Recipe time – and my love affair with ginger

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When I was a little girl my grandmother always had one of those blue and white willow pattern jars filled with crystallised ginger. If she was feeling particularly decadent it would be chocolate covered. As kids we always thought it tasted yuck, it was too hot and smarted on your tongue in a weird way. Almost every birthday, Christmas or Mothers day someone in our family would give her ginger and she never looked disappointed.

I’m not sure if she really loved the ginger or if it was the only sweetie in her house that the grandchildren didn’t want to devour in four minutes flat.

Over the last few years my love affair with ginger has grown. Maybe that means I’m a grown up now or perhaps I’m just channeling my grandmother but hey, whatever the reason I am here to stay.

Ginger in curries, stir frys, biscuits, sticky moist cakes, drinks. Ginger in cool, yummy Vietnamese style salads. It’s all too much yum for me.

Apart from it’s gorgeous, grown up zingy loveliness it is incredibly good for you. It is useful in the treatment of nausea, morning and motion sickness, arthritis and rheumatic pain. It’s also helpful in aiding digestion by reducing cramping and smoothing and strengthening stomach muscles and mucosal linings. It’s fantastic in the treatment of cold and flu symptoms and can be used for indigestion and bloating problems.

So here it comes, gingery deliciousness in the form of sticky ginger tofu stir fry and a gingerbread that will knock your socks off.

Sticky ginger stir fry with cucumber salad

To make salad peel and thinly slice a couple of cucumbers, mix with 2 tablespoons of finely sliced pickled ginger and 2 tablespoons rice wine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, get going on the stir fry…..

Stir fry ingredients

  • 500g firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 tbs finely julienned ginger
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • Asian greens of your choice – wombok, bok choy

Mix together soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and cornflour. Cut tofu in 2cm cubes and place in bowl with soy sauce marinade. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

In a frypan heat a teaspoon of peanut oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil. Drop in ginger and fry till crisp. Remove from frypan and drain on paper. Now use frypan for tofu.

Drain the tofu and keep marinade aside. Fry tofu in a little peanut oil until golden. Add garlic, marinade, sugar and pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes then add stock. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.

When ready to serve add chopped asian greens and cook for a couple of minutes.

Serve with rice – the browner the better. Sprinkle the crispy ginger over the top and dig in.

Now for the gingerbread.

Admittedly this recipe is not exactly a ‘health food’  but boy oh boy is it good. A little bit of what you fancy never hurt anyone..

3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 heaped teaspoon of dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
60g butter
1/2 cup treacle, golden syrup or blackstrap molasses.

Line a loaf pan with baking paper.
Mix together flours, spices and sugar.
Melt butter in a saucepan, add in treacle.
Stir butter mixture in dry ingredients. Stir in milk and egg.

Pour into pan and bake for about 50 minutes.

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