Janet and John eat Thai Food

Janet and John in this case are two of our favourite people. Janet first met Martin over 30 years ago when he was a sixth form student and she was a newly qualified teacher. A shared love of art and photography at school grew into a firm friendship beyond that point. When I came into Martin’s life, Janet came as part of the package – an older, more worldly-wise role model for the gauche teenager I was at the time. Many years later Janet met John; a delightful Cornish man with a gentle soul and an enviable understanding of all things mechanical.

Over the years we have shared births and deaths, triumphs and tribulations and one of us has always managed to be strong when the other has needed us to be.

Our families – we have 7 children between us – have also shared many memorable meals including Christmas dinner in a pub in February (the earliest we could get together) complete with tree and presents and party hats and accompanied by some very confused locals trying to have a quiet pint. We had an Easter Sunday meal where Janet served up the food but kept mysteriously disappearing only to be replaced by a silent – and slightly disturbing – white rabbit. Janet never did see that rabbit… We thoroughly enjoyed a Lord of the Rings inspired meal prior to watching all three films back to back, I seem to remember that we ate Lembas bread and honeycakes of Beorn amongst other things. But my personal favourite was a Mad Hatter’s tea party where we had to change seats and plates and engage in general mayhem. I think the children (all now adults) despair of us.

Somehow, over the last couple of years, life has conspired to make it difficult to find time to catch up so we decided that, as February 29th was an extra day, a free day, we would use it wisely and get together for dinner. As I was working during the day I needed to cook something quick and easy but still special enough for these special friends. There being no children to annoy I settled on good, tasty non-gimmicky Thai food.

The first time I ever ate Thai food was with Janet and John in a little, back street restaurant in Newquay.  I can’t remember what it was called and I doubt I would be able to find it again (assuming it is still there) but I do remember the fresh, vibrant flavours and the lightness of the food.

Since then I have cooked lots of Thai inspired food and have eaten in a number of Thai or Eastern fusion restaurants but, having never been to Thailand, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of my flavours. I can, however, tell you that I love them. Maybe you can try them for yourselves and let me know what you think.

We ate Satay chicken, Thai green curry with cod and a mango and ginger sorbet. The sorbet is probably not even vaguely authentic but I am not a fan of Thai desserts which tend to be dense and milky and oversweet but I really enjoy something light and refreshing after spicy food.

I can’t remember where the original recipes came from but they have all been tweeked and changed over the years so this is what I cook now. Feel free to experiment if you like it hotter or more garlicky etc. The most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy eating it.

Satay Chicken Recipe

Thai Green Curry Recipe

Mango and Ginger Sorbet Recipe

 

Satay Chicken

Ingredients

4 skinless chicken breasts cut into thick slices.

1½ tbsp groundnut oil

For the sauce

3 heaped tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 tbsp chilli bean sauce

2 cloves garlic

A 2cm piece of root ginger

1 red chilli

A handful of coriander

2 limes – juice and zest.

2 tbsp light soy sauce

Salt & pepper

Method

For the sauce, put all the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is very hot, then add the groundnut oil and the chicken pieces and stir-fry for five minutes until the chicken is browned.

Turn the heat down to low, add the sauce and continue to stir-fry for another five minutes.

Arrange on warm plates garnished with cucumber and chilli slices.