So I have a day off and a thousand plans for the garden and vegetable patches and…it’s raining. Constantly.
Now I know a lot of you might say I’m a fairweather gardener (you might even be right!) and to get on out there, but it’s not that sort of rain that’s fun to work out in. It’s that relentless drizzly rubbish that just makes everything stick to you and generally makes you bloody well fed up.
So I decided to sack that off and try to cheer myself up by randomly experimenting in the kitchen instead. My plan for today had always been a prawn salad, I just couldn’t decide what flavour profile to go for in terms of the dressing…and this weather causing me to be cooped up was making me twitchy so I really couldn’t settle to anything.
So obviously I made three. Without any recipes, straight off the fly, just because why not?
Turns out, as long as you were after some seriously rewarding, big and punchy, sharp flavours like I was (look, that sort of thing cheers me up, ok?), they all actually worked out pretty well.
Now, before I go any further, my thought on dressings and dips is that unless they’re really unstable and fragile, the best plan is to make them a few hours before the meal and let those flavours really either make best mates forever or have a massive disagreement, fall out in epic fashion and then grudgingly eventually realise they’re both right if they just work together. Which is what I did with these guys.
Problem with dressings and dips is that they’re pretty hard to make into supermodels of the food world unless you’ve got two assistants, a full lighting rig and a lot of patience – and frankly, I lack all three of those.
But, good food isn’t always the most beautiful – I mean who ever called their takeaway the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen? (Oh yeah….lots…in the moment at least)
ANYWAY! My ‘For The Love Of Everything Good In This World Why Will It Not Stop Raining It’s July For ***s Sake?’ salad dressings / dip trio. Bound together forever by three things – grated garlic, red chilli, and being on this blog post, and loosely connected to each other by other ingredients in sort of Love, Actually fashion as I rooted out ingredients that needed using in the kitchen.
Balsamic, Shallot, Garlic & Red Chilli Salad Dressing
Not one for the faint hearted, this is sharp, punchy and not messing around. Full of vinegary attitude and some stuff that’s really quite good for you.
1/2 finely diced banana shallot
1/4 finely diced red chilli (mild unless you’re a chilli freak like me, but if you are then hey, it’s your funeral)
1 tbsp each of balsamic and red whine vinegar
Tsp dried oregano (chopped fresh even better)
Small garlic clove, grated
Seasoning of Maldon Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Small dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Good quality EV olive oil, two tablespoons to match the vinegar
Shove the above in a jar together, mix it up, leave it for a bit, pour it over a salad, thank me later.
Dijon, Honey & Red Chilli Dressing / Dip
1 1/2 tsp each of honey and Dijon mustard
1/4 finely diced red chilli (you know the drill now)
1 grated small garlic clove
Seasoning of Maldon and black pepper
Quick squeeze of lemon juice – to taste really
Olive oil, just to loosen to desired texture
Erm. Put in bowl. Or jug. Or jar (for the love of…put the lid on). Mix accordingly to chosen vessel of mixage (it’s a word…sort of). Give it a break for a bit to get friendly and then use either as dressing or dip.
Peanut Butter, Red Chilli & Ginger “Sort of Satay” Sauce
You know what I said about it being hard to make these guys look good without a film crew? Well that’s why this one isn’t getting his own portrait shot.
Doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste great though.
2 tbsp good quality crunchy peanut butter
1 grated small clove of garlic
1/4 finely diced red chilli (look, just do what you want on this one, okay?….*scurries off to write legal disclaimer*)
Small piece of fresh ginger grated – think about the size of the top half of your little finger
2 tbsp honey
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Tbsp good quality EV olive oil (optional)
Add the peanut butter to the bowl – if one of the drier mixes available, use some warm water to let down to a thick sauce consistency, then add all other ingredients and mix.
If a looser sauce is preferred, let down with a little more water, mix well. Season with the pepper to taste, and if mixture is fully emulsified then you can add the option dash of olive oil.
So there you go.
It’s still bloody raining, so I’m off to make a salad and pretend it’s summer. Which it is. Apparently.
Enjoy all x