At the beginning of 2017, I made a pact with myself to make more time for me – whether that be reading a book for half an hour, meeting friends for coffee at the weekend, having a massage, going for a swim or having a cheeky glass of wine in the pub with a girlfriend on a Saturday afternoon! Three months in and I am managing it, just about! I also feel that this blog is part of my ‘me’ time as not only am i reconnecting with my mother and my memories, but I am taking the time to cook with a purpose and think about what I’m doing and why.
On Friday night I went through my mothers recipes to plan what we were going to cook on Saturday – a quiet family night in, but at the end of a day where we had to get homework done, one teen to tennis, one teen to a hockey match and the normal weekly shop…and I fitted in a later afternoon glass of wine in the village with a lovely friend I hadn’t seen in a while – the all important me time! I took out a handful of recipes from the folder and asked the boys what they preferred – Chinese, Thai or Indian – sounds like a Saturday night takeaway! Thai was the winner….
At the beginning of each year my mother would plan the lessons that she would teach with meticulous attention to the detail and the authenticity. In those days it was hard to get ingredients such as lemongrass and thai basil without going up to Chinatown, however, so many of her students asked her to put on a Thai course, that she persevered and we now have a portfolio of her Thai recipes. Whilst there are some similarities with both Chinese and Malaysian food, Thai food has that special flavour combination of sweet/sour/salty/spicy. Its refreshing and moreish… fresh herbs, lime, fish sauce, chilli and coconut preside.
I chose to cook Pork with red curry and beans, Thai style fried fish and Glass noodles with vegetables. It sounds like a lot of work, but surprisingly, once all the vegetables had been chopped, the actual cooking time is very quick.
I started with the Pork in red curry – I used Pork fillet, thinly sliced, but you could use shoulder steak or loin.I also used coconut oil to fry the spice paste in…and I used a shop bought Red Curry Paste! This was a Thai Taste Red curry paste but i added half sliced onion, 2 stalks lemon grass and a small chunk of galangal whilst sautéing the paste. I didn’t have kaffir lime leaves so I added in the juice from half a lime. I was pleasantly surprised to find Thai basil in Waitrose, and this I added at the end along with fresh coriander. This was cooked before my girlie glass of wine and left to rest on the stove.
I laid out and chopped all the other ingredients except the fish so when I came home I didn’t forget anything! From pub to table took no more than 1 1/2 hours. The fish was a revelation – i used Icelandic cod fillet which worked perfectly well. It was moist and kept its large flakes, yet carried the tamarind and chilli flavours well.
Mung Bean noodles/glass noodles are always a challenge as they need to be soaked and then cooked – and you would probably need to find them in a speciality shop. The only difference i did with his was to add in a big handful of chopped celery leaves which go beautifully with this dish.
Next weekend is more me time… I will be in Barcelona! Please read, enjoy, share on your social media and tweet/write telling me that you have cooked!.