Do you know this feeling when, as you get ready for a night out, you stand in front of your wardrobe and realise with horror that you have nothing to wear? I often get that feeling when I stand in front of a seemingly empty fridge.
I admit that I am a cook who loves to work from recipes, but at the end of the week, I often only find random ingredients in my fridge that don’t fit in any of my favourite recipes.
These moments call for a little imagination and have often been the beginning of some of my personal kitchen creations, such as the Italian-inspired soup which is a wonderful vessel for my turkey meatballs.
So, what should you do when you have one of those “I’ve nothing to cook!” moments? Take stock of everything you have in your fridge, see if it could be complemented by anything you may have in your freezer or kitchen cupboard and get creative! For me, a “throw everything in a pot” soup or stir-fry is often the way to go J
And here is my study case: to feed two people, I only had one chicken breast, a pack of baby corn, and a couple of left-over carrots, courgette and pepper. More than enough to create a fantastic supper – Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry!
Cut the chicken in bite-sized, even chunks. Slice the pepper and baby corn. You can either cut the carrots and courgette by hand or use a mandoline to shred them. If you use a mandoline, please be careful – they are incredibly sharp. I have a love-hate affair with mine: it is an essential tool in my Holistic Kitchen and yet I am terrified of it. I’m convinced it’s out to get me and that one day, I’m going to end up minus one finger!!
Put all your vegetables in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then add any spices or herbs that take your fancy. That’s the beauty of cooking without a recipe: let your personal taste guide you. I would normally add some ground cumin, ground ginger and a pinch of red chilli flakes. You can also add 1tbsp of dark soy sauce if you want (in which case, do not add salt to your vegetables – the saltiness will be provided by the soy sauce.) That is also the beauty of a well-stocked kitchen cupboard: you have instant and varied flavours at your fingertips.
Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken until golden. Add your vegetables and cook until heated through (you want to make sure your vegetables keep their crunch so don't cook them for too long.)
You can then serve the stir-fry as it is or over a portion of noodles. And enjoy your very own kitchen creation! J
Do not be afraid of being creative in the kitchen. Remember: cooking is a lot more forgiving than baking, so experiment with herbs, spices and sauces. As I said before, let your personal taste guide you and you won't go too wrong.