Birthday dinners & a simple Thai recipe

Living in a small town brings with it a range of simple pleasures and one of the most enjoyable of those pleasure is the big get-togethers that happen with certain frequency. In this case we gathered to wish our friend Mark Stevens a happy birthday. Mark & Di were until recently the owners of The Hideaway and they know how to put together a good dinner. Di cooked the 2 most amazing curries and the rest of us ate and drink good wine until well after the witching hour.

FLTR Barak, Orna, Jaap, Petro, Brent, Mark, Di, Lidia & Michel

All that good eating last night got me thinking about a really simple Thai curry recipe that I make when its chilly out and today would be perfect for that.


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tsp red Thai curry paste
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar – brown is best
  • 4 freeze-dried lime leaves
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 20g pack fresh coriander
  1. Peel shallots or onion and cut in half from top to root. Lay the cut sides flat on a board and thinly slice. Very finely slice the lemongrass, starting at the thinner end, stopping towards the base when it gets tough (often described as ‘woody’ and white in the centre).
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan for a couple of minutes until the oil separates (it looks more liquid at this point). Add the shallots or onion. Fry for 3-5 mins, until soft and translucent. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 min, stirring all the time.
  3. Add chicken pieces and stir until they are coated. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and coconut milk. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 mins until the chicken is cooked. Stir the curry a few times while it cooks, to stop it sticking and to keep the chicken submerged.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, strip the leaves from the coriander stalks, gather into a pile and chop very roughly. Taste the curry and add a little more curry paste and salt if you think it needs it. Stir half the coriander into the curry and sprinkle the rest over the top. Serve with Thai jasmine or basmati rice.