So during the holiday season, when everyone is away and I’m on my own, what do I do? I find the most expensive treat food I can and cook it in very self indulgent ways! Then I post about it to make everyone feel jealous.
That was the plan anyway. I was hoping that while everyone was away for Christmas, I’d be able to trash the kitchen and make whatever I’d like to eat. Unfortunately the market forces at this time of year made that a bit tricky.
It seems that the only thing that the supermarkets DON’T run out of at Christmas is traditional Christmas food. On the night of the 22nd, there were hundreds of shelves full of turkeys whole salmon, brandy butter and Christmas pudding. The other shelves were empty. Shame. I had great plans for some calves liver.
The one thing I could find was a nice, but rather expensive chunk of fillet steak hidden behind another turkey on the meat counter. At the very least that it meant one night’s dinner was sorted so I snagged it immediately, to the very vocal annoyance of the woman behind me, and then fought my way to the checkout.
As I waited in the queue I coulnd’t help wondering what is it about Christmas that makes small children cry all the time. I thought the point of the whole holiday was to make things fun for them, but on the whole they seem way more miserable than usual. At least their wails were doing a good job of drowning out Bono and co. on the shop radio.
The fillet steak turned out to be an excellent treat for one. I made it into thai chilli beef with deep fried basil and served it with coconut-lime rice and stir fried pak-choi with mushrooms and garlic.
This was a nice simple dinner to make after the stress of trying to find the ingredients. I got a tablespoon of fish sauce, a tablespoon of water, one large crushed garlic clove, 1 cubic inch of crushed ginger and a level tablespoon of sugar and mixed the lot to form a marinade for my beef. I cut the beef into strips and tossed it in the marinade.
Just under an hour later, I deep fried about 10 large basil leaves until crispy and left them to drain on some kitchen paper. In preparation for the rice, I set some lime leaves simmering in diluted coconut milk (half a can, or 200ml of milk, plus half as much water. Then I went to sort out the beef.
I fried half a chopped red bell pepper with half a finely diced onion, another crushed garlic clove, 1 cubic inch of crushed ginger, 1 red chopped chilli and a bruised lemon grass stalk. When these had softened, I added the beef and stir fried until it was cooked on the outside. Then I took it off the heat.
I added two handfuls of rice to the simmering coconut milk, and while it was cooking stir fried the vegetables with some sesame oil. At the end I just served the rice alongside the beef topped with the basil leaves and some chilli oil. I had the vegetable stir fry on the side.
Maybe it is something to do with the food I brought up on, but I find the combination of coconut milk and strong chilli incredibly soothing. Combine that with the meltingly tender fillet steak and the great flavour of the fried basil and it make for an almost perfect meal for a quiet night in. For me anyway.
There were supposed to be four posts on my treats but I was so hungry when I had the last one I forgot to photo it . More on the other two soon, plus, when Dad gives me the photos I can tell you about the meal I cooked for him and Mum.