Happy Anniversary and…Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews

I can’t quite believe it but Hotly Spiced has just turned one!

Before I started Hotly Spiced I had only ever read one blog and that was a real estate blog and now I read hundreds of blogs and none of them are about real estate!

My first tentative steps into blogging were lacklustre, unremarkable and very, very ordinary.  Most likely because I had no idea what I was doing.  I wasn’t born in 2005 where now I would be seven and taught blogging at school.   Yes, that’s right, I sat in on one of Alfie’s classes yesterday and the teacher was showing the class on the smart board their blog and teaching them how to approve and edit comments.  Amazing!

Back in my early days I wasn’t sure if anyone was reading my blog.  If they were they certainly weren’t commenting.  I used to beg everyone in my family, (and my friends who I knew I could lean on), to post a comment.  ‘Just write anything’, I’d plead, ‘And you don’t even have to be you, you can make up any name you like’.  And so my family and friends would draw straws to see who would have to take on the task of appeasing me with a comment.

Stir-Fried Chicken Fillets with Cashews

Then Mr Anonymous found me and his comment was awful.  This is what he said:

‘The five minutes I just spent reading your juvenile and self-consciously written blog is five minutes of my life wasted, gone forever. A real loss. Fortunately, not as great a loss as the sum total of your empty life which is built around self-absorbed family members, yourself included. Your attempts at humour fail (you must have graduated with Honours from the Bob Hope School of Comedy) and your life’s tales are boring. If serendipity ever finds me in your orbit, your identity will be confirmed if I fall asleep in your presence. Stick to cooking and stay in your kitchen, far away from your keyboard.’

Isn’t that mean!  But Mr Anonymous taught me that not all comments need to be approved.

And just a few days later there was a very different comment and it wasn’t anonymous and it came all the way from California:

I just found your site this fine gray morning… It was impossible to stop reading due to your absolutely captivating writing, I can tell I’m in for a grand ride and adventure. What an absolute and utter fool the publisher was for not printing your cookbook, obviously it would have been more than a million seller. Great, great recipes!!!

And ever so slowly Hotly Spiced gained traction and one by one we found each other.  And you do not know how special you have made me feel.  It is an absolute joy to wake up each morning and read your generous, kind and supportive comments.  It’s wonderful building and developing relationships with you all.  Some of you like Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial are geographically so close we could catch up for coffee, others like Eva from Kitchen Inspirations are on the other side of the world but we feel so close she could be in the house next door.

But you are all very special to me and you know who you are because I am on your site awaiting every new post, eagerly anticipating news from your part of the world; how’s your family life, what are you cooking, where are you dining and where are you traveling.  Thank you for letting me share your journey.

And a very special thank you to everyone in my family.  Thank you for allowing me to share your sins, stories and secrets with all my cyber-friends.  But don’t be worried, my cyber-friends are all very good at keeping secrets!

I’m very much looking forward to the next 12 months.  Please journey with me.  xx

Yesterday’s Fried Rice is really just a side-dish.  Here’s something ‘meaty’ to go with it.

Stir-Fried Chicken Fillets with Cashews

Wonderful served with Fried Rice

Serves:  4-6

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I’m sure this cost less than $20.00 to make and we had leftovers for lunch boxes.

  • 800g (1lb 10oz) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm (1 inch) slices
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsalted and roasted cashew nuts – about 150g (5oz)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tbspns shao hsing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tspns sea salt
  • 3/4 cup finely sliced spring onions (scallions)


  • 2 tbspns shao hsing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tbspns cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 tbspn water
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Combine chicken with marinade ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and leave to marianate in thre fridge for 30 minutes.

Cut cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds using a spoon.  Place cucumber cut-side down on a chopping board, finely slice on the diagonal and set aside.

Heat 2 tbspns of the oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly.  Add  half the marinated chicken  and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Remove from wok with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add remaining chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute, remove from wok and set aside.

Add remaining oil to the hot wok, stir in nuts and garlic and stir-fry on medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring constantly to ensure garlic does not burn.  Immediately return chicken to the wok and increase heat to high.  Pour in wine or sherry and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add salt and continue to stir-fry for a further 30 seconds or until chicken is lightly browned and just cooked through.  Lastly, add reserved cucumber and stir-fry for 10 seconds.

Arrange chicken on a platter, garnish with spring onions and serve immediately.

This recipe is Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking.  I love to cook Chinese food but I can’t do it without a recipe and Kylie’s recipes are the best!

Want to keep in touch?  Let’s be friends on Facie! 


  1. Happy Anniversary dear Charlie, I love your blog and your writing…. But where is the cake for party 🙂 Thank you, I loved your photographs and recipes… All my best wishes, love, nia

  2. Love it!!
    What a great story. Congratulations on turning one!! You have done awesome getting so many followers in such a short time. Obviously Mr Annon was wrong!!!

    I love the way you tell a story and your sense of humour, very funny, you make my day with your posts 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for your generous shout out, Charlie, and Happy Anniversary!
    What an inconsiderate and rude comment your first comment was; I’m so glad it didn’t deter you from blogging. My only regret is that I hadn’t found you sooner! I adore your stories and your recipes! Keep on blogging my friend. XOXO

  4. Happy Anniversary Charlie 🙂 With you amazing writing skills and photography ~ I never knew that Hotly Spice was only born 12 months ago!

    That Mr Anonymous should be called Mr Ass*ole! That’s so so so rude of him to leave you such a rude comment! I’m glad you didn’t approve it and didn’t let him stop you from blogging woo hoo!

    You’ve done an amazing job! Thank you for sharing your stories with us! It’s always a joy to read your stories and the recipes that go along with it 😀
    Keep up the great work ~ and thank you for always coming back to my blog!

  5. Hi Charlie .. congratulations – and for getting over the anonymous chappy – poor ignorant man.

    Delighted you made it through – one year – and love the stories you tell and your recipes .. they look good and I love cashews and chicken together .. your story on Archie was fabulous – lucky son and Dad ..

    Cheers and have a great weekend .. Hilary

  6. Charlie – One of the highlights of my day is reading your blog. Your writing makes me smile, laugh, sometimes cringe, and at least once cry (the good cry). You are such an incredible person, blogger, chef, author. To see what you accomplish after only one year is amazing. I am still in the Mr. Anonymous stage so I know that things can only go up:) Thank you for brightening the day of all of your faithful readers.

  7. You should re-post your very first post:)

  8. Happy, happy! Congrats on the first anniversary. I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m always relating your stories to my family, as if you and I were flesh and blood friends rather than cyber friends.

  9. Congratulations, HAPPY FIRST ANNIVERSITY!!!!!
    I somehow thought you were blogging for years, you are so good at it and writes so well. Wish I was a good writer.

  10. Woo-hoo! Very happy blogaversary!

  11. Happy Anniversary, Charlie!
    What a horrible comment! I have never seen such comments on blogs (probably because most people moderate), but sometimes I read similar hatred-filled things on forums and wonder why people do it… Luckily there are heartwarming visitors who make one feel happy and remind us why we have started to blog. I wish you many many more happy blog anniversaries!

  12. Congratulations on your anniversary. As to the rude comment … isn’t it amazing that someone would spend the time and effort to craft such a mean post. Many of our mothers have told us “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. After all, who’d ever know that he/she, read your blog at all. Oh well, I’m glad to see that you didn’t let that negativity hold you back.

    Lovely recipe as usual. I’m buying a roast chicken today as it’s been a rough work week and I’m beat. Keep writing and posting.

  13. Happy first anniversary! Well, that anonymous poster was certainly wrong, wasn’t he? I’m glad you chose to ignore him and forge forward.

    Here’s what I enjoy about your blog: You take me far from my Minnesota home to places I’ve never seen and into a life that truly is quite different than mine. Yet, I feel that personal connection that bonds those of us who love to write.

    I appreciate your humor, your honesty, your storytelling abilities, your clear and deep love of family. And the food, oh, I would love to be a dinner guest at your house.

    Keep writing with a passion because I, for one, am a fan.

  14. Congrats on your first anniversary Charlie!! I think we’ve all been their with commenters…almost a sort of Right of Passage. Never fun to receive and dismiss. However, you are still here rocking and rolling because of your writing and recipes. Keep it up Charlie and have a great weekend!

  15. Congratulations Charlie!!! What a fun milestone. 🙂 I’m very happy to have come across your blog this year and look forward to following along for another year. And wow! I can’t believe what Mr. Anonymous wrote – completely rude and cowardly. I think you are a fantastic, enjoy reading your stories and love your recipes. 🙂 Congratulations!!

  16. Happy first anniversary to Hotly Spiced! I had recently made a Chinese stir-fried cashew chicken recipe too. Love having these nuts in the stir-fries for a play on the texture.

  17. Happy Anniversary, Charlie!! I love your blog, and all your recipes are WONDERFUL! Shame on mr. nasty anonymous. So glad you you kept with it 🙂

  18. That guy was mean, I hate people that do that type of comments and then can’t even say who they are!

    Your blog, stories and recipes are great and I always love reading your stories.

    I will be in Spain but in your blog for the next year for sure 🙂 Happy anniversary!!!!

  19. Congrats, Charlie! What kind of miserable loser would take the time to leave so foul a comment? The internet is and can be a wonderful tool. Unfortunately, there are a number of people, keyboard warriors, that hide behind anonymity to sling “mud.” Glad you didn’t pay him any mind. We would have missed out on your wonderful writing and recipes. I hope you’ve found writing your blog as rewarding as we’ve found yours entertaining. With wishes for much continued success!

  20. Congratulations!:)

  21. Congratulations, Charlie–Happy Anniversary! What a cruel, mean-spirited comment that man left. I am so glad you didn’t let it deter you–I so enjoy your stories as well as your recipes. And like you, I love having “blog friends” from all over the world. Really, we are all so connected in such a nice way.

  22. Congratulations on your first anniverary!. it is strange how blogging becomes such an important part of your life and looking forward to what people will post is a highlight of our day. Thank you for all of the stories and recipes ( particularly your Chicken recipe), and I look forward to many more. I am honoured that you drop by my little corner frequently, thankyou xx

  23. Congrats on the anniversary, all your posts have been interesting.
    That was an interesting comment from Mr. Anonymous. He wasted 5 mins of his life reading your post, but then proceeded to waste more minutes writing his comment. Throwing good money after bad.

  24. Oh my1 How on earth did I take that long to find you?! Congratulations on your blogasarry!!! With Mr Anonymous, you’re just gonna have to know that there are always going to be trolls (everywhere!) But keep up the good spirit and good work 🙂

  25. Congrats and Here’s to Another Year of Great Blogging!!! Happy Saturday:) CELEBRATE, CELEBRATE and CELEBRATE Some More!!!

  26. Congratulations on turning one! I remember my shaking beginnings too, and wondering if anyone was actually out there at all. You’ve survived a really negative comment from a grumpy Mr Anon. There’s nowhere to go but UP after a comment like that, and it sounds like that’s where you’ve gone. It’s a fun blog, and very appetising and tasty with the mix of stories and food.

  27. Congratulations on your one year anniversary. How wrong Mr Annonymous was, your writing is both entertaining and funny. A mean spirited man with a duller life for not enjoying your posts. GG

  28. Happy Anniversary Charlie! I think you might have found me originally but I’m so glad you did.

    You know that first mean comment is quite funny really. If he thought his life was wasted then why did he ‘waste’ more time telling you? Silly man!

    I can’t wait to read the next year of adventures!

    ps… they teach blogging at school?!? I didn’t even really know what a blog was before I started mine and still have so much to learn!

  29. Hooray!! Happy Anniversary!! Your blog is a joy to visit, and I’m looking forward to that coffee, Charlie.. 🙂 Best wishes for many years of blogging yet to come!

  30. Happy anniversary…it is always fun reading your posts, and the chicken looks delicious, I love the idea of leftover for lunch 🙂
    I am glad that you continue being what you are in spite of the mean comment…again happy anniversary Charlie…hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  31. Congrats on your first blogiversary! Mr Anon clearly has a rather bitter, boring existence. This stir fry looks great – just the kind of thing I like to make. Blog on!

  32. Well – to be fair, I’m probably further away then Eva is by ~2000km, give or take a few hundred… not that it’s a competition or anything. Congratulations Charlie on your achievement, and ha! What a colossal jackass. Hiding behind his precious mask of anonymity to make that comment. It’s always amazing how unbelievably rude some people can be, just because they’re anonymous. They may never dream of being like that “in real life”, but on the internet, all of a sudden they’re all opinionated cretins.

  33. Happy birthday to you, Charlie, and many thanks for keeping us amused. Great food with a smile is always welcomed!

  34. Happy anniversary!! It constantly shocks and frustrates me that people leave negative comments – what’s the point? I’ve been very fortunate never to get anything negative written on my blog (or perhaps I’m just not popular enough to attract mean-ness), but I hate hearing that other people get them. But let’s forget about that 🙂 Here’s to another year of hilarity and deliciousness for you!

  35. Happy anniversary! I love reading your blog, there is always something I can relate to there! Isn’t blog world fabulous, you get to meet so many great people. I’m glad I stumbled across you in my travels. Keep up the great work Charlie!

  36. happy blogiversary! here’s to many more years to come! i have loved each and every entry you have written and have always left with a smile on my face 🙂

  37. Happy 1st Blogiversary Charlie! I was shocked to see the horrible comment. I can’t believe it wasn’t your joke. I am so happy to see you didn’t give up and continue with the blog. Look where you are, and with the very heartwarming comment from a reader. I’m enjoying your posts and I can’t wait to celebrate your 2nd with you! 😉

  38. Happy 1st Blogoversary Charlie! I am thrilled to be along for the ride and am eagerly awaiting this next year.
    Leaving a pathetic comment under “Mr Anonymous” shows he clearly has no backbone to even leave his name!
    🙂 Mandy

  39. Happy Anniversary Charlie and may there be many, many more! And the thing about trolls is that they’re deeply unhappy people who are dissatisfied with their own lives. they used to bother me but I really feel sorry for them too. I really think they need a hug 😛

  40. Happy blog birthday! A great achievement! Aren’t people like Mr Annon just pitiful? Who’s life is so slow and boring that they have time to write comments like that on random blogs? He clearly needs a hobby… but I bet he won’t be nearly as successful with his as you’ve been with yours! Congrats!

  41. Happy Anniversary. Poor Mr Anonymous probably hasn’t had a laugh in 6 years and wants everyone to feel as miserable as he is. {wanker}

    Love the chicken dish. Cashews make everything better.

  42. Happy Anniversary. Poor Mr Anonymous probably hasn’t had a laugh in 6 years and wants everyone to feel as miserable as he is. {wanker}

    Love the chicken dish. Cashews make everything better.

  43. Happy Anniversary. Poor Mr Anonymous probably hasn’t had a laugh in 6 years and wants everyone to feel as miserable as he is. {wanker}

    Love the chicken dish. Cashews make everything better.

  44. Happy Anniversary. Poor Mr Anonymous probably hasn’t had a laugh in 6 years and wants everyone to feel as miserable as he is. {wanker}

    Love the chicken dish. Cashews make everything better.

  45. Happy one year blogoversary – good on you for sticking to it even with that unceremonious comment at the beginning – you show ’em! That chicken looks delicious!

  46. happy anniversary!

  47. I’m so glad you kept going and didn’t let that nasty deter you! I so look forward to your adventures over my morning cup of tea, thankyou for letting me live vicariously through you and your family!
    Happy blogaversary, and here’s to many many more!

  48. I can’t believe you’re only 1! Well done on a fabulous first year. 🙂

  49. Happy Anniversary Charlie Louie, and I’m so glad you didn’t let that total loser Anonymous get you down. It just figures that someone who couldn’t come up with a better name than anonymous would have no taste and be such a coward. I love your stories, think you will be published one day and look forward to following you this next year! Cheers! ~Betsy

  50. Happy Anniversary, Charlie:) Sending positive love and congratulations!! (Rubbish to all those nasty Mr. Anonymous who think they can hide behind a lack of name! I’m sending a hex and bad karma over to him!! (Hahaha, I just assumed it was a man!! Lol!!) Really so glad to have found your blog here, it’s always a pleasure to open it and read!! xo Smidge

  51. Happy Belated Anniversary Spiced Charlie … and thanks for sharing your words and treats with us! …. Oh …. and I write this on my day of my wedding anniversary.

  52. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! one year, wow calls for a big celebration. reading ur post i was shocked ur first comment was that terrible.. how can people be so mean. im just glad it dint affect u coz i love ur writing style. wishing u many many more years of happy blogging 🙂

  53. Dear Charlie,

    Congrats on your first anniversary!! What a fantastic achievement and I wish you many more happy ones to come! Just out of curiosity, what is the name of the real estate blog that you use to read as I am a keen investor.

  54. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Happy Anniversary. So glad you kept blogging, they are topical, interesting and funny. We are addicted to “Kylie” this is one of our favs. I love it.

  55. Charlie! I can’t believe some jerk would write that! How horrible. I am SO GLAD that you stuck with it and didn’t let his jerkiness get you down. I love your stories! Happy first birthday! (I’ll be one next month!) Here’s to many more fantastic posts!!!!

  56. wow what a mean blow… I think your articles are lovely together combined with your recipes. you tell simples live stories but they capture the reader, thats why I like to come to your blog to read somethign new. (sorry by the way, was a bit busy the past days).

    Happy Anniversary! I hope to read more from you! =)

  57. HaPpy Blogoversary lovely, you have done so well in your first year. I love visiting your blog. It is my Sunday night treat to lie in bed, as I am now and Cath up on your week. Your stories captivate me and I find myself reacquainting with some of my own precious memories I had long forgotten about until something you have written evokes them.
    It has been awesome getting to know you and I so look forward to the next 12 months. Xxx

  58. Happy anniversary,
    I enjoy reading your posts. I feel Iike I know your family after following your blog. I can never understand why people need to make horrible comments. If you don’t like a blog, then there is no need to comment. Keep up the great posts.


  59. Happy anniversary! What a gorgeous blog you’ve created….love it!

  60. This is my first time on your blog. My wife Rachel Holmes visits your blog just about every day. Reading this post I can see your blog is about to turn two. Congratulations! You have a wonderful writing style Charlie. And your pictures are incredible. I wish you continue success.

    All the best.

    Chuck Holmes

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