comments 15

Seafood salad and Thai salad

Yesterday I made seafood salad, with prawns and tinned mussels.  There was a summer a few years ago when the girls were small and I practically lived off mussels and salad, not having anyone else to cook for.

In those days, I didn’t bother with the dressing, as I love the briny oily seafood-y liquor that you get in the tin.  However, mussels are not a child-friendly foodstuff at the best of times, so I decided to make my own seafood sauce, rather than persuade LD#1 of the merits of a dressing made solely of oil and mussel parts.

When I was a child, I used to like mixing mayonnaise and tomato ketchup, and this to me was my very own sauce.  So I was disappointed to find when I was older that this combination had already been discovered, and was known as seafood sauce (two parts mayonnaise to one part ketchup).  A squirt of lemon juice, plus zest, and a splash of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, improved my childhood concoction even further.

Today I still had loads of prawns left over (I ate the rest of the mussels for lunch, because LD didn’t like them), and this put me in mind of a Thai salad.  Since concocting Thai salad is not a secret childhood pastime of mine, I had to look up what to do on the internet.

What I really liked about the recipes I found is that there is no oil or mayonnaise involved.  I do think that salads can be deceptive in that the dressing piles on loads of invisible fats that we are not aware of.  I’m all for a treat now and then, but also want to have a stock of low fat recipes that I can call on so that I know I’m not overdoing things.

I made my sauce as follows: juice and zest of half a lemon, two dessert spoons of balsamic vinegar, one dessert spoon of sugar (I know, I know, I’m just replacing fats with evil simple carbs…), tiny tiny splash of soy sauce, tiny tiny sprinkle (you will know your limits better than me) of chilli powder.

I didn’t think something so, well, sour would work, but it was nice.

I also made some noodles!

Since I regularly make pasta, I’ve long wondered about making noodles as well.  Although for the life of me I can’t work out what the difference between noodles and pasta is.  I wanted to make the big thick noodles, similar to what we call “yuw mein” in Chinese.  That is basically fresh noodles that are really oily (“yuw” means oil).  After a bit of looking round the internet, I decided to substitute normal flour for pasta flour (so that the noodles would be softer) and to add some butter (yeah, that most Chinese of ingredients) to my usual 1 egg + 100g flour base.  I also rolled them thicker than usual.

They are a lot paler than “yuw mein” (I’m wondering if food colouring is involved in the shop bought variety) and a different shape, because my pasta cutter won’t do the traditional thick cut noodle shape. They tasted OK though.

The other thing is that I had to buy a normal Iceberg lettuce!  LD#1 has been eating the salads fine but says that she doesn’t like the mixed salad leaves.




  1. Jennifer

    My noodles – the good old down home southern kind – are just egg yolks, flour and water all smooched together (with a little salt) and then you roll them out and cut them! Simple – but we use cups and things here – you don’t so I can’t give you precise measurements. No butter except on top after they’re cooked!

    • I did wonder whether yolks only would do it, as that would explain the yellow colour of shop bought noodles. But I dread the word “yolks” in a recipe as I never know what to do with the left over whites… and left over yolks are even worse, as they are so rich and difficult to use up. I think I will try with yolks only next time.

  2. I admire your determination to cook everything from complete scratch Denise! The noodles look fab, and the Thai salad dressing sounds yummy. Mayo & ketchup as seafood sauce was a fave of mine as a kid too 🙂

    • The main things I do from scratch are pastry, pasta and bread. There is something about the softness and smoothness of dough that fascinates me. My favourite is bread. I love kneading – the way the dough starts off soggy and messy and turns into this silky clean mass.

      The weird thing is I’m not massively into eating that kind of food, so I am glad that the LDs are 🙂

  3. They both look delicious even though I won’t even try mussles … I will eat small prawns though. I know, I’m odd!

  4. Pretty!

    And you’re right about the food coloring. There is food coloring in so much of the prepared stuff we get.

    And you’ve given me an wonderful idea for dinner tonight. Thanks a million, for sparing me having to think about it.

  5. Yes please!!! And I make my ‘seafood sauce’ just the same, my mum showed me. She always made it that way, Worcester sauce and everything. This looks delicious 🙂

  6. Ah salad dressings, basically 80% of the calorie content of salads 😛 It’s so cool that you you make your own pasta though! It’s interesting to see people’s preferences with salad leaves – some people like iceberg lettuce, some prefer baby spinach, or butter lettuce, romaine, rocket, mixed leaves, etc. I personally cannot stand iceberg lettuce (I am not a picky eater, but it’s the one food that literally gives me gag reflexes, haha), but love everything else. I find darker greens easier to stomach in general though. What about you?

    • I threw the rest of the iceberg lettuce away because it was so big and only my daughter was eating it that it wilted.

      She may just have to get used to bags of mixed salad! Iceberg is such a nothingness.

      I like the smaller spicier tasting leaves – the others are just like water.

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