Happy first of December! Christmas has officially began. I’ve currently got Arthur Christmas on the TV, and WAS enjoying a delicious mug of hot chocolate until the cat dunked it’s tail in it. I’ve been wrapping presents this morning to get into the Christmas spirit which is one my favourite things to do. And even though I’m not allowed to put decorations up yet I have snuck a vase of baubles onto a side table, and I’m planning on gradually sneaking decorations up around the house this week and hoping J won’t notice!
Next week we will be going to do my favourite tradition which is picking the tree. We always get a real tree. I love going down all the isles picking what type we want then finding that perfect specimen to take home for the season. The cats get all excited about the decorations everywhere and act like kittens again chasing them all round.
J and I have lived together for about 5 years now, and we have gradually developed our own traditions over the years which it now just wouldn’t be Christmas without. What are your favourite family traditions? New or old I’d love to hear about them, it’s my favourite time of year and I’m always looking for new things to do to celebrate it!
One major thing we all do this time of year if eat a lot of rich food. We always seem to be enroute to somewhere where food is usually the main agenda – out for meals, seeing the family and various work do’s. It’s a lot of rich food, so this year I’m trying to curb the trend a little and when we’re at home serving simple, fresh wholesome food with an emphasis on health! These Banh Mi are perfect for that – they are seriously big on flavour, and not too heavy, perfect for this time of year! It may not be a traditional Christmas recipe but I urge you to give it a try. The Asian flavours are so fresh, they won’t leave you bloated and will instead leave you feeling virtuous and wholesome 🙂 You could even try it with turkey breast instead of the pork if you wanted to be a bit more traditional!
The daikon radish is traditional but if you struggle to find it don’t worry about it just leave it out. The carrot/radish relish will make more than you need. It will keep in the fridge for two weeks, so you make them a few more times with the leftovers 🙂 *For the bread I use Panini or ciabatta Buns. You could also use petit pain type bread – you want a light crusty bread. Nothing too heavy or firm as you don’t want the bread to be the dominant flavour here.
For the chilli, mayo, coriander and fish sauce there is no amounts as it’s really a question of taste. Don’t use too much of any one thing as you want to taste everything and for the flavours to balance with each bite. But obviously don’t chuck loads of chilli in if you don’t like it hot!
Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches: (Serves 2)
2 Pork Loin Steaks – Fat removed and cut with a long sharp knife through the centre of each steak so you get two thin equal pieces about 1/2cm thick.
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 Tbsp Runny Honey
3/4 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Finely Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients until you have a smooth paste. Put the pork and the marinade in a zip lock bag and massage them together well. Put in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight to let the flavours work into the meat.
100g Carrot – Peeled and shredded
100g Daikon Radish – Peeled and shredded. (This is traditional but leave it out if you can’t get it)
250ml Warm Water
30ml Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Salt
2 Panini Buns or Similar*
Half Cucumber – Cut into rounds
Thinly Sliced Chilli – To Taste
Mix together the warm water, sugar, vinegar and salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved. You should be left with a mildly salty brine. Add the shredded carrot and raddish, mix well and tip into a jar. Allow to stand for at least an hour before serving and drain well before use.
Oven 220C/425F/Gas 7
Line a baking tray with foil. Do not miss this step as you will very much regret it when it comes to cleaning your tray! Place your pork in the tray, spread well out and trip over any of the remaining marinade. Roast in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes then brush with any juices from around the pan. Turn the meat over and roast for another 10-15 minutes, basting a couple of times throughout until the meat is well browned. Set aside to cool slightly while you assemble your sandwiches.
While the pork is cooking turn on your grill and cut your panini buns in half. Lightly toast them – you only really want to warm them through and lightly crisp them, you don’t want them fully toasted. Lightly smear the bottom half with mayonnaise and arrange on half your cucumber slices and sliced chilli. Put your pork slices on top of this and top with some of your carrot relish and coriander springs. On the top half of your bun sprinkle over a few drops of fish sauce before pressing the two slices together well!
Eat straight away – you want cold cucumber, hot pork and all the deliciousness that comes with it!