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.