Helen’s Home Cooking

Today is takeaway day homemade style. Like many families take away is a real treat which can sadly be priced out for families on a budget, some of my recipes try to redress the imbalance by enabling you to have takeaway quality for a fraction of the price. Please remember, although the initial outlay may seem costly, unlike when buying takeaway you will now have ingredients needed for future meals. To further keep down costs why not try off cuts of pre-cooked chicken or beef usually found in the cold meat section.

Black Bean

serves 4

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  • 300g of sliced beef or chicken
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 1 red or green pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic or 4 tsp of garlic granules
  • 1tsp fresh or ground ginger
  • some mushrooms
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced
  • 2 tbls black bean paste, I use this (you should get 3 or 4 meals from one jar)
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  • 1 tbls soy sauce
  • 2 tbls rice wine vinegar (optional) or water instead
  • 1 tbls oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbls cornflour
  • warm water to loosen


  1. Heat 3 tbls of oil in a wide bottomed pan/wok until it starts to smoke.
  2. In quick succession add the beef/chicken, onion, garlic and ginger, fry for a couple of minutes stirring all the time. If using raw meat add first and fry for 2mins before continuing.
  3. Add the mushrooms and pepper and continue to stir for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add  the cornflour and stir through.
  5. Add the black bean paste, soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar/water.
  6. Cook all together for a few minutes until you feel the meat is cooked through.
  7. If you feel the consistency is globby add some hot water a couple of tbls at a time until you are happy. Serve with rice and enjoy.


Next week we are returning to Scotland with a meal commonly associated with Hogmany or New Years day, Steak Pie. The cost of steak pie can vary widely depending on the quality of beef you choose, however this recipe shall cook the meat twice so even the best value for money beef should be soft and tender when served. You shall need 500gms of beef cubed, 2 large onions, 150gms of mushrooms, pre-made puff pastry, (frozen is best value for money), corn flour and Bisto gravy powder. Photo shown is obviously before the pastry lids are added.  Note: beef is best cooked for one & half hours and allowed to cool before pastry lids are added.



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