Last week (the second week of Wimbledon) was so hot and clammy and reminiscent of travels in Asia that all I wanted to eat was spicy food, and flicking through Ken Hom's Foolproof Thai Cookery, I came upon this sublime recipe for Northern Thai chicken noodle soup. Ken says to use 2 tablespoons of Madras curry paste or powder, but I thought that seemed a bit excessive so I only used a teaspoon. (I could still taste the subtle lemon grass and coconut flavours so I think I was right to do so - but who am I to argue with the Homster.)
175 g/6 oz fresh or dried egg noodles
175 g/6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
1.2 litres/2 pints home made chicken or vegetable stock
1 x 400 ml/14 fl oz tin coconut milk
2 small red or green chillies, seeded and finely shredded
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Madras curry paste or powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp lime juice
fresh coriander and basil leaves to serve
1. Cook the noodles in a pan of boiling water according to the instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Trim the lemon grass to the tender whitish centre, cut into 7.5 cm/3 inch pieces and crush with the flat of a knife. Cut the chicken into strips.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan until very hot then add the onion, garlic and lemon grass and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and coconut milk and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Add the chillies, chicken, fish sauce, sugar, curry paste, salt and pepper and stir well. Add the noodles, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Remove the lemon grass. Stir in the lime juice and serve garnished with coriander and basil leaves.
♫ Cook along to: James Taylor Something in the Way She Moves
Talking of Wimbledon: We watched the final on Sunday and I had the luxury of not caring who won, Murray having lost in the semis. (Note how quickly he went from "Great British Hope" to "Scottish Loser"!) What a match - but we were more captivated by what was going on at the far end of the rogues' gallery, aka the Royal Box, where Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver and Illie Nastase appeared to be having a flutter. Twice, between games, we saw Borg peel off a note from a wad of cash that could have choked a horse and pass it discreetly (with 12 BBC cameras on him) to Nastase. Classy!