Hi All. As I don’t have class today, I’m finally taking the time to catch up with my backlog of recipes and dishes I need to share! Before school started a couple weeks ago, I was keeping myself busy with making new healthy dishes. I also had to work my way through our cupboards and all the various pastas, grains and seeds/nuts I’ve accumulated. So here are a couple dishes but many more to come! Links to recipes are below but you can also go direct to the recipe pages.
First up is Scallops with Sauce Vierge. So for a couple of weeks, I was passing by the fish monger in the Chesham high street market, looking but never buying anything. But I finally gave in and bought some of the beautiful, fresh, giant scallops which is really one of my favorite seafood dishes. I wanted to be a little different though as scallops are very often wrapped in bacon. I also had seen sauce vierge come up in many cookbooks/sites recently. It’s such an easy thing to make and is so versatile. The key though is to have a really nice extra virgin olive oil. If extra virgin is too strong for you, then use a milder olive oil. I didn’t use red wine vinegar, but some recipes call for it instead of the coriander seeds. Since scallops aren’t exactly the most affordable seafood, I made this dish as a starter with three scallops each. We mopped up the rest of the sauce with some fresh bread. But you could easily turn this into a main dish by serving on a bed of angel hair pasta. The sweetness of the scallops and tomato together are so nice. If you want contrast, some red chili flakes would actually be quite nice. And if you can’t get scallops or don’t like them, you can always serve with some large grilled shrimp or chicken. Hope you like it!
Next up is Sesame Soba Noodles with Shrimp. I had to use at least some of the soba or “Japanese style” noodles that I’ve had for ages. I also always have sesame oil, sesame seeds and fresh coriander/cilantro in my kitchen. So I took a look at a few different recipes and adjusted to what I actually had at home. Take a look at the recipe, but remember I almost never measure when I cook! The most important thing is to taste your food and adjust to your preference. Some like it saltier and some like it spicier or both! But my point of writing this recipe down is to give you an idea of what flavors go well together and what you can potentially use as replacements. With asian noodle dishes like this that can be served warm or cold, I think it’s important to have a little protein, a little vegetable crunch and some fresh herb. If you don’t have fresh coriander/cilantro, then use some fresh spring/green onion. We had some canned French green beans that Chris bought ages ago, so I decided to throw in a few of them too. Also, be careful when cooking rice noodles. They cook really fast! My Dad’s trick is to refresh them in ice water immediately after straining to stop the cooking. This is a really refreshing dish and has so many varieties. You could decide to make the noodles vegetarian and grill the shrimp on the side. Or you could serve with grilled or fried tofu to make it completely vegetarian. Hope you enjoy!
Last up for this post is Cumin Chickpea Couscous with Sausage Meatballs. Couscous and chickpeas are something I like to have in my cupboard at all times. Couscous is probably the fastest starchy side dish you can make other than microwave rice It’s also healthy and great as a cold leftover. A good tip for couscous is to make it with chicken or vegetable stock to add loads of flavor. Just remember that stocks/stock cubes are already salty so you won’t need to add more to the couscous. I got the idea of combining chickpeas and couscous after I made a recipe from one of my BBC Good Food cookbooks for Couscous with Chorizo and Chickpeas. The combination is super filling, easy to make and has endless ways to spice it up. Since I had leftover tomatoes and coriander/cilantro in the refrigerator, the obvious choice was to make a Latin-themed couscous and chickpea dish. So I just added cumin and chili powder (with cumin in it) to add the spice. This could have been it but since I had leftover sausage I decided to take them out of the casings and make little mini meatballs. I had this idea that I wanted everything to be around the same size including chickpeas, tomatoes and meat. In the end, it turned out to be really tasty! Chris and I both had some for lunch the next day too. It was even nice cold. To waken it up a little, feel free to add a bit of fresh lemon juice! This would be great as a side dish for a BBQ or make it vegetarian and serve as a side.