“Stir Fried Chilli Pork” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

In retrospect, it was foolhardy of me to think that either of the boys would like something that has chilli in it. If you’re at all interested, see their past aversions in several previous posts. But the adults loved it, and frankly, sometimes that’s all that matters.

Andrew (11): I think this is nice. [Pause for consideration] Actually, I think it’s too spicy, even for me.

Maureen: I think this is more sweet than spicy, to be honest.

Nicholas (8): No way. It’s too spicy!

Tim: I wish it had more sauce.

Maureen: There is some more sauce, though not a lot, still in the pan. You could go get some.

Andrew: I thought it was nice, but too spicy. (Editor’s note: The boys now leave the table to take up their mother’s offer to have some cereal instead of stir fry for dinner. It’s their fall-back meal when they really can’t stand what I’ve made. The only rule is they always have to try things first.)

Maureen: I actually cut down on the chillies you were supposed to use. You were supposed to put three in there, but when it came time to adding them, I realised I only had one in the refrigerator. So one chilli had to be. I think it’s delicious.

Tim: Yes, this is really nice.

Maureen: It takes just like takeaway to me!

Tim: Is that a good thing?

Maureen: Maybe we wouldn’t want to model our culinary lives on takeaway foods, but every once in awhile, it’s a real treat. ┬áIf nothing else, it was extremely fast, which is always handy on a weekday night when the four of us have returned from four different places.

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“Stir Fried Chilli Pork” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Rice Noodle Pho with Rare Beef and Star Anise” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

Tom: This beef is cooked perfectly.

Kirstin: It’s made me go and buy a new frying pan, but that’s another story…

Tom: I like the way the broth is a bit spicy as well.

Kirstin: Cinnamon, ginger and star anise.

Continue reading ““Rice Noodle Pho with Rare Beef and Star Anise” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian””

“Rice Noodle Pho with Rare Beef and Star Anise” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Butternut Squash, Chilli & Coconut Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

Tim: What do you think?

Maureen: I am not a fan of this. It’s not disaster, but equally, it’s not very good.

Tim: It doesn’t seem like a dinner to me.

Maureen: Soup for dinner is absolutely fine, but this is too thin to be substantial.

Tim: That’s what I mean.

Continue reading ““Butternut Squash, Chilli & Coconut Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian””

“Butternut Squash, Chilli & Coconut Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Sweetcorn Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

We love a corn soup in this house. The Shoepeg Corn Soup (I’m using all capital letters to give it the respect it deserves) I make every Thanksgiving is the one of the highlights of that magnificent feast. So when I saw this recipe, I was eager to give it a try, particularly since Soup Season –autumn and winter– is nearly upon us.

First the good news: It is very easy to make. I used fresh corn, but I doubt if you used a good frozen corn you could tell the difference. Like all soups, much of the work is in the front end, in this case, getting the kernels off of the cobs. So if you used frozen corn it would be that much easier. Even Bill seems fairly relaxed about which type you use because he does say in the introduction to the recipe, “You can’t beat the earthy taste of fresh corn but I won’t tell if you cheat with the frozen or tinned kind.”

It tastes delicious. I ended up eating this mostly for lunch. When I added freshly chopped spring onions, it was a delight. I went off piste and added some roasted cashews as a garnish, and that made it even better. It would appear from the photo that Bill himself put in either fresh coriander or parsley to perk it up, but the recipe didn’t call for that.

So it’s easy and delicious. If I said there was good news, there must be bad news to go with it. They are, after all, the ying and yang of trite sayings. So what’s the bad news? Well, I hate to tell you this dear reader, but without the lovely garnishes on top, it looks absolutely gross. Unfortunately it looks like a big bowl of sick.

The recipe calls for you to puree half of the soup. I think I removed even less than that, maybe a third, but still it looked awful. This is the reason why it was never served to the boys. While it would have provided a great deal of entertaining dialogue for our Cookbook a Month readers, I don’t think I could have handled the outcry. So it was left to the adults, who are able occasionally to look past the superficial and see the true beauty inside, to eat this. And we liked it. We just kept our eyes shut while we ate it, or added a lot of garnish (see above).

I’m going to give this soup another try. This time I might skip the puree step altogether to see what happens. If nothing else, I won’t have to eat my lunch blindfolded.

“Sweetcorn Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Vietnamese Steak with Watercress” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

Miles: Well the beef was chewy.

Tom: Is chewy good or bad?

Miles: It’s bad.

Tom: Why is that bad?

Miles: I dunno.

Tom: Well I thought it was spectacular. I wish I had poured the sauce onto my plate though. Can I help you with that beef, Miles?

Ella: Well it was kind of ok. I am not a fan of beef though.

Continue reading ““Vietnamese Steak with Watercress” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian””

“Vietnamese Steak with Watercress” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Fish Baked in a Bag with Lime Butter and Potatoes” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

Tom: Hark! A carbohydrate. But will this potato be cooked?

Kirstin: I blanched the potato slices first, and then baked them with the fish.

Tom: I like fish en papillote like this. Ooh, yes. The potato is cooked.

Kirstin: And the fish is infused with lime… it’s really good. But I think I chose the wrong kind of fish (pollock). It might have been better if I’d used cod. But I always feel bad using cod.

Tom: I like this. Was it a fiddle to make the lime butter?

Kirstin: No, not at all. I don’t think I’ll make this again, though. But only because I like lots of Bill’s other recipes more than I like this one.

“Fish Baked in a Bag with Lime Butter and Potatoes” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Glazed Salmon with Cucumber Sesame Salad” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

Unusually for us, there was nothing to write down in the first few minutes of the meal because everyone was too busy eating to talk about what they were eating. This phenomenon could be attributed either to the deliciousness of the meal, or the fact that everyone was starving after a long day. I’m going with the former, rather than the latter.

Maureen: Wow. This is delicious.

Andrew (11): Yum! This is nice.

Tim: I liked it, but I’m not surprised that I liked it. I could tell from the recipe that it was going to be nice.

Maureen: I’m surprised you could tell that from reading the recipe, given that it consists of only five ingredients (salmon plus a marinade of mirin, soy sauce, soft brown sugar and lemon juice). This would be a really good weeknight meal because it was delicious but very quick to do.

Continue reading ““Glazed Salmon with Cucumber Sesame Salad” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian””

“Glazed Salmon with Cucumber Sesame Salad” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”