Monday, 19 January 2015

Vietnamese Prawn Wraps with Homemade Chilli and Ginger Soy Dressing

These little tasty parcels require some attention as they are quite time consuming and fiddly...but they are so worth the hassle and will wow your guests at any occasion. You can find the clear wraps in any asian supermarket. I ventured to China Town to buy mine, where they sell a variety of sizes. 

Ingredients (serves 8)

- for the wraps

- 16 vietnamese rice paper circles (similar to the image below)

- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced length ways
- half a cucumber, thinly sliced length ways
- roughly 24 cooked king prawns, sliced in half from top to tail (the prawns go further making this starter more cost efficient)
- a packet of bean sprouts
- mint leaves
- fresh coriander 

- for the dipping sauce

- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp grated or finely chopped fresh ginger (with or without the skin)
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced

1. Fill a large bowl with water and put it to one side. Prepare and arrange all your ingredients so that they are easily accessible (so you're not running around the kitchen like a lunatic - as I was). Make sure you have a flat plastic chopping board to hand, or a board covered with cling film to avoid the wraps sticking. 

2. Take a single sheet of rice paper and dip it in the water bowl for a few seconds. Then transfer the sheet to your plastic board being careful not to tear it in the process. Make a row in the centre with 3 of your sliced prawns (outside facing down) and then layer up a few spring onions, cucumber strips, bean sprouts, mint and coriander leaves. Carefully roll the wraps up tightly and set aside on a plate covered with cling film. 

3. Repeat this process until all the wraps are finished. If you run out of ingredients, simply cut up some more veggies. Make sure the wraps are spaced apart from each, otherwise they'll stick together. If you are preparing these ahead, stack them on a plate with cling film between each layer. 

4. For the dipping sauce, place all the ingredients into a jam jar and shake well. If you have time, leave this mixture in the fridge overnight to let the flavours infuse, and then transfer it to some suitable ramekins.

Serve the wraptastical wraps alongside the soy dressing, and decorate the plates with sesame or pomegranate seeds. 

A big thank you goes to my wonderful boyfriend who I forced to help me make these. I like to think he enjoyed it though!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lorraine Pascale Inspired Lamb

Somehow I managed to become a 'food porn' addict over the weekend, after watching Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, Lorraine Pascale and Peter Kuruvita on Good Food. Having been struggling with a gluten and dairy free lunch dish for Sunday, I decided to put my memory to the test. Lorraine's recipe called for couscous and goat's cheese, but I substituted this for a cucumber and mint quinoa salad.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

for the meat -

- sunflower oil
- 4 lamb chops or similar
- mixed herbs
- salt and pepper

for the quinoa - 

- 250g mixed quinoa pack (I like the one from Waitrose)
- a handful of chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cucumber, finely chopped
- rapeseed or olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp)
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper

for the topping -

- a handful of flaked almonds
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- a drizzle of maple syrup

- pomegranate seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate

1. Start by chopping the vegetables and mint for the quinoa and put some boiling water on. Season the meat well with the herbs and salt and pepper. Place the quinoa into the boiling water for around 12 minutes until cooked, or according to the packet instructions. The meat should only take around 5-6 minutes, so half way through boiling the quinoa, put some vegetable/sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook the lamb (turning after a few minutes).

2. After the lamb is cooked, take each piece off to rest and use the pan to fry the spring onions, flaked almonds and maple syrup for a few minutes. 

3. Drain the quinoa and mix in the oil, lemon juice, chopped cucumber, mint and season well. 

4. Lastly, spoon the cooked lamb onto the quinoa salad, sprinkle with the sticky topping and scatter with the pomegranate seeds. 

Serve with salad and dips :)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Paprika Houmous

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

- 2 x 400g soft boiled chickpeas and 1/3 juice from each tin
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tsp chilli oil
- rapeseed or olive oil
- salt and pepper

1. Blend everything in a mixer and gradually add the olive oil until nice, creamy consistency forms. Season to taste and add more chilli oil or chilli flakes (if you like it spicy). 

If you're interested in trying some other chickpea dips, scroll down to find my previous posts. Team this dip with the pitta bites below and you've got yourself a good party nibble or snack.

Sardine Pate and Herby Pitta Bites

It's super easy and quick to make your own dips, and your friends always appreciate the effort. I tried making this pate for the first time, and it's great. Packed with Omega 3 from the sardines, however the fish isn't too overpowering. Accompanied with these delicious and quick herb pitta bites, any dip or pate will taste scrumptious. 

Sardine and Thyme Pate (Serves 8-10)

- 3 x 45g tin of sardines in olive oil (oil and bones get involved)
- 140g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp fresh or dried thyme leaves
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- salt and pepper

1. Simply blitz everything in a food processor until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Herby Pitta Bites (serves 4)

- 3 wholewheat pittas, cut through the centre to make thin pittas
- rapeseed or olive oil
- mixed herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary
- salt and pepper

1. Firstly set the grill to medium/high and let it heat up for 10 minutes. 

2. Place the pittas on a flat oven tray, drizzle them with oil, and sprinkle with the mixed herbs. Season well before putting them under the grill for around 10 minutes. Occasionally check that they aren't burning.

3. When they are nicely browned, remove them from the oven and cut them roughly. They can be eaten hot or cold.

These are a great accompaniment for any dip.