“Lamb Stuffed Sweet Potato” from “A Year of Good Eating”

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Anna: Well this was perfect for a freezing cold Sunday night in January. Proper comfort food. Pretty easy, though I was a bit suspicious of the additional step required of mixing the cooked potato with the lamb and then popping back in the oven for half an hour or so. But it was really worth it. The potato lid goes crunchy. Parts of the lamb and potato go sticky and caramelised. Which elevates the whole thing. I didn’t entirely follow the recipe to the letter however. Nigel left out a key ingredient. What goes better with lamb and the sweetness of sweet potato then salty feta? You think Nigel would have worked that one out himself! So I recommend you try this recipe. With my secret ingredient.

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“Lamb Stuffed Sweet Potato” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“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”

“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”

“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.  If 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.

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