Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Esther's takeout broccoli

You're supposed to be looking at the broccoli here

I once went to a talk by Irma Kurtz - where and why now escapes me - about getting old. She said that as you get older it's important to change your mind about things. "I try to address one of my prejudices each year," she said, "and try to change my own mind." Otherwise you get stuck churning out the same old boring opinions year after year and you start to be the person no-one wants to sit next to.

Since then I have always sought to change my prejudices about things, to change my mind, to move on, to modernise.

Only the other day, for example, I discovered that a really serious prejudice in my hair care routine was majorly holding me back.

I've grown my hair really long. Like, very nearly crazy cat lady long: it's down to my bra strap now and I'm wondering how much further it can go. I've only got so much time left to have really long hair, you see, and there are no more babies coming along to yank on it, so I've really gone for it. I've gone full mane. It's absolutely the anti-"mum" haircut, it's totally time-consuming, totally impractical.  It's my declaration of independence. It's my Braveheart scream of freedom.

I have historically been shy of hair product as my hair is so horrible and greasy - I've been frightened that I will make it go sticky and lank with too much "stuff" on it. So I've applied a tiny blob in terror and then wondered why my hair doesn't end up like it does at the hair dresser's.

And I've always dried my hair on a "medium" heat because I read in J17 once that a very hot hairdryer will cause you to have split ends. Split ends! Whatever happened to them? They seemed to be the scourge of the world in my teens - now never mentioned anywhere. Anyway so I always dried my hair on the "med" hot setting with a tiny slick of hair product and gone about looking pretty ordinary.

Then I noticed that my hairdresser, who is called Nadia and works at John Frieda in Mayfair, goes completely loony with the product and dries my hair so hot that I sometimes worry that my ears are going to frazz off. And my hair always comes out a cross between Gisele and Liono from Thundercats. (Although being similarly covered in spots, I will always be a dead ringer for Cheetarah. HA! Whatever.)

So I have started using three - yes three - pumps of Keratase Serum Oreo-Relax to my hair and drying it super-fast, super-hot and it looks phenomenal. Every. Time.

And all rules that apply to life in general also apply to cooking. So do this thing with broccoli, which takes normal broccoli and turns it into something you'd find in a really decent high street Chinese or Thai restaurant - and change your mind about it forever.

Esther's Takeout Broccoli

3 florets of broccoli per person
1 tsp runny honey
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp groundnut oil

1 Take a wok or a large frying pan and get it really hot then douse it with some groundnut oil, wait 30 seconds and then tip in the broccoli.

2 Stir this about until the edges of the veg are turning brown and black, then turn the heat down to a medium (in this instance, it is necessary) and add your honey and soy. Muddle all this around for another minute and then serve.

TA FUCKING DAH. You're welcome. 


  1. You're back, yay!!
    Check this blog like some weirdo stalker and whenever I see a new post I get all excited.
    Broccoli in our house is boiled for 10mins on the hob, drained and shoved around on a plate before being scraped into the bin (damn those kids!) so this idea will be done ASAP. Shall let you know if they go for it!
    PS I also blowdry my hair on medium and don't really know what products do what so shy away from them but am going to follow suit and buy that serum and blast the shit out of my hair this week. You had better not be taking the piss!!

  2. Huh. Is it oleo relax? Damn, the thought of oreos made it much more appealing somehow...

  3. YouTube happened ten years too late to stop all the fucking awful things I have done to my face from the age of 11 onwards based on the "advice" from insane magazines. Life is not fair. I love broccoli, soy and honey so thanks for the tip . X

  4. Can I ask if you blow dry or just rough dry?

    1. I rough dry all over for about 30 secs at the start and then go through the tricky front bits with a skeleton brush and leave the back pretty much to its own devices...

  5. Jamie has a lovely broccoli recipe in his 15 or 30 min meals which involves blending the stalk with anchovies and garlic, then boiling the florets with pasta and stirring it all up.

  6. A splash of fish sauce on broccoli just at the end is also very good. We called them ''trees'' in out house. A lot of playing went on but the trees were felled and consumed by the end.

  7. My hairdresser gave me this wonderful stuff called Argan Oil which literally smells good enough to eat. Agreed on changing one's mind - i couldn't be in the same room as a mushroom until a few years ago now I love love love them. Fab thanks.

  8. I have shit thin hair. I hate all hair products except....Boots SUPER DOOOOPER strength mousse. It makes my hair THICK AND DELIGHTFUL. And dry shampoo, obvs. Cos otherwise i am a greasy greasy ball. And that helps lank, thin hair doesn't it? IN NO WAY. But if your hair isn't exactly the same as someone else, then hair advice is completely irrelevant so soz for time wasting.

    One thing about the broc....i put garlic with it. Thai's do this lush garlic greens thing (you prob already know) and this is really similar. But with garlic.

    2 bits of unheralded advice for you there love. :) I'm kind like that.

  9. I adore broccoli and I'm always looking at new recipes to change from my usual recipes. This one is fun!