Banh Mi

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Friday night in our house is take-away night.  However, living as we do on the very edge of the west coast of Ireland where the next village is Greenwich, New York, the choice of actual take-away is fairly limited so we make our own.  It’s the perfect little treat to end the working week and I tend to keep it simple but tasty – like homemade pizza with chilli and basil, yuk sung or juicy griddled chicken and pineapple with satay sauce.  The common theme is a bit of heat, lots of flavour and not too much effort.  Banh Mi fits the bill perfectly – it’s a Vietnamese sandwich consisting of crusty fresh baguette, spicy meat, crunchy pickled carrot and cabbage, creamy mayo and hot hot chilli sauce.  For the meat element I make spicy pork meatballs but you can use any meat you want, as long as there is lots of flavour.  Whilst the meat should add some spice to this the real heat comes from the chilli sauce and I use Sriracha, which is fast becoming one of my favourite things.  It’s a seriously hot inexpensive Thai sauce and leaves behind a tingle to the mouth that has to be good for you!  It’s available in Asian supermarkets and I got mine in Eurasia on the Fonthill Road in Dublin.  Just one tip on the roll – proper Banh Mi calls for crusty French baguette and some of the inside bread is scooped out to leave a shell to hold the fillings.  If you are really lucky to live near a great bakers and can get your hands on good baguettes then perfect, but the ones available around here are a certain brand that is part-baked in store and too heavy and dense for my liking so I use fresh salad rolls from the local bakers that have the requisite crisp outer crust and a really light interior so I don’t bother to scoop any bread out as they squish down perfectly to accommodate all of the filling when you take a bite.  There is enough here to serve 4 which means that in my house there is usually leftovers for a Saturday afternoon lunch for me too.  I use three meatballs per roll (in the pic above I have cut each meatball in two so there are six halves spread out on the roll). [Read more…]

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Barbecued Pork Fillet with Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

From Bill’s Everyday Asian

For my second experiment with Everyday Asian I had to try this recipe – I couldn’t resist the promise of barbecue, caramel and chilli so I apologise for posting another pork recipe so soon but I think you will forgive me if you try this out – it is really delicious!

Similarly to the last recipe this has few ingredients and is a really quick and easy dish to prepare. I was curious to know how the caramel sauce would work – I wasn’t sure if it would be too much but it works perfectly thanks to a little sourness from the lime juice and heat from the chilli.  I also admit to being a bit sceptical when I removed the pork from its marinade – the fish sauce was quite strong but once cooked it gives the meat the most amazing savouriness – I imagine this is similar to the umami effect of pairing anchovies with lamb.  My husband and son wanted to eat the pork straight from the griddle pan.  Don’t be put off by the ‘barbecue’ in the title – although I am sure it would be great cooked outside on a char-grill it can also be done on a griddle or frying pan.  I didn’t quite reduce the sauce enough – it was still delicious but next time I will give it a little more time on the hob which will make it that little bit thicker and stickier. The recipe says that the pork should be cut in to two pieces however I did 4 which made it that bit quicker to cook. [Read more…]

Chicken Satay

If there is one thing I miss about city life since moving to the country it’s the lack of choice and convenience when it comes to eating out or ordering in.  It became a little custom in our house on Friday nights to go out to our favourite Chinese restaurant or order in a pizza, a little treat at the end of a busy working week and I missed this a lot when we moved.  As with all things we learn to adapt and so now our Friday evenings feature our very own ‘homemade take-away’. We make things like pizzas, or burritos, or chow mein or curries, depending on the mood and how much effort we want to put in. [Read more…]

BBQ Greek Lamb

 

This is a wonderful greek-inspired marinade that I tried out at a family barbecue a long time ago and have been using ever since.  I wanted something that would serve many, in addition to offering burgers etc, so I opted for a butterflied leg of lamb as it is easy to carve, contains plenty of fat to keep the meat moist on the bbq and it goes a long way.  The only thing to do then was make a marinade that would both add flavour and tenderise the meat.   The marinade, which I leave on the lamb overnight, is very simple and gives the meat a fabulous spicy flavour and a wonderful charred crust.  A great way to serve this is as a kebab – thin slices in pitta bread with salad and a mint and yoghurt sauce or aioli.  You can also use a boned fillet (top of the leg) and halve the marinade quantities if you want a smaller amount of meat. [Read more…]

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka is a great for barbecues but can easily be cooked on a griddle or in a very hot oven (the chicken in the picture above was cooked in the oven but I much prefer the charred stripes from cooking on a bbq or griddle). This is a very simple marinade and the yoghurt  really tenderises the chicken. Unlike lamb, which benefits from a long marinade time, chicken only needs to marinade for an hour or two – any longer and I think it starts to go a bit ‘cotton woolly’. Because the chicken breast is cut in to chunks (approx. 2″)  the meat cooks fairly quickly. If you are cooking on a barbecue it is much easier to use skewers as this will speed up the turning time – otherwise you will have to turn each individual piece.  On a hot heat these should cook in around 10 minutes.  If cooking in the oven get your oven as hot as you can. [Read more…]

Zesty Coriander, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This is my own summer salad recipe and I think it is so pretty and really brightens up the table.  It tastes so fresh and zesty and is the perfect accompaniment to a barbeque or a summery lunch or dinner.

The secret to the zesty flavour and also to the amazingly bright pink onions is to soak thin slices of red onion in lime juice for an hour or so and you will end up with wonderful tasting onions that add a really fresh touch to the salad. [Read more…]

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