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This dish is a current house favourite – It’s not just that the base notes never fail – coconut, lime ,coriander…… It’s the slurp factor – licensed! The kids will eat stuff in this dish that produce all kinds of agonies in other contexts.Aubergine? No problem! Scallions? Yay!!! It’s almost un-nerving…

I’m a huge fan of big warming Thai curries but during the summer it’s nice to lighten things up. Making a broth rather than a sauce keeps things lighter and keeping as many ingredients as possible uncooked really ups the freshness factor. In this dish the tofu is fresh –  cut into tiny cubes so it soaks up the flavour of the broth. Not frying really cuts down on time and heaviness. Fresh sweetcorn is next – it’s so good now full of milky sweetness. As with anything remotely Thai I’ve added loads of fresh coriander and some sliced scallion greens.

There’s aubergine but no, that isn’t raw it’s pan-fried in super healthy  coconut oil til it melts in the mouth. Delicious. When I was making this dish last night Lee had nearly snaffled half of it before I even got to put the dish together is how good it is.

I like to use rice noodles  but I imagine that buckwheat will start to feel like an option when things start to turn colder. It’s really up to you..

Seasonal Noodles with fresh corn, aubergine, tofu, coriander and lime in a coconut green curry broth (for 4)

You’ll need:

For the broth:

1 bunch scallions (white parts sliced, green parts set aside for later)

1/2 teaspoon green curry paste (more if you like things really firey)

2 kaffir lime leaves
2 teasoons Nam Pla (fish sauce)

3 teaspoon soy sauce

Coconut oil

1/2 tin coconut milk

1 litre stock veg or chicken

3 carrots finely sliced diagonally

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The rest:

1 Cob of Corn

1 Aubergine

1 slab tofu (pressed)

A decent sized bunch coriander

A couple of limes

Begin with the stock – finely slice the white part of the scallions and throw them in a wok or pot with some coconut oil and gently fry until soft and tender. Add the curry paste and fry for about 30 seconds before pouring in the coconut milk. Throw in the lime leaves, nam pla and soy sauce. Gently bring things to boil then add the stock and the carrots. Turn down the heat to a simmer.

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Prepare the tofu and veggies while the stock is cooking – Slice the corn off the cob and set that aside. Wipe the aubergine then dice into pieces about the diameter of 10 cent coin. Heat some coconut oil on the pan and fry the aubergine until golden and tender adding more oil if necessary as you go. Take off the pan and drain on some kitchen paper when they are done.

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While the aubergine is frying, stick on the kettle for the noodles and get them ready as per the instructions on the pack  (I use the ones that require soaking rather than boiling). Chop the coriander and slice the green tops of about half of your scallions (save the rest for something else)

To put the dish together – divide the stock between four large bowls, add the noodles, top with tofu, sweetcorn and aubergine then finally scallions and and a heap of coriander.  Yum!!!

Have a brilliant weekend,

Sarah

Sweetcorn fritters

I am a big fan of  Mexican food. The holy trinity of coriander, chilli and lime that is its cornerstone make so many ingredients sing. Take sweetcorn. Yes it’s sweet and juicy on its own but if you add the fire of a chilli, the freshness of lime then the oomph of coriander it really takes off.  Last night I made fritters with this week’s corn on the cob and they went down a storm with everyone so much so that we’ve just polished off another batch this morning for brunch.

There’s very little flour in this recipe, just enough to hold things together so you don’t get the doughiness you sometimes find with fritters. As well as chilli and coriander I added some of Marc Michel’s lovely scallions for a little extra bite. Fry them on the pan with a little oil then a spritz of lime and you’ve got a picky thing to have with beers or you can make up a quick salsa with this week’s tomatoes, maybe a little guacamole then serve on a bed of Marc Michel’s baby Asian salad leaves with dollop of sour cream and you’re sorted for brunch, lunch, a snack or starter. There is never a wrong time to eat this kind of thing. This is comfort food – summerstyle.

While there are several elements to it, this is actually a very easy dish to put together.  Prepare the salsa which involves nothing more than a bit of chopping and guacamole which you make by um …..mashing first, then the fritters take no more than10 minutes to pull together and you’re ready to go.

Sweetcorn fritters with coriander and chilli, guacamole, tomato salsa and sour cream

The Salsa

You’ll need:

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

1/2 large red chilli (take the seeds out if you don’t like things too hot

1/2 small onion chopped quite finely

1 lime

A small handful of fresh coriander chopped

Salt

Mix the tomatoes, chilli coriander and onion together. Add a tiny bit of salt then lime juice to taste. Set aside to let those lovely flavours mingle while you get on with things

The Guacamole

You’ll need:

1 perfectly ripe avocado

1/2 onion finely chopped

Salt

1 lime

Mash the avocado then mix in the onion. Season with salt and lime juice to taste. A trick is to leave the avocado stone in the dish buried in the guacamole to stop the avocado discolouring.

The Fritters

You’ll need:

1 corn on the cob or a small tin of corn kernels

3 scallions chopped

1/2 red chilli finely chopped

A handful coriander chopped

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoons baking powder

60 ml milk

1 egg

Vegetable oil for frying

Corn on the cob

Begin by slicing the corn off the cob and set aside. Sift the flour and baking powder together then whisk with the egg and milk. Stir in the corn, scallions and chilli. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in the pan. Drop dessertspoonfuls of fritter mix onto the pan when the oil is hot (you’ll get between 4 and 6 fritters depending how generous your spoonfuls are). Fry on each side til golden (about 1 and half minutes each side) then take off the pan.

Serve on a bed of salad leaves with the salsa, guacamole and some sour cream. Garnish with some coriander leaves. Brunch is served!

I’m just in from work and boy it’s been a hell of a day. More computer problems(don’t even ask!), driving rain and wind that meant I just had to leave the bike at the office and blag a lift home. When I got in I wanted something very easy and very fast (Paul came in after me and he had cycled against the wind all the way from Smithfield and could barely speak he was so cold and hungry). Yesterday morning in yet another attempt to get organised I peeled and chopped a pumpkin which I then completely forgot about when making dinner last night (urgghhh!) so this was definitely on the menu. I made the simplest soup by combining my prepared pumpkin (oh, organisation!)with a tin of coconut milk, vegetable stock and a little red curry paste. Yep, that was pretty much it but then at the last minute I had yearning for a bit of crunch and noticed this week’s Kale. Hmmm.. Kale, as you know can be tough so I took about half the head destalked it then quickly tossed it in hot oil, added a spritz of Lime and suddenly dinner seemed more complete. To serve I left a bowl of precooked brown rice on the table and everyone added their own. The rice is my one actual successful attempt to get organised – I cook up about a kilo at the beginning of the week and use it to complete any number of meals during the busy week. In this case it made a bowl of soup a complete meal. I thought Dan (5)would find it too spicy but he loved it and we were pretty pleased too!

Butternut Soup with Red Curry spices and Coconut Milk topped with Lime scented crispy Kale

You’ll need:

800gr Peel and chopped Butternut or any kind of Pumpkin

2 Teaspoon Red Curry Paste

1 Tin Coconut Milk

500ml Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Oil

To garnish – this is optional

1/2 Head Curly Kale chopped fine

Juice of half a Lime

Heat a dash of oil in a pot and add the curry paste and gently saute allowing the spices to permeate the oil (and your kitchen). Add half of the coconut milk and reduce a little. Toss in the butternut, the rest of the coconut milk, the stock and a pinch of salt.Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and cook for a further 15/20 minutes until the butternut is tender. Take off the heat and blitz until smooth with a hand blender.

To make the kale garnish, heat some oil on the pan and when it’s hot throw on the kale and toss until wilted and crispy if possible (may take a bit of practice but it’s not essential). Spritz with lime juice, toss well then take off the heat and use to garnish the soup. Eat and feel yourself defrost!!

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)

You’ll need:

2 Cloves Garlic
5 Peppercorns
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (nam pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 Red Chili
1 Steak
1/2 Head of Lettuce
2-3 Scallions
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

You’ll need:

1 Medium Onion

1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds

Olive Oil

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,

Sarah