Mothers and daughters

Mothers and daughters – a rare moment of 3 generations together

Mother’s Day. It’s a strange one, especially if your off-spring are scattered around the world. It’s a day for reflecting on what it means to be a mother and a daughter, always on alert, never quite letting go of the ties that bind, a tiny part of your heart and mind constantly paying attention to their cares and concerns, wondering how they are right now.

It’s a day to spare a thought for those who long to be a mother and for whom the joys and strains of motherhood are still somewhere over the rainbow.

Fathers and Sons

Fathers and sons – Shane and Dermot in Beijing last week

Claire tweeted me a greeting first thing this morning which began “Every day I become a little bit more like my mother…” She made my day. I love that my children have made happy, successful lives for themselves on the other side of the world but I miss them, especially on days like this.

I couldn’t get down to Wexford to my own Mum who was out to lunch with one of my brothers so we had a quiet day which began with calls from Claire and Shane and ended with a short walk along Bray seafront to take in the “grand stretch in the evening”. There was a hint of summer in the air as families with young children wandered the promenade with their first ice creams of the year and the aroma of vinegar and chips mingled with the smells and sounds of wheeling seagulls.

Heading back home I wasn’t in the mood to cook an elaborate dinner. I had a longing for something simple, light and fresh with lots of colour and flavour, something I could eat with my eyes as the Chinese would say. I needed the kick of Asian flavours but I also felt like cooking my steak in a more western way so that I could serve it somewhere on the spectrum from rare to medium rather than well done as is traditional with meat in China.

So the dish below is one I based on a recipe from a little cookbook  that Claire introduced me to Kate Harrison’s The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book. This is a recipe book for the Fast Diet but it includes some tasty recipes with Asian influences that can be easily adapted for those not counting calories.

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere and to those who wish they were.

Asian Seared Beef with a Rainbow of  Stir-fried Vegetables

Asian Seared Beef with Rainbow Vegetables

Asian Seared Beef with Rainbow Vegetables



(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 300 g sirloin steak
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 small thumb ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot in julienne strips
  • 100 g tender stem broccoli, trimmed
  • 50 g baby sweetcorn
  • 50 g sugar snap peas
  • 50 g frozen endamame beans, thawed*
  • 1 head pak choi, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 – 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Cooking oil
  • A splash of boiling water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • Lime wedges and fresh coriander for garnish

*these are frozen cooked soya beans – you could substitute broad beans or green beans if you can’t find them.

Method

  1. Prepare all your vegetables as described above.
  2. Heat a cast iron griddle pan until smoking hot. Just before cooking, brush the steak with a little oil, season well with salt and pepper and and sear until cooked to taste – depending on the thickness of the steak this will take about 2  minutes on each side for medium or 3 for well done. Set the meat to one side to relax for about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile heat a small amount of oil in a wok over high heat. Remove the wok form the heat, add the ginger, garlic and chilli and stir for a few seconds to release the aromas being careful not to burn.
  4. Add the onion, carrot and broccoli and return the wok to the heat. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes then add the sweetcorn, sugar snap peas and endamame beans. Add a splash of boiling water to help the larger vegetables steam. Add in the pak choi and stir-fry the vegetables for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the soy sauce, lime juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Remove the wok from the heat, season with pepper, add a dash of sesame oil to the vegetables and stir. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  7. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Slice the seared beef thinly and scatter over the vegetables along with any pan juices.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander and wedges of lime and serve with steamed rice.

 

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