Monday, 23 June 2014

For the Langoust-ine day of the year: Cantonese langoustines with noodles

I cooked up these suckers on summer solstice this weekend, and what's great was there was still a lot of light to photograph these before they were immediately devoured. I don't know how, but the sweet langoustine always seems to be the shy wallflower of the crustaceans. Constantly overshadowed and out-trendied by it's siblings like lobster (beefy royalty of the sea), crayfish (punchy vibrant minions) and crabs (even those soft shell suckers have more prominence than little lango). Perhaps it has been forgotten and cast aside due to our malpractice of dousing them in batter and calling it scampi. This breaded ill fate has meant we've actually forgotten that langoustines, served as they are (i.e. not battered and deep fried to a crisp), are deliciously plump, sweet, delicate and succulent. There seems to be a large gap between the top restaurants cooking langoustine for a delectable (and most probably expensive) dish and the keen amateur chef or dinner party menu appearance...when in fact these cute little guys are so simple to cook. To eat, if their shells are on, can be seen as rather daunting (and with about a 25% yield of pure meat it's hard to overcome), however once you's so simple. Twist the head, turn the tail on its side and press down till you hear a crunch. From there, it'll be easy to pull away the meat and peel the shell off.

This recipe normally calls for shelled jumbo prawns, but the sweet little langoes were calling for me - and it's the type of dish where you sort of have to give in to the mess and accept the glorious, sweet and spicy sauce drape over your fingers. If this isn't finger licking good, I don't know what is. You can, of course, take these out their shell before serving for a more "polite" way of eating, but I like the fun of just getting stuck in in a sort of animalistic way. Egg noodles are a great accompaniment to this - it laps up and takes the sauce wonderfully. Langoustines are a truly British produce, but we associate it with holidays in Spain and France. Having recently been to Salcome and experienced some sea-side delights, it's time that we embrace langoustines with open arms (and mouths). The best of a lobster and a prawn put together - who could say no to that? 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Scallywag scallion pancake

Sorry it's been so long since a post. The bank holiday and the stream of hen do's seem to be taking its toll on me and for some reason I've not been strict enough on getting something tasty up on the blog. Naughty.  What's ironic is, I've been wanting to share this recipe for so long, and had done the photos for this - but wasn't inspired to write. The hunger for this dish was there, but the mind...alas, was not. I'm finally sitting down to this for the 3rd 4th attempt to share with you a recipe that is a simple and addictive appetiser/snack. CARBS CARBS CARBS. I'm not going to Marbella this summer, but I am soon heading off to Barcelona I feel the 'no carbs before marbs' rule,  shouldn't apply.
These spring onion pancakes are found in many breakfast shops and for dim sum. I prefer the breakfast route, and dunking this into a bowl of congee (rice porridge) is akin to a British man's eggs and soldiers. Little flecks of maldon salt and spring onions in layers of a simple dough is so easy to pop on the pan to heat up. Keep a stack of these in the freezer and toast up if you're in a rush for an Asian breakkie hit. Those who fear making bread needn't worry - this is a quick, beginners guide to kneading and proofing.

Spring onions (or scallions for the more 'international' reader) are synonymous with Chinese cooking - it makes up a lot of flavour foundations. Chopped fine enough, with a plain dough, it just gives this flatbread of sorts a ping of flavour - and the texture on top of this completes this feeling of satisfaction.