Lemongrass prawns with Thai noodle salad

This is a very refreshing Asian-style salad, perfect for a hot day. We have a Kaffir lime tree (well worth having, if you cook a lot of Asian food) but if you can’t buy Kaffir lime leaves, then use some grated  lime rind instead. This is also a great do-ahead recipe if you’re entertaining.

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Serves 8

For Prawns and Noodles:

2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh Kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 lb tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
1 (8-oz) package bean thread (cellophane) noodles

For Dressing:

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp red pepper flakes

For Garnish:

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus sprigs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 spring onions, chopped


For prawns and noodles: Peel outer layer of lemongrass. Cut into very fine crosswise slices and transfer to a large bowl.

In same bowl, combine lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, lime leaf, salt, and pepper. Add prawns and toss to coat. Chill for 1 hour.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high, cook prawns for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate.

Put noodles in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients.

Add noodles and toss, then add prawns. Garnish with chopped cilantro, mint, spring onions, and cilantro sprigs.


Avocado toast with cilantro-lime-cashew cream

A wonderful light meal. Avocado on toast is one of my favorite things and this Cilantro-Lime-Cashew cream is perfect to drizzle over it.

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Serves 4

4 pieces of bread
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream (see below for recipe)
freshly squeezed lime juice
sea salt & coarse ground pepper
crushed red pepper {optional}

Toast your bread.
Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado flesh and spread it or slice it onto the toast. Each piece of toast takes roughly 1/4 of the avocado. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top of the avocado to prevent it from browning.
Drizzle the cilantro-lime-cashew cream generously over the avocado and top with a pinch of sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream

This creaminess literally takes 5 minutes to whiz up and you’re going to want to put it on everything. It makes about 1 cup, so make extra you’ll want it.

1 packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lime, all the juice + zest

Blend everything together on high until smooth. Store it in an air-tight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger, and Lime

This is a great summer throw-together to make when there are lots of beans at the market. Mix colors and types for the full effect. Another Yotam Ottolenghi gem

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Servings: 6

2 pounds mixed snap beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, and/or Romano), trimmed
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ large shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1  lemon grass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated on a Microplane
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ tsp ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ tsp sugar
⅓ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving

Working in batches by type, cook the beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet over medium and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same skillet over medium-high. Cook the peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside 1 tbsp peanuts for serving.
Whisk the kaffir lime leaves, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining 3 tbsp oil into the shallot mixture. Add the beans, remaining peanuts, and ⅓ cup cilantro and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with more cilantro and reserved peanuts.


Thai meatball coconut curry

What could be better than the comfort of meat balls surrounded by Thai flavors and swimming in coconut broth? Very little, if you ask me. I am sharing this recipe from “Delicious” magazine as there is nothing I would do to tweak it.You can freeze half of this for another time, which is perfect!

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Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
4 to 5 tbsp Penang curry paste (You can use Thai kitchen Penang curry paste, if available)
2 x 14 oz cans coconut milk
1 each large red and green chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely shredded
6 scallions, (spring onions) thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and inner leaves finely diced
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges to serve
5 to 6 oz ground almonds
Steamed rice, to serve

For the meatballs
2lbs ground pork
5 scallions, finely diced
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, inner leaves finely diced
good bunch of cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 medium free range, organic egg

In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the meat balls. Season and with wet hands, form into about 40 walnut-sized balls. Put on a large plate and chill for 15 minutes or until needed.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry for 10 minutes until cooked through and browned. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the peppers and fry for 2 minutes until softened, then add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, chillies,scallions, lemongrass and lime juice. Gently simmer for a few minutes then add the almonds and cook for a few minutes to warm through (add a little water or chicken broth if the curry sauce seems too thick)

Add the meatballs to the curry sauce and heat through. Divide half the curry among 4 serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve with rice and lime wedges.

** Cool the remaining curry and spoon into a freezerproof container. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, then transfer to a saucepan and heat until the sauce and meatballs are piping hot.

Salmon on salsa with black beans, corn and cumin

Now that Spring is here, I am trying to find lighter meals with interesting spices. This is a really super light meal and the salsa is divine eaten with salmon or just scooped up in tortilla chips. Don’t refrigerate it as the tomato will turn pulpy.

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Serves 4

The Salsa
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 scallions, green parts chopped only
1 medium red onion, chopped medium fine
10 ripe plum tomatoes, diced, with juices and pips removed
1 x 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small tin of sweet corn niblets, drained
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped finely (I only use 1)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 tbsp ground roasted cumin (I like to roast my own)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salmon
4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each, skinned and boned
2 tbsp coarse grain mustard
3/4 to 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 to 3 tbsps olive oil

To serve
4 cilantro sprigs
4 lime wedges

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, scallions, red onion, tomato, corn, black beans, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, taste for seasoning, cover and set aside.

Pat the salmon fillets dry. Brush each side with the grainy mustard and sprinkle with the coarse pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.Add the oil.
Saute the fish fillets for 4 to 5 minutes on each side- don’t overcook though, so keep an eye on it. The fish should be a little pink in the middle and very moist.

Spoon some salsa onto the plates, lay a salmon fillet on top and garnish with the cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

Only 305 calories per serving!

Pod Thai. (The worlds best cocktail!)

Cardamom-lemongrass syrup lends a bit of Thai spice to a fresh cocktail made with rum and coconut.

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½ cup sugar
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced

3 sprigs Thai basil
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1½ oz. light rum
1 oz. cardamom-lemongrass syrup
½ oz. crème de coconut
Club soda, for topping

Make the cardamom-lemongrass syrup: Boil sugar and ½ cup water in a 1-qt. saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add cardamom and lemongrass; let cool and then strain. Makes 1 cup. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

Muddle 2 basil sprigs with lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add rum, crème de coconut, syrup, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass mug; top with soda and garnish with remaining basil sprig.

Thai crab risotto with kaffir lime and lemon grass

For me, this is the ultimate dish, combining all my most favorite flavors. It is a little time consuming but SO well worth it. This recipe is from the wonderful British chef, James Martin.

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Serves 4

2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
10 oz Arborio rice
4 fl oz white wine
1 green chillies, finely chopped (The recipe says 2, but I’m a pussy!)
1 tsp Thai green curry paste (or more if you like a real kick)
1 thick stick of lemon grass, crushed and chopped into several pieces
2 Kaffir lime leaves, crushed and sliced finely
10 fl oz hot chicken stock
10 fl oz hot fish stock
2 tbsp Mascarpone cheese
About 1 oz flat leaf parsley and cilantro (fresh coriander) mixed and chopped together
1 lb white and dark crab meat, mixed
4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few micro greens for garnish

Melt the butter i a deep frying pan and add the garlic and shallots. Fry for 1 minute.
Add the rice and then the wine.
Stir in the chopped green chilli, curry paste, crushed lemon grass and Kaffir lime leaves
Mix together the hot chicken stock and the hot fish stock. Add a ladle full of the stock to the rice and stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Continue adding the hot stock, a ladle at a time until all the stock has been absorbed. This should take about 13 to 15 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked,remove the lemongrass, add the Mascarpone cheese and the chopped herbs.
Add the crabmeat and the grated parmesan. Stir.
Add the cream and the lime juice and season well.
Spoon onto warmed plates and serve with extra parmesan, some sprinkled micro greens or a little chilli oil.