Apr 21, 2012

Core Values and Home Made Summer Rolls.

Well.  After all the excitement of yesterday, I think it's time this blog refocussed on its core values.  Good shopping and good food.  In that order.  I've even given the post a bit of an autumn colour theme, there's been a lot of orange in my life this past week.  It's the little things, isn't it?


The watch I usually wear to the pool expired a few weeks back.  It had given me 15 of reliable service but unfortunately, it drowned secondary to a large water droplet that somehow got past the pressure seal.  Apparently it was very dramatic when the watch repairer discovered the problem.  Mr SSG was there, bench side at the the watch person's work station.  To cut a long story about not much at all short, it would have cost $350 to source the parts needed, much more than the second hand value of the watch itself.

Call me crazy, but it took me several days to decide not to go through with the repairs.  It's just as well really because on Friday, I found this Lucien Piccard Men's A Diver Orange Watch on Gilt.  It cost $79.95 and the total with shipping came to just under $100.  The recommended retail price from my google search is $695 USD or so.  I can't verify this on the Gilt site because the sale has now ended.  Whatever the truth may be, it was objectively a good buy and I now have no excuse to do my full number of laps in the pool each Sunday.

All it took was one unbelievable bargain for me to recover from the week's cooking ennui.

After surviving rather comfortably on dinners of reheated chicken tikka masala with various steamed vegetables (depending on the day)  for most of the week, I suddenly decided to make lunch today.  I know, who makes their own lunch on Saturday if they brown bag it to work all week?

My Saturday lunch is usually sushi from the local Japanese takeaway but I had so many fresh vegetables in the fridge, I thought I'd have a go at making Vietnamese fresh spring rolls.  There's no meal like lunch to get in as many nutrient dense wonder foods as possible so I used avocado and firm tofu as the major fillings for my rolls today.

I used a small size of rice paper roll but I found them quite hard to roll neatly.  Mainly because I was trying to stuff each roll with as many things as possible.  I'll try the larger size next time because it actually got quite fiddly and slow making the rolls and I was getting pretty hungry towards the end.

There are two dipping sauces that commonly accompany these rolls.  Nuco Cham is the zesty, chilli and vinegar version.  My all time favourite, though, is the peanut hoisin sauce.  I found this very helpful blog entry that gives the recipes for both sauces as well as the summer rolls themselves.

May I now point out that making home made peanut hoisin sauce is a win win situation.  Not only do you get to lick the peanut butter spoon but there's also the blender bowl from the sauce that needs attention too.  I love this recipe for the sauce because it's so easy.  All you need to do is process 4 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter, 4 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar and half a cup of water.  My sauce was quite runny with the half cup of water, probably because I used reduced fat peanut butter - so you may want to add the water gradually.

Can you feel the  collective nutritional benefits of my summer roll fillings leap out at  you from your screen?

As this was the first time I've made summer rolls, I did the right thing and read the instructions.

I even followed them too.

Not the smartest photo - there is a wrapper in the bowl but it's white on white. 

The secret is to not only soak individual wrappers in hot water for 30 seconds.

But to assemble your rolls on a damp tea towel.  In addition to the vegetable crudités, I added a few salad greens to each roll as well.

To serve, sprinkle crushed peanuts over sauce and serve with the rolls.  I was surprised at how filling the summer rolls were without prawns or chicken in them.  It was either the avocado or the fact that I ate at least ten.....



  1. Mmmm, these look SO good. Must get out and grab some of the wrappers. 

  2. They look really yummy! Great bargain on the watch too :)


  3. Naomi (RedToyPoodle)April 22, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    My mum makes the sauce with crunchy peanut butter in a saucepan. Absolutely delish. Now I'm hungry after seeing your cold rolls :(

  4. I found it so hard to make the vietnamese spring rolls last time. The waiting in between the soaking and having to put more warm water in because you took too long to roll the thing.

    Yours looks really nice though, will have to give that sauce a go one day. Love hoi sin suace :D

  5. Dear Sydney Shop Girl,

    For some reason I have never quite developed an affinity to fresh Vietnamese spring roles but orange is my favourite colour and would definitely wear that watch. 

    I fed your fishes while I was browsing around. They were quite hungry, perhaps you ought to let them try a little of your spring rolls.

  6. Oh yummy!  They are fiddly to make but so delicious.

    You have reminded me that I REALLY need a new watch.  I thought I could live watch free but it just isn't working.  Must get searching, maybe I can get one duty free!

  7. I Love orange. In fact, my freshly painted Noosa nails are called "carrot top"


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