Saturday, 29 September 2012

Green Peppercorn Restaurant Fairfield

 Lorenza and I shared a great meal with our friends Terence and Sandar to celebrate both Sandar and my birthdays which are within a few days of each other. We had wanted to find a reason to visit the Green Peppercorn Restaurant at Fairfield since they opened a few months ago.

The promise of some great Lao and Thai food, enjoyed in a contemporary, chic environment was well lived up to. The food was delicious and nicely presented. The service was prompt and friendly. We had to wait a while to get a table because on weekends they only take advance bookings for groups of 10 or more. the wait flew by as we joked with some kids playing on the tuk tuk that is part of the decorations.

We had Lao and Thai style green papaya salads (Tam Mak Hoong and Som Tam), it was fun to compare the two flavours together. The Yum Ped (roast duck salad) with lychees and salad greens was a great mixture of sweet and savoury. "Mum's sauce" was great with the marinated BBQ beef and the Lao sausage, the sauce was a spicy dippy sauce with lots of chilli. The crunchy rice salad (Nem Khao) was tasty too.

For dessert Lorenza and I went with some suggestions made by the staff, and we were glad we went with this. Lorenza had fried ice cream and I tried the pandan creme brulee - yum! Sandar had the sticky rice with durian and Terence the pandan waffles.

By the end of the meal it was hard to get up and leave, we were all full and very happy. You can find full details of the Green Peppercorn restaurant at their website here.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Monkey Trap

I just got home from a short meditation retreat and wanted to share an anology that I came across ...

In India and Southeast Asia, a traditional way to capture monkeys is to put a tempting fruit in a jar with a narrow mouth and chain or stake the jar to the ground. When a monkey comes along smells the fruit and sticks his hand in the jar to grab the fruit. He can't get his hand out while he is holding the fruit, but he won't let go because he has the fruit he wants so much in his hand.

The monkey will struggle for hours to get his hand out, but he will never let go of the fruit. Even when the men return and throw a net over him, he will scream and struggle frantically but never let go of the fruit. Because he will not let go of the fruit, he loses his freedom.

We can laugh and say, "Stupid monkey! It's obvious! Just let go and you can be free!!" But what about us? Maybe we should spend some time figuring out the things we can't let go of and keep us trapped in our own suffering. Maybe we should learn to let go so we can be free.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

You Do Not Need Many Things - A Poem by Ryokan

My house is buried in the deepest recess of the forest
Every year, ivy vines grow longer than the year before.
Undisturbed by the affairs of the world I live at ease,
Woodmen’s singing rarely reaching me through the trees.
While the sun stays in the sky, I mend my torn clothes
And facing the moon, I read holy texts aloud to myself.
Let me drop a word of advice for believers of my faith.
To enjoy life’s immensity, you do not need many things.

- Ryƍkan Taigu - (1758–1831)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Tanya & her Mum shared their Lao Yum Salad recipe with us

All the way from Laos, Tanya and her Mum made their family recipe Lao Yum Salad for us and gave us the instructions. Tanya made notes as her Mum made the salad ....

The dressing ingredients:

  •  Yoke only of 5 hard boiled eggs (put the egg white in the salad)
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic (or amount to taste)
  • MSG 1 spoon if you use it
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • sugar to taste
  • 5 tablespoons of oil
  • 200g of pork mince *
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
Blend all the dressing ingredients in a mortar and pound lightly with pestle.

The salad ingredients:

  •  Egg whites from hard boiled eggs
  • Lettuce- use a variety of cos, red leaf, romaine, boston etc.,(use iceberg only if necessary) Cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, carrots, coriander, and any other herb that you like
  • You could also add some roast peanuts
Pour dressing over salad and mix gently in a bowl.

Aussie Yum Salad
(* A footnote from DJ -  the pork minced is cooked first in oil depending on individual's preference from 2TBS to 4TBS. My aunts in Vientiane and my mother would add crushed garlic in the oil to give that nice aroma.)