Way back in Part One, in the last week of my time at my first job, the office canteen served piri-piri chicken. I think it may well have been my second-last day there. Anyway, the chicken was, in theory, extremely nice. I could tell that it was very close to being excellent, and could readily detect the potential in the meal.
Unfortunately, it was almost inedible, rendered that way by a single miscalculation. The meal had been made with way too much chilli, and so it was incredibly hot, that heat drowing out every other flavour in the food. It was a crying shame, really, as it could have been great.
The reason I bring this up is that last night's Experimental Cookery attempt suffered from exactly the same issue (though I'm not sure it was the chilli that was the problem). It was constructed of great ingredients, it was nice and simple to make, and it was possible to tell that it should have been good.
But it wasn't really spiced beef stir-fry - a better name would have been NUCLEAR beef stir-fry. It was actually painful to eat.
The recipe came from "Chinese Food Made Easy" by Ching-He Huang, a book that I don't use often, but with which I've had some considerably success in the past. I followed the recipe exactly, so I'm more than a little surprised at the outcome. (Indeed, I was actually worried that there might not be enough spice mix for all the beef. In the event, I needn't have worried!)
But the absolute worst thing about this was that the recipe called for fillet steak, which I got but only at great expense. So, not only did the recipe go wrong, but it was already a horribly expensive meal to produce. (However, I am determined to try to rescue some of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I reckon that once they're dry they should be somewhat less hot, and if I pair them with a suitably bland cous-cous, I may be okay. Maybe. Hopefully.)
I won't be doing this one again (obviously). In addition, with future beef stir-fries, I think I'll be keeping away from the expensive beef fillet steaks. The meal was of outstanding quality, but standard frying steak must, surely, be good enough?
Anyway, never mind. I was probably due for another culinary disaster.