Chinese lamb stir fry

Thinking of a midweek Chinese takeaway? Here is my version of a simple but moreish take on a traditional dish from Beijing. Chinese wood ear mushrooms are worth seeking it as there is no other variety like it.

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Ingredients- serves 4
400g lamb leg fillet
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp cornflour paste
20g dried wood ear mushrooms
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 spring onions- finely chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp yellow bean sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Slice the lamb fillets into delicate, thin pieces and place in a shallow dish or bowl. Mix the sugar, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry and cornflour paste and coat the lamb in it. At this stage, if you like a bit of a tingle then add 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan pepper to the dish, or alternatively drop in a couple of whole peppercorns for a more mellow hint and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.

2. Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms in a bowl and leave for 25 minutes. The mushrooms will expand on size so make sure they have room! When they are ready cut into small pieces.

3. Heat half of the oil in a hot wok and stir fry the lamb for 1 minute. Remove from the wok and set aside. Take the remaining oil and add to the wok. Add the spring onions, ginger, mushrooms and yellow bean sauce (if using) and stir well to combine and fry for 2 minutes before adding the lamb back in to heat through.

4. Serve in a dish and drizzle over the sesame oil. I serve this with rice on the side and Chinese greens such as pak choi or tatsoi.

Try this recipe and you’ll soon forget about your local Chinese takeaway! Not a soggy prawn cracker in sight!

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Sausage and barley roasted butternut squash

Make the most of the new season’s vegetables in this colourful, vibrant recipe. You can also make the recipe vegetarian by omitting the sausages. You will need to use a hard veggie friendly cheese as parmesan is not suitable for vegetarians.

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Ingredients- serves 4
2 butternut squashes- cut lengthways and with seeds scooped out
100g pearl barley
100g kale or cabbage greens
4 sausages- Lincolnshire work well
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion- sliced into small wedges
200g feta- crumbled
1 tbsp harissa paste
Handful of chopped flatleaf parsley
100g cherry or baby plum tomatoes
20g grated parmesan
1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Place the halved butternut squashes cut side up on a roasting tray, give them a light drizzle of oil and cook until tender. This will take around 50 minutes.

2. In the meantime, bring a pan of water to the boil and pop in the pearl barley. Cook the barley for 40 minutes or until tender. Towards the end add in the kale or cabbage greens for a couple of minutes; drain and then set aside in a large bowl.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the sausages for 12- 15 minutes until golden and cooked through. 5 minutes from the end, add the red onion in and cook together.

4. Cut each sausage into 3- 4 chunks and add to the bowl with the pearl barley in along with the red onion. Mix the barley and sausage together with the feta, harissa, parsley and tomatoes. Season to taste.

5. Scoop out the tender flesh from the squashes leaving a 2cm border at the edges to the squashes hold their shape. Stir the flesh into the barley mixture and then divide between the squashes to stuff them. Sprinkle over the freshly grated parmesan and chilli flakes and roast in the oven for 10- 15 minutes until sweet and golden.

A seasonal celebration of autumn veg !