19 April 2011

Bournemouth Echo blog "Jenny's Week" : The stir-fry that isn't a stir-fry, until it is!



The following blog entry can be seen in situ here


The stir-fry that isn't a stir-fry, until it is!

All of which is because my son is vehemently anti stir fries.  Mind you, he appears to be becoming anti anything remotely sweet and sour too, which is a great shame.

Being a just-on-the-verge-of-teenage lad, he’s developing a nice line in vegetable avoidance.  He’s decided he doesn’t like casseroles (which have vegetables in the mix), or the said stir fries (which have vegetables cooked with the meat, that are ~horrors~ still crunchy) and will visibly blanche when faced with a salad.

He much prefers non-vegetable meals like chilli con carne, or spaghetti Bolognese.  Which is a shame, really, as his Mum is as vehemently pro-vegetables as he is vehemently agin them.

However, we persevere.  I figure that if I keep on serving up the right portions of vegetables, he’ll get used to seeing them on his plate and teenage hunger might win over teenage pickiness.  I do try to avoid things that I know he just can’t countenance, like mushrooms, cooked tomatoes or aubergine, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t appear in certain recipes.  Take, for instance, the absolutely gorgeous Greek Lamb & Orzo Bake that we had for dinner last night.

The recipe involves lamb mince cooked with onion, garlic & aubergine, then with stock, tinned tomatoes and mint.  You then mix in some cooked orzo (which is rice-shaped tiny pasta, for those who were wondering) and put the mixture into a dish to bake, topped off with an egg/greek yoghurt mixture that sets and creates a lovely tangy topping.


There are two things in this recipe that son doesn’t like – aubergines and tomatoes.  Neither is avoidable, as they’re both fundamental ingredients.  However, the tomatoes will cook down and become part of the general saucy melange, whereas the aubergine will stay in chunks.  So, when I was adding it to the baking dish, I just chased most of the aubergine away into the other three quarters of the dish.  I served it with baby sweetcorn and sugar snap peas, and the lot disappeared.  Job done.

I reckon that one of my jobs as a parent, is to broaden my son’s horizons on as many different subjects as possible.  Hence, I refuse to be cowed by his likes and dislikes where food is concerned and I also refuse to cater just for him, while his Dad and I eat something else.  Case in point is son’s new friend, who was in the house when lunchtime struck.  Hubby offered him a sandwich, and he asked for chocolate spread.  Now, although I have nothing against chocolate spread and indeed we have some in the house which is brought out at breakfast time and stays with breakfast time, a lunchtime sandwich for boys consists of something savoury, accompanied by cucumber and tomato and maybe a packet of crisps.  So we went through all the choices : cheese (no), marmite (no), fish paste (no), ham?  We suspect he just accepted ham out of a desperate desire to please rather than anything else, as his sandwich came back with two bites taken out of it, no cucumber eaten, or tomato – and even the crisps came back “because they’re beef”.

I just couldn’t imagine my son doing the same thing to someone else.  Plus, the thought that this little lad (who was the size of a whippet – and is it any wonder?) would only eat chocolate spread in a sandwich, left me feeling really quite sad.

When hubby mentioned how glad he was that our son wasn’t like that, I just had to say that it’s because we’ve trained him that way.

So, to get back to the stir-fry that isn’t, until it is, this refers to a Pork & Pepper stir fry that we had one day last week.

I knew that if I wrote “Pork & Pepper stir-fry” up on the menu list for the week, I’d set up a resistance in our son’s mind.  That resistance would manifest in a large case of the “I don’t like <insert name of foodstuff>”.  So, I called it just “Pork steaks & pepper”.  All was calm.  Right up until he came into the kitchen and spotted the Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, sesame seeds and sliced red & yellow peppers.  “Oh”, he said.  “It’s a Chinese something then?” sounding really disappointed.

“Marginally”, was my reply, hedging my bets.

The end result was that he ate the pork, about a third of the peppers and all of the jasmine rice.  He did declare that he “didn’t like the sweet and sour flavour, because of the vinegar”.  I just couldn’t resist informing him that there was no vinegar involved in this one – just soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and honey.

I wouldn’t say it was a win:win situation, but hey – he got fed and hubby and I think the recipe has got to be one of the nicest stir fry recipes we’ve tried in a very long time.

Now, I’ve just got to work out how to try to get some of the lovely watercress salads past him.

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