Sichuan fried green beans to celebrate Dermot's arrival in Dublin

Regular readers will know that it’s very unusual for me to let a weekend go by without writing a new blog post. But this weekend I had an excuse – Shane, Shan and Dermot arrived from Beijing on Saturday and I had forgotten how much one small, precious person can turn a house upside down, become the focal point of all your attention, grab hold of your heart strings and turn your brain to mush!
The bank holiday weekend has been a whirlwind of family get togethers leaving little Dermot somewhat bewildered as he encountered one new face after the other with every relative wanting to give him a hug and a cuddle so today he is having a well deserved rest.
From all the memories made in the last few days, some will remain with me forever.
After a long, restless journey, Dermot was asleep when he arrived at Dublin Airport and he opened his eyes in Ireland for the first time in the car on the way home to find me sitting beside him in the back seat.

Now who might you be? Nai Nai?

Then yesterday came a moment we had all been waiting for when his great granny got to meet him at last.
Hello tai tai

On that beautiful, sunny bank holiday Monday, Shane fulfilled a promise made as he and I watched the Kerrygold “Made of Ireland” ad last Christmas – that his baby’s feet would touch Irish soil first. Dermot loved the tickly sensation of the grass.
He may have been born in China … but his feet touched Irish soil first

And yesterday morning Dermot, who will be 4 months old tomorrow, “danced” on my lap in fits of giggles to Tiny Dancer, a moment too special to interrupt with camera or video recorder.
On Sunday night we had a rare moment of quiet while Dermot slept and visiting was done for the day. So I took my courage in my hands and cooked a Chinese meal for Shane and Shan, conscious that I am up against stiff competition in the culinary stakes from Shan’s MaMa in Beijing.
It seemed appropriate to include in the meal the dish that inspired me to start this blog last July and the very first that Shan taught me to cook long distance – Sichuan fried green beans. Since my first post on 29th July of last year, I’ve tried several variations of fried green beans including Shan’s recipe, the version prepared by the chefs in China Sichuan and the one in Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice. I suspect every Chinese cook has their own variation. This is the recipe I was taught at Hutong Cuisine in Beijing last March by Chunyi who trained in Chengdu in Sichuan province and has now become my definitive version of the dish. Shane and Shan gave it the thumbs up for flavour although Shan said I could chop the beans smaller and add some more minced pork if I wanted to create a slightly different texture.
Dry stir-fried green beans – gan bian si ji dou
Sichuan fried green beans

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