Thai Beef Salad and…Travel Expenses

It’s school holidays and they’ve coincided with Archie having a mid-semester break.  I thought, seeing all three offspring are on holidays, that it might be nice to go away for a few days.  But Archie said, ‘I’ve got plans’.

‘What plans Archie?  Aren’t you on holidays?’

‘Yeah, yeah I am, but a few of the boys and I are thinking of going away, that’s all’.

‘Where are you going?’

‘Oh, Sam’s got a combie and we’re going to drive up the coast to Nimbin and check it all out’.

Thai Beef Salad

For the uninitiated Nimbin is a hippy town on the mid-north coast of New South Wales where pretty much the police have given up trying to enforce the laws and the locals (and tourists) just do as they please.

‘Nimbin Archie?  Why would you want to go there?’

‘We just want to check it out.  That’s all.’  And I talked to Archie about how a few days holidaying with the family might be just as good if not better than the time spent with mates in a combie docked in a hippy town.  But Archie was hearing none of it.  ‘Mum, you don’t understand how hard I work at AIM.  It’s relentless.  I have no spare time.  And now my holidays match up with a few of my mates’ breaks so this is the perfect opportunity for me.’

‘Oh, okay then.  We could have a family holiday another time then’.

‘And mum, have you got any jobs around the house that you need me to do?’


‘Well I can’t just bludge off my mates.  I’ll need some money.  And I don’t expect you to just give me money.  Have you got anything you’d like me to do?’

‘You could clean the car.  And clean the windows.  And I’m sure your father has a list as long as his arm of things you could do for him’.

‘Great.  Well I’ll be home all weekend because we’re leaving on Monday’.

But Archie wasn’t home on the weekend.  And my car sat patiently waiting as did the windows and Carl’s list but Archie didn’t appear until 5pm today.  ‘When did you say you’re going away?’

‘Oh, it’s all off.’

‘But you were leaving tomorrow weren’t you?’

‘Yeah, that’s right.  But everyone’s broke.  We had to cancel our plans’.

And if they can’t get to Nimbin there’s no way they’ll get to Canada.

Poor Archie might have to have a few days away with the family.  Because at least that’s an all-inclusive package with someone else picking up the tab.

Archie was home for dinner with one of his friends.  Before they rushed out to who -knows-where, they enjoyed a home-cooked meal.

Free food for teenagers

Thai Beef Salad

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  3/5

Cost:  This dish is best made with eye fillet of beet which is one of the most costly cuts of beef so this is not what I would serve as a mid-week family meal.

  • 1 tbsp jasmine rice
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 500g (1 lb) eye fillet of beef
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 red shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 3 green (spring) onions, finely sliced

Heat a dry frying pan, add rice and toast over medium heat until golden but not burnt.  Grind rice in a clean coffee-grinder or pound to a powder and set aside.  (I use a spice grinder). 

Reheat frypan and add dried red chillies.  Toast until they are smoky, then grind or pound to a powder and set aside.  (I use a spice grinder). 

Grill or pan-fry the beef until well-marked outside, and rare to medium rare inside.  Place in a bowl and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Dissolve sugar in lime juice and fish sauce.  Mix 1/2 tsp of the ground roasted chilli powder (store the rest) with ground rice.  Combine shallots, mint, coriander and green onions in a large bowl.  Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.  Taste and adjust flavourings, until the salad is hot, sour, sweet and salty.

Slice the beef thinly.  Toss beef and ground rice through the salad, with any cooking juices that have collected in the bowl.  Pile high on a large platter and serve with a big salad of crunchy raw lettuces and cucumber, and a bowl of steamed jasmine rice.

Chargrilled eye fillet of beef

This recipe is from Jill Dupleix’s Old Food.  I have tried many Thai Beef Salad recipes but I’ve found Jill’s recipe to be the absolute best.

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  1. I love Thai beef salad, and bringing a mate home to eat Mums food is so GOOD!! and i am so disappointed about the Combi .. i was going to say tell them to swing by and pick me up! I used to have an old Combi van!

  2. Love the ‘free food for teenagers’ comment…

  3. We’ve given up commenting on our son’s plans as they rarely eventuate. They start off with great expectations, but usually peter out to nothing. Although I’ll be impressed if he goes away with you – I can’t seem to interest most of ours in family holidays, unless I really twist their arms.

  4. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    I hope that Archie enjoyed this salad. Damn good looking stuff Charlie. 🙂

  5. Eva Taylor says:

    Oh yum, another winner, Charlie. I love Thai food. It sound like the cancelled trip was for the better.

  6. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Many of us mothers could probably have written this story–if we could write like you, that is. I think that is a common occurrence with kids today. Friends come first, money is an issue, and in fact, they often love being with family in the end.

    I dont think this is an easy salad to photograph, yet you have made it look mouth-watering!

  7. Jennifer Cullen says:

    The salad looks awesome! Vacationing with my teens this week and I can definitely imagine the day when it no longer works out. All part of the growing up process, right?

  8. Hi,
    I think it is a good thing they didn’t get to Nimbin, I personally have not been there, but like you I have heard the story’s. 🙂
    That dish does look delicious.

  9. I have heard of Nimbin my friend and feel sheepish on admitting that I am curious… A teenage thing? 😛
    Your salad looks wonderful!


  10. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    Poor Archie. At least this will teach the kids a lesson to have some funds before planning a holiday! I always love me a good thai beef salad. I must admit, I’ve never thought to attempt it at home. x

  11. What a brilliant recipe! I love this. (bet Archie did too!)

    I’ve been to Nimbin and I loved it, although not in a combi van. Stepping around people who were rolling joints so I could get into a shop. Amazing. Everyone is very friendly. LOL

  12. Marina@Picnic at Marina says:

    Oh dear, what a story! I have a teenager of my own, and it sounds so familiar! I am trying to encourage my teenager to cook this summer brake, and when he is in a mood for that, he makes some tasty treats for us (come see it, please)! Your salad looks wonderful, thanks for the recipe! (for some reason I can’t post with an active name…)

  13. Ooh, this looks delicious, thanks for the recipe, Charlie. I’m most impressed that Archie had a meal at home!! Shame the car didn’t get washed though, or the windows.. 🙂

  14. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Charlie I can taste this just looking at the pictures. They seem to jump out of the screen at me. Yum!

  15. Tania @ A Perfect Pantry says:

    The Thai beef salad looks delicious… I like that there aren’t too many ingredients needed. Perfect.

  16. oh man I love thai beef salad. This looks so juicy and flavorful! Haha, Archie cracks me up. He kind of reminds me of my brother…who happened to grow up to be quite the responsible man 😉

  17. LOL Archie is one of the funniest teenager and you’re a wonderful mother Charlie! You give Archie so much freedom and so much support it’s amazing! I know my parents would have never let me do half of what you like Archie do when I was a teenager 🙂

    Perfect recipe and exactly what I need Charlie because I have been told by the doctor as of last week that I have low iron levels and hence, need to boost them up by eating more beef YAY!

  18. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Sounds fantastic, you and I are both onto Thai these days! I can’t seem to get enough of these vibrant flavors!

  19. CheezyK says:

    First things first, that salad looks delicious!

    Secondly, having grown up in the area I can say from experience that Nimbin itself was always pretty boring (my guess is that it’s become worse in 20 yrs not better) … fun to pass through if you’re curious and want to cross it off ‘the list’ but not a holiday destination at all.

  20. Words Of Deliciousness says:

    Poor Archie, sometimes it is hard to be young. The beef salad looks and sounds wonderful.

  21. ChgoJohn says:

    Your Archie is something else! At least he offered to do some chores and didn’t ask for, nor expect, a handout. I really enjoy a warm beef salad and this one, with its dressing of Thai flavors, sounds just about perfect! And you pictures couldn’t be more appealing.

  22. Juliet Batten says:

    At least Archie knows he’ll get a good feed when he’s with you.

  23. I love your Archie stories.. and I was wondering how you could sell him on a family holiday when he could be hanging out with his friends.. I see it is just as difficult a challenge for you as it is for me. We have a swinging door.. and the fridge might just as well have one installed too:)

  24. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Now that I’ve met him, I can so picture this even more vividly than I did before! Ahh Archie is blessed with the charm gene isn’t he! I was sure he’d have someone offering to take him there! 🙂

  25. Woohoo…..Its school holidays and because my 15 year old is home-schooled, that means I’m having a break too! Lots more time for cooking and taking photos…or should we go away for a couple of days…decisions decisions 🙂

  26. If you advertised this meal as ‘free food for teenagers’ you would have a hoard out the front of your place 🙂 I’d keep the all inclusive family holiday quiet too! Archie doesn’t know how good he has it 🙂

  27. That beef salad looks so appetizing, that beef is perfectly cooked!

  28. A gorgeous beef salad! The beef slices are all looking so very tender and succulent. Archie, enjoy your holiday break with the family!

  29. Kidney Stones Treatment

    This salad suits me ’cause I can’t eat veggie salad without meat. I know that it’s weird but that’s the way it is.

  30. I wonder if I will ever be as good a parent to a teen ager… I doubt it. Oh, and psyched I have all the ingredients for this!

  31. J Cosmo Newbery says:

    Mmmm…looks good!

  32. My friends and I always had such grand plans in high school and college as well…until we realized how expensive the world is and how little money we all had. 😛 Good to have mom and dad to take me on vacation in those cases.

  33. What a lovely recipe, Charlie. This sounds not only tasty, but great for a warm day. Our temperatures are climbing! You made me chuckle with the ‘free food for teenagers’ quip! Also hilarious to me, but so true, the idea that being home with family offers an all-inclusive package deal. I think your family would make a delightful sitcom, or better yet, one of the reality shows! I’d watch! 🙂 Debra

  34. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Ahh Teenagers! I have 2 of them at home so I completely understand -maybe a little too much of how you feel. Great Thai beef salad maybe he just did not want to go as he would miss your homecooked meals.

  35. says:

    The Beef Salad looks great. Wish I was a teenager again

  36. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    Yum, one of my favorite Thai dishes. Yours loves beautiful.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Karen. It’s one of my favourite Thai dishes too and perfect for your hot summer – you can do the beef on the BBQ xx

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