Bun chay (Vietnamese noodle salad)

I think the last time I made a Vietnamese salad prior to this occasion was in year 7. I remember a school project where I was assigned the country Vietnam. 

I made a poster and everyone had to bring in a food from their assigned country to share. I chose a vermicelli noodle salad, I think with beef if I recall correctly.

The current salad was meat-free (as I’m now a veggo). I used this recipe as my guide.

Unfortunately my husband dislikes coriander/cilantro and, to some degree, mint,  so I substituted basil (which I had bought fresh and since frozen). (I grew up with a backyard overgrown with coriander and l♡ve it!!)

Had much trouble finely slicing/shredding the veg, even with my newly purchased vietnamese chef-endorsed shredder…. I then tried my julienne slicer and sent a carrot flying acrossthe kitchen….
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I also added some finely sliced bok choy – yum!

Made it in a large dish and then served it into individual bowls. I added the dressing at the last minute. I put in one tiny chilli (de-seeded) and it gave a real buzz – love my chilli!
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Plenty of flavour and super fresh. Looking forward to further Vietnamese meals.

Leftovers tonight! Yes! 🙂

My Ugly ‘Rons

Baked my first batch of macarons today. Followed this recipe, which was very well-written.

One variation I made was adding in 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste prior to folding.

I didn’t have a piping bag or nozzle so used a zip seal bag, which resulted in slightly oval macarons!

I also didn’t give my tray a good bang on the bench before baking,  which I later learnt helps reduce cracking.

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Had my oven on 150 degrees C (fan forced oven but on non-fan setting) for a touch over the recommended time.

Top tray was placed in the upper-mid shelf of my oven. I made the error of putting my second tray in at the same time,  which resulted in some cracking and no feet (the thin bubbly lip/base of macaron). I presume this was because of the oven temp being too low.

Next time I will half bake the top tray then move to a lower shelf,  and then put the second tray where the top tray was.

Top tray baked quote well. No cracks, but feet maybe a little large.  I think next time I will turn oven temp up 5 to 10 degrees. A little lumpy too – perhaps just a fraction more folding before I pipe the ‘rons.

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Filling: standard buttercream icing to start. I then added in a few drips of pink food dye, a couple of tbsp strawberry jam and a handful of white chocolate melted. I fridged the icing before filling.

Taste: my husband’s eyes lit up and a smile crept across his face. Much better than I expected.  Fragile and light, but crisp and chewy. Delish!!

Quinoa & pomegranate salad with candied walnuts

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Ingredients:

Handful walnuts
3 tbsp Brown sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
Good pinch Paprika
Pinch Salt
Olive oil

Sun-dried tomatoes (thin strips)
Cherry tomatoes (halved)
Handful parsley (finely chopped)
Pomegranate – seeds and juice
Handful dried cranberries
Handful slivered almonds
Handful pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp Linseeds
3 tbsp quick oats

Quinoa (+ boiling water)
Squeeze lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Method:
Mix top 6 ingredients in pan over low heat for 10 minutes or until walnuts lightly browned. Take off heat.

Make quinoa according to instructions. I microwaved mine.

Let quinoa cool a bit.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Smash walnuts up into bite-sized pieces and add to salad.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add extra cinnamon if feeling festive 🙂