I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I don’t think I ever really understood how much time it takes to do house-y stuff. (I suspect many of you are laughing at me right now.) No really, I’ve just started at a full time job after three years off and I have to admit it’s a bit of a shock to the system. I thought that I was pretty good at preparing food for the week, but that’s largely because I had the flexibility of working from home before.
I read somewhere recently that the average household owns an average of six recipe books, but make the same nine meals over and over again. One in five people haven’t introduced a new dish to their repertoire for more than a year! While I do find that surprising sometimes I go weeks without trying a new recipe, so I can totally relate.
I am lucky to have very reasonable hours at my new job but I’m finding that everything takes just that little chunk of time out of my day and I’m left with not enough time to do me stuff – you know, like photograph my food. I used to love grocery shopping (no really, I love reading food labels) but now I’m so tempted to use online grocery orders or one of those meal delivery services. I’m not sure I can bring myself to do it but some of their healthy recipes look pretty decent, and it’d be nice to try out new meal. I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it, but at least that way I can still cook my own food – and skip the supermarket.
I’ve been a little stuck for inspiration this week, but I couldn’t resist trying to replicate Andrew McConnell’s shredded chicken salad from Supernormal – or a much simplified version thereof. It’s a simple noodle and shredded chicken dish that’s made really delicious with a vinegary, chilli, gingery kick of a Yuxiang dressing.
- 2 chicken breast
- 600ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 15g sugar
- 40ml soy sauce
- 40ml chinkiang vinegar
- ½ tsp chilli bean sauce
- 300g egg noodles
- 2 cucumbers, julienned
- ½ cup cabbage (pref Chinese cabbage), thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 2 stalks coriander leaves
- fried shallots (to garnish)
- sliced chilli and chilli oil, to garnish (optional)
- Place the chicken breast and chicken stock a small saucepan, then heat covered over medium heat. Allow to come to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes (8 minutes if they're really large chicken breasts), then turn off the heat. Allow to cool - keep the pan covered so the chicken cooks through. When cool, shred and set aside.
- To make the dressing, heat oil in a small saucepan then add spring onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until aromatic.
- Add sugar and cook for another 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar and chilli bean sauce and cook long enough to heat through. The extra dressing can be stored in the fridge for a month.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook egg noodles according to packet instructions - about 1-2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Combine chicken, egg noodles, cucumber, cabbage, spring onion and coriander leaves in a large bowl. Add 4-5 tablespoons of the dressing and mix through - I've found that using your fingers is the best way to toss all the ingredients evenly.
- Garnish with fried shallots, sliced chilli and chilli oil.