I feel like I ought to be posting a recipe for something green, it being The Day It Is and all [sorry – I started writing this on Tuesday – Belated Irish Greetings to you all!] but I won’t – not because I don’t have a fantastic Green Recipe (I do, in fact, just no photo), but because I had a major Irish Parent Fail today. I wished my children – Irish children – a very Happy St Patrick’s Day, and they looked at me bewildered and confused. “Is it my birthday Mummy?” the Girl asked; “Do we have to go to school?” the Boy asked, his voice wobbly with hope. And then, even worse, later on when I hissed at the Boy to wish my mother HSPD, he said: “Happy... Jackson? Michael Jackson day?” (At which point I gave him a clip across the ear with a wooden spoon, so I haven’t truly forgotten my roots.)
Anyway. Things of note (in my small, dull, world) from the past few days:
- I got stung by a wasp for the first time in almost 40 years. Direct hit on a neck vertebrae. It felt exactly like a needle going into my spine – I half expected someone to start rummaging about in my guts and produce a newborn - and 5 days on is still itchy as hell. However! It has cured me of my wasp-phobia – which was fairly enormous – because while it was sore, it didn’t kill me, as I’d always assumed a wasp sting would. (I don’t know why I thought that either. Something possibly to do with my 2 yr old mind taking the last wasp sting I got and blowing it out of all proportion.)
- I am inhaling the latest David Mitchell book (The Bone Clocks), which is just so brilliant that I am wishing about twice more often than I normally do that I didn’t have any children to parent and could just sit and read this wonderful, amazing, incredibly imaginative book non-stop, all day long. Get it, lock your children in a shed / car / kitchen drawer for three days, and start inhaling.
- I went to a 70s party at the weekend, which was great; what was not so great, however, was that I was able (bar the ‘fro wig) to dress for the party by simply reaching into my wardrobe and pulling a few random (actually, not that random) bits out. It is somewhat mortifying to realise that you dress much the same as a character from The Good Life.
- I decided, most uncharacteristically, to get organised about our summer plans. So I steamed ahead and bought our flights, and yesterday started the process for the various visas I need to get for our helper (of course she’s coming with us; I can barely do the school run on my own with the kids, so a 14 hour overnight flight – two, in fact - alone with them? Don’t be silly). Anyway, because I did it all last year, and managed to not wipe the letters etc off my computer, it was just a matter of putting aside an afternoon and filling in forms. Halfway through the first form I noticed that her passport expires 16 days short of the required 6 months on our return to Singapore – which means she can leave but wouldn’t get back in – and then where would I be? (Alone, at home, with my children and the laundry, that’s where.) So just get a new passport, right? 10 weeks minimum. Change the flights? Yes, except all whizzing-across-Europe flights are booked too. All of which are non-changeable, because, you know, Ryanair. Get an extension on her passport? Ah, I thought of that. Alas the earliest appointment I can get for that – and there’s no guarantee they’ll extend it – is three days after we leave for Europe. Meanwhile, I need the damn passport to get all the visas.... Christ, I feel like I’m juggling rabid cats. Why is anything to do with passports just do deeply stressful?
- As a Fuck You to everyone responsible for the scourge that is Kiddie Menus in restaurants – chicken nuggets? Hot dogs? “Pizzas”? COME ON PEOPLE, WTF?? – I cleared out all the half-dead bits and bobs at the back of the fridge / freezer and gave the children Rainbow On A Plate for their Sunday dinner: Red (peppers), Yellow (corn), Pink (salmon), Green (soy bean and coriander), Orange (carrots), Purple (noodles) and... no blue (are there blue foods, other than blueberries?) AND they were delicious, AND the children wolfed them down (possibly because they hadn’t had any lunch because even they, with their no-standards-whatsoever wouldn’t eat the shite offered to them at the kiddie play place), AND they were easy and cheap. (Did I mentioned delicious?) While I know it’s probably unlikely you can get purple noodles in your non-Asian neck of the woods – the colour is apparently from Purpleberry flour (whatever that is) – give these a go with the regular sort. Because even with only 5 colours of the rainbow, it’s still got to be better than a hotdog with a consistency, colour and sell-by-date which even David Mitchell himself couldn’t have dreamed up, right?
I’m not posting a proper recipe for this - in fact, I’ve just remembered that I’ve posted a recipe for noodles before – you just bung in anything you want: any type of fish, meat or seafood, any vegetables , fresh or frozen (just defrost anything frozen first, by leaving to sit in boiled water for at least 5 minutes.) Measurements are up to you. A handful or this, a spoonful of that – whatever you have or need to use up. I used two small “blocks” of dry noodles and the end product would have served 6 kids.
What you can’t deviate from, really, are the fundamentals of Asian stir-fries (or, at least, my take on them): ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and lime. And noodles, obv. In fact if you only have these ingredients, you’ll still have a fairly delicious quick meal. (Re chillies – no chance in hell my kids will eat spicy food but by all means add them for your own selves, or your more adventurous offspring; just fry at the same time as the ginger and garlic.)
First steps – cover the noodles in boiling water; put anything which needs defrosting in boiling water, separate to the noodles. Don’t leave the noodles too long or they’re be mushy.
Then fry the ginger and garlic in hot oil, in a large pan (or wok). Add vegetables, in order of what needs most cooking to go in first (eg grated carrot, red pepper, uncooked meat / fish etc); then cooked / defrosted ingredients (tinned salmon, defrosted soy beans, defrosted / tinned corn); then noodles, soy sauce, and lime sauce. If you have it, add some chopped coriander at the end. Keep the heat high throughout, don’t let the garlic burn, and keep stirring.
Best eaten while wearing a ‘fro and your favourite bellbottoms - nothing says the 70s like psychedelic noodles, baby: