We've been back from our trip to Phuket for nearly two weeks now and already it feels like it was a dream. A gorgeous dream though ... relaxed, chilled and involving no schedule and no driving. Perfect. To be honest we barely left the hotel and that suited us all just fine. You might remember that we were trying out a different hotel this time - The Banyan Tree - and very lovely it was too.
It's not unusual for food to play a large part in our holidays and this one was no exception. The children had been desperately looking forward to the buffet breakfast and thankfully it ticked all the boxes. We are creatures of habit and after a day or two most of us had slipped into our breakfast of choice - for Joe, plenty of carbs to fuel his swim training (yes, that doesn't stop for holidays) accompanied by sushi(?!) and for Hella, pancakes with chocolate sauce and maple syrup. Finn was our wild card, choosing something different every day. I especially liked the morning he thought he may be getting a cold and cleared the buffet of all their orange segments ... seemed to work too.
When we weren't eating, there was some yoga, pootling around on the hotel bikes, a bit of gym action, some swimming and plenty of reading - I wish I'd captured a photo of all five of us reading our Kindles in a row by the pool. Rock and roll we are ...
We had enough rainstorms to remind us desert dwellers of what a downpour is like and just as we had ordered, they were short and warm.
No visit to Thailand is complete without learning more about how to create some genuine Thai dishes in the hotel kitchen. We decided to do this en famille, so there was slicing and chopping; heating and stirring before we could finally do the tasting.
And what did we learn about cooking in Thailand?
Well, we learned how to make three delicious dishes - a prawn salad, a hot and sour soup and a green chicken curry. But the biggest thing we learned was that we have a laughable tolerance for spice! - especially 'Double Spice' Joe who was rather free and easy with the curry paste. The lovely waitress in the restaurant area where we dined on our creations was very sympathetic, bringing us plenty of water, cold towels, cooling milkshakes and directing all of the fans in the room to blast us with chilled air - but I bet she had a giggle behind closed doors!
Come to think of it, the other thing that our cookery course reminded me, was that with a little preparation beforehand, Thai food is so very quick and easy to throw together ... it truly is gorgeous food - no fuss. And this is one of my favourites, Thai Chicken Satay Rice Bowl.
Here's why I love this Thai Chicken Satay Rice Bowl -
- tasty enough to lift your spirits on a cold and miserable evening
- light enough to be perfect on a summer's day
- perfect for preparing earlier in the day and throwing together at the last moment (see below)
- easy enough for the most inexperienced of cooks
- quick enough for the most impatient of cooks
- 'wam bam impact' enough for a dinner party dish
In summary, marvellous.
It does use a ready-made paste, and you know my thoughts on that, but here, there are so many other things going on that it works.
You could, of course, do everything just before you serve it - but for me, even relatively simple things like cooking rice, are much more likely to come out perfectly if I can sort them out when the kitchen is quieter and I don't have loads of other distractions.
Here's how I approach preparing this delicious Thai Chicken Satay Rice Bowl -
Step 1 - Cook the rice. Drain and cool. NOTE - since I wrote this post, I've become a wholegrain rice devotee but feel free to choose what you prefer.
Step 2 - Make the sauce and leave it in the saucepan.
Step 3 - Prepare the 'salady' toppings.
Step 4 - Cook the chicken and slice it up.
Step 5 - Store everything in the fridge until I'm ready to use it later in the day.
Step 6 - Warm the sauce on the hob.
Step 7 - Use some flat, shallow bowls and divide the rice between them. Share the chicken between the bowls and arrange it on top of the rice. I warm each dish of food in the microwave at this stage - choose a MEDIUM setting and nobody will ever know.
Step 8 - Ladle the sauce over the warmed rice and chicken.
Step 9 - Pile on the 'salady' toppings and enjoy.
Sometimes, I use chicken breasts instead of thighs and poach them before shredding the meat. Personally, I prefer thighs, but if you don't want to do the frying (or clean up the mess afterwards) breasts are a good alternative.
This is the sort of food I could eat every day... and as it took me a few attempts to get the photos right, that's not too far from the reality of this week! Life is good ...
Of course, on our last day, there was the inevitable debate - Indigo Pearl or The Banyan Tree? And it was unanimous. We'd had a wonderful holiday at The Banyan Tree, but our hearts, they are still in Indigo Pearl.Print