Monday, June 13, 2011

Cheeses, Bears and Books,

St. Agur BlueOn Saturday I didn’t remember the names of the cheeses we had bought. It turned out it was St. Agur Blue and Brie Chateau de Bourgogne, both very expensive, the blue was $75 a kg and the brie was a bit less. The little bit of blue we bought didn’t last long, Saturday night we had Steak au Poivre for supper followed by the cheese and we have no blue left, it was rather a small piece – are you surprised, at that price? Actually I was rather surprised at the winery (Stoneyridge), that they allowed us to taste as many cheeses as we wanted. Maybe that’s why they are so expensive. Matt actually thought the brie was not as good as some of the others we have tasted. It really does have a delicate flavour and is extremely creamy.

On Sunday I read an article in the Mail online celebrating the fact that Winnie the Pooh is 90 years old. As a child I certainly loved the Pooh books. However the articles mention mRupert_Bear_Logo.any other children’s authors but there is no mention of Rupert Bear who was created as a comic strip character and who’s books I used to look forward to receiving every Christmas. Nor did the writer mention Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear who is a very famous bear indeed; he was 50 years old in 2008. Paddington appeared in a Marmite comPaddingtonmercial a few years ago which provoked lots of reaction from the public as he is primarily known for eating marmalade. The article claimed that England is tops in writing children’s books. There are certainly a lot of them, not least of which are J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.

I carefully avoid posting pictures of friends or mentioning their names other than our sinlaw who is already prominent on the web, but everyone is on Facebook these days and a picture I took on Friday was posted by me there and then reposted by a friend too so I’m not sure why I bother.

I found a recipe for the salad I ate on Friday. I hadn’t realised it was Thai although it was certainly spicy enough, well, for western tastes at least. That reminds me, on Saturday I talked about tasting ice wines and being given a spicy pea, it was actually a Wasabi flavoured pea which is what made it so pungent. One of the cheeses we tasted was flavoured with horseradish – not very hot, but you could taste the horseradish.

Thai Green Papaya Salad Recipe ("Som Tam")

By Darlene Schmidt, Guide

Scrumptiously-Good Green Papaya Salad

This green papaya salad, known as som tam, is popular in most areas of Thailand, and when you taste it, you'll know why. The slightly tart flavor of the green papaya combines well with the spice of red chili pepper and the saltiness of shrimp paste and fish sauce, plus the sweetness of honey. Green papaya salad is a beautifully unique and flavor-filled dish that will make a great impression. It's also easy to make, low-calorie, and very nutritious. So try this Som tam recipe for dinner tonight!

Yield: SERVES 4 as a Side DishGreen Papaya Salad


  • 1 small green papaya, OR 1/2 large (your papaya should be very firm, the flesh white to light orange in color)
  • 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts OR plain roasted, or glazed cashews (see recipe link below)
  • 1-2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 to 2 tomatoes, cut into long thin strips
  • 1 red chili, minced (seeds removed if you prefer a milder salad)
  • 3 spring onions, sliced into long matchstick-like pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. shrimp paste (if vegetarian, substitute 1/2 Tbsp. Thai golden mountain sauce OR 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. good-tasting oil, such as olive
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce OR 2+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce for vegetarians
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. liquid honey, to taste


For a step-by-step version of this recipe (photo instructions), see my: How to Make Authentic Thai Green Papaya Salad.

  1. Prepare the dressing by mixing together all dressing ingredients together in a cup. Make sure shrimp paste and honey dissolve fully (if using glazed nuts, you may only need to add 1/2 Tbsp. honey). Set aside.
  2. Peel the green papaya, then slice it in half and remove all the seeds. Using the largest grater you have, grate the papaya (or you can use a potato peeler to create thin, ribbon-like strips). Place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the sliced tomato, spring onion, chili, bean sprouts, and most of the basil. Add the dressing, tossing to combine.
  4. Add the peanuts or cashews* (you can either leave them whole, or roughly chop them). Toss again. Taste-test the salad. If not sweet enough, add a little more honey. If not salty enough, add a little more fish sauce. If too sweet or salty, add more lime juice. If you prefer it spicier, add more fresh-cut chili or dried crushed chili.
  5. To serve, scoop the salad into individual bowls or onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining basil leaves plus fresh coriander. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

* To make your own glazed cashews (excellent with this salad!), see my: Easy Sweet & Spicy Glazed Cashews Recipe.

Make Ahead Tip: If you wish to make this salad ahead of time, combine all ingredients except the nuts and the dressing. You can then leave it covered in the refrigerator several hours, or overnight. Add the dressing and peanuts at the last minute, then toss and serve.

Have a great day



  1. I adore Paddington, but I am not so fond of Brie as it is rather sour.
    St Agur Blue is quite inexpensive here. In fact, so are all cheeses.

  2. We both love Brie. I am glad you adore Paddington, I am good friends with the author's daughter.

    I assume St. Agur Blue is made in France?