The Great Recipe Challenge Continuation

- Advertisement -



Irene Field


My recipe challenge has continued. However there was a slight hiccup due to a recent affliction. In Latin this is referred to as “Nunc tincidunt erat ac die de me” – for those of you unfamiliar with Latin that translates in English to “It was a Public Holiday and I had a Day Off” Well truths be known there were two long weekends, and two short weeks. My decision both weeks was to blog or to beach? Blog? Beach? It goes without saying that the Beach decision won.

Fear not my follower of one … or maybe two or more.  The challenge continued. I have now added a method to my madness. Previously I was taking a random book from my bookcase. Now I have decided to select each book as it is, in order.

And the recent selection bore the imaginative title of  ‘Wonderful Ways to Prepare Chinese Meals’, by Leslie Prow and edited by Marion Mansfield. Published by Ayers & James of Sydney in 1979, and in bold print on the cover is the grand price of $1.99. Yes… $1.99, That is not a sticker, but the actual price in print. Also emblazoned on the cover is ‘Full Color Plates – over 165 NEW recipes’ Oh the excitement of it all. I could hardly contain my pounding breast.

This book would have to be one of the most unusual I have encountered. There is no rhyme or reason or chapters sorting out which recipe is what, i.e., no Seafood, Beef, Chicken sections. Everything is there, in all it’s glory, and the only reference is the back index, which is alphabetical.

On opening this book, my choice was pages 42 or 43, with the following recipe choices:

Pork Fillet Chinese Style

Brussels Sprouts

Chocolate Ice Cream Balls

Butterfly Prawns

Chicken and Walnuts

Fish Soup

Chocolate Ice Cream Balls didn’t appeal as a dinner choice, so Chicken and Walnuts it was. Excepting I had no walnuts in the house but was in possession of two packets of Brazil nuts, which I thought would be a worthy substitution.

Reading the recipe, I wondered what the conclusion would be.  The recipe states to marinate diced chicken breasts in salt, sugar, sherry and soy sauce for 20 minutes. Dust drained chicken with cornflour and coat with beaten egg. Blend extra cornflour with chicken stock. Saute sliced nuts in oil and remove. Add garlic and ginger to the oil, then your chicken pieces, and stir fry. Now for the ‘magic ingredient’ Oh the sweet innocence of the 70s. You then are supposed to add ‘Glutamate’- the bane of asthmatics and allergy sufferers everywhere! Needless to say that did not get added, let alone lurk in my pantry. Add extra sugar and reserved marinade. Slight point of difference here. There was a total of four Tablespoons of liquid in the marinade to 1 kg of Chicken Breasts. How anyone could have any marinade reserved after combining these two, I have no idea.  So this part of the recipe was ignored. Stir Fry and then add cornflour combined with stock, bring to the boil until thickened. Return the nuts to the pan. Serve with rice.

When cooking this, I questioned this recipe. However it actually is very nice.  It may not be in the style of authentic Chinese cooking we now know, but it was tasty. I have two measures for these recipes as to whether they will be attempted again:

1.     Will the book have a post it note added to the page to refer back to?

2.    Am I asked to save some for the following day’s lunch box?

The answer is yes to both of these questions. Not too bad for a $AU1.99 book!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *