We had a great day on Sunday cooking for the IHS students at Donnybrook Fair Cookery School. We love cooking at this great venue and 30 eager enthusiastic future dietary counsellors and nutritionists were there bright and early and ALL day long! In total we cooked up 18 dishes, which everyone got to taste. We started with sugar-free (and I mean honey/ maple syrup/ agave free too!) granola, went on to Asian noodle salads, Vietnamese spring rolls, Mexican style quinoa salad (all gluten, dairy, egg free) and many more in between. Sweet treats included homemade probiotic coconut yoghurt with a pomegranate and pineapple ‘salad’ and a delicious berry icecream.
We asked the crowd to pick out a favourite so that we could post the recipe for you all here, but they couldn’t settle on a clear winner! So we decided to go with the Vietnamese summer spring rolls. These are very versatile and the authentic (and much healthier) version of your typical deep-fried spring roll. You can use any fillings, from a simple tuna mayo, cold salmon or chopped prawns to smoked tofu, shredded chicken or just keep ’em veggie. When you are serving them cold you can use lettuce, scallions, shredded carrot, white or red cabbage or cucumber strips. If you want to roast them to crisp them up you might need to use sturdier vegetables such as thin strips of green beans or mange tout, bean sprouts or carrot. Always keep room for the herbs; fresh coriander and mint give these rolls a super fresh punch.
The rice paper rolls are naturally gluten free and can be found in any Asian food store. They are extremely cheap and will keep for a long time in the cupboard. These are great for a pre-prepared starter or as a light dinner or lunchbox filler. You can play with the flavours and use more Chinese or Thai influences also. To crisp them up, simply brush on some coconut oil and bake in the oven at 210oC for 12-15 mins. Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls are soft and cold however.
Vietnamese Summer Spring Rolls (gluten free)
Preparation 25 minutes, makes c. 12 rolls
2 little gem lettuce, leaves separated
1 carrot, julienned or coarsely grated
½ cucumber, julienned or finely sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup mange tout, finely sliced lengthways
12 large Dublin bay prawns, sliced in half length ways / flavoured tofu cut into thin strips
Fresh coriander sprigs / Thai basil leaves
Fresh mint leaves
Rice paper spring roll wrappers
Edible flowers e.g. chive or wild garlic will make the rolls look even more attractive
- Prepare the vegetables and place in separate bowls or lay out on a plate
- Place hot water in a flat bottomed bowl and place one rice paper wrapper in the water for a few seconds to soften. Lift out and drain, then place on a board or plate
- Place a little gem leaf on the top 1/3 of the spring roll wrapper. Place some of the vegetables and herbs onto the leaf
- Place the prawns / tofu beside the leaf and roll as demonstrated, remembering to ‘tuck in’ the sides before you get to the tofu / prawns
- Eat straight away or place on a plate and store in fridge for a few hours, taking care that the rolls do not touch each other
Enjoy and Share!!