“Watermelon and Mint Agua Fresca” from “It’s all Good”

Kirstin: Oh my goodness, this is so good!

Tom: It would be even better after it was chilled.

Kirstin: Oh yes! This is going back into the fridge for a couple of hours to chill some more. And then we will have to sample some more!

Tom: I’m up for that challenge!

Kirstin: So easy too. YUM!

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“Watermelon and Mint Agua Fresca” from “It’s all Good”

“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”

“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”

“Rocket, Feta and Bread Salad” from “A Taste of Home”

Maureen: Yum. I like this a lot. I like how there are bursts of mint with the rocket.

Tim: Not me. I’d rather just have the peppery rocket, just on its own, no mint.

Maureen: I like the grilled haloumi. You can also use feta, but I went with haloumi. As you know, any time there’s grilled haloumi, sign me up.

Maureen: It’s a very nice salad, but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy.

Tim: With the wodges of grilled cheese, do you mean?

Maureen: Yes, but it’s still delicious. This has been a good month so far. Do you remember the time we met Angela Hartnett on our 10th anniversary?

Tim: Yes, that was back in the day when she was at the The Connaught. We had the tasting menu. It was amazing. That’s certainly in our top five of favourite dinners, if not at the very top.

Maureen: I remember I sent in a thank you note to the kitchen, and she happened to be working, even though it was a Saturday night. She came out to wish us a happy anniversary, but I was busy checking the train schedule when she approached the table. Not my finest moment, but a very classy move on her part to come say hello and say thank you for the thank you.

Tim: She was very nice. What a meal. What a night.

Maureen: I think this is one of the reasons why I like this cookbook so much. It reminds me how great that meal was, but also how down-to-earth and nice Angela was.

“Rocket, Feta and Bread Salad” from “A Taste of Home”

“Chicken Marinated in Yoghurt and Mint with Lime Rice” from “Easy”

Maureen: Look at that! Yours has disappeared from your plate in no time. You must have liked it.

Tim: No, I don’t like it at all. It’s gross.

Maureen: The rice is nice, at least. But I had to simmer the lime juice and zest separately from the rice for it, and I’m not sure that was necessary. I think it made both of them bitter, which surely couldn’t have been what he was trying to do.

Tim: I’m only eating the chicken because I’m starving.

Continue reading ““Chicken Marinated in Yoghurt and Mint with Lime Rice” from “Easy””

“Chicken Marinated in Yoghurt and Mint with Lime Rice” from “Easy”

“Spaghetti with crab and mint” from “Good Things to Eat”

Anna: Have you worked out what the mystery ingredient is?

Peter: It’s the breadcrumbs.

Anna: Correct. I had to fry them with chilli and garlic and sprinkle them on the top.  What do you think?

Peter: Well they do add a certain crunch to proceedings.

Anna: Hmm. Mine have gone a bit soggy now I’ve stirred them around.  I’m not convinced, and they add an extra step which isn’t required in any of my other crab spaghetti recipes.

Peter: The watercress was an interesting addition as well.

Anna: I’ve seen this in other recipes. Nigella’s has it for example.  We loved that recipe.

Peter: The watercress was nearly your undoing this time….

Anna: I forgot to buy it, yes. I’m a numpty. But Sainsburys in Holborn Circus saved the day. We can’t have a day go by without me forgetting something.

Peter: I’ve enjoyed this, but I’m not sure it’s screaming winner to me.

Anna: You’re right. I can’t not like crab pasta, whatever the recipe. But the extra steps involved with this one, making breadcrumbs and cooking breadcrumbs, is enough for me to turn to Nigella/River Cafe/Bill instead.  Sorry Lucas.

“Spaghetti with crab and mint” from “Good Things to Eat”