6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 inch piece, fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli, deseeded
1 large red pepper
4 spring onions
150g mange touts
1 cup baby sweet corn
1 large firm, ripe mango
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine or sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper
Cut the chicken into long, thin strips and place in a bowl. Mix together the ginger, garlic and chilli, then stir the mixture into the chicken strips to coat them evenly. Slice the pepper thinly, cutting it diagonally. Trim the onions and slice them diagonally. Cut mange touts and sweet corn in half diagonally. Peel the mango, remove the stone and slice thinly. Heat the oil in a wok or a frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until it just turns golden. Add the peppers and stir-fry over medium heat for 4-5 minutes to soften. Add the spring onions, sweet corn and mange touts, and stir-fry for another minute. Mix together the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, and sesame oil and stir it into the wok. Add the mango and stir gently for one minute to heat thoroughly. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Take time to clean your refrigerator and do it regularly. This is because the refrigerator holds it all – food and finance, weight and wellbeing, organisation and chaos. These are all crammed inside one big, cold box. Dive into it with a detached eye, a hardened heart and one hour of your precious time and you’re on the road to weight loss, better household management, and a healthier budget.
Look inside the cold box and see what you have turned it into – an assortment of opened half tins of unnecessary foods like peanut butter, jam, and tomato paste, which are probably months old; leftover ‘mbuzi’ and ‘kuku choma’ wrapped in torn foil and grease-proof papers; vegetables that have changed colour and wounded fruits that stare back at you from the bottom rack; small cooked foods stored in bowls five times their capacity; and opened hams that have started developing slime due to age.
Think tough. Be firm. Resolve. Then gather your tools – a large, lined garbage can, sink full of soapy water, spray bottles of degreaser and window cleaner, cleaning cloths and a pen and notepad. Clear the kitchen counters so you can sort and spread out with impunity, and an empty bucket or dishwasher should await your container collection.
Before you begin cleaning, turn your refrigerator off – and unplug it, too, for good measure. We want the only shock you receive to be from the label dates on some of your food. Start at the top. Remove everything from the top refrigerator shelf. Holiday leftovers go directly into the garbage can. Show no pity or mercy! If it hasn’t been eaten by now, it’s because the family will scream if presented with ham in one more disguise. Open everything, and when in doubt, toss it out.
Plastic food storage containers are consigned to the dishwasher after a brief rinse. The shelf goes directly to the sink’s soapy water. While it soaks off the grime of Christmas, use your degreaser spray to clean the refrigerator’s ceiling and walls down to the next shelf. Wash the shelf, dry and replace it, but don’t put any food back, not yet.
Work your way from top to bottom, and you’ll build up enough steam to tackle the vegetable crisper. Amazing, isn’t it, how innocent little tomatoes and shy stalks of celery undergo such a malign transformation in the crisper? Pull all of them out, and unless you bought the vegetable desperado in question within the last week, throw them out.
After removing everything and cleaning up you will be surprised how you bought things in excess last year, how your children have outgrown most things that you still buy but they don’t eat and simply how you have turned your fridge into a store of the unwanted. You will be wiser and save more this year. Besides, air flows better in a less stocked refrigerator.
Published in Jan 2012 Issue