Ten years ago, I offered to cook for a woman I’d been on a  couple of dates with.  By all accounts she had dated a lot,  but being cooked for was, surprisingly, a first.

She was impressed, as she expected little more than a plate of spag bol. With perhaps a side portion of garlic bread.

Being a smooth operator, she arrived to a set table, candles, some well-chosen music, and a plate of Szechuan beef.

Needless to say, she married me.


  • 250g rump or frying steak
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1.5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1.5 tsp chilli sauce
  • Couple of glugs of Chinese wine
  • Salt and pepper


Cut the steak into long thin slices. Toss in the cornflour and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a wok over a moderate heat. Add the spring onions and fry for one minute.

Add the steak and cook for about four minutes until the meat is slightly browned.

Add the celery and carrots and cook for two minutes. Stir in the soy, hoisin and chilli sauce. Add the wine, bring to the boil and cook for one minute.


I serve this with a beansprouts and French beans stir-fried with spring onions and sesame oil. Lovely.