We had Mr. & Mrs. Awesome round last night for dinner. I love those two. As well as being such a cool couple they are also foodies which makes cooking for them that much more interesting. But, the irony is that the dishes I made were so basic. So simple. Again underlining the point that fresh, seasonal produce prepared well is way better than fancy, pretentious cooking. What did I make? Let's get into it...
Stuff you'll need to make a killer salad for 4:
- 2 bulbs of fennel, sliced as finely as possible
- 4 sticks of celery, sliced as finely as possible
- 2 grapefruits, peeled and segmented
- 500 ml of apple juice
- A handful of peppercorns
- A few sprigs of thyme
- A tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Okay, what to do:
1. Bring the apple juice to the boil with the peppercorns and thyme in it. Turn the heat down to medium and reduce liquid until it is thick and syrupy. (Syrupy? Is that a word...)
2. Strain the liquid and allow to cool. When done add the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
3. Arrange the fennel on a platter and cover with celery and grapefruit. Drizzle dressing over the top.
Jeez this is a goodie. Honestly, I've got no problem telling you how good this is. Humility is overrated. The flavours are so fresh. So clean. You will love it. Pair it with a crisp white wine and you will be digging your own vibe. (I went with the Daisy Darling from Cloof Estate. Yeah, it is pretty f-ing good)
Righty, for mains I made a little seafood pasta dish. I wanted to do mussels but couldn't find any so I improvised. I deliberately didn't make any sauce as I wanted it to be light. Here we go...
Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
- A pack of whole wheat tagliatelle
- A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 - 2 chillies, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- A handful of coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 handfuls of prawns, cleaned and peeled
- 2 calamari steaks
- Five spice powder (optional)
Okay, what to do:
1. Cook the pasta as per the instructions. If you mess this up piss off and don't come back to my site. Not ever.
2. Rub olive oil and the five spice onto the calamari if using. In a smoking hot pan sear the calamari for about 1 minute per side. DO NOT OVERCOOK IT! Just have a bit of faith here. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the garlic, chilli and prawns to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the garlic is brown and the prawns are pink. AGAIN, DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM. They'll be done in a few minutes. Remove and set aside.
4. Slice the calamari and add to the prawns, chilli and garlic. Add the cherry tomatoes. Toss to combine. Drain the pasta and mix everything together.
5. To serve spoon the pasta into bowls and garnish with coriander. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top and add some parmesan.
This meal sounds a lot fancier than it is. The salad is soooooo easy and the pasta honestly isn't tough either. Just make sure not to overcook the seafood. The rest is simple. Did I mention how healthy everything is? Yip, that's how I roll...
P.S. You know when a recipe says "optional"? That means you're an idiot if you don't use it. Basically...