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Vegetable spring rolls

Today I made Spring Rolls. First time ever.

I really like spring rolls, I often buy the boxes of mini ones from the frozen isle in my supermarket to heat up for a quick lunch or dinner. I had never considered making them myself until I looked at the price of them the other day and began mentally slapping myself for spending so much money just for a few quick meals, that and the amount of oil that flowed out of these little snacks while oven baking was crazy! Surely I could make them myself. So I went online and found out about spring roll wrappers, available near the frozen pastry and so much cheaper than the premade rolls. I looked over a few recipes and tried out a pork one first, hated it and realised that I was really after a vegetable spring roll, no meat. So I started to look for good vegetable spring roll recipe. I wasn’t highly enamoured with a lot of the recipes I found so I combined the best of each and then oven baked them, because I hate to deep fry, and came up with the perfect recipe (for me). Just what the doctor ordered. I also made them big, not like the tiny mini ones for cocktail parties, although (if you are patient enough) you could cut the wrappers in 4 and make teeny ones. I am not patient enough.

I put the cabbage and the carrots through the food processor to shred them and hand chopped everything else.

This recipe made 20 spring rolls with a few spoonfuls left over. It could have made 21 but I wasn’t thawing out a full pack for 1 more sheet. I ate the rest of the filling off of a spoon, it was really fresh and light.

Vegetable spring rolls

100g Asian vermicelli noodles
1 Tbls oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions, chopped finely
½ Chinese cabbage, sliced finely
1 tin bamboo shoots, chopped roughly
3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 tin water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 Tbls soy sauce
Black Pepper, to taste (about 1 tsp I think)
1 packet (20) frozen spring roll wrappers, thawed
Sweet chilli sauce to serve

Boil or soak your vermicelli noodles until soft.
Bring a wok or non-stick frying pan to a high heat, and add oil.
Add garlic, cabbage, bamboo shoots, carrot and onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
Stir through noodles, chopping them as you go, and then water chestnuts.
Add soy sauce to taste and a few good grinds of pepper.
Set aside to cool completely.

Lay a spring roll wrapper on the bench and turn it diagonally to make a diamond shape.
Fill with 1½ tablespoons filling slightly higher than the centre of the wrapper.
Roll the top of the wrapper over the mixture and tuck each side inward.
Roll the wrapper downwards and then dampen the end with water then roll the wrapper to close it.
Continue until you have used all the mixture.

Place completed spring rolls on oven trays with the seam side down.
If using immediately spray with spray oil and place in a 180C oven until lightly browned and crisp.
If storing for later use place trays in the freezer to snap freeze and then remove to bags for extended storage.


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Beef Chow Mein

So, its been a while…
Life has been a bit frantic, and frankly, with everything else going on I really didn’t feel like writing in my (very limited) spare time.

Christmas has been and gone. Immediately prior to that we moved into a new home, well new for us… frankly, well lived in and left less than clean by the previous owners. Lots of elbow grease and vanilla scented cleaning spray later things have come together quite nicely. The best bit is my bottom draw, where I keep my glass bowls, mixers etc, after 5 weeks it still smells of vanilla each time I open it. It immediately gets me in the mood for baking even if I wasn’t to begin with.

So what with moving, cleaning, house guests, Christmas, house guests, cleaning, studying, job hunting and life in general I am a walking migraine with a spell check dependence. Actually my head has been behaving itself lately, up until the past 2 days. It gave me a terrific break over the festive season which I appreciated by working myself half to death squaring the house away. Anyway, thank you Microsoft, for spell check, it is the only thing keeping my post from being completely undecipherable.

I have cooked lots of new things recently, with varying degrees of success. Last night was Beef Chow Mein. Super simple and not too shabby on the tastiness meter either. Enjoyed even by my husband, even though he was warned about the high cabbage content (a vegetable, and green to boot, therefore to be despised!). I shall put this in the ‘possibly again’ pile. By the way, it doesn’t look too appetising, but hey, you are just going to chew it up and swallow it anyway, this almost looks like someone has done the chewing for you already… Urrrk!

Chow Mein
Serves: 4

500 g mince meat
1 packet chicken 2min noodles, crushed
3 cups hot water
½ teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons uncooked rice
½ cabbage, shredded
1 cup French beans (I left them out, didn’t have any to hand)
2 onions, sliced (I used 1 onion)
1 carrot, diced
Salt and pepper (*seemed to need tons of salt which surprised me)

Brown the mince in a large pan.
Add water and noodles, including seasoning packet, and bring to the boil.
Add all other ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender.

*I say ‘tons’ because I rarely cook with much salt and only add a little if required. I had to add a little 3 times to this recipe for it to taste right to me. It was probably the sweetness of the tomato sauce that made it so hard to judge.

*Update: Talking of even the cabbage despising husband tucking into this, he actually reheated some the next day and made toasted sandwiches. What a winner!