from one generation to the next
I grew up in Melbourne at a time when the majority of people claimed British ancestry. Unlike the multicultural diversity today, the main social difference then was between those of Protestant English descent, and the Irish Catholics. The only meal Mum ever served that had not been prepared at home was fish and chip, and while there were Chinese cafes locally they treated with suspicion fuelled by rumours of disappearing cats!! There was little or no understanding in my home of Chinese cuisine.
My frugal Mum was always on the look out for cheap recipes, choosing minced beef often, so this recipe for “Chow Mein” became a regular when the family gave it the thumbs up. My kids euphemistically dubbed this “Nan’s Chinese.” It an easy, basic, one pot meal that I still make when we are going camping, a complete meal I can easily heat in a saucepan on a single burner. It’s a tasty, honest and balanced meal served with steamed rice.
500g lean minced beef
4 rashers bacon, trimmed of fat and diced
1 onion, finely diced
3 sticks celery, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
200 g green beans, topped, tailed and sliced
1/4 cabbage, roughly chopped
1 packet chicken noodle soup
1 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
Sauté the minced steak, onion and bacon until brown, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir well, bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. Serves 4