Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Chilli Prawn Noodle Salad

I've been feeling a little stodgy lately. I'd gotten to the end of my food so I was all about the rice and the pasta. (I like the fact that I can never not have a home cooked meal. Posts later on Rice with Chickpea curry). But I got a nice ASDA shop this morning, and a lovely salad was born.

This salad works as warm or cold. Mine was somewhere in between, but it seemed to taste pretty good anyway. I went for a soy lime chilli dressing, but I think it'd be a really nice sesame ginger chilli combo too (I haven't gotten round to buying sesame oil yet, I'm doing it all slowly). So here's how I rolled this.  

ASDA Sharing bowl salad: a combo of shredded carrot, lettuce, red cabbage, a sliver or two of red pepper and some sweetcorn. Fairly okay.

Sharwoods Fine Noodles: I used about a third or half a nest. Boiled and drained. I don't like the idea of straight to wok noodles, it freaks me out.

Prawns: A handful. I went for cooked and peeled ones, nothing too fancy. If I was getting a little posh, I'd go for raw king prawns and griddle them (as I type, I am googling the cheapest place to buy a George Foreman. I really want one). Maybe marinade them beforehand in chilli lime juice. (This is getting TOO fancy for a salad, I think).

Green beans: trimmed, blanched and drained.

Peas: Frozen, boiled. They provide a bit of sweetness to go with the prawns.

Chuck in a bowl, drizzle with soy sauce, lime juice and chopped chilli. Then chow down. 

My apologies for the awful picture, it was the webcam. 

Friday, 15 October 2010

The amazing world of Harissa.

I think I may move this blog and start again. It's very messy and just not very pretty. I think I may.

But in other news. Today I bought harissa paste (in a jar, I confess). I've only ever had harissa once, and that was from the vegan food cart that used to be outside Carphone Warehouse (by the Hot Sausage Company stand, funnily enough) and they did it with their falafel in flatbread - which was amazing. So that was my first step into harissa. About 3 years ago. Since then, I haven't really touched it. But a 1 hour jaunt to a Sainsbury's Central got me buying lots of little jars, and one being the vivid red harissa.

I thought about mixing it with cous cous, but then I realised after a quick google that everyone does that. So I think it would make a good variation on the Moroccan Veg Cous Cous (that I haven't cooked since June). It's going to be basically a similar recipe, with less herbage (post on my plans for cheap herbage another time) and all round cheaper.

So anyway. Harissa Chicken with a (cheaper) Roast Veg Cous Cous.

Chicken thighs. I prefer to use these as they are a] cheaper, b] more flavourful and c] they don't dry out like I manage to make chicken breast dry. So get your chicken breast. I think a ziplock bag with a teaspoon of harissa paste, about the same of lemon juice and possibly some crushed cumin and some olive oil, and just let it sit there. The longer the better, of course, but I think I'll end up doing this in between classes or just after I've gotten in from class. Then it gets all flavourful and even more yummy. I think the chicken would be best done in the oven, and maybe with a bit of a crispy skin. That would definitely be yummy.

Vegetables. Whatever's left really. Right now I have an absurd amount of mushrooms which I may quickly pan fry and crisp up, a bit of courgette which I will grill off with a bit of FryLite and a fair amount of seasoning. An idea would be to make a separate container of harissa roasting oil. So a little harissa with a lot of vegetable oil to use when roasting. I may take this up if there is a spare jar. And whack it under the grill. I still do the carrots differently. They're up there with my favourite vegetable. I'm stealing the idea Jamie Oliver had of glazing them (I think a slight sweetness would work so well with the spicey veg and chicken). So boil them in water with olive oil, sugar, little bit of salt and I'm not quite sure what else. I'm still going to go with the cumin like last time.

Something really interesting I bought today was purple potatoes. I've had a quick scout on Google, and they're pretty much the same as normal potatoes. Except they are higher in antioxidants than your normal white variety (doesn't say how much higher though...). Anyway, the idea is to either go down the minted potatoes route (except I don't have any mint) or the harissa potatoes route (i.e. roasted harissa potatoes) or the coriander potatoes route (yoghurt, coriander, lemon, maybe cumin seeds again – I'm slightly obsessed with them). I think the coriander ones would look absolutely gorgeous with the bright purple, but that hits me more as a summer thing. But the yoghurt would be like a sort of raita (wrong cuisine but who's caring?) to cool down the heat of the spicy food.

Cous Cous. Anyway, the cous cous would be of whatever vegetable is going to be roasted/grilled/boiled/fried, with a lemon cous cous. Rosemary seems to be the herb of choice with chicken, but I'm thinking more along the lines of thyme (I just love how thyme goes with lemon and spice!). Maybe a little bit of clapped thyme in the ziplock baggie just so it carries through the dish, but definitely chopped up in the cous cous. A simple vegetable stock to cook it through, a little coriander, seasoning and lemon juice. Then mix through some of the veg, but keep most of it on top so it stays nice and crisp.

So as you can tell, I'm very much looking forward to this meal tomorrow. I just hope I'm not too tired from the visit to the Geffrye Museum. But I shall do it properly tomorrow. With pictures. And real instructions.