Thai Spiced Chicken Noodle Soup

Thai Spiced Chicken Noodle Soup

Thai Spiced Chicken Noodle Soup

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Most of us have memories of Chicken Noodle Soup in one form or another, often associated with feeling ill. There is something warm and comforting about nice rich broth, tender chunks of chicken and slurpy noodles. There are also sound nutritional benefits to such broths, particularly after a tummy upset and/or fever. Salts, electrolytes and easily digested proteins are just a few. My version includes sesame oil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and basil, all used as anti-microbials to fight the effects of influenza, colds, fever, stomach upsets and as a general tonic in many cultures. This makes for very tasty medicine indeed.

Pig Balls

Pork Balls with Sweet Chili Sauce

Pork Balls with Sweet Chili Sauce

There is nothing *ahem* boar-ing about these meaty balls. Texture is King.  If you prefer a more uniform texture, throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. I like mine a little more rustic than that. Chunks of water chestnut, spring onion and ginger. Ground rice or Panko crumbs to give it a crunchy crust. Served with crispy noodles and salad or steamed veg, drizzled or dunked in Sweet Chili sauce. Delicious, just try not to giggle too much at the puerile double entendre ..

Coconut Curried Butternut

With all the trimmings ..

With all the trimmings ..

I love one pot wonders. They are the epitome of low mess, low fuss cheating .. and none of this sludgy goop you may be imagining. This dish is simple, versatile and delicious. Hearty stay-at-home lazy weekend lunch that won’t break the bank? Perfect. Something really different to offer a potluck or progressive dinner? Steam up some fancy rice, put it in a fancy dish and mound this over the top .. finish it with coriander and you’ve stolen the show. Bored with plain roast veg (don’t look at me like that .. it is possible you know) and want a tasty alternative? This with baked hogget or goat .. divine!

Warm and Sticky Ribs

Warm Sticky Ribs

Warm Sticky Ribs

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I am a very “hands on” type of cook who makes things up on the fly. A favourite pastime is wandering around one of the many local markets and brainstorming menus from what is on offer. So it was that a lazy Tuesday afternoon found Beloved and I raiding a local butcher and speculating  over some enormous meaty beef ribs on show. The butcher had been eavesdropping on our conversation and soon asked for the recipe. There is always a moment of panic when someone asks me for a recipe. Without standing at the oven with a ladle in hand I struggle to recall just what I put in .. let alone how much, or in what order. Beloved is always delighted with such requests because it means I will make the dish several times “for research purposes”. (I once spent a week researching and making Anzac Biscuits). Anyway, for the benefit of the nice lady in the Butcher Shop ..

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

It is not a great exaggeration to say that I was obliged to take this photo one-handed as I vigorously defended the plate with the other. Cooking smells had summoned hungry family from all corners of the house, so there I was, surrounded by circling sharks waiting for their opening, while I tried to catch fading daylight.

The origins of this dish lie somewhere in the Javanese region of Indonesia where it was discovered by 17th century Dutch spice traders who liked it so much they took it along with them wherever they went. As a result regional variations of the basic meat-on-a-stick in spicy peanut sauce can be found all over South East Asia. They even took it back to Europe .. although for a couple of hundred years only the very wealthy could afford the exotic spices to make it. In Malaysia this dish is known as saté or satai. In Indonesia it’s sate.