If you’d read our little blog while we were traveling you’ll know how much I wanted to see a capybara. At one point, when it was starting to look unlikely, I said loudly “wouldn’t it be just my luck if the capybara and the pelicans were in the same enclosure” to kind of try and tempt fate or something, but no luck. There were just horrible shuddery pelicans (if anything, it’s like fate misheard me and was like “okay, gotcha, so you want heaps of pelicans and no capybara, right?)
In case you’re wondering what’s the deal, well solidarity, for one thing. And it’s a blog! I share without hurdles, I share without filters! (Don’t worry, this is actually me filtering.) And in case you’re wondering what’s the deal with pelicans, I had a spine-freezingly scary nightmare about them. And from that night forth, I’ve tried to keep my distance and avoid eye contact with them.
Anyway: Noodles. I love them. Cold, hot, spicy, salty, satay-y, wide, thin, whatever. In this case, intertwined with vegetables and with a hot and sour sauce coating each cold strand of soba. The always-important Nigella Lawson has this cool salad in Nigella Express which uses tom yam paste in the dressing, which uses the flavours of soup that you’d normally use said paste in, but in a concentrated manner. I took that dressing and instead dressed grainy buckwheat soba noodles and steamed vegetables with it. It only turned out the way it has because of what I had in the fridge and freezer (not a lot, to be honest) – you could use any number of things to make it SO much better than mine. Like broccoli, avocado, carrots, rocket, zucchini, mushrooms and so on. You could also swap it for any other noodles you’ve got hanging round – rice sticks, ramen, somen…I wouldn’t choose udon for this, since it suits a more solid bitey strand, but really as long as you’ve got the dressing, you’re all good.
Serves as many as you provide for. I’d hazard a guess that this dressing can deliver for noodles for between 1-4 people, any more than that and start increasing quantities.
1-2 teaspoons tom yam paste (depending on your taste)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice (I had a lime – yuss!)
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
Good pinch of salt, or a splash of soy sauce
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. While you’re boiling the water for the noodles, fit either a metal colander or a steamer over the top of the pot you’re cooking them in and put in it any of your vegetables that need cooking (like…peas yes, avocado, no) and allow them to steam away.
Once the noodles have had their time, tip the colander of vegetables into the bowl of dressing, drain the noodles under running cold water in the same colander (well, this works if you used a colander – if you have a steamer just drain them separately.)
Tip the noodles into the bowl as well and carefully mix it all together to incorporate the vegetables and the dressing. Divide between the plates of people you’re serving. Top with coriander and/or mint, and sesame seeds if you like.
Title via: Elton John’s The Bitch Is Back. That’s right I love Elton John. If you click through the footage of him singing this on Top of the Pops in 1974 is grainy, but very fun (like soba noodles, incidentally.)
Somehow, even with the internet making everything accessible and instant, I hadn’t thought to look up Missing You from the Set It Off soundtrack, which would make it…15 years since I’ve heard it? It’s emotional, it’s harmony-tastic, it’s got CHAKA KHAN. Closely rivaled by En Vogue’s equally dramatic Don’t Let Go (Love) from the same album, for ‘best song ever from a movie or anything ever’.
Next time: That Ice Cream.