Saucy rainbow beef is today’s Chinese fakeaway recipe, and you’ll find it just below. Enjoy!
Thinking about my nephew’s birthday, and then having to choose from an absolutely bewildering amount of toys available in the shops, got me thinking about the toys I used to have. Now naturally, only my generation’s toys were any good and yours were rubbish, but bear with me.
Favourite toy of all time was a tatty teddy bear that was both a bumblebee and a lion. Of course: hence Bumblelion. Internet research suggests that Bumblelion was from a TV show called The Wuzzles but that means absolutely nothing to me – I think Bumblelion’s origin story was simply being stuck on a table at the Corbridge Boot Sale and being spotted by me and my sticky three year old hands. That teddy bear stayed with me for ages – losing its tail, fur, an eye, the nose, the stuffing over the years, but even now I’m fairly sure I could climb into our loft and find him again. My parents never bothered stitching the bits back on – they took a rather cavalier approach to safety: whilst everyone else went sledging on a proper wooden sledge for example, I was given a rinsed out giant plastic bag with ICI Chemicals printed on the side and sent hurtling towards a barbed wire fence at great speed.
I asked Paul what his favourite teddy bear was and he replied that I was. Once I’d finished vomiting into the toilet, he offered up an alternative. Apparently his parents went to the same ‘caring’ school as mine as he had an unfinished toy mouse without a tail, which by all accounts looked like a rudimentary fleshlight, given it had a huge hole with the stuffing leaking out at the rear end. Knowing Paul, that’s probably exactly what it was used for. He called it Mousey, showing an imagination that captivates an audience even now. I know for a fact where Mousey lives: somewhere in a landfill near Byker, as I accidentally threw him out in an overly-keen cleaning spree. Oops. Mousey was supplemented by all manner of tamagotchis that Paul was given to keep him quiet – I never had one and was furiously jealous of everyone else who had one. It’s probably for the best however – I was given my friend’s tamagotchi to look after and killed it for real within two hours by dropping it into the toilet.
We ended up choosing Lego for my nephew – partly because it’s the best gift you can give a young lad because it fires the imagination, partly because I know how much it will annoy my sister who now faces an eternity of stepping on Lego bricks in the dead of night. She can talk, she never used to clean away the Lego when we played at home. We used to build massive hamster runs and mazes out of Lego – it’s all good times until you forget about poor Snuffles working his way through the maze towards a carrot and go away on holiday. Poor little bugger*. I think all children should be given Lego at the earliest opportunity – not Duplo, that’s cheating, and not knock-off Lego that doesn’t quite fit together, but proper stuff. If I’m ever asked to step in and replace Theresa May on account that I have a soul and can smile without looking like I’m passing wind, I’ll make it mandatory that children are born into buckets of Lego that they then get to keep.
It wasn’t just Lego, of course – we had all manner of board games, all with nearly all the pieces included. It’s easy enough to play Pop-Up-Pirate without all of the swords but Buckaroo becomes a surprising challenge when you only have half of the donkey, and as for trying to solve a murder in Cluedo with only the Miss White card and 100 Lambert and Butler gratis points, well forget it. Paul’s favourite board-game was Screwball Scramble but because his mother was a shaved Hitler, he was only allowed to play it up to the bit where you had to smack the buttons and then stop, because the noise would ‘bring on one of her heads’. Even then he knew that her headaches were probably nicotine-poisoning. We want to join a local board game society up here in Newcastle but it all seems to be complicated games now – I want to play Monopoly with someone who doesn’t get in a huff when I buy Mayfair and then refuses to play when he starts losing: like Paul.
I’m obviously kidding about the hamster, by the way. All of our hamsters had luxurious, full lives, although we did lose one prematurely when it took an exciting and unexpected swerve on the hallway landing and went bouncing down the stairs in his little exercise ball. RIP Snowy.
Final highlight was a sit-on toy tractor that I could peddle around in the yard behind our house. I bloody loved that thing and used it until the brakes were worn, the wheels were shot and the whole thing was one more half-stone of my arse from falling to bits. It did almost kill me – I once went merrily shooting down our steep driveway and across two lanes of traffic before my mother remembered that she hadn’t shut the gate at the bottom. It’s alright, I survived (obviously) and there were only forty people injured in the resulting pile-up caused by the bus having to swerve around me into oncoming traffic.
The picture on this one doesn’t look amazing, but blame Paul: he forgot to take the pictures, so this is just a still from the video. Don’t worry, he’ll be getting a firm lashing later on.
UPDATE: Sorry – this isn’t syn free as it says in the photo, that’s a typo. It’s actually 1½ syns each!
to make saucy rainbow beef you will need:
- 500g beef stir-fry strips (or steak, sliced)
- 1½ tsp cornflour (½ syn)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- ½ tsp red chilli flakes
- 8 shittake mushrooms
- 3 peppers of different colours, sliced
top tips for saucy rainbow beef:
- we used the beef strips from our excellent Big Meaty Package – if you want decent quality, cheap meat go check out our deals page!
- mince the garlic and ginger in double-quick time with a Microplane grater – you can get one here!
- shiitake mushrooms will give a nice, beefy taste but normal mushrooms will do fine
- haven’t got rice wine vinegar? cider vinegar will be fine
- this makes enough for two large bowls
to make saucy rainbow beef you should:
- sprinkle the cornflour over the beef and give a good toss
- pour over the tsp of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, one of the garlic cloves, sesame oil, salt and pepper and mix everything together
- in a separate jug, stir the tbsp of rice wine vinegar and hoisin sauce and set aside
- heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray in a little oil
- add the beef to the pan and spread out as much as you can
- let it cook for about a minute to crisp up, and then stir fry for another minute
- slide the beef onto a plate and drain away any excess liquid
- add the peppers to the pan along with the other garlic clove, ginger, chilli flakes and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes
- add the beef back to the pan and give another stir
- pour over the hoisin sauce, cook for another 30 seconds, then serve
Did that get your minge tingling? Don’t forget we’ve got loooaddss of other Chinese fakeaway meals waiting for you! You’ll find some of our favourites below:
- salt and pepper chips (syn free)
- speedy spring roll bowls (syn free)
- bacon and egg fried rice (syn free)
- salt & pepper chicken (syn free)
- perfect egg fried rice (syn free)
- beef in a black bean sauce (0.5 syns)
- stir fry cucumber and pork (1 syn)
- best ever lemon chicken (1.5 syns)
- thai chicken dipping balls (1 syn)
- best ever mixed chow mein (2 syns)
- sesame chicken and broccoli (1 syn)
- sticky sesame chicken (2.5 syns)
- crispy chilli beef (1 syn)
- spicy orange chicken (2.5 syns)
- sizzling steak (2 syns)
- spicy szechuan beef (1.5 syns)
- bang bang chicken (4 syns)
- mongolian beef (2.5 syns)
- fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce (3 syns)