Backing up the truck. With a bowl of noodle soup.

I’ve been writing this blog for quite a few months now. I started 8 months ago with a post about Minestrone, it being winter at the time.

When I started, I envisioned myself as a food blogger. Creating recipes, sharing new products or retailers I’d discovered, and writing about our travels. Mostly that has been how my blog has turned out.

Except I’ve accidentally started writing about myself, my emotions, my health and most recently, my children. So I’m not sure whether I can truly call this a “food blog” any longer. I’m reassessing what I want to write about, what makes me happy, and equally importantly, what seems to be resonating with you lovely people who take the time to read.

I’m going back to basics. This will likely take a while as I suck intelligence from the brains of my dear friends, then get my own brain on the thinking treadmill to get some clarity. WordPress are helping with “Blogging University”, to try to build some discipline into my day, to get the basics right (or as close as I can, within reason…). They say I should tell you all about myself, but I think I may have done that already. Some may call it “oversharing”, but they’re mean and I don’t talk to them any more.

I will keep writing about food. The name of my blog will continue to be Katrina Horton Food. But food in the way that feeds us, body and soul. Food that complements the stories of me and my family.

So you may notice a few changes while I try a few new things and think it all through. I’ll likely be writing a bit less, but I think that’s probably a good thing. No-one has time to read a daily blog anyway (or write one for that matter). Quality over quantity.

And now you get a recipe for being so patient.


A delicious bowl of fragrant noodles, herbs and beef. I don’t come from Vietnam, but when I eat this, I really wish I did.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions roughly chopped
large thumb ginger roughly sliced
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1tsp whole peppercorns
2 litres good quality beef stock
1/3 cup fish sauce
500ml water
2 tbsp raw sugar

4 pieces of sirloin steak (approx 150g pre-trimmed), fat trimmed
250g packet rice noodles


Mint (Vietnamese if you can get it)
Spring onions, sliced
Red onions, thinly sliced
Lime wedges
Red chilis, thinly sliced
Chili oil
Fish sauce

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over a moderate heat.
  2. Add onions and ginger, and cook until beginning to turn brown
  3. Add spices and cook until fragrant
  4. Pour in stock, fish sauce, water and raw sugar and bring to the boil
  5. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until reduced by approximately a third
  6. Meanwhile, cook noodles in boiling water as per instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside
  7. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan until very hot, and sear steaks very briefly (no more than a minute each side) until steaks are charred but still very rare in the middle
  8. While steaks are resting, arrange noodles in four large, deep bowls. Strain soup, discard onions and spices and pour over noodles
  9. Slice steaks thinly and arrange on top
  10. Serve with garnishes and allow everyone to garnish their soup to taste


  • Vietnamese mint is really hard to find in Auckland (I’ve had no success so far). It’s not quite as authentic as I’d like, but I use common mint instead
  • Luke Nguyen recommends using cassia bark. Cinnamon sticks are a suitable replacement (which I’ve used above), but if you can find cassia, use that instead in the same quantities
  • If you want to substitute beef for chicken, change the stock to chicken stock, and change out the beef for chicken breast or thighs, depending on your preference. I would recommend  poaching the chicken until cooked, which you can do in the soup base for approximately 15 minutes or until no longer pink in the centre.

2 thoughts

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