Lettuce, Scallions and Carrots
May 22, 2009
I’m on my own this week. Paul is out west fishing (so I better be writing about the amazing Wild Trout I ate all weekend next week or there’ll be trouble!). It’s been hectic, 2 small kids mean that most of the day consists of nonstop laundering, wiping, sweeping …(I could go on). There’s barely any time to eat never mind cook but somehow we’ve been doing alright. Dan and I even made a mango and coconut cake the other day (not quite right yet so I won’t share).
Last night I fancied something a bit more grown up than the stuff I’ve been eating all week so I treated myself to a Vietnamese style rare beef salad – properly rare slices of Steak tossed in a flavour-drenched concoction of Garlic pounded with Peppercorns, Lime Juice and Nam Pla (the Vietnamese fish sauce) tossed in Greens, Scallions and Coriander. It’s a dish that’s pretty easy to put together and tastes a little different every time I make it. I like it fiery with lots of Chili but you can tone it down by taking out the seeds.If you don’t have Lime juice, lemon will do. No Fish sauce? Soy will do fine. This week’s Pak Choy could easily replace the Lettuce, just wilt it first. It’s a movable feast and a very addictive one…………
Vietnamese style Rare Chilli Beef salad (for 1)
2 Cloves Garlic
Juice of 1/2 Lime
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (nam pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 Red Chili
1/2 Head of Lettuce
A generous bunch Coriander
Begin with the sauce. Using a morter and pestle, pound the Garlic and Peppercorns until smooth(ish). Add in the Lime juice, Fish Sauce and a pinch of Sugar. Mix and set aside.
Heat a little oil in a pan. When it’s almost smoking hot add the steak. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes adding a little Sugar to the crust on each side after the first 2 minutes. While the Steak is cooking wash and tear your lettuce. Chop the Scallions and add them to the Lettuce along with some roughly chopped Coriander. When the Steak is cooked, remove from the pan and slice. Reheat the pan and thrown in the Chill, toss and then add the sauce and any meat juices left after slicing the steak. Stir well to get all the juices clinging to the pan then throw in the Steak. Toss then place on the leaves. Top with some Scallions and Coriander and eat with a cold beer. Fantastic!!
My other recipe this week is for Ana our lovely Spanish babysitter who is, sadly, returning to Madrid this week. I made this soup for her to have for lunch with the kids the first day she came and she loved. So, Ana ( te vamos a hecher de menos muchissimo!) this one’s for you (and for anyone else who has about 10 minutes to make lunch at 8.20 in the morning).
Carrot and Cumin Soup
1 Medium Onion
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
5 Medium Carrots
1 large Potato
600ml vegetable stock
Chop the Onion. Heat some Olive Oil in a pot and toss in the Onion and cook over a medium heat unless you’ve loads of time in which case slowly over a low heat will always work fine. As the Onions cook peel and chop the Carrots and Potato. When the Onions have softened and begun to darken add the Cumin seeds and toss well to make sure they all get coated in oil. Add the other vegetables and continue cooking for a few minutes then add the stock. Allow things to come to the boil over a medium heat. Then turn back down again and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veg is cooked. Blast with your handblender til smooth (always a bit of a jolt first thing in the morning!). Serve straight up or top with a little yogurt.
This week our Mediterranean selections have the first of this year’s Cherries. Hurray! So good you don’t need a recipe. That’s the point with Cherries. But as weeks go on I’m sure I’ll be thinking of ways to gild the lily so I’ll keep you posted. Next week I’d better be writing about wild Trout or there’ll be trouble!
Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great weekend,