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!
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
Serves 4-5, even more as a side dish.
Gluten free. Vegetarian.
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 160C.
- Place rice and water in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cook for ten minutes on high. Stop at five minutes and stir.
- 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.
- While rice is cooking prepare vegetables.
- 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.
- Remove from pan and thinly slice into squares. Set aside until required.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add spring onions and capsicum and sauté until softened, about two minutes.
- Add rice and soy sauce and stir well.
- 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.
- Serve with extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
- This will keep well in the fridge for two to three days.
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?