pork larb

IMG_0952_thumb.jpgLarb is a classic Thai salad made with minced beef, pork or chicken and vegetables, served in a lettuce cup. The combination of flavourings, mint, coriander (cilantro) and lime, is very refreshing. Freshness and flavour – a perfect meal on a hot day.


Feel free to experiment with the ingredients to suit your taste buds. Adjust the amount of chilli if you like it more or less spicy, or use substitutions if some ingredients are not readily available.

I do it all the time… sometimes I get an idea in my head about what I want to make and if I don’t have all the ingredients on hand I just use whatever I have on hand. Results may vary, but that can be a good thing.  Like the time I was going to make this incredible chicken pasta salad, but I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients so I substituted here and there. The resulting Tiramisu was incredible! As I said, results may vary.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the Larb. I had a Thai Pad Kaprow paste in the fridge that had lemongrass, garlic and chilli so I used that up and adjusted the amounts of those individual seasonings. I also used tubes of lemongrass and fresh chilli paste rather than fresh.


And of course, you could use beef instead of pork.


Or chicken.

And leftovers – if there are any – are very tasty cold. And that’s major coming from me. I’m really not a cold leftover sort of girl usually but for this I make an exception.

You will need:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (you can get this in jars if fresh is not available).
2 small red Thai chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
40g grated fresh ginger
1.4kg pork mince
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
160ml lime juice
5 shredded kaffir lime leaves (again, I used some from a jar)
2/3 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
4 spring onions sliced thinly
8 large iceberg lettuce leaves

Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan or wok. Add the lemongrass, chilli, garlic and ginger and stir until the fragrance wafts through your kitchen – about 2 minutes.


Add the pork and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes. Add the capsicum, and stir for another 2-3 minutes.


Add the fish sauce and half the lime juice and cook for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining lime juice, herbs, onion and lime leaves in a small bowl.

Take the pan off the heat and pour over the pre-mixed juice and herbs.


On each plate, form a bowl by placing two lettuce leaves together.


Place 1/4 of the larb in each bowl of leaves.


And you’re done! This is a meal on its own and it’s perfect if you follow a high protein, low carbohydrate regime.

And, as an added bonus, you wont need to call everyone to the table. They have been sitting there waiting for you since the aroma from the kitchen brought them in 10 minutes ago.


beef and guinness stew

I know, I know. I should have had this up for St. Patricks Day a couple of weeks ago. So I’m a bit behind the times. But it doesn’t have to be St Paddys day to enjoy this dish. And besides, I didnt make it myself until St Paddys day… and it will make the perfect warming food for those cold winter evenings which will be upon us soon.

The day I made this delicious stew, the aroma was permeating through the house by the time the kids came home from school and I faced the inevitable question. ‘Whats for dinner Mum?’… so I reply ‘Beef & Guinness Stew’.

They were horrified! Absolutely disgusted.

And this is why. In our house the word Guinness does not mean this…

It means this…

So yeah…you can imagine what they were thinking. Poor kids. I really do torment them sometimes.

Anywayyyyyyyy, it was delicious! And there were requests from the family to make it again. And even Guinness got to eat some too!

Try it. And if you have to buy the Guinness especially for this recipe and you can’t buy single cans, never fear! I have a few other Guinness recipes for you. Including Guinness Chocolate Cake.

Mmmm Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm……….

• 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
• 1.5kg stewing steak (blade, chuck or gravy beef) cut into 3-4cm pieces
• 2 stalks coarsely chopped celery
• 2 chopped carrots,
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 50g tomato paste
• 1 tbs plain flour
• 1 cup (250ml) red wine
• 440ml can Guinness
• 3 cups (750ml) beef stock
• 1 dried bay leaf
• 200g bacon, cut into strips
• 12 (300g) small shallots, peeled
• 150g button mushrooms
• 1.5kg potatoes, chopped into equal sized pieces
• 100g butter, chopped
• 1 cup (250ml) cream or milk

Preheat oven to 160°C. Heat 1 tbs oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Brown the beef, in two or three batches. Remove beef from pan and set aside.

Add 1 tbs oil to dish and cook celery, carrots and onion for 8 minutes. Stir in paste then flour. Cook for 1 minute then add wine and Guinness. Simmer until reduced by half.

Add beef stock and simmer again until reduced by half. Return beef to pan with bay leaf and bring to a simmer.

Cover dish with lid, transfer to oven and cook for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan. Add bacon and shallots and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until shallots are softened. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until soft. Add bacon and shallot mixture to main dish with beef and return to oven for 30 minutes.

For the creamy potato mash, steam or boil potatoes until tender. Drain well in a colander. In the pot, add butter and cream (or milk) and heat until boiling. Add the potatoes and mash. To get them really creamy you can use electric beaters and beat until smooth.

Serve stew on bed of mash, scattered with freshly chopped parsley.

Devour. Go back for seconds.