I just returned from a weekend in Dublin where I attended a Kinkolk dinner hosted by the effervescent and hospitable guys at 31 Chapel Lane. More on this adventure in an upcoming post. The Kinfolk dinner was the main reason for heading over to Dublin. Aside from that, I had the chance to catch up with my foodie friends Jette and Niamh, whom I met at the food styling & photography course I attended last year. I also met some lovely people like Marta, Ciara and Rincy who are all talented creatives based in Dublin, and Adja who is an ex-Dubliner now based in Amsterdam.
I have been to Dublin many times but this weekend, was one of the best visits I had. It was eventful enough but I wasn't running around trying to do too much in the 3 days I had there. I made sure I went to new places and I managed to sneak in a day trip to Howth Head. Even though it is only a 30 minute journey on the train from Dublin, I felt I had completely left the city behind. Mark and I walked around the entire Howth Head and at the end of it, we rewarded ourselves with a glass of wine and fresh seafood at Beshoffs (highly recommended).
It was a grey day and the rain fell intermittently the day we visited Howth Head, but it wouldn't be a visit to Ireland without a bit of rain. There was enough rain that fell, that by the time we reached Howth Village for lunch, my hair was soaked. However, the stunning views of Dublin Bay and the fields of yellow gorse we witnessed made up for it. The yellow gorse lit up the fields and emanated a distinct coconut aroma. I have since discovered you could make wine from it!
With the colour of yellow and seafood on my mind, I'm sharing my mum's recipe for Vietnamese Savoury Prawn Pancakes (Banh Xeo). I wanted to cook something vibrant that would remind me of my trip to Howth Head, and the colour of the pancakes remind me of the yellow gorse. This is a really easy dish to make and with the added fresh herbs and bean sprouts for crunch, it's a fresh and light dish to have in the warmer months. Just in time for Spring.
On another happy note, Daylight Savings started over the weekend, the days are getting longer and I'm excited for summer. I have a huge cherry blossom on my street and when the pink flowers bloom and carpet the road with it's petals, it's a sign that the warm weather is coming. I have also noticed how much louder the birds are chirping at the moment. They sound really happy, and I don't blame them.
The Easter long weekend is upon on and it's like having 2 weekends back to back.
Happy Easter to you all!
Makes 10-12 pancakes
FOR THE PANCAKES
220g rice flour
2 tbsp cornflour
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 onions sliced lengthways
500g cooked prawns
150g bean sprouts
Peanut oil for cooking
FOR DIPPING SAUCE (NUOC MAM CHAM)
60ml fish sauce
60ml rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 large garlic gloves finely chopped
1 birds eye chilli finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
To make the pancake batter, mix the rice flour, cornflour, coconut milk, water, turmeric, sugar, salt, pepper in a large bowl.
To make the dipping sauce, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chilli, sugar to a bowl. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Leave aside until ready to use.
Add 1 tbsp of oil to the frying pan and cook the onions for about 5 mins until softened. Remove from the pan and onto a plate. Wipe the frying pan clean.
Brush a light layer of oil onto the base and slightly up the side of the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Give the batter a quick stir, as the mixture tends to settle to the bottom of the bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the batter to the frying pan, swirl it around so the entire base is coated with a thin layer of the batter. Cook for about 5 mins until golden brown and crisp underneath. Place some of the fried onions, about 5 prawns, small handful of beansprouts on one half of the pancake and fold over. Transfer to a plate and serve with the lettuce leaves, herbs and dipping sauce.
Instead of prawns you can substitute it with chicken, pork, beef, fish.
The amount of batter you add the frying pan will vary slightly depending on the size of your pan.
You can add more sugar to the dipping sauce if you prefer it sweeter.
Any left over dipping sauce will keep in the fridge for about 3 months.