It's interesting, that zeitgeist-y sort of thing when you realise that everyone seems to be talking about the same thing.
And right now, whether they're food editors, stylists, charity fundraisers, branding people or online entrepreneurs, it seems everyone is all about 'authenticity'. Authentic voices, authentic people, authentic experiences, authentic you.
I mean, I haven't tested this by asking all professions (note to self: must track down some lawyers, doctors and maybe politicians to get their views) but it's a collective seeping into the subconscious and I just love how these moments happen.
It must be like when you name your baby a really original name and then realise four years later when they go to school that there's tons of 'em.
Or for me, all the time, when I have a 'brand new' idea and blog it and realise EVERYONE's on the same tip.
This also happened to me way back, back, back when ... at uni when I wrote my long essay for my degree. I can't remember it now properly but it was something to do with identifying English Romantic poets as part of a big philosophical movement 'taking in' German philosophers Kant and Hegel and the French existentialist movement.
For a week or so, I thought I was/were (yes, I actually wrote the dissertation for my language element on the use of the subjunctive) totally original and maybe even a genius. Thank goodness this was before the internet was invented and it was so much easier to feel like a genius.
Anyway, I'm not sure I've ever gone so completely off topic in writing a recipe. Oops.
So ... segue-ing 'seamlessly' into my salad recipe, this salad is ALL about authenticity.
And if you don't like very spicy hot and sour salads ('yam' actually means a 'hot and sour salad), don't make this.
The recipe is from a Thai cookery book, written in Thai, that a friend of mine who lived in Thailand for years and years and years, got in touch to tell me he'd found and ask if I'd like him to translate any recipes for me.
Er, YES PLEASE!
I made it for the first time this week for two friends who came to celebrate The Tiniest Thai's first birthday, and absolutely loved it.
These are some of my favourite flavours and tastes, and it's really simple to make too.
Great served with rice to mop up the spicy, salty, sour dressing so do make the rice first so it's all ready to go.
Quantities are up to you really, so use more or less as you think will work best, but the recipe (enough for two with rice) is this:
50g prawns (shelled and de-veined)
100g squid (I don't know why I cut mine into rings as it would have been much nicer looking I think in tubes)
1/4 cup of Asian mushrooms (I couldn't find any in the supermarket so just used sliced button mushrooms)
50g diced pork (I used a piece of tenderloin and put it in the food processor to dice really finely)
1/4 cup shredded carrot (I just used a whole carrot rather than measuring it)
1/4 white onion sliced finely
1 sliced tomato
1 stick sliced celery
1 sliced spring onion
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar (or just normal white sugar if you don't have any)
4-7 birds eye chillies, squashed and crushed, so they can be removed easily rather than eaten if you prefer
Get all the ingredients together and then prepare and slice the seafood, meat and salad.
By the way, I LOVE my julienne peeler that makes salads so easy!
Put all the vegetables into a bowl.
Put a pan of water on to boil and, when boiling, add the prawns, squid and mushrooms and boil for a minute or so until cooked. Drain and set aside. Pan fry the diced pork in a little oil for a few minutes and then let cool slightly before mixing with the prawns, squid and mushrooms.
Make the dressing by mixing the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chillies and stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Mix the meat, fish and mushrooms with the vegetables, tip in the dressing and toss together to combine. You could also add cooked, cooled glass noodles now if you'd rather use noodles than having it with rice.
This is going to be a summer favourite for me - do let me know if you try it and what you think!