16 August, 2007

I Hope I Diet Before I Get Old

In the last few years, as I drifted from 'early-30s' to 'mid-30s' and am now facing a possible 'late-30s' shift, I've slowly started to become more aware of my health. Having a fat tum has been a worry for some time, but then a few years ago, I was diagnosed with gout (oh the SHAME!) and so although I've not really stuck at anything much, I've at least made a few attempts to be a little better at looking after myself.

I gave up drinking for four months last year - not a massive amount, but I impressed myself by lasting that long. I've also done some sporadic exercise - walking, weights, rowing machine - which has seen a few results even though I've still got a big fat belly hiding my eye-line to my feet. I still eat a lot of crap, but I've also made a few attempts to eat better - the salad option in the work canteen is often the best meal I'll ever have from the place.

Today, I took an online survey - prompted by the Popbitch newsletter - to calculate the day of my death. Worryingly, it came up as Monday, September 16, 2024, which means I'd only be 53 years old.

That's more than a little worrying.

Ah sod it. Here's my easy recipe for special fried rice.


- Basmati rice (one cup per two servings)
- Spring onions (one per serving)
- Garden peas (preferably frozen)
- Large egg (one per serving)
- Bacon (a rasher per person)
- Soy sauce (to taste)
- Roast chicken slices (bought pre-cooked)
- Shrimps (a handful)
- Vegetable oil


The idea for this is that, once prepared, you can make this all from wok to plate in about six minutes. Any of the additional ingredients are optional - this works just as well with vegetable replacements, such as bell-peppers or bean sprouts.

First, boil your rice. You need about an inch of water above the rice and you should wash it first (swirl it around in lukewarm water and drain off the scum from the top). Boil the rice in the water, using a saucepan with a lid, for about eight minutes, then drain into a sieve. Pop the rice back into the saucepan, pop the lid off and leave it to steam while you get on with everything else.

While the rice is boiling, grill your bacon (unless you're really lucky and can actually find Char Siu pork anywhere!), fine-chop your spring onions and slice your chicken into thin, short strips. Once the bacon's done, chop this up into rectangles no longer than your thumbnail. As you chop all this up, pop all the bits into a large bowl, including your frozen peas (they take seconds to cook).

Now crack your eggs into a bowl. Add a splash of water and a tablespoon of milk, plus a dash of pepper, then beat it all with a fork. You'll want all your ingredients prepared before you turn on the wok, and it should only take you about 15 minutes to get to this point. Make sure you have all your plates laid out by this point too, as you'll want to start dishing up.

Now, pour some vegetable oil into your wok - enough for about half an inch in the base of the wok - and heat it up. While it's heating, take the lip off your rice and fluff it up a bit with a fork or spoon so that the cooked grains are separated.

Once the oil in the wok begins to smoke, you're ready to start.

Pour in the beaten eggs and immediately swirl them around in the oil. The oil should be so hot that the egg immediately puffs up and bubbles, so keep it moving four about ten-to-15 seconds. Once it looks like it's turning into omelette, but before it sets, pour in the rice, keeping everything moving around the wok, folding the rice and the egg into each other. This is how you get the 'stringy egg'.

Keep the rice and egg moving for about 30 seconds before adding all the other ingredients, then fold them into the rice so it's all evenly distributed. You can add a splash of soy sauce at this point, but all it really does is make the rice turn a little brown and it's not essential.

The whole thing should be cooked and ready to serve within five minutes. Make sure the rice doesn't catch on the wok, and keep it moving even as you lift the wok to the plates to serve.

Just add guests and you have a decent Chinese meal.

No comments: