It was my birthday last week.
I have never been one for parties or commotion but I do like indulgence. As I swiped through my social-media well wishes telling me to ‘have a lovely day’, I offered the third lunch alternative to my cold-ridden and self-confessed frustrated toddler who refused to eat anything. Unchanged from the morning and desperate for a bath, I bashed updates into my phone, telling my business-conventioning husband that this is NOT the way birthdays were supposed to be. Thank goodness I had macaroons to stifle the onslaught of tears and spits of ‘no I do not have plans’ that my poor brother got the end of. Deep breaths. My cousin shrugged, ‘well, this is what happens when you have kids love’. What finer and truer ways to tell me get a grip?
Thankfully I didn’t have to hold that grip for too much longer as the weekend brought redemption in the way of a much needed facial and utterly required massage. As I heard the knots click in my back, I wondered if I could have a snooze whilst the face pack dried. Anyway, I was treated to some vegetarian Thai fine dining in London in the evening, giving me an excuse to dress in sexy lace sleeves and wear make-up. I have to tell you that when they served the satay sauce warm with the tofu skewers, I had high hopes and my goodness they were delivered to a dizzy levels; I wanted to drink the stuff. Unlike shop bought stuff the satay sauce was deeper, lighter, disclosed a few crunches of peanuts and unveiled just a little heat. It wasn’t thick and heavy like we often see. Normally I would have asked for how they do it but I didn’t on this occasion and I regret it. I really do.
Like all good things must, I have gone back for more…well, not to the restaurant already but I have satay’d at home with a healthful and abundant serving of wild rice, full of life’s colours and sweet balance from roasted peppers and sweet potato. It is nutty in itself and works so well with a couple of tablespoons of satay dressing per serving.
Ingredients to serve 4-6
For the wild rice
175g of wild rice, cooked per the packet instructions
One yellow pepper, diced
One red pepper, diced
150g sweet potato, diced
100g small broccoli florets
4 spring onions, diced
One tin of chickpeas, washed drained
4-5 shallots, skinned and halved
40g basil, finely shredded
5 tbsp. cashew nuts, lightly toasted on a non-stick pan
For the satay sauce
2 tbsp. peanut oil
2 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. brown sugar
One small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One large red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp. red chilli flakes
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
One can of coconut milk
- Roast the peppers, onion and sweet potatoes in a light coating of rapeseed oil in an oven preheated to 180 degrees until they are lightly browned.
- Boil or steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes or until tender
- In a large bowl, add the rice once it has cooled to room temperature.
- Now mix in the roasted vegetables, chickpeas, broccoli, cashews, basil and spring onions and combine well.
- To make the satay dressing, heat the oil gently before adding the onions, garlic and chilli and sauté on a low flame until the onion has softened.
- Now mix in the coconut cream, soy sauce, peanut butter, chilli flakes, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar and gently simmer for 4-5 minutes before turning off the heat and allowing it to cool until it is just warm.
- Serve each bowl of salad with a couple of tablespoons of dressing.