New Beginnings…. this might come in the form of introducing a baby into our lives, introducing a pet into our family, a move of house or a transitional period. As a family, we try to approach these times with calm: with routine and with love. In summer we love the simplicity of tasty, fresh foods that fuel our bodies with the energy it deserves and needs. This has become a favourite in our house this summer.  I hope you and your family and friends enjoy it too.

Chicken and Noodle Lettuce Cups with Miso-Soy dressing

(Serves 3-4)
300 g chicken breast
3 T flour
1 T five-spice lemon pepper
1 egg
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
100 g vermicelli noodles
Drizzle sesame oil
2 baby cos lettuce
1 carrot
1/2 telegraph cucumber
100g mung bean sprouts

1 sachet miso paste (with seaweed)
1 T soy sauce
2 t fish sauce
1 1/2 T sweet chilli sauce
1 T lime juice
2 t water
Pinch chilli flakes

1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup coriander leaves
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Bring a full kettle to the boil.

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and slice width ways into 1.5-2cm strips. Place flour and five-spice lemon pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk egg in a second bowl and place breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Coat each piece of chicken first in flour mixture, then egg, then breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess as you go. Place in a single layer on prepared tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until just cooked through and breadcrumbs are golden.

2. Place noodles in a medium, heat proof bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Stir with a fork to separate strands and leave for 5 minutes. Drain, run under cold water and use kitchen scissors to snip noodles in a few places (this makes them easier to eat). Drizzle with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking.

3. Mix all miso-soy dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

4. Prepare the salad; cut base off each lettuce and separate leaves; peel and grate carrot or cut into thin matchsticks; halve cucumber lengthwise, scoop out seeds using a spoon and cut into thin matchsticks.

Place all ingredients in the middle of the table to make your own lettuce cups. Fill lettuce with chicken, noodles and vegetables. Drizzle over dressing and garnish with peanuts and coriander.

A meal like this is shared and enjoyed over conversation. There is something quite beautiful about eating the lettuce cups from your hands and licking the dressing off your finger tips in sheer delight.

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Cassandra and her partner Rick live in the sunny Hawkes Bay, with their two beautiful girls. She has a passion for good food and has worked with many top chefs in a range of food roles. Cassandra loves creating great food for her family and friends and also loves to share this love with others.

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