Chris’s Fried Rice

Sixteen months ago something wonderful, someone wonderful, happened to me. You see him quite regularly around here: the tall, ginger man with a talent for technology, making bacon disappear, z-snapping like no one else, and making me laugh. That would be Chris. If he thought he’d caught me with our first date (fancy restaurant, ice cream, sipping whisky in one of my favourite places in Brisbane) then he knew he had me on our second date. He picked me up and drove me to his grandmother’s house and we all had fried rice together, talked about tennis, and after dinner Chris took me for a long walk along the harbour. I can’t imagine how intimidating, annoying, and puzzling it must have been for him to have to make dinner for a vegetarian gluten free date. Did I mention that I didn’t tell him about any of my food issues until we sat down at the restaurant for our first date and there was nothing Amy friendly on the menu? No? Well, you can just add that to the list of reasons I admire Chris. He handled it without a blink, and hey I did get a second date didn’t I!

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Fast forward to today. We have gone from dating to living together and we even bought a house (and are patiently waiting for it to be built!) together. I may dominate our kitchen by the bay, but when given the chance Chris is a great cook. He makes the best scrambled eggs; fragrant spaghetti bolognaise (trying to convince him to make me a veggie version soon); and inventive hot dogs. One of the things we love the most about each other (and I have this confirmed by Chris) is that we both love to eat. Last night, the first day back at work after a long weekend, Chris stepped into the kitchen to recreate our second date meal. Simple, nourishing, soul-warming, like all the best love stories. I was happy to sit and talk to him, play sous chef when needed, and just reflect on how content and happy my life has become since this man pulled up the bar stool next to mine.

This fried rice comes together easily after a long day at work and yields plenty of leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Chris filled it with plenty of fresh vegetables and we seasoned it simply with soy sauce and sweet chilli. The egg omelette added some protein and Chris served his with some chicken drumsticks while I sprinkled some chickpeas over mine. This meal is perfect for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. It can even be vegan if you leave out the omelette – perhaps some firm tofu is more your style. Gluten free people, just make sure your condiments are gluten free, and then go ahead and serve yourself a large bowl of this goodness.

Pro tip if making this for your potential significant other: take him/her for a romantic walk after dinner and whisper sweet nothings in his/her ear. Another date will surely follow.

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Chris’s Fried Rice

Serves 4-5, even more as a side dish.

Gluten free. Vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • ½ medium capsicum, diced
  • ½ medium head of broccoli chopped into florets
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
  • Extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce to serve

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C.
  2. Place rice and water in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cook for ten minutes on high. Stop at five minutes and stir.
  3. Once the rice has finished cooking spread across a large baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven to dry out for 10 minutes. Remove until needed.
  4. While rice is cooking prepare vegetables.
  5. Heat a small non-stick frying pan and spray with cooking oil. Whisky together eggs and add to heated pan. Allow to cook into a large sheet of omelette.
  6. Remove from pan and thinly slice into squares. Set aside until required.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add spring onions and capsicum and sauté until softened, about two minutes.
  8. Add rice and soy sauce and stir well.
  9. Add remaining vegetables and chopped omelette to the pan and stir through the rice. Cook until broccoli is slightly softened and rice is heated through, about five minutes.
  10. Serve with extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
  11. This will keep well in the fridge for two to three days.

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Tell me, dear reader, what was the first meal your significant other made for you? Or, what dish would someone have to make to steal your heart?

Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Twenty

This week has been wonderful, and hectic, and exhausting, and wonderful. You definitely use different muscles when you go back to working inside full-time. Thank goodness for running and riding, and yes, even Jillian Michaels for helping me cure my restless legs and reduce the nervous energy of someone not used to sitting down so much. I have been very thankful for being able to take time to exercise over the past week, and for mid-winter weather that is cool and dry and perfect for early morning runs.

I have also found that even though I technically have less hours to do things outside work, I am more inclined to make time for the things I enjoy and maximise the hours I have to myself: Chris and I went on an exciting mid-week date, I have done some serious thinking about my writing, we went to a friend’s house for a house-warming party, I actually started working on the reading for my master’s thesis, and I got some good family time in as well. So much to be grateful for in a busy little life like mine.

Here’s the Thoroughly Nourished Gratitude List for this week (my twentieth!):

Monday: Grateful for my run this morning. I started under a moonlit sky and the sun was only just peeking over the horizon when I returned. I carried the peace and perfection of that night’s end sky with me all day.

Tuesday: Having time to make cookies in the evening and fill the house with smells of peanut butter and chocolate. Two benefits: treats for my loved ones, and a new recipe to share with you all. Keep an eye out for my Chunky Dunkers coming very soon.

Wednesday: Going out to dinner with Chris, eating gorgeous gluten-free gnocchi with basil pesto sauce at Vapiano, and watching a debate between two great minds. Nourishing to my heart and mind.

Professor Lawrence Krauss and Mr Christopher.

Professor Lawrence Krauss and Mr Christopher.

Thursday: Wonderful to have Jess over for dinner in the middle of the week – she was a very useful taste tester for some catering I was doing!

Friday: A house-warming party at Casey and Matt’s new abode was an opportunity to catch up with friends and eat absolutely delicious food: corn and leek soup, risotto with parmesan and truffle oil (Casey keeps it in a little spritzer bottle – great idea!), grilled vegetable skewers, espresso ice cream, gluten-free melting moments, and chocolate and coconut dipped strawberries. So full, so happy. Very glad I went for a long run before work!

(l-r) Chunky Dunkers, Sunday breakfast, Saturday dinner, Peanut Butter Lindt ball stuffed chocolate cakes

(l-r) Chunky Dunkers, Sunday breakfast, Saturday dinner, Peanut Butter Lindt ball stuffed chocolate cakes

Saturday: Went for a long, long walk while catching up some of my favourite podcasts (Can’t get enough Splendid Table and Talking with My Mouth Full). I felt like I had been racing everywhere all week and a long, slow stride was just what I needed to get some balance back in my life. My new walking spot is so beautiful and I even saw a wallaby and her joey bouncing back into the bush!

Sunday: Dad and I had a great talk over breakfast and then Mum and I went shopping! At Target!

Not a bad place to walk at all. Considering it is in an industrial estate.

Not a bad place to walk at all. Considering it is in an industrial estate.

Okay dear readers, time to share: what are you the most grateful for this week?

Do you find that you get more done when you have less time?

Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Seventeen

My apologies friends, I meant to post a yummy vegetarian recipe and a sweet treat this week, but the truth is, I lost my cooking mojo this week. My appetite has shrivelled up and although I have been eating enough, I have just been a bit uninspired in my kitchen efforts. This week most of my meals consisted of baked beans with vegetables, or (eek) pre-made soup jazzed up with some vegetables, so this week I am endeavouring to get my cooking spirit back. I shall invoke the names of the kitchen gods and goddesses before I step foot into the sacred space of the kitchen (Nigel, Nigella, Martha – help me!) and by the end of the week my goal is to present two shining new recipes to you all, and to add some sparkle back into my meal times.

To that end, let us commence the Thoroughly Nourished Life Gratitude List for this week.

trees monday 15_7

Monday: Grateful for an early start and walk with Mama and Molly. Though I was cold when I first started out, I quickly warmed up and enjoyed being a witness for the opening of the day.

afternoon tea with casey

Tuesday: A sweet introduction to my sweet friends Casey and Matt’s new place. Casey and I enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea and I got the grand tour!

Wednesday: I love my writing community, and even though there was a large football/rugby final on television, eighteen of us gathered at a Facebook event to encourage each other in our writing. Also, Chris and I had an awesome work out in the afternoon.

red velvet

Thursday: Grateful that I got to visit not one, but two libraries this afternoon. I have a real penchant for reading about the Victorian era at the present time and I came out with a huge pile of hard backs and an equally large smile. Oh, I also made cute red velvet cupcakes for Chris’s work.

Friday: After a heart-warming start to the morning at my coffee date with Jenny. I made coffee, date and walnut slice. Dad and I have completely demolished it over the weekend. I will make another and post the recipe this week.

saturday walk

Saturday: After a brisk morning walk and housework, Chris and I had an exciting date night – great Indian food and a movie. We saw Pacific Rim – giant robots, scary roaring axid-spitting monsters, a seemingly-bottomless CGI budget and a decent focus on the human interest element equalled a successful date night movie.

Sunday: Laziest day. Soul nourishing sleep in and a late lazy brunch were elements to end the week on a high and set up a superb start to the next.

Well, my lovelies, that is the gratitude list for this week. Now I am off to observe one of my favourite Sunday night rituals: tea and a book curled up on my favourite couch while Mum and Dad watch ‘Elementary’.

Tell me, what were you grateful for this week? Was there a particular time of day when you stood back and just smiled at the wonder of life?

Has anyone got any tips to help me get my cooking mojo back?

Monday Night Dinner Date: Summer vegetable, herb, and cheese fritters (gluten free)

A Monday night. A quiet house. Just Chris and I and a beautiful summer night to spend in each other’s company. We lazed the afternoon away lost in books: food for me; sci-fi for him. There is great comfort in the company of someone who loves to read as much as I do. Both of us caught up in our separate worlds, but only a heartbeat away. I smile when he turns the page and reaches across to touch my hand.

The night hours draw close, and we start to think about dinner time. I move around the kitchen, chopping and beating and frying, and listen to laughter in the living room. It’s been a month, and I can’t believe the power that laugh has over me. The bacon sizzles in the pan. I watch ethereal strands of egg white change from translucent to opaque while he fetches beverages for us. We talk of travel, the places we have been, the places we are longing to go. We make plans for the upcoming Australia Day weekend. Talk about food and an Aussie-themed playlist to set the tone for the day. These are the everyday moments that make up a life. These are my everyday moments, and my life. I am learning even more about the way that the minutes that make up hours are the essential particles of our lives. The Monday night dinner dates are the precious moments that buoy us through the hours we spend apart. The company of the one we care for is the craving that keeps us moving through our day.

A walk in the park, hand in hand.

A walk in the park, hand in hand.

Summer vegetable, herb, and cheese fritters (gluten free)

Makes about 8 fritters. These are great the next day either warm or cold. I nibbled on some with a salad for dinner, and they are the perfect after school or lunch box snack for kids (and adults) too. Or try them as a weekend brunch when you need a sturdy start to the day.

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chickpea (besan) flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup corn (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, defrost and drain well before using)
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Fritters, his style (before salad)

Fritters, his style (before salad)

 Method:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and herbs. In a small bowl whisk together the milk and egg.
  2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. To the batter add the corn, peas, spring onions, zucchini, and cheddar cheese. Mix carefully to incorporate vegetables into batter.
  4. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium heat, and grease with a little spray cooking oil.
  5. Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter onto the pan for each fritter. Cook until golden brown. This will be about 1.5-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a covered plate to keep warm while you cook the remaining batter.
Fritters her style (sans bacon)

Fritters her style (that is, sans bacon)

Serving: I love having someone to cook for. Someone who loves food as much as I do. These fritters are a perfect ‘his and hers’ dinner. Given my vegetarian and gluten free requirements I like to make things that can be slightly altered or added to that will suit both of us. I poached eggs for both of us, and fried some bacon to accompany Chris’s fritter stack. Served with a freshly tossed salad we both had empty plates and happy stomachs at the end of our meal.

Tell me, dear readers, what are some of the everyday moments that stand out in your life? What make up the minutes, the moments, the strands of the fabric of your day?