Sunday, 29 January 2012

Japanese-inspired Salad with Prawns and Avocado

On Sunday night I realised that I was rather bored of being a Skyrim widow, so when a friend of mine texted saying she was bored, happily headed over to her flat for some company. While she made cinnamon buns, I browsed one of the Nigella Lawson cookbooks that she had, and was inspired to make a healthy midweek supper.

Not the most wintery of recipes, but I had a couple of avocadoes that needed eating and have been craving fresh greens. Sadly I had to make do with pre-cooked frozen king prawns, but if you can get your hands on them, I'd recommend using raw ones if you can as these shrank significantly when I fried them with the garlic. The dressing is wonderfully light and zingy and the wasabi, mirin and rice vinegar add a deliciously Japanese twist. It is also virtually fat-free, which helps counterbalance the avocadoes a little!

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 ripe baby avocadoes (or 1 large)
100g spinach, rocket and watercress
150g fine beans
200g raw king prawns
1 clove garlic

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Few drops sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1 red chilli
1 teaspoon lime juice

Deseed and finely chop the chilli, place in a bowl or jar, and add the mirin, wasabi, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt and lime juice. beat or shake well until all the ingredients are combined.

Plunge the fine beans into boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes until al dente, then plunge into ice cold water and drain. Peel and slice the avocado, and arrange on two plates with the salad and beans. 

Add a little oil to a frying pan, and when almost smoking hot, add the raw prawns and garlic. Fry until pink, then divide between the two plates. Finally, drizzle the dressing over the two salads and serve while the prawns are still warm. A perfect quick and easy weeknight supper on the table in 20 minutes!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Black Olive Truffles

A little sweet treat, which I made before Christmas and held back from posting as I hoped it would being a little joy to January. This is another of Omar Allibhoy's fantastic recipes which I was sent by Olives from Spain, and when reading through it, my first thought was that it sounded like a divine and intriguing combination. Black olives and bitter dark chocolate go surprisingly well together, and the orange zest really sets it off.

Truffles are surprisingly easy to make, and are fantastic gifts for chocoholic friends or relatives. They just require a little time and patience as they can't unfortunately be made in one single stage.

Ingredients (makes circa 20 truffles):
150g double cream
200g of dark chocolate
Zest of 1 orange
150g of black pitted olives
40g of butter
Cocoa powder to dust them
If you want them a little sweeter, add about a dessertspoon of caster sugar to the cream when heating.

Drain the olives and then finely chop them, then peel the zest off the orange, break up the chocolate and cut up the butter ready to use. Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat over a low heat until almost boiling. Turn off the heat, then stir in the chocolate, olives and orange zest. Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and you have a velvety, smooth sauce. While the mix is still warm, add the butter and stir until thoroughly melted into the sauce.

Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for about 5 hours to set. Once set, turn the mix into little balls using your hands or a melon baller then dust with cocoa powder. I found it really helped to keep running my hands under icy water so I didn’t end up covered in molten chocolate as I rolled them!