The wind is howling. The wind has been howling relentlessly for days. If you do not know Cape Town, you cannot understand the South Easter; the sheer persistence of which makes me feel rather irritable and oddly annoyed. Whenever the wind blows like this I am taken back to the opening lines of Joanne Harris’s book Chocolat:
Once upon a time, there was a quiet little village in the French countryside, whose people believed in Tranquilité – Tranquility. If you lived in this village, you understood what was expected of you. You knew your place in the scheme of things. And if you happened to forget, someone would help remind you. In this village, if you saw something you weren’t supposed to see, you learned to look the other way. If perchance your hopes had been disappointed, you learned never to ask for more. So through good times and bad, famine and feast, the villagers held fast to their traditions. Until, one winter day, a sly wind blew in from the North…
As you know that ‘sly wind” blew to town Vianne and her young daughter – who were both probably just desperate to escape the wind. What follows is a beautiful story coated in chocolate. Despite the truffles and the hot chocolate, I still cannot bear wind.
I am currently one of those annoying people who regularly comments on the weather, because unlike Vianne, wind only brings me to dust and crippling hayfever.
Skipping to a topic completely unrelated to meteorology, these Vegetable Rice Paper Rolls & Peanut Sauce were the loveliest, not to mention healthiest, things produced in my kitchen this week. I took them along to a little sun downer get together this past weekend and they were a great hit as part of the drink and snacks vibe. That being said, even as starter or something for your lunchbox, they are definitely worth the effort.
Don’t lose interest now that I have said effort. What I should rather have said is time, because it can take a little while to put together. Effort, in terms of skill is about a 2 – easy peasy.
If you are not familiar with rice paper – fear not. Firstly you can find it at your local supermarket – in mine it is stocked on the same shelves as the rice. Secondly – rice paper requires no cooking.
You simply need a shallow bowl of warm water nearby – I use a tart dish as its about the same size as the paper. Soak one sheet of rice paper at a time in the water until it softens. Remove the sheet from the water and allow any excess to drip off. Be careful not to tear it. Place the sheet down on a board, place prepared filling ingredients in the middle and roll up, sides in first and then down. Voila!
PS – Remember that last week I told you about the new baby en route? Well we are still waiting!!!
Have a great week
- 10 sheets rice paper
- ½ small cucumber julienne
- 2 carrot julienne
- 6 spring onions, chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 100 g mange tout, lightly steamed and sliced
- 100 g green beans, lightly steamed and sliced
- fresh lemon juice
- 10 ml (2 t) olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 5 ml (1 t) grated ginger
- 250 ml (½ C) peanut butter
- 1 x can coconut milk
- 15 ml (1 T) soya sauce
- Prepare all the filling ingredients.
- Soak one sheet of rice paper at a time in warm water until it softens.
- Remove the sheet from the water and allow any excess to drip off.
- Place the sheet down on you board, place a mixture of the prepared filling ingredients in the middle and roll up, sides in first and then down
- Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until serving.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic and the ginger and flash fry for a few minutes taking care not to burn.
- Add the peanut butter and the coconut milk and whisk over low heat to a smooth sauce.
- Season with the soya sauce and salt .
- Serve for dipping alongside the rice paper rolls.
- The Peanut Sauce may be served hot or cold.