“Vietnamese Beef with Rice Vermicelli and Crispy Vegetables” from “A Change of Appetite”

Anna: This tastes and smells just like authentic Vietnamese. Or the Vietnamese food we used to eat in Sydney. Making this has taken me straight back to that restaurant we went to in Glebe with Edyta and Mark. We had the summer rolls and I’d never had anything like them before. Isn’t it brilliant that a smell can take me back to seven years ago like it was yesterday!

Peter: It does taste pretty authentic. It’s delicious.

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Anna: It is, isn’t it? I love this. I love this type of food. If there wasn’t so much bloody chopping involved I’d make it every week.

Peter: Well I do like a good noodle so I’m happy for you to make it any time.



“Vietnamese Beef with Rice Vermicelli and Crispy Vegetables” from “A Change of Appetite”

Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber from “Change of Appetite”

DSC_2522Kirstin: Oh my goodness, this smelled amazing in the oven.

Miles: What kind of chicken is this?

Kirstin: It uses chicken thighs, which are tastier than chicken breasts. If a little more fiddly to eat. She says to serve this with brown rice, but I used white. I can imagine it would be rather good with brown. I might try that some time.

Miles: I really like this.

Kirstin: And thank you for making the salad, Tom. It looked like quite a faff with the plastic bag and all.

Tom: It was so good with the mint though.

Kirstin: Agreed. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. Definitely one to put on heavy rotation.

Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber from “Change of Appetite”

“Green Slaw” from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy making this green slaw is directly related to the new addition in our kitchen. During our stop in Reims on the way back home from our French holiday, we stumbled upon a Galeries Lafayette– an utterly fantastic French department store. As we always do when we are in a foreign country, we stopped in the housewares department to see what treasures we could find.

Tim spent a good amount of time admiring the pressure cookers. I don’t have to tell you that the French take both their food and the equipment to make it seriously. He was very keen to take one home with us. In what may be a first for our relationship, I found myself resisting his pitch to get another kitchen gadget.

As I explained to him, I think my lack of enthusiasm to acquire a pressure cooker had to do with the fact that I grew up with one — my mother used hers several times a week– and it was drilled into me how dangerous they could be if they exploded. But in the end, I abandoned my resistance to the acquire the pressure cooker. (I’m so glad I did but that’s a story for another day).

So I made this green slaw for our inaugural cooking in the pressure cooker. As we were making pulled pork, we thought the green slaw would be perfect with it. And it was. It’s delicious. It’s a perfect side dish for a barbeque, or if you need a sprightly salad. The fact that it wasn’t laden with mayonnaise was a bonus. We loved it, and enjoyed seconds the next day very much.

A note about preparation: your food processor is your friend. There’s a lot of chopping in this, but if you just use the slicer in your food processor, it will only take you minutes to get it all prepared.

Both the green slaw, and the acquisition of a pressure cooker, are highly recommended.

“Green Slaw” from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook”

“Chicken Tikka, Lentil, Spinach & Naan Salad” from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals

Time taken: 27 minutes

Anna: Words cannot express how little I want to eat this. I feel like I’ve just fought a war with every pan and ingredient in the kitchen, and lost.

Ernie: Wow, this looks incredible. Do you eat like this every night?

Peter: Luckily, no.

Anna: Can I just point out that someone clearly didn’t proof read this book. Jamie says to ‘halve the chilli’. That’s it. Halve it. So I did. And put it in the frying pan. Sceptically. And five minutes later I had to pull the thing out of the frying pan to chop it up because really, that’s what you are supposed to do. Even though he DOESN’T SAY SO IN THE RECIPE. And. And. He calls for a small frying pan. What he means is a medium frying pan. You can’t get a whole packet of lentils in a small frying pan with spring onions and half a chilli and a squashed tomato. So I had to transfer everything halfway through cooking. And part of that bloody tomato went on the floor and my cashmere cardigan when I squashed it. What’s wrong with chopping eh Jamie?

Peter: Please excuse her. She’s having a rant.

Ernie: Well I think it tastes delicious. It is really different. It’s spicy and sweet. Very different.

Anna: I’m glad you like it Dad. But I’m never cooking it again.

“Chicken Tikka, Lentil, Spinach & Naan Salad” from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals

“Pan-Fried Salmon with Cucumber and Lemon Salsa” from “Easy”

Anna: As you know, I’m always on the hunt for new salmon recipes. What do you think of this one?

Peter: I liked this. There was a touch of Bill’s asian/Vietnamese influence coming in here.

Anna: It’s the salsa which makes it a recipe. Otherwise it’s just pan-fried salmon with spinach. And normally I think making salsas like this are a bit of a waste of time. But this one didn’t take long and it actually elavated the dish.

Peter: It certainly had a bit of go.

Anna: Red chilli. I made some rice too as I figured you would be a bit hungry just with the salmon and spincah. This is certainly a quick and easy weeknight meal.

“Pan-Fried Salmon with Cucumber and Lemon Salsa” from “Easy”

“Crunchy Thai-style Beef Salad” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Peter: Thai? This reminds me more of Vietnam. The fishy, cold dressing and cucumber.

Anna: Fishy doesn’t make it sound very appetising. I think the word ‘salty’ is better. But I know exactly what you mean. It’s the dressing. The proportions of fish sauce to lime and sugar just feel wrong. 90ml of fish sauce for two people? I don’t think so. I added more sugar but didn’t have anymore limes. It was fine, but I agree. More Vietnam than Thailand.

Peter: I did like it anyway. But as I’ve got a mouth ulcer it wasn’t the best meal to have.

Anna: That will be the limes.

Peter: I’m not sure beef is the best thing to go with this salad.  But it was nice.

Anna: I think it’s supposed to be like ‘Tiger Cry’, which I enjoy very much when we have it at Thai restaurants. What do  you think would have been better?

Peter: Maybe a firm fish. Like seabass or monkfish.

Anna: You are getting sidetracked by the overpowering fish sauce I think. If the dressing had been better balanced you would have found the beef very good with this salad. So, we probably won’t be doing this again. Unless I steal one of Bill’s Thai dressing recipes to go with it!

“Crunchy Thai-style Beef Salad” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“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”