Purple Sprouting Broccoli Stirfry and the curious case of the ‘Blue’ Noodles

I have actually just finished eating this and it was so delish I cannot wait to share.

Something I learned very early on in the food business is that generally blue food is regarded as unappetizing and consequently is usually avoided. The theory goes that as there is no blue food in nature it is perceived as unnatural. Even with cakes, which can easily look unnatural indeed are often supposed to, blue coloured ones are the last to go and Thomas the Tank Engine cakes are rarely finished. However, those foods naturally with a blue/purple hue such as blueberries or purple sprouting broccoli are actually some of the most nutritionally beneficial.

Purple Sprouting broccoli is very much in season at the moment and my better half and I are so in love with it we are happy to munch it as the feature of a main course. Due to the ongoing attempts to declutter the house in spare moments I was in need of a quick meal in time for the start of The Apprentice and so a stir fry seemed the best option. I would say this took no more than 20 minutes from start to finish.

I shall start off by listing the ingredients today, serves 2:

2 layers of medium Egg Noodles, a handful of Purple Sprouting Broccoli spears, ends of the stalks removed, 3 Spring onions, chopped, 2 cm piece of Ginger, finely chopped, 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed, a few dried Chilli Flakes, 1 Carrot, finely sliced, ½ Red Pepper, sliced, 4/5 Mushrooms, sliced, 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil, ½ tbsp Sesame Oil, 25g Peanuts and/or Cashews, roughly chopped, salt and pepper, juice of ½ Lemon, 4 tbsp fresh Coriander, chopped.

Start off by boiling the kettle and pouring about a pint of boiled water over the prepared broccoli spears in a saucepan. Place saucepan on the heat, return to the boil and then simmer for 2/3 minutes. Fish the spears out after this time and remove to a plate. The water will be purple-y blue in colour, try not to be put off by this and add the layers of noodles. return to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile in a wok, dry fry the nuts over a moderate heat until lightly toasted and remove to a plate.  Measure the oils into the wok and over a moderate heat fry the spring onions, ginger and chilli for a minute or two. Then add the garlic and after another minute the carrot, mushrooms and pepper. Stir fry that around for 2/3 minutes and then add the lemon juice, purple sprouting broccoli and 3 tbsp of the coriander. Stir again. Drain the noodles and divide between 2 bowls, give the vegetables a final stir, season if required and likewise divide between the bowls. Sprinkle with the nuts and the remaining coriander.

So the broccoli water did colour the noodles to some degree. At school or by my Mother, I can’t remember which, I was told to try to use up the water vegetables were cooked in as the liquor was nutrient filled. Interestingly for once, one could see this advice in action. Don’t worry the effect is not too marked, unappetizing is not the word that will spring to mind.

D’ya like my new wok? I’m very pleased with this. After 6 years of trying to make stir fry in a frying pan on my ancient and temperamental induction hob, I have found the answer. I’m sure it has a name, I can’t remember the official title, but the description would be flat-bottomed wok and you don’t need gas.

Finally, beneficial foods: I seem to be surrounded by people with nasty coughs and colds at the moment. Fresh ginger is supposed to be highly beneficial for such afflictions. A tea of fresh ginger, grated and boiled in a cup full of water, strained,  then lemon juice and  honey added to taste should help.

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