As children settle back into school, a stir-fry is a great quick nutritious meal to prepare, and it makes sure that lots of vegetables are eaten. This beef and noodle stir-fry has a lovely balance of flavours and textures and the recipe will work with chicken or pork or turkey so you can vary it as you wish. Sometimes I have this with rice or you can try out lots of different types of noodles.

The same goes for the sweet chilli chicken and vegetable stir-fry. Flavour it to suit your own taste. Stir-frying is a very easy way to cook and, if you don’t have one, it is well worth buying a wok. You will get a lot of use from it. Then it is a simple system of prepare your ingredients, measure, and cook.

I normally start with garlic, spring onions and ginger, often referred to as the “holy trinity” of Chinese cooking. Add vegetables according to how long they take to cook, starting with the harder ones. As a rough guide, use a ratio of three portions of vegetables to one portion of meat or poultry. Finally, and most importantly, once you start cooking, don’t be tempted to add more oil to the wok. If it becomes too dry, sprinkle over a little water, stock or wine. This should evaporate immediately but prevent the food from drying out.

And thank you for the nice comments I have received about my Portuguese Food Trails on RTÉ 1. You can see it at 8.30pm on Wednesdays. I really enjoyed making it

Happy Cooking,


Beef and noodle stir-fry


1 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 tsp sesame oil

4 x 100g (4oz) thin-cut sirloin steaks, trimmed and sliced into thin strips

2 garlic cloves, sliced

75g (3oz) chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

400g (14oz) medium egg noodles

150ml (¼ pint) chicken stock

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1 Heat the rapeseed and sesame oils in a wok or large frying pan.

2 Add the steak and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes, until the meat is sealed.

3 Add the mushrooms and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the egg noodles and cook for 3 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, then drain and add to the beef and vegetable mixture in the wok, tossing to combine.

5 Add the chicken stock to the beef and noodle mixture along with the soy, oyster and sweet chilli sauces and allow to heat through.

6 Divide among warmed bowls and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds to serve.

Sweet chilli chicken and vegetable stir-fry


2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp dry sherry

2 tsp cornflour

225g (8oz) boneless chicken breast fillets

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 small carrots, sliced on the diagonal

175g (6oz) baby corn, halved lengthways

2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced

100g (4oz) sugar snap peas

2 heaped tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Egg noodles, to serve

1 Place the soy sauce, sesame oil and sherry in a bowl. Then stir in the cornflour until smooth.

2 Cut the chicken fillets against the grain into small, thin strips and add to the marinade, stirring to combine.

3 Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes, or up to 24 hours is fine.

4 Heat a wok until it’s very hot. Then add the rapeseed oil and heat until it’s almost smoking.

5 Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and stir-fry in the wok for a few minutes to seal the meat.

6 Transfer to a sieve or colander to drain off all the excess oil, leaving only 1 tablespoon behind in the wok.

7 Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 20 seconds.

8 Then tip in the onion and stir-fry for another minute.

9 Add the carrots and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes, until softened, sprinkling over a tablespoon of water if the mixture looks like it’s getting too dry.

10 Add the corn and peppers and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, again adding a little more water if necessary, then add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry for another minute.

11 Stir in the sweet chilli sauce and toss with the vegetables until coated. Return the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, until it’s tender and heated through.

12 Divide the cooked egg noodles between four Chinese-style serving bowls and spoon the chicken and vegetables on top.