I have eaten Indonesian food all too infrequently in my life, and have cooked it — thus far — only once, when acting as sous-chef to an Indonesian friend in Italy many decades ago, as he prepared a huge feast. So I’m very excited to have Lara Lee’s Coconut & Sambal in my hands now. It’s a book that tells the story of the food, both through memories and evocative explanations, as it introduces us to the flavours and feel of the Indonesian kitchen, and explains not only how to cook the food, but how to eat it. It’s impossible to read it without being both inspired and very hungry! This is a book that’s just full of brio — from Coconut Beef and Peanut Stir-Fry, Chicken Rice Congee, Green Chilli Braised Duck, and Balinese Roasted Pork Belly, to Pandan and Coconut Cake, Thousand Layer Cake and Banana Fritters and, of course, the fiery sambals — the spicy relishes and condiments of the book’s title. The recipe I’ve chosen to share with you here is the one I earmarked to make first, the Pork and Prawn Rice Noodles. Although, it’s also true to say that I look forward to cooking my way through this book, and learning deliciously from it.