For a living I go around all these offices trying to teach fully grown men and women English. It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it, kinda, and it pays the bills, so I’m not complaining. Plus, I get to hang out in some pretty interesting places where I’d never go otherwise.
Some days of the week I actually head out of town and go to this giant IT complex out in the middle of nowhere. It’s lodged in between a bunch of motorways, so you can only arrive there by car or by using the shuttle bus for employees. It feels pretty remote in there because of this. It’s also impossible to nip out for a quick coffee, sandwich or anything, unless you want to risk ending up as road kill on your way to the nearest supermarket.
Because you can’t possibly leave 2000 people to starve within a complex that you can only enter and exit in motorised vehicles, there’s a giant canteen where people go for lunch. I don’t go to the canteen for lunch. I hate the canteen. It’s not only the fact that walking around with a tray of food looking for a place to sit makes me feel like a lost schoolgirl, although it does. It’s mostly the fact that they charge me extra because I’m not an employee, despite their employees actually making way more cash than me. It’s not even subtle. It’s right there, on your receipt: pasta €4.99, apple €0.50 OUTSIDER SURCHARGE €1. Well fuck you too, canteen. I’ll bring my own food.
Although a sandwich is always a fine meal, fit for kings, sometimes I want something slightly less bready. In those cases I usually bring fried rice. Last time I made Chinese egg and tomato rice, which is delicious and definitely much nicer than anything they sell in the stupid canteen. I’m not sure my preparation is the traditional Chinese one (I’ve understood that it exists in many varieties), but it works for me.
For two lunches, use the following:
- 2 cups of boiled white rice
- 10 cherry tomatoes (or 4 normal ones if you don’t have cherry tomatoes), chopped
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced and white and green parts separated
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp of sesame oil
- a generous splash of vinegar (I use some funky ass vinegar from the Chinese shop – you decide)
- some sugar, salt and pepper
- some frying oil
First of all, you need to beat your eggs and add a little bit of sesame oil and salt. Now grab a frying pan, heat some frying oil in it, then add the egg. Be careful: you don’t actually want the egg to go all that hard. Every 5 – 10 seconds or so, when the egg on the bottom of the frying pan is about to go solid, you quickly scoop it all up and sort of flip it over. Repeat this three or four times, until you’ve got a fairly liquid mixture with some more or less solid chunks of egg in it, like maybe about 50/50 solid and liquid.
Now remove your eggs from the pan, chuck them back into the bowl where you beat them, add some more frying oil to the pan if necessary and chuck in the tomatoes and the whites of the spring onions. Add the vinegar and the sugar, a little more than what you’d feel comfortable with, probably, and fry on high heat for a couple of minutes.
Once the tomatoes have released most of their juice and they’re pretty sweet and sour, add the rice and mix well.Then add the egg, remove the pan from the heat and stir well. The liquid egg will coat the rice in a delicious eggy layer. Now either serve up straight away, or leave it to cool and have it the next day for lunch, in either case topped with the green of the spring onions.