Life is full of memories, surprises, connections. Who would have thought that 20 years ago the Berlin Wall would be broken down calling an end to the cold war? Then I was too young to even understand what it meant. The politics meant nothing in my secure little world, but I did get 2 pieces of the Berlin Wall from a cousin who stopped by Germany around that time. In those days, they used to let out hammers & chisels at 5 $ an hour. You could chip pieces of the wall & take them away as souvenirs. Novel way to bring a wall down…
Talk about cementing relationships, building walls, breaking them down, building relationships … word play I find intriguing. I remember my cousin telling me that my 2 precious bits of the wall were a lot of hard work to chip because the wall was strong & made of concrete!! I looked at the 2 bits the other day, read editorials, saw news reports & pictures from the 60’s and got goosebumps. Somehow thankfully, the world has moved forward from such tumultuous grey times … leaving us with memories of days gone by, some sad, but mostly happy! It’s always a good time to reflect back, look at the days gone by … …and then again, look forward to what life has to offer. My free spirited nature finds boundaries very restrictive, which brings me to blogging. Ah, the freedom of blogging without boundaries, and with it comes sweet joy. October came with a nice surprise … a call for a food bloggers meet in the UK – FOOD BLOGGER CONNECT. The first of its kind being held in London on the 28th of November 2009, the prospects exciting beyond words. Food Blogger Connect is a fabulous conference/party being held in London on Saturday, November 28 at the Lebanese restaurant Levant. This is your chance to meet your fellow food bloggers face to face over a great meal, get to know them better, share ideas, network, plan. We will have an incredible line-up of speakers – some of whom you can help choose depending on what food-blog-related topics you want to hear about – with time for questions and discussion. And as a plus, we are all meeting up on Sunday for breakfast and a morning foodie tour.It’s being organised by 4 very creative and passionate food bloggers, each very talented & fun all the way. Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets , Jamie of Life’s a Feast, Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry and Mowie of Mowielicious. My UK visa’s finally arrived & there’s excitement in the air as I will finally get to meet some of my favourite food bloggers. We tweet to each other everyday, virtually live each others lives on twitter, walk into each others kitchens, share our food, find ‘FEET’, swap ideas, squeal over highs & weep over lows … am sure you get the drift. It’s a tight knit community, addictive to the hilt, very supportive, filled with silly banter, & is growing bigger by the day.
This Cashew Kung Pao Chicken reminds me in many ways of my foodie friends, especially the four wonderful Food Blogger Connect folk. Like them, this dish is full of flavour, colourful, addictive, adaptable, forgiving, accommodating & popular! I saw it a few days ago at Cathy @ Noble Pig & knew there was no time to waste. I had to make it soon. I did, & it was finger licking good. I added some veggies to it, and garlic of course, because I can’t think of a meal without garlic. I might add the veggies in towards the end next time, or saute them right after the cashews, reserve and toss back in the end as a variation. This was the first time I tossed lunch together, from scratch in 30 minutes flat; so QUICK and easy to put together. It also accepted the garlic, extra chili flakes & veggies with open arms. We loved this delicious & simple all time favourite chicken; oh-so-good over steaming hot rice. YUM!! Try it & you won’t ever order out for it again!
Adapted from Cathy @ Noble Pig
Adapted from Food & Wine by Cathy
500gms boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ pieces
5 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sherry (I used apple wine)
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 cup cashews (or peanuts)
4 spring onions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the apple wine and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water and the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of apple wine and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.
In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the cashews and stirring until light brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic & chili flakes. Stir for 2 minutes till fragrant & light pink. Add the white part of the spring onions, bell pepper & broccoli and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and the scallion tops and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the cashews. Serve over steamed rice.
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