It was supposed to get to around 42 degrees Celsus here today (that's well over 100F), but luckily it didn't. It's only about 34. So that's all right then. One of the ABC radio announcers just tried to fry eggs on the pavement outside the studio, but it wasn't hot enough. So why am I so damn hot? We always seem to get a little hot flush about now. I did read once that the Aboriginal people recognised 21 seasons around these parts instead of the four that we've imposed. I suppose this is one of them.
I hate Sydney in the summer. And it isn't (officially) summer yet. That starts tomorrow. Oh joy.
But the house is quite cool, even if I don't have air conditioning. All the heavy curtains have been drawn all day and I've got ceiling fans. It hasn't been hot for long enough to heat up the bricks properly. With any luck this little burst won't last long enough for that. It's supposed to break tomorrow and become more reasonable.
In the meantime, my Vietnamese chicken salad recipe for two. The chilli doesn't make it hot, just very refreshing. The dressing is more-or-less from Stephanie Alexander, one of my favourite Aussie cooks.
First make the dressing by mixing together these ingredients and leaving them to sit for at least an hour:
1 chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
2 tbs coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
3 tbs lime or lemon juice
2-3 tbs vegetable oil (not olive - it's too strong)
Take two serves of cellophane noodles (rice noodles) and pour boiling water over them, then leave them to soak. Go and put your feet up and knit for at least 30 mins.
When you're ready to eat, pan fry a chicken breast until it's cooked through. You could also poach it if you prefer. Remove it from the pan and pour some of the dressing over it. Cover and leave to cool while you prepare the vegetables.
Grate one carrot
Quarter 4-6 cherry tomatoes
Dice 1/2 of a red or green caspicum (or 1/4 of a red and 1/4 of a green one)
Finely slice a lebanese cucumber
coarsely chop another 1/4 cup mint leaves
To construct the salad, put a good serve of lettuce in the bottom of two bowls. Then add the drained noodles. I cut them up a bit with scissors so they're easier to eat. Next add the vegetables, then slice the chicken breast across the grain and place the slices on top of the salad. Pour the rest of the chicken juices and the dressing over the lot.
Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts or crisp-fried spring onions.