. Here is how I do it:

Recipe

Feeds 1 Hungry Wizard, or 2 Muggles (3, if you add a bit more Noodles)

Some meat (or not). I used 2 Pork Loins, cut into strips (about 240g total). Just over £1, as it was on a deal at Aldi. If you’re avoiding meat, a few more mushrooms helps.

Some veg. Today I bought a pack of “mushroom stir-fry veg” (325g). Just under £1 at Aldi. £1 at Asda/Tesco. £1.25 at Co-op. If making from scratch, I suggest per person:

  • 1/2 a small onion
  • a few mushrooms
  • a bit of cabbage or other greens
  • a small handful of beansprouts
  • 1/2 a carrot, grated

Make sure your veg are all different colours!

Sauce. You can make your own, but Aldi had either Sweet’n’Sour or Oyster’n’Onion packs at 35p! I went for S’n’S.

Noodles. I skipped them this time, but “Straight to Wok” noodles are cheap and plentiful. Don’t over-do it though! You’ll end up with NOODLE and stir-Fry!

Tools

1 Wok

1 stirring stick (wooden, so as not to scratch the wok)

1 Meat-cutting knife (unless you bought pre-chopped meat)

1 surface to chop meat on (see above)

1 eating-bowl and eating utensil per person (I use a fork. You may risk chop-sticks if you please)

Method

Read through the entire Method. Check you have got all of the ingredients and tools, and understand each process.

Get all the ingredients nearby. Check you have everything.

Chop your veg, if you didn’t buy pre-chopped. They want to be quite small, but not wafer-thin slivers. Or you can leave them chunky.

Heat a little oil (I use Spicy Stir-Fry Oil – adds a little kick, and resists the high temperatures) in a wok (High Heat. On my cooker, I use Level 5 (out of 6). You may choose to use ‘6’. I do not think ‘4’ is hot enough).

A little oil

A little oil

While the oil is heating, chop up your meat (unless you bought it pre-chopped, in which case, just wait for the oil to reach temperature! There should be just enough time to TXT a friend: “HEY! I’m Cooking! Yeah, me! Cooking! Gotta go, kitchen on fire!“).

Chopped Pork Loins

Chopped Pork Loins

The oil should be hot enough by now, but you can throw a little piece of meat in to check – it should sizzle!

Carefully place the meat in the wok. Beware, it may splash hot oil!

Meat in Wok

The Meat Is In The Wok!

You can take a moment now, as the meat starts to cook, to clean down your meat-chopping surface. Be quick-but-thorough.

Now stir the meat (cf: name of dish!). Keep stirring, not too fast, until the meat is about cooked. Make sure to turn it over regularly, cooking all sides, and allowing the heat to reach the centre. This should take a few minutes. If, after 5 minutes, the meat is not starting to brown, you have the heat too low!

Cooked meat

The Meat is Cooked!

Blurry Photo

Blurry Photo

ASIDE: If you are blogging your meal, make sure not to get the camera too close! The steam will mist the lens, and may get inside the worky-bits. The auto-focus will struggle. Your photos will end up looking like this:

Use the Zoom function, from further away!

Now that the meat is cooked, and we have a decent photo of it, we can add the veg. Pop it all in the wok.

Now, with added Veg!

Now, with added Veg!

We now refer back to the Dish Name: Stir the veg (and meat!), turning over, and making sure it all gets nice and hot! A couple of minutes of stirring, and the veg will be starting to cook through, and wilt a little. It will be noticeably reduced in size.

Cooked Veg

Cooked Veg

We can now add the sauce. Depending on the sauce, this can be a bit messy. Sweet’n’Sour is sticky, and gets everywhere if you’re not careful!

Stir some more (are we getting an idea of where the name came from yet?). Don’t go splashing it everywhere, and throwing it all over the hob. A nice, gentle motion, just to keep it moving so it cooks evenly, and the sauce covers everything.

Ooh! Saucy!

Ooh! Saucy!

If you are using noodles, now is the time to add them! (I often skip them, but they do bulk it out nicely). Stir the noodles in, but no more than a minute (unless your packet says otherwise!).

The meal is now cooked, and can be spooned into bowls.

Pro-tip: keep the bowls very near the wok, so as not to spill food all over the oven/counter/floor!

Stir Fry

Stir Fry

Sit at your favourite table, and savour your creation!

This Is Not Art

This is Not Art

This Is Not Art

Well, it’s not. Its a cheap rip-off of a well-known painting. All I’ve done is replace the text, the better to help you think on what isn’t Art. While the original meaning is not lost, it has taken on a fresh, related, meaning from its new context. Hold on …

But what about this:

Not Art!

Not Art!

Now that can’t be Art! A rushed copy, using whatever materials are close to hand, and an online translation algorithm. Well, I wanted to get this post written today, not next week, when I’d sourced a reasonable facsimile of Magritte’s pipe, and an expert translator who understood the context of the piece. But now I’ve said that, it makes this piece part of the zeitgeist, a perfect example of the Internet Age of Instant Gratification. #Art.

Opium

Opium

OK, lets find something that seriously is NOT Art: Adverts. Surely images produced purely to sell products can’t be Art? I just don’t see the artistic value in making pictures or videos whose only measurable merit is how much profit they bring in for their share-holders. I mean, they are just created to have the maximum emotional impact, whether that be humour, lust, guilt or envy, leading to influenced behaviour … hang on there one minute …

But what about the products themselves? Packaged  to maximise shelf-space and branded to be eye-catching, that can’t count as Art can it? Do designers really put that much artistic effort into what is essentially a disposable container for fizzy sugar-water?

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola

I’ll admit that some products have gone on to become iconic images, but this cannot have been the intentions of the advertising executives, stuck in their artless offices, scheming about how best to relieve us of our hard-earned crust? Can it?

Adverts often rely on using sex and sexuality to sell their wares. but can Nick Kamen prancing around in his undies really be compared to Michelangelo’s “David”? While The Nude in Art has a long and illustrious history, having a woman shove her ‘assets’ in your face while shouting “BUY MORE STUFF” isn’t really Art is it?

Mr Chad

Wot! No Art?

OK, lets move to the other end of the scale. Graffiti. The puerile scrawlings on toilet walls. Vulgar rhymes and anatomically-unlikely doodles. Even the colourful “tags” that are left on bridges and sidings are usually more notable for their abstruse placement than original, worthwhile content. This vandalism of public property does little to embiggen the World of Art. Pushing your personal or political agenda through anonymous images and slogans, designed to shock and titillate, can hardly be worthy of the name Art, can it?

Politics

Politics!

Food. Food isn’t Art, no matter what Instagram tries to tell you! Food is for eating, not taking photos of and showing the whole world!

Chippy Art

A Study In Colour 3

Salad Art

A Study In Colour 2

Fried Art

A Study In Colour 1

 

 

 

 

 

Do we really care what our food looks like? Would it be just as pleasant in greys and blacks? Surely after the first mouthful we would realise that our brain has been lied to, and shut down the illusion?

I’m not concerned here with Art made from food. Bacon Dresses, carved tomatoes, and that stop-motion video sequence can all be called Art. but food, presented as a meal, to be eaten?

Despite the obvious similarities of colour in the first two examples here, they are different meals. The visual similarities produce no effect on their taste, and certainly not on their nutritional value.

So there we have it. A short summary of what might (or might not) be described as Not Art.

But I am often told (mostly by Lucretia) that Art is subjective. So what subject do you feel is not Art? Where do we find a lack of artistic expression?