Winter, at least by Canberra standards has finally arrived. When I read some of the blogs from colder parts of the US, I feel like a wimp but it felt like it might snow today – which by most Australian standards is pretty damn chilly.
Driving home the display in my car was telling me that it was about 5 degrees Celsius, which to me is definitely weather for wearing warm clothes. Turning in to my street, I saw a guy walking along all rugged up on top with a sheepskin lined jacket, beanie and scarf. Yet on this bottom half he was wearing shorts. I just don’t understand how people can do that. Surely if one part needs warmth that need extends to the rest of the body?
I do like things nice and toasty, which is why the hospital café near where I work is one of my favourite places to eat in winter. It may not have the most aesthetically pleasing setting (think concreate bunkerish), but the heaters that have been installed are fabulous. They are radiant heaters set up high on the wall and if you get a seat under one of them, you could almost get away with wearing a t-shirt. My kind of place. There is another café near work that I love. They do a mean lasagna and the staff know me – but the seating is outdoors and the heating they have just does not cut the mustard. So no visit from me in the near future. I feel a bit guilty as they go out of their way to make me feel welcome but I just can’t do it. Do you prefer hot or cold?
Not very friendly towards the environment I know, but I am never going to be the person turning her heater down a degree to save the planet. I am trying to compensate in other ways and have just signed a contract to have solar panels installed on my roof to reduce my carbon foot print and reduce my bills.
Finding suitable low calorie meals in winter can be tricky. I crave lovely comforting hearty food, but that often means lots of carbs and creamy things. Stir-fries are a bit of a compromise for me at this time of year. But this black bean beef stir-fry is a pretty good compromise. To make it for one, I cut the green capsicum (pepper) and just went for red – which to me looks warmer and more inviting. It is interesting how important food looks in how we enjoy it.
To make this for one I used the following ingredients:
- 120g thinly sliced beef (I used rump)
- 1 and ½ tsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp sherry (the recipe calls for rice wine)
- ½ tsp corn flour (corn starch)
- 1 tsp peanut oil
- ½ medium red pepper, sliced into strips
- ¼ of an onion, sliced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- ½ tsp of minced garlic
For the sauce:
- ½ tbs soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 30ml of chicken stock
- ¾ tbs black bean sauce
- Just under 1 tsp of corn flour
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
I followed the instructions in the recipe and it was a very tasty stir-fry and quick to cook. Preaparation took me about 10 minutes because I used pre-minced ginger and garlic. Cooking time of 10 minutes is about right. The key to this is to slice the beef nice and thinly. One serving has about 355 calories.
I have changed a couple of ingredients from the original recipe. I replaced rice wine with sherry as I keep that in the house and I didn’t use ribeye or sirloin steak. I find a cheaper cut works just as well. And finally I assumed corn starch is the same as corn flour. Google suggests it is pretty much the same.