no hat required
Halloween didn’t really register on the radar where I live. OK, so the confectionery companies do still try to use it as a marketing ploy, but it’s not really a big thing here in Queensland. I did buy some little chocolate bars just in case of trick or treaters, but there were none. Viper was very happy with his acquisition of sugary milk chocolate treats.
Something that is a highly celebrated day in Australia, particularly down Victoria way, is Melbourne Cup Day (today). Basically, it’s a big horse race which gives people the excuse to a) dress up fancy b) drink lots c) gamble d) drink lots e) lose lots of money f) drink lots. I’ve never been a fan of it, because I don’t like wearing little dresses and high heels, and of course, I’m Cheap. The drinking part is attractive, but hey, I can do that at home, not pay $8 a glass for some fizzy wine. I have never gotten a buzz off gambling – probably due to the fact that I’m Cheap, and don’t want to part with my coins. Some people LOVE it though – what about you? Love to thrill of the rush? Double or nothing?
I did attend Race Day once – I think I did pretty well, particularly with the dressing up and drinking. Winning the big bucks with my betting? Not so much – the first and only time I’ve gambled on a horse race.
Dressed up? Check.
Fizzy wine? Check.
Large attention seeking hat – nothing to do with races, but fun all the same? Check.
Tonight’s dinner was cheap, quick and easy. Much like these girls after a long day at the Melbourne Cup.
I love salad-meals. It’s an awesome way to use up leftovers (think cooked rice/grains/vegetables) and is pretty quick to assemble. I’ve made my own “meaty” substitute, which makes this meal preparation a little more time consuming – but really, you can sub in anything here – chicken, tofu, tempeh, fish, beef whatever you enjoy or have in your fridge. The sauce is sweet with a nice spicy kick (feel free to add more chilli I added one tiny birds eye, thinking I would need a couple more, but woah these chillies had some BITE. I rubbed my nose after cutting it, and think I burnt out my nasal passages). Oh yeah, no MSG in my sauce. I love the fresh ingredients and vibrant flavours in Thai-inspired dishes…
Thai Coconut Strips: (Based on method in this recipe)
- 1/2C coconut milk
- 1 1/2 T Thai green curry paste
- 1/4C TVP
- 1/2C vital wheat gluten
- 1T onion granules
- 1/2t ground coriander
- 1/2t chilli flakes
- 1t ginger powder
- 1T soy sauce
- Quickly fry off curry paste in a fry pan until fragrant (a few minutes). Mix into coconut milk, and add soy sauce.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Mix wet and dry together.
- Give “dough” a quick knead, and shape (this time instead of the usual sausage roll I just made little patties)
- Place in a steamer for 30 minutes. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve salad, slice into strips and pan fry.
Sweet Chilli Sauce:
- 1/2C soaked dates (chop dates and pour about 1/8C boiling water over them to soften)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2C + 3T water
- 5t lime juice
- 5t fish sauce
- 1/2-1 small birds eye chilli, chopped (depending on how hot you like it)
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
This is what I used, but feel free to utilise whatever you have on hand (mushrooms, carrot, broccoli, coloured peppers, bean sprouts, sweetcorn, cashew nuts, toasted coconut, steamed rice, cooked quinoa, noodles etc)
- Mung bean noodle threads, rehydrated and tossed in sesame oil
- Dry toasted chopped peanuts
- Fresh coriander
- Red onion
- Mung bean sprouts
- Steamed Pak Choy
- Steamed Pei Tsai
- 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped.
I assemble everything on a large communal platter, with little bowls of sauce, wedges of lime, extra chopped nuts, fried shallots etc. Everyone helps themselves and creates a plate. A big free-for-all…just how I like to eat.
I’m not going to put any money on it, but if you’re anything like me – I bet you’d love this meal.