cooking with herbs and spices
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
I love a mix of vietnamese mint, coriander and parsley chopped together then put inside a rice paper wrap with prawns, or chicken, or firm white fish, some snow pea for crunchy texture, sliced cucumber and rice noodles or egg omelette cut up and a little chilli to taste. These are fun to do as a family lunch if you put all the ingredients in separate dishes in the middle of the table and have a dish of hot water to dip the rice paper in. Everyone makes their own, choosing their own fillings from the selection. This is absolutely delicious for a midday meal in Summer.
I have served these this way with guests too and they love being able to make their own from the selection of fillings. Be prepared for enough to make 3 or 4 per person and everyone will have had a good time and enjoyed a tasty meal.
Place a dish of soy and chilli sauce on the table too.
Rolls ready to eat. Yum.
Fish Soup with Lemon Grass and Coriander:
This is my own recipe and you can vary it as much as you like but I use all green vegies, celery capsicum, leek , beans, snow peas, onion, garlic and green cabbage. Braise the vegetables in a little butter and olive oil in a wok, add water to make up quantity , add salt and pepper to taste, grate in some fresh ginger root, throw in a handful of fresh coriander chopped, a stick of lemon grass and a chopped sprig of mint, a dash of soy sauce more for color. Just a few minutes before serving put in some small chunks of white fish. It cooks really quickly and you don’t want it to fall to pieces. Serve with some crusty home made bread infused with chives and/ or garlic or plain topped with parmesan cheese.
For a hearty Winter Meal,
This slow cooked beef hot pot served with mashed potato and some steamed green beans is tops.
This again is one of my own recipes, you can adjust it to your taste. Cut some topside beef into bite size pieces, braise in a little hot all till browned all round then put in the slow cooker. Braise some onion, red capsicum, and garlic, toss in some chopped tomatoes and fresh basil a little marjoram and oregano ( not too much as the oregano can over power). Once lightly braised transfer these all to the slow cooker. Cover with water , add salt and pepper, put the lid on and leave to simmer for 4 to 6 hours, longer is OK. If the stock is too liquid before serving you can make a little paste with flour and mix in but it should have simmered away most of the liquid and the potatoes will soak up the rest.
Enjoy with friends and a glass of your favorite red wine . You will soon forget the chill outside.
Stay warm and savor the flavor.
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Two excellent reference books for your kitchen.