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’.
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.
Thai Beef Salad
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.
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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