Inspired by Children's TV Rice Paper Rolls
Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes. You would possibly be surprised to know that tonight's dinner came courtesy of a segment on Play School, the ABC's premier entertainment for 2 year olds (approximately).
Justine Clarke was presenting this particular bit. Justine is a well established Australian actress, but to many here and certainly to anyone in the UK, she is best known for her role as Roo on the surfie soapie Home and Away! She is also a mother of several young ones, one of whom at least appeared on the show in utero. It is surprising how many well known people present on Play School and perhaps more interesting, how many famous thespians get turned down. Apparently, while they can sing songs and tell stories, they aren't so good at making hand puppets out of socks and castles out of cardboard toilet rolls. Anyway, back to the food ...
Justine/Roo was making lunch for her and her co-host and this consisted of a rice paper roll and a bread roll filled with tomato and cheese, I think. I watched it in envy and thought "I haven't had rice paper rolls in absolutely ages". I suppose because I think of rice paper rolls as quintessentially summer food - they are all about the herbs and if the herbs are as damp and soggy as they often are at this time of spring, they just aren't worth making. But when I really really want something ... At a little Asian grocery I found some great mint and Vietnamese mint for $1.00 a bundle and they were fresher and cheaper than anything I'd seen locallly. The mint leaves had little holes in them, which made me happy. I'd rather think that the odd snail or bug got a bite than that the plant was so doused in chemicals that nothing came near.
I poached some chicken in water, with chunks of ginger thrown in. A dipping sauce thrown together with fresh satay sauce, soy and fish sauce mixed together. (It could have done with some lemon, but when I went out to tbe tree it was dark and something sounding very much like a bat started making fluttery noises about a foot over me. I do not care for such experiences.) Mint and vietnamese mint chopped. Rice paper wrappers dampened and soft. A quick roll and there you go.
I like these best in summer, with fresh herbs and succulent duck, lettuce and noodles. But for an early weeknight dinner, it's not bad. I wonder what's on Play School for lunch tomorrow?