Vietnamese broth with prawn-and-pork meatballs

So. It’s been a while. HOW ARE YOU?  I imagine you’ve been sitting around for the best part of a month, starving to actual death without a single clue about what to eat because I’ve been a lazy cow and not bothered to tell you.

Sorry…

It’s just that I’ve been on Hell Diet and I’ve returned to work and NewHuman has had a shitty cold and a revolving duo of nannies and we’ve had cupboards built and new chairs delivered (but no table) and I’ve had a green-snot cold and been involved in some serious swim-lane rage at the local pool. Things have been busy but the lack of posting is mostly due to the fact that I’m not cooking very much at the moment.

The boyfriend’s previous life of rising at 9am, working a leisurely day in a media setting and returning home in the evening to a hot, cooked meal, NewHuman quiet and compliant in bed and a clean home, has gone. Gone maybe forever. Now he’s forced to get up at 7am with NewHuman whilst I get ready and dash off to work.  He’s forced to do handover of care of NewHuman to the hot blonde nanny (changing to the hot brunette nanny next week, such a hardship) and then work all day to show he deserves a pay-rise, and then returns home to (a still clean and tidy house and in-bed NewHuman) to high-five me as I pass him at the front door on my way to the pool.   Once inside he, I imagine, forlornly opens the fridge door and sighs deeply as he reaches for his third packet of cold sliced ham this week, tarting it up with a sweet pickled gherkin, some home-brand cheddar and a pint glass of water.

I get home from the pool, having been at work since 8am, getting home at 6pm and sorting NewHuman and racing off to pool by 730pm, in a knackered state but generally full of internal rage at the apparent inability of the general British public to appropriately share swimming lanes. DRIVES ME CRAZY.

Anyway that’s all as may be.  We are all perfectly well and victims only of our own decisions in terms of diet and exercise.  In general we are happy, vanity being a marvellous motivator when it comes to eating the same fucking thing for the hundreth day in a row.

Not long before I gave up cooking altogether I made a yum soup that was based on a Bill Granger recipe. Mine wasn’t the same, obv, as I’m not fancy enough to keep star anise just floating  around my spice cupboard (although maybe I am, I’m scared to dig too deeply).

Gather:-

For the meatballs

150g/5oz peeled raw prawns, finely chopped – I used cooked prawns, IT WAS FINE
250g/8oz pork mince
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, finely chopped – I used dried chilli flakes, IT WAS FINE

For the soup

1 litre/1¾ pints chicken stock
3cm piece ginger, sliced
Juice 1 lime, plus 1 lime to serve
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 cinnamon stick – yeah right, no way chum. I didn’t use this and IT WAS FINE
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 star anise – for god’s sake. I didn’t use. IT WAS FINE
4 baby bok choy, leaves separated
Handful coriander sprigs
Handful mint leaves – forgot to buy, didn’t use. IT WAS FINE.
Handful bean sprouts
1 red chilli, sliced
2 spring onions, shredded

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Put all the ingredients for the prawn- and-pork balls in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix, squeezing the ingredients together until well combined. Wet your hands every 2-3 balls or so – roll the mixture into approx 12 small balls. Put on a plate and chill for 30 minutes.

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Pork and prawn balls.

BALLS.

Fnar.

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Place the stock, 300ml/½ pint water, ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, cinnamon stick (if using) , sugar and the star anise (if using, you showy princess, you) in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer for 5 minutes.  As I didn’t use cinnamon and star anise I fiddled around with rice wine vinegar and more fish sauce and soy and lime and stuff to get the balance of sweet/sour/hot/and whatever the other one is.

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I actually made an executive decision to not use bok choy and used, instead, chinese cabbage and some mushrooms. Was yum. Take that Bill Granger, with your clean-soap smell (I imagine) and your unsettlingly happy face.

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Boiled balls.

Yum, eh? Like, why wouldn’t you want to eat this?

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Sometimes I worry about NewHuman.

Anyway, below is the finished thing. Squeeze some lime over the top of the ladled out soup, topped with spring onions, bean sprouts and chopped chilli and coriander. Is bloody yum.

Mmmm food.

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5 thoughts on “Vietnamese broth with prawn-and-pork meatballs

  1. ediblethings says:

    I love me a good pho. BTW,if you don’t have any star anise, I recommend that too. I have been pairing it with plums for most of last autumn. Star anise keeps forever – it’ll be what the cockroaches feed on after the nuclear winter, probably.

    • b-kom says:

      I think I watched some cooking show recently where the chef chucked star anise into literally EVERYTHING. I went off it a bit after that.

  2. narf77 says:

    Its ok, I needed to lose a few pounds ;). Star anise lasts for years…I know it does because when I needed some for a recipe I remembered that I had strung some up in the vain hope of making my Christmas tree look Swedish and shmick about 10 Christmases ago and headed off to where the decorations were stashed, pilfered it and then after removing the cotton string (although on second thoughts, it might have been cleverer to leave the string attached!) I hurled it in with the abandon afforded to the ignorant (which I couldn’t legally claim to be) and the optimistic pessimist who knows the odds…turns out we were both wrong and star anise has a half-life.

    Bill reminds me of Tim Brook Taylor out of the Goodies with that silly grin and his stoic refusal to accept his receding hairline. He is an ambassador for the “happy Aussie” fib that we are selling to the world. Go tell that hapless fool who cut you off in the swimming lane that Aussies are easy going eh? I bet YOU showed him/her a thing or two about Aussie tenacity 😉 Bok Choy is disgusting. It turns to limp, watery, flavourless “Green” and is only there to pack out Chinese food to get maximum profits. May as well add those corn packing beads!

    New Human is obviously a “Thrasher” good luck getting ANY sleep when he graduates from cot to bed…parents soon learn that any romantic ideas about darling children sleeping in their own beds is a myth perpetuated by those who would have society and humanity survive. The truth is that small, even tiny, human’s take up the entire bed. New Human is just practicing for when he advances up the parental torture scale.

    May as well throw the dog in your bed now along with New Human and learn to sleep on the couch while you still have the dignity of choice ;). Glad to see you are surviving the rat race, albeit utilising “the rage”…you might graduate to benign acceptance soon but if rage is getting you through ma’am, make sure it is the best damned rage you can muster! 🙂

    • b-kom says:

      Dog already sleeps in/on our bed, it’s why we got a bloody massive one…She may not be very big but she’s very pointy, we need to give her space!

      NewHuman will, I’m sure, do exactly as he’s told all of the time. Yes?

      • narf77 says:

        Dog + New Human = another king sized bed. I woke up this morning thinking that Steve was being loving and had put his arm over me…nope…Earl, upside down, paw over my chest…I hate to think of what Steve had planted on his chest 😉

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