Thursday, 14 July 2011

atCatharines Progress...

Well I have to say it was a really good feeling to be able to see that we almost have everything in place to launch atCatharines properly. Kat came over to my place and I cooked Beef Ho Fun (recipe below) for us while we discussed ways to go forward over a cheeky gin and tonic. I had to admit I had poured way too much gin into mine and wondered if there is any point in putting the tonic in. We both worked full time in the hospitality industry and are hectic at the best of times so a little gin booster was a great way to start.

We are doing a test run with a few friends on Friday 22nd July. Pictures and details will be on the blog next week.... only if I manage to stay sober that is! We discussed menus and our logo ( I love it, it represents us perfectly) and most importantly we have set a date. Yes a date for our first ever event.

Next Event: It will be on Saturday 13th August 2011 atCatharines. More details will follow very shortly......Watch this space :)

If I have to be honest, whilst all this is very exciting, I am very nervous. Nervous for the obvious reasons I suppose. Nervous that I finally get to do what I want and share the passion with a good friend but it might fail, nervous that I might disappoint friends and family that have such high hopes for me, nervous that my guests won't enjoy the food and won't have a good time..blah blah blah.. the lists go on. But you know what...sod it! This is exciting and I haven't felt so fired up in a long time. I have never been what you called timid but when you are passionate about something and in my case; food in bringing people together, all I care about is putting a smile on the face of my diners.

This dish below always put a smile on the face of the people I cook for and I hope that you will use this recipe to put a smile on the ones you care for. It is called Beef Ho Fun. In my hometown, beef ho fun is a type of street food. Ho Fun refers to a type of rice noodles. It is flat and about 1cm wide. You can get a variety of sizes. You can get in in any Chinese or Oriental shops and in English it is called Rice Sticks. The street vendors cooked it in a big but very hot metal work with quite a lot of oil. The noodles always have a smoky taste to it and the edges of the noodles are slightly burnt. Rumours has it that the wok is never properly washed, but over the years have collected all the flavours which gives the dish its smokiness. It is absolutely delicious with succulent beef while the noodles are soft and once in a while you get the burnt crispiness. They also add beansprouts and spring onions to give it some colour and texture. In England, good Malaysian or Chinese Restaurant serve this dish.

I have included a recipe below which I modified. Unfortunately it doesn't have the level of smokiness of the street vendors but nevertheless it is a crowd pleaser.

Picture below of dry rice sticks and cooked rice sticks.

Recipe (for 4 people)
Marinade for at least 1/2 hour
250g beef
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 tsp corn flour
3 1/2 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

6 x spring onions, sliced
1/2 red pepper. 1/oi2 green pepper (for colour, can be any colour peppers)
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
180 g beansprouts
3 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of Chinese Caramel Sauce (optional) - you can buy it in most oriental shop
250g rice sticks
1 wok (metal if you have it, taste better and it makes a fantastic 'chah' noise which you can't get from a non stick wok)

  • Cook the rice sticks in boiling water until it turned opaque white, usually about 10 minutes. Just like pasta, pick a noodle up and taste. It should still have a bite to it and slightly chewy. Drain and run under cold tap. Set aside. Note: Water will turn slightly starchy when you are boiling the noodles, it is normal, if it gets too dry add some water. Stir often as it will stick
  • Chop all vegetables and set aside. 

  • Heat wok with 2 tbsp of oil. Make sure it is smoking hot
  • Put in marinaded beef and flash fry for 1 minute. Remove beef and set aside. Note: careful of hot flying oil!
  • Add another 2 tbsp of oil. Add garlic, sliced onions and peppers, fry 1 minute
  • Add the noodles. Do not stir the noodles. Let it stick. Stir after 30 seconds. Repeat this 2 -3 times
  • Add spring onions and beansprouts.
  • Add oyster sauce, caramel sauce. Stir in until even. Taste. Add more oyster sauce it not salty enough. Caramel sauce gives it colour
  • Add back the beef
  • Stir for another 2 minutes until spring onions begin to wilt and beansprouts have lost their rawness but still remain crunchy. Beef should still be pink in the middle. 
  • Dish up and serve it with various chilli sauces

Left overs! I love putting the wok in the middle of the table so that everyone can pick at it! I urge you to do the same, it is immensely satisfying :-)

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