lunch

'Bahn Mi' with Ginger Poached Chicken, Cucumber Salad and Pickled Carrots.

White bread. Chicken. Mayonnaise. Tangy Pickles. DON'T LEAVE OFF THE PEANUTS (Unless eating them will kill you I GUESS). 

Should make about 8 Medium sized bahn mi. Cut 'em smaller and you've got baby bahns! Fun!

Ingredients:

CHICKEN
1/2 cup chopped shallots (only the white and light green bits)
Two tablespoons roughly chopped ginger, and two tablespoons of crushed ginger. Keep the chunks of peel that you take off.
200g Chicken Breast
Two litres chicken or vegetable stock (I use stock cubes and it doesn't make much difference to me) 

CUCUMBER 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Lebanese cucumbers
1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (crushed fresh chills from a jar, can find at Coles)
1 teaspoon palm sugar

CARROTS
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon palm sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 medium carrots
 

WOMBOK SALAD
2 Cups shredded wombok
Mayonnaise
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped.

1 cup Roasted Peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
Half Bunch coriander, leaves only
2 long Baguettes

Put the stock in a medium saucepan with half the shallots, chopped ginger and ginger skins. If you don't think it'll be enough to cover the chicken, add some water. Bring to the boil.

Add your chicken breast, cover and poach for about 18 - 20 minutes. If they're smaller pieces check after 15 by cutting one in half and seeing if it's cooked through. When the chicken is cooked, rub it in the rest of the shallots and crushed ginger and some vegetable oil to marinate for a while.

While the chicken's cooking, make the pickles. Cut the cucumbers in half longways and scoop out the seeds. Give them a wack with a rolling pin/flat side of a big knife etc. so they're a bit battered and split. Roughly chop them into couple of centimetre slices. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and leave to sit. 

Julienne the carrots, or grate them if that's too annoying (I found out most basic vege graters have a mandolin peeler that makes thin slices that you can then slice into match-stick pieces. Really improved my life). Mix the carrots with the rest of the pickle ingredients.

Mix the wombok, coriander and mayonnaise (it's between you and whoever you choose to tell how much you want to put it - you want it to balance out the chicken cause poached it can be a bit dry) together.

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan on the stove. Mix together with the chopped peanuts. 

To assemble, either cut or tear up the chicken, put it in a halved piece of baguette and layer with the salad ingredients. Top with fresh coriander leaves and peanuts and sesame seeds. 
 

 

 

Probably the Best Salad

I hate whenever recipes describe something as ‘delicious AND guilt free’ or like ‘you won’t BELIEVE it’s healthy’ – cause usually they’re talking about stuff with heaps of weird fake-sugar chemicals or under-salted microwave meals. Also if something is delicious you can’t feel guilty about eating it that’s the rule. But this salad, with honey and nuts and a bit of chili, tastes good (not as good as a grilled cheese but better than a can of tuna) and is relatively healthy. You could probably eat it for at least 3 days before you started really wanting a chicken burger.  

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

This recipe is very easy and you probably could have made it up for yourself – but I know sometimes it’s hard to think of a lunch idea that won't make you feel like shit, so here it is.

Ingredients:

¼ of a big pumpkin
2 cans of Butterbeans
300g Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 cup of nuts, roughly chopped (I used Brazil Nuts, but walnuts, pecans or cashews would work fine too)
Half a red onion, finely diced
200 grams of Rocket
1 Sprig Rosemary
Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sumac  (you could use Dried Chili if you want more heat/don’t want to buy sumac)
3 tablespoons of honey
Half a lime
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 108 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into bite sized-ish pieces.

In a baking tray, coat the pumpkin, nuts and Brussels sprouts in the honey, sumac or dried chili, rosemary and a big glug of olive oil together until everything is evenly covered. Bake for about 30 minutes – checking after 20 if you cut your pumpkin fairly small.

When the pumpkin is soft, take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool.

Drain the butterbeans, then add to the cooled pumpkin and nut mixture. Mix the rocket and onion through, and finish with a squeeze of lime and salt and pepper to taste.

Dill and mustard cured salmon

1kg Salmon fillet
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/2 cup of fresh dill,
pulled off the stems
120g caster sugar
80g table salt

Go to your local seafood shop and say 'hello, I'd like a fillet of salmon, skin on, costing approx *this much* money'. The fillet I got was $60 because I just said 'give me a big-ish' peice and then couldn't back out once I knew the price. It fed ten people well and was really delicious though so  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Get half a cup of caster sugar and one third of a cup of table salt and mix them together. Fry your mustard seeds until they start to pop, then crush them with a mortar and pestle/give them a go in the food processor (you don't technically need to do this, they're fine whole). Cut up your dill, make sure it's very dry if you washed it first, and mix it with the salt, sugar and mustard seeds.

Lay your salmon, skin-side down on a big piece of cling wrap (at least twice the size of the salmon. Pat your salt, sugar and herb mixture over the top, making sure it's fully covered. Wrap the salmon up in the gladwrap, and chuck it in the fridge weighed down with a couple of plates. Leave it for 2-3 days, turning it over at least twice in that time.

Slice it thinly on a diagonal, and serve with sour cream on little toasts with some cracked pepper, or just drop thin slices into your mouth whole while lying shirtless on the couch watching SVU**

**serving suggestion

Asparagus, mushroom and potato frittata

Photo by me, sorry it's shit.

Photo by me, sorry it's shit.

Ingredients:

600ml cream
4 small potatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
12 eggs, beaten
I cup mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch asparagus
Fresh basil

Couple of sprigs of thyme (like a teaspoon if you want to use dried)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Slice the potato s into thin (1ish cm thick) circles, put them and the asparagus in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re both cooked but still crunchy.  Don’t turn the oven off when you take them out.

Heat some oil in a large oven-proof frypan. Cook the onions until they’re getting soft, then add the garlic, mushroom, potato (leave the asparagus to the side for now), and thyme and cook for another few minutes. Add half the cream and heat until simmering. Mix the remaining cream, the beaten eggs and a good bit of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add to the frypan and mix everything together.

Leave it to cook until bubbles start forming on the top of the egg and the sides are getting a little brown. Lay the asparagus on the top, in whatever decorative way you want. Put the frypan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the top is brown and it feels cooked-through. Top with some basil leaves and salt and pepper.