I hope all in Australia have survived and perhaps (hopefully) thrived these past school holidays. I hope all not in Australia are happy and thriving too.
Our family took a sneaky few days to chase some sunshine up North but instead we were grounded due to torrential rain and winds and no visibility for the planes to land or take off. Let’s just say that the trip didn’t quite go to plan.
This mini holiday was a Christmas present from us to our girls to see the Great Barrier Reef for the first time. We were aiming to snorkel and explore the outer reef. We stayed on Hamilton Island (those golf buggies are so much fun btw). We were advised by one of the Island tour operators to wait to see the Reef on our last day on the Island – when the weather would be kinder and they were expecting a smaller group than usual. When the big day finally came, our ship was redirected that morning due to extreme weather and we instead sailed to a beach we had visited the day before. What is it with the Kerrison holidays?
So things didn’t quite go to plan and we now have yet another holiday memory to giggle at but I will tell you that it was absolute heaven to spend a few precious days catching up – just us. Good weather or bad weather. I’ll take the family time any day of the week. A rare and wonderful treat as our girls grow older.
A couple of weeks before our getaway, we opened our doors at Relish Mama one Friday evening to some young teens. We cooked some wonderful dishes for them to share at home with their own families. The idea was they would cook dinner here and take home to share that night at home. On the other side of it now, I was rather optimistic about how much food would actually make it home. Try telling teens to hold back – it just ain’t gonna happen!
One of the many dishes on the menu was Bun cha. I am hoping some of it made it home to their families. Bun Cha is a traditional Vietnamese pork dish that’s a speciality of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. A wonderful balance of noodles, dipping sauce, vegetables and pork pattie. It is the ultimate food to share with family and friends. The idea is to use the dipping sauce for dunking the noodles, vegetables and herbs. So you dunk, slurp noodles, bite into the juicy meat pattie, cram in a few sprigs of herbs – and that is the moment when you know you have succeeded when you get a mouthful with a bit of everything.
I hope you enjoy this around a table, slurping, dunking and dipping with those you care most for.
Bun Cha, patties with rice Vermicelli & Nuoc Mam Cham
Makes 12-14 patties & serves 4-6
500g pork mince*
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 golden shallots or use 1/3 cup finely chopped spring onions
1-2 teaspoons caster sugar
A small handful of garlic chives
1 egg (use white only)
Vermicelli rice noodles
Finely grated carrot
Cook vermicelli noodles and set aside for serving.
Mix the pork with the fish sauce, crushed garlic and shallots (or spring onions). Add the sugar, chopped chives and egg white.
Shape into very small patties and grill on a bbq or griddle pan.
How to eat Bun Cha – The idea is to use the dipping sauce for dunking the noodles, vegetables and herbs. So you dunk, slurp noodles, bite into juicy pattie, cram in a few sprigs of herbs – and that is the moment when you succeed when you get a mouthful with a bit of everything.
- (the pic above is of Bun Cha with chicken mince) traditionally you would use pork mince)
Nuoc Mam Cham dipping sauce
Makes 1 cup
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
100 ml water
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of lime juice
Combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir well and cook until just before boiling point and allow to cool (Once cooled, this sauce will store in an airtight container for up to 2 months in the fridge).
I like to add the garlic, chilli and lime juice to the above basic recipe each time I need it. Adjust the quantities of the garlic, chilli and lime juice if not using all of your stored Fish dipping sauce at once.
When serving, add the garlic and chilli and stir through the lime juice to your already made fish dipping sauce.