We took you down to the city this morning so you could catch your bus to Canberra: a brief stop over for a birthday party, before flying back to Melbourne and the start of lectures next week. Next week is yet another excitement: we will be joining you in Melbourne to help you host your twenty-first birthday party.
Izzy, I am not quite sure where the ten days went, but they slipped by quickly. We did actually do quite a lot: opera at the Conservatory, ( our friend TFS did a stellar job of set design and costumes-we were all in awe), shopping for your birthday dress on Oxford Street, a picnic with dad and Little C, and D at Lady Macquarie’s Chair. We also had some great catch ups with cousins while walking at Camp Cove, and round the dinner table.
You made vegan chocolate cookies for your sister’s last day of school ( congratulations to our new Senior!), and amazing cookie cupcakes which everyone who passed through the house had the pleasure of tasting. You helped me grocery shop and cook, and last night, we spent the evening in the kitchen together. Your favourite music played from a laptop, as we chopped and stirred and chatted and cooked. It was a lovely way of finishing up our time together. Thanks for being with us, and your special brand of sunshine.
The dinner table last night was how we like it: all of us present, and with the addition of close family. The Ws joined us, and D and T, our newly weds in town from the west coast. What a lovely combination! There was a great deal to chat about, wasn’t there!
It was fun making shredded beef salad together with you: it is one of those things which is really nice to do with someone, as there are various steps and stages ( none of them difficult, as you can attest). All the different components come together, bound by a delicious dressing.
Shredded Beef Salad
- 1 kg beef shoulder
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- small knob of fresh ginger, sliced into thick pieces, and bruised with the handle of a knife
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 red capsicum
- 2 cucumbers
- a handful of green beans
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup of coriander/cilantro sprigs
- 1/2 cup od chopped green shallots
- 3 to 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon uncooked white rice
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup liquid from the cooked beef
- Mix all of the above into a lidded jar and keep aside.
- Place the meat in a heavy-lidded pot, and add the soy, fish sauce, ginger, sugar and water.
- Cook in a low oven (110 degrees celsius) for three hours.
- Cool completely. Save the liquid, remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
- Shred the beef with your fingers into large strands. Set aside.
- Chop all the vegetables into bite size pieces.
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate if serving more than an hour after assembling. Otherwise, keep in a cool place.
- Dry roast the rice in a pan, until the grains turn from translucent to a solid white/ golden brown.
- Roughly powder the rice grains either with a motor and pestle, or in a coffee grinder. Reserve.
- Just before you are ready to eat, assemble your salad. Ingredients are best at room temperature, so if you have refrigerated the meat and vegetables, bring to room temperature ahead of time.
- In a large platter or salad bowl, layer the beef shreds with cut vegetables, chopped shallots and cilantro leaves.
- Sprinkle over with minced kaffir lime leaves, and peanuts. Toss well.
- Now add the dressing one tablespoon at a time. The dressing should coat all the ingredients well, but not be soggy.
- Before serving, add the crushed roasted rice, toss the salad well again, and serve.
This salad is delicious on its own, but we sometimes serve it with a side of steamed rice. And I always sprinkle chilli flakes over my portion for an extra kick! This is also a good dish to take on a picnic with a crusty baguette, and some cold beers.
See you in Melbourne for some twenty-first birthday FUN! xoxo