when i was a student, and in the year after i left university, i ate vegetable stir-fry regularly. on a daily basis sometimes. this was largely because i just didn’t have the time to go shopping or think creatively about the food i was cooking and eating.

i never used jars of sauces relying instead on starter flavours of ginger, garlic and chilli followed by soy sauce and lemon juice. plus lots of vegetables.

as a result of these years, the thought of vegetable stir-fry fills me with dread so it was with some trepidation that i ventured towards the wok and tried this garlic chilli beef stir-fry. i’m glad i did, not least as the beef i bought (from borough market at great expense!) was the tenderest, most delicious beef imaginable.

and that, i think, is the key. don’t bother trying this recipe unless you’re willing to treat yourself to some organic beef fillet. but if you are willing – put this recipe top of your list for a quick and easy, healthy but also indulgent, supper.

stir-fried garlic chilli beef * (serves 2)

200g beef fillet, thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon chinese five-spice

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon groundnut oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

200g pak choi

two individual packs so straight-to-wok noodles

season the beef with the five-spice and soy sauce. mix together and leave to marinade for 10 minutes.

heat a wok over a high heat and, when hot, add the oil and garlic and stirfry for 30 seconds. add the beef and stir-fry for a few minutes until browned. add the chilli and pak choi and stir-fry until the leaves wilt slightly. add the noodles and cook for a final minute.

season with a little light soy sauce and some sesame oil.

* based on a ching-he huang recipe