easy dinner

Thai-style salade nicoise

I had eggs and I had tuna and I had green beans.

So it was looking like a salade nicoise ... but I was STILL hankering after my favourite salad dressing of the moment, which goes with EVERYTHING!

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I've had it with roast beef, with sliced steak, with chicken.

Why not with tuna and egg?

Here's how to make my Thai-style version of a (kind of) salade nicoise (give or take the lettuce, olives, potatoes, French dressing ...) for two.

For the dressing, mix together to dissolve the sugar:

1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 small garlic clove, minced very fine

1-2 teaspoons sugar, to your taste

the juice of 1 juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the salad, whatever you like really!

I had tomatoes, spring onions, courgette (cored and sliced with a julienne peeler), cucumber (peeled and diced), radishes, green pepper.

What makes it really good is also to have some chopped fresh mint and coriander (or parsley if you don't like coriander) leaves.

Oh, and toast some almond flakes in a dry pan ready to add to the finished dish.

For the tuna - I decided I wanted the tuna to be spicy rather than all the salad or the dressing:

1 tin tuna, mixed with a few drops of soy sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and a finely diced red chilli (just use a few slices or half a chilli if you don't want it too hot).

And finally, you'll need:

some fine green beans

2 eggs


Put a pan of water on to heat, add a pinch of salt and when boiling carefully add the eggs.

After two minutes add the green beans and boil for a further four minutes.

Immediately remove from the heat and rinse and rinse in cold water to prevent the eggs or beans cooking further, then set aside.

Combine all the salad ingredients, add the salad dressing and mix - I just use my (clean!) hands to scrunch it all together.

Put the green beans on top, then the tuna mixture and peel, halve and add the eggs.

Top with the toasted almonds and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Rachel Redlaw
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Eating for overwhelm // white fish with ginger + onions

A lovely soothing dinner to ease a stressful day.

Working under stress, at a fast pace, can mean feeling nauseous and dizzy - and here's where ginger can help.

Onions are good for the heart and reducing high blood pressure, but my belief is also that eating for your heart also nurtures the heart emotion, that overwhelm that can come with stress.

And white fish is soothing on the digestive tract, soft and soothing to eat too.

Serve with a little white rice (which is easier to digest than brown) and with a green vegetable stir-fry, with a little chilli and soy sauce, to give hope and vibrancy  ...

This is a good choice for a dinner to wind down, take some time, allow yourself to relax, let all that jumpiness and tightness unwind a little.

I use my beloved remoska electric cooker for this, but you could put the fish into foil parcels on a baking tray or just straight into an ovenproof dish with a lid - and cook in a medium heat oven.

Here's what you'll need for two:

2 white fish fillets (cod, hake, haddock - up to you)

cooking oil

2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon light brown demerera sugar

4 teaspoons fish sauce

the zest and juice of a lime

1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

coriander leaves to garnish, if liked

Put the fish into the remoska, foil or oven-dish and add a few sprays (or a couple of teaspoons) of oil, then the ginger, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, lime zest and juice and a splash of water and cook in a medium oven for 20 minutes or so - check that it's cooked through.

Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions

Cook your rice and any vegetables you'e serving with this ready for when the fish has cooked.

Five minutes before the end of the fish cooking time add a few sprays or a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and cook the sliced onion until soft and golden.

Serve the fish with rice and vegetables and topped with the fried onion and coriander leaves.

Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions


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New fave salad dressing // rare roast beef Thai-style salad

Yep, I made my salad with rare roast beef because I was in the supermarket and this lovely piece of beef was in the marked-down pile.

I hate food waste.

I also hate not choosing meat that's free-range and/or organic, animals who had a happy life. Sometimes I have this internal tussle about whether it's 'better' to choose that poor little battery hen who's ended up in the reduced pile, it's life worth nothing in life or death .. or whether to stick by the principle that if we don't buy that stuff, well, that's the important thing, to ensure there's ever more limited demand.

It's a hard one. 

Anyway, that was a bit of an aside as on this occasion, I did buy the reduced little beef joint, and cooked it rare, as I like it.

So this is a long-winded way really of saying that this post is actually ALL about the amazing dressing ... and serve the salad with whatever you choose! 

Make a salad out of JUST those things you really love - I used to make salads stuffed with things I didn't - goodness knows why, perhaps it was habit or thinking that was what you 'had' to have.

I’ve got peppers, radish, spring onion, celery, carrot, tomatoes .... plus some sliced red chilli.

Not too much chilli either - just enough to feel it tingle - as the dressing shines and doesn’t want overpowering.

And then add some toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander and mint leaves, chopped.

This really adds to the beautiful fresh flavours - DO add these! 

And then such a good dressing!  Here we go!

This was enough to dress a salad for two:

 the juice of one juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

a piece of ginger (grated)

1/2 (or one small) garlic clove minced very fine

All just stirred together to dissolve the sugar, poured over the salad and mixed with my (clean!) hands.

Rachel Redlaw Thai salad dressing rare beef salad
Rachel Redlaw Thai salad dressing rare beef salad

Then topped with the sliced rare beef, or whatever you're choosing to have with it.

This is kind of a back-to-front salad, starting with the dressing rather than the meat or salad itself!



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Totally yummy (despite the not very appealing name) egg + bean curry

This is so simple and so good, it's already (and I've only made it once hehe) a new lunch go-to.

My friend Pam shared the recipe and I just knew I was going to love it.

I love eggs and I love curry, so I love dishes like eggs in coconut masala or these great Thai classic 'son-in-law' eggs.

But this is easier than easy and just perfect for a quick lunch.

Here's what you need to make 'egg + bean curry' for one:

Cooking oil

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 - 1 chilli (depending on taste), chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tomato, diced

2 eggs, beaten

1 small tin baked beans, rinsed of all sauce (or the same quantity of cooked haricot beans)

salt and pepper to season

chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve (if liked)

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Heat a frying pan or wok and add some cooking oil (I use a spray oil then a splash of water if it looks like sticking) then the onion, chilli, garlic and cumin and cook over a very low heat for two or three minutes, adding a little water if it's sticking. You don't want it to burn!

Then add the tomatoes and cook until it's all softened, probably another five or six minutes.

Add the eggs and beans and cook, stirring all the time, for a few minutes to scramble the beans and get everything hot and yummy.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Season to taste, check you're happy with the consistency and turn out on to a plate or a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

I started eating straightaway and forgot to take a photo until I was two thirds of the way in!

So when I make this again (which I definitely will be, and soon) I'll take a photo of the finished dish.

This is really good and simple and tasty - just the sort of lunch I love! 


Thai-inspired salmon tray-bake

So tray bakes ...

Well, first ... I was at my sister's in Cornwall the last few days, walking on this beach ... 

Spending time with my family, laughing and playing, and also lots of time creating, writing and cooking.

It's very different cooking for a family than for one or two adults (usually) and it made a really lovely change.

I especially liked the simple and delicious tray bake we made last night - just putting chicken thighs into a dish with cherry tomatoes on the vine, a couple of chopped rashers of bacon,, a garlic clove, minced, and new potatoes - served with steamed tenderstem broccoli.


And all the way home, five hours on the train, I was half thinking, half brewing, what I could do for a Thai-inspired version of an easy one-pot tray-bake.

I had a friend coming for dinner tonight, so she was going to be my guinea pig!

I wasn't sure to be honest that it would work.

BUT we LOVED it!

And I'm SO utterly thrilled it was so good, and so simple too!

Current favourite easy dinner!


OK, what you need for two people:

Some new potatoes, however many you want to eat! (I think I allowed 5-6 each)

Approx 150 ml coconut milk (I had this cute 165ml tin so used that)

150 ml stock made with chicken or veg stock cube

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced (put half aside)

a small (maybe a thumb sized) piece of ginger, minced (put half aside)

zest and juice of one lime

I red birds eye chilli, finely chopped

2 fillets of salmon, boneless and remove the skin if you can

some green veg - I had broccoli, asparagus and a couple of sliced spring onions

coriander leaves, chopped, to serve - if liked


I used my trusty remoska to make this, but you can just use a glass/pyrex dish or roasting dish - and pre-heat the oven first to a medium heat.

Slice the potatoes quite thickly and arrange in a layer over the bottom of the remoska or dish.

Mix the coconut milk, stock, sesame oil,  1/2  the garlic and 1/2 the ginger and pour over the potatoes.

Then add the zest and juice of a lime, and the chopped red chilli.

Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake

Stir and cook for around 20 minutes. 

You will need to make a decision here as to the right time to add the fish and vegetables based on how cooked your potatoes are.

Mine needed 30 minutes cooking plus another ten for the fish and veg, but I think if you're using a pre-heated oven you'll only need 15-20 for the first part, so do check and use your own intuition (and knowledge of your own oven).

When the potatoes are 5-10 mins away from being done, add the salmon, the vegetables and then the remaining garlic and ginger.

Cook for another ten minutes of so until done.

Remove from heat and add a handful of chopped coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake

Serve either in the dish it's been cooked in, or if you're using a (kind ugly but the BEST) remoska like me, then serve in a bowl, maybe with extra lime wedges on the side.

We really loved this!

I hope you do too.



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Prawn, tomato, rocket // easy summery pasta

Simplest summer pasta.

I used to make this all the time, then somehow forgot about it and my sister recently reminded me of it as she'd made it (it was a recipe of hers originally I think).

Quantities are vague really, it doesn't really matter (except what tastes good to you) but for two people, I used:

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

1 small white onion (finely diced)

1 clove garlic (squashed and minced)

1 red chilli, diced

1/3 chicken stock cube (I always use Knorr)

Water

A glass of white wine

2 ripe tomates, core removed and diced

King prawns - I had these lovely head-and-tail-on jumbo prawns and used four for each person - but any large prawns will be good

A couple of handfuls of rocket

Cooked pasta, to serve (I make this first and add at the end but you might prefer to time it so it all comes together! I also use gluten-free but of course just use your own favourite)

 
Prawn tomato rocket pasta Rachel Redlaw
 

Put a frying pan over a medium/low heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil, or a few sprays of oil, if you're using a spray oil (if you are, you may well need a little splash of water too to stop the ingredients sticking so just add a little as needed).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli slowing until softened - this always takes longer than I think (anywhere up to ten minutes).  Keep stirring to stop it sticking and add a little water if it looks like it will.

Crumble in the piece of stock cube, a slosh of water, and the wine and bring to a simmer.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes - it should be good and juicy so add another slosh of water if it needs loosening at all.

Add the prawns to the simmering mixture and cook for a few minutes until either hot through (if the prawns are already cooked) or until the grey raw prawns are completely pink and cooked.

Add the rocket and immediately turn off the heat but keep stirring to wilt the rocket.

Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta

You can serve with the pasta or - as I usually do - add the cooked pasta to the pan to re-heat as it'll be slightly cooled if cooked earlier, and stir to combine.

Season to taste and enjoy! 

 
Rachel Redlaw prawn tomato rocket pasta
 

There's something very elegant about the simplicity of this dish - as in fact with my other favourite summer pasta with prawns + lemon.

Hope you love them too.


 

 

Thai prawn + ginger noodles

This is a lovely recipe - it's a BBC Good Food recipe, shared with me by a friend and the original recipe is HERE if you'd like it.

I love the sauce made with red curry paste, orange juice and zest - so good, and such a great idea.

I did adapt it a little and because I hate precise measurements (and don't think they're needed with this way of cooking) I've made them a little bit easy-going :) 

What else did I just adapt a little?

First, the noodles - the recipe calls for sen lek -  lek means small so the original uses thin noodles.  I prefer the wider rice noodles so that's what I used - my message as always is to use what YOU choose.

Whichever you choose, soak or prepare the noodles according to your pack instructions, so they're ready to stir fry.  Always run your soaked noodles under a cold tap until they're completely cold to stop them going gloopy and sticky.

Oh and beansprouts - I don't really like them so left them out, but I'll add here in my recipe where to add them if you're using them.

The only other thing is basil - in my opinion this should say Thai sweet basil (horapha) as Mediterranean tastes totally different and won't work at all. So I'd say if you can get Thai sweet basil, then that would be amazing, but if you can't just leave it out, and don't use Mediterranean basil. 

And the coriander - I know a lot of people don't like it so if you don't, don't let that put you off this delicious, simple dish - just don't add coriander! It's still going to be very, very good.

OK, so I thought I'd try this one out just for me to see how I got on with it before I make it for anyone else, but now I can't wait for tomorrow dinner to cook it! 

For my one portion, so just double for two, I used:

Some lovely rice noodles, soak or prepare ready for stir-frying, according to pack instructions

Zest and juice of half an orange (zest first before halving - not being patronising, just making sure no-one else is sometimes as dizzy as me)

1/2 - 1 tablespoon red curry paste, depending on the strength of your brand of curry paste (you don't want it overwhelming but you do want to taste it)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon Demerara sugar (I didn't have any so just used white granulated)

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons cooking oil, or cooking oil spray (I used 20 sprays)

A small piece of fresh ginger, about thumb-sized, peeled and grated (it makes about 1 teaspoon)

I large garlic clove, squashed and minced

1/2 red pepper, sliced

a handful of mange tout or sugar snap peas, halved lengthways

a handful of beansprouts - optional, if liked

a few prawns, however many you want to eat, I had 7

a handful of Thai sweet basil, chopped - if you can get it - if not, just leave out

a handful of coriander leaves, chopped - optional, if liked

Stir together the orange zest and juice, red curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and water to make a sauce and set aside.

And get the other ingredients ready to go.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

As I'd used the grater for the zest, I used it again to grate the ginger - which I prefer to having larger pieces, but am usually too lazy to get the grater out! (and yes I realise that that really IS lazy) - anyway that's why my ginger and garlic has little flecks of orange in with it!

Put a pan or wok over a medium heat, add the oil and then 2/3 of the ginger/garlic and fry, stirring all the time for 30 seconds or, as all Thai recipes say, 'until it smells good'.

I added a tiny splash of water too as garlic burns so quickly and wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

At any time in your cooking if it needs loosening a little, just add a splash of water. It's good to cook when things are moving fluidly and happily.

Add the red pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring all the time.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

Then throw in the sugar snap peas or mange tout and after stirring to ensure everything's mixed add the curry sauce mix.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

I turned up the heat a little and added a splash more water and when it started to simmer, turned the heat back down to medium and added the prawns (add the beansprouts now too if you're using them).

Cook until pink - about two - three minutes - then throw in the last of the ginger/garlic, stir and add the noodles.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

Stir to combine and make sure the noodles are hot, then remove from heat and serve, topping with coriander if using.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

I really, really like this!

Great flavours - and one I'll be making again (and again).



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Steak, mango and avocado salad

This recipe first appeared in The Guardian newspaper in February 2010 and it's from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

One of my sisters saw it and tore it out - we made it and it was delicious.

Several years later when I was with her, I remembered it, and took a photo of the page - and a few times I've made it, zooming in on the photo to enlarge it enough to see the detail of the recipe.

Seven years later, thought it was about time I just shared it, so I'll have it right here whenever I need it.

Oh! And - of course - so that you can have it too.

This is simple and elegant and delicious and full of flavour. Easy enough for a normal supper, and lovely enough for a dinner party, or lunch - we had it today for Sunday lunch and it was perfect.

I've changed the recipe just a little, so this is my version I'm giving you.

The mango, avocado, steak and spicy dressing isn't a combination I'd have thought of - but it works supremely well.

So for two people, this is how you do it!

Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad

The marinade: 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced; 1 tablespoon oyster sauce; 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional - I didn't have any); 1 teaspoon soy sauce; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; some grated fresh ginger; a little black pepper.

 

 

 

 


Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

1-2 steaks depending on their size and your hunger.  Rump or sirloin will work best.

Rub in the marinade and leave to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

 

 

 

 


Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Make the dressing: 1 tablespoon fish sauce; 1.5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil; juice of 1/2-1 limes; 1.5 teaspoons light soy sauce; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; 1/2-1 birds eye red chilli, finally chopped; 1 very small or half a clove of garlic, finely minced.

 

 

 


When the steak's almost done marinating, prepare the rest of the salad: peel and slice half a mango (or as much as you like); same with a ripe avocado (I used half a large avocado). Put rocket on plates with the mango and avocado arranged on top.

Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad
Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad
Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Heat a griddle pan until very hot, add the steak and sear for 2-4 minutes each side - depending on thickness of the steak - you want it lovely and browned on the outside and pink in the middle.

Leave the steak to rest on a board or plate for 3-4 minutes before slicing thinly.


Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Add the steak to the plates of salad, drizzle over the dressing, scatter over some coriander leaves and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 


SUCH a great dish. Hope you love it too!



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Simplest seafood stir-fry with lime + chilli

Late Sunday morning.

Realise need to eat and that, having been up for several hours (well, from 7.30am and now it's 10.45am.

I really need brunch.

Time for my own personal take on Masterchef's 'invention test' (the one I'll be looking forward to most should I ever get on it).

I have: a rasher of smoked back bacon; a packet of cooked seafood mix (squid, prawns and mussels); some asparagus tips I picked up cheaply yesterday as they were put on offer as they became out of date. 

So ... time to rustle up the simplest seafood stir fry! 

It all goes together well - pork and seafood HEART each other big time. 

This is super-simple but it IS spicy and it IS very lime-y.

I actually think lemon might be nicer - and I rarely use lemon!

Cook your rice first so it's ready and then prepare the ingredients:

1 garlic clove, minced

a small piece of ginger, minced

1-2 bird eye chillies, squashed and chopped

1-2 spring onions, sliced

cooking oil, or Frylight spray oil 

1 bacon rasher, fat removed and chopped(I had smoked but whatever you have is good)

some mixed seafood (probably around a small bowlful or around 200g)

if you have them asparagus tips are good, but you could use another vegetable

1 lime

fish sauce

sugar

oyster sauce

cooked rice and chopped coriander leaves (if liked) to serve

Rachel Redlaw seafood stirfry
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime seafood stirfry

I use my Frylight 1-cal oil spray as I'm losing weight at the moment, but you can just use a tablespoon of cooking oil if you prefer- and if so, you probably don't need the splash of water, but see what you think and add it if you need to.

Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add 20 sprays of 1-cal spray oil and then put in the garlic, ginger, chillies and spring onions.

Stir for around 20 seconds until it smells good and then add the bacon and stir for another 20 seconds - add a splash of water now, or earlier if you think it needs it.

Cook for another 20 seconds or so and then add the asparagus tips (if using) and cook for a minute. Add another small splash of water if needed at any time.

Rachel Redlaw seafood stir fry with chilli and lime
Rachel Redlaw seafood stir fry with chilli and lime
Rachel Redlaw seafood stir fry with chilli and lime

Tip in the seafood, stir and squeeze in the juice of the lime. 

Add a splash of fish sauce and half a teaspoon of sugar then cook, stirring all the time, for a couple of minutes until the seafood is hot all the way through.

Add a little glug of oyster sauce and cook for up to another minute until it's all hot and good.

Rachel Redlaw seafood stir fry with chilli and lime
Rachel Redlaw seafood stir fry with chilli and lime

Turn off the heat, add the coriander (if using) and serve with rice. 

Rachel Redlaw seafood stir fry with chilli and lime

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Thai-inspired meatballs + rice noodles

Some dishes are prettier than others and this isn't a very pretty one.

But it tastes MUCH better than it looks and it's really simple (as always) too - so do give it a try.

I made it with beef mince as that's what I had in the fridge, but pork and chicken would both be good and change it up a bit.

Also, I used lovely fresh rice noodles as I'd been to the Thai supermarket and these are my favourites, but dried rice noodles are good, or you could have the meatballs with rice, or even with pasta. All going to be good! Prepare your noodles or rice first so it's all ready to go.

So, for meatballs for one, I used: 

approx 100g mince

half a carrot, shredded and diced

a little piece of ginger, diced

1 birds eye red chilli, also diced

(If I'd had parsley, I'd have added a small handful of that too, finely chopped)

one little lime leaf that was in the salad drawer - I just removed the stalk and chopped the leaf into very fine slices and diced. If you don't have lime leaves, then I'd grate some lime zest in

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and then scrunch it all up to combine and shape into little meatballs.

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs

Then prepare the sauce ingredients.  

You'll need:

1/2 cup boiling water with about 1/3 of a knorr stock cube (I used chicken)

another little piece of ginger, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 birds eye red chilli, finely chopped (use just half if you don't want it too spicy of course)

2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal to look nice

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

 
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
 

And then you just put a frying pan over a heat and either add a tablespoon of cooking oil or, if you're losing weight like me, 20 sprays of that 1-cal-per-spray cooking oil and put the meatballs in.

Keep turning until they're browned all over and if using the spray oil, you'll probably need to add a splash of water too. It takes a few minutes.

When browned, add the chopped ginger, garlic and chilli and fry for a few seconds, then tip in the stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook for around 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce, fish sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs

Cook for another minute or so, tasting to check you're happy with the balance of flavours, and that's it. 

Ready to serve!

Some parsley or coriander, chopped and scattered over, might have looked nice, but I didn't have any ...

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs


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