Buttery shrimps… and an Indonesian delight
When you reach a mature age, as I have, and you note all the constant media coverage of “healthy eating”, you think of all the stuff that you’ve thrown down your throat over the years. Burgers. Fries. Potato crisps/chips. Battered fish. Desserts, cakes and sweets. Biscuits. Beer, wines and spirits. Oh, and lots more. And you wonder how you’ve managed to stay healthy. But, times they are a-changing. Consider this extract from an article in the “New Yorker” magazine this week.
Just image, in a year or two. When your child asks you to take him or her for a burger, you’ll have to go somewhere other than McDonalds, because they will only be selling food that is “good for you”.
People in Cyprus, of course, as soon as prosperity arrived, took to Burgers, Hot Dogs, French Fries, cream-filled pastries and cakes and everything else that puts on weight. Cypriots’ waistlines soon expanded considerably, to the point when, as in most western countries, obesity is a major problem today. In the western countries that lead us (often into temptation), we are seeing, on the horizon, the “Post Obesity Age”, in which it will be unhealthy, un-natural, unsociable and probably illegal, to be overweight. It used to take a war to keep us slim.
As a child in wartime (1939 – 1945), we got two ounces (55 grams) of butter per person, per week. Today you can have at least half that in a delicious dish called “Potted Shrimps”, available from a frozen food counter, near you, or even better, made at home. All you need is about 50 -75 grams of baby shrimps per person (if you can find the brown ones, these are the best). Put the shrimps into small ramekins and pour over melted butter in which you have mixed well a pinch or two of Mace (Schwarz is a good brand). They look nice, too.
My picture also shows little ramekins of smoked trout paté, which is very easy to make. For four starter portions, you will need two smoked trout fillets, about 100 – 120 grams of a good cream cheese (such as “Philadelphia), a dessert spoonful of creamed horseradish (more, or less, to your taste) and a few pinches of black pepper. To make, just put all the ingredients into your food processor and whizz until you have a lovely creamy paté.
These two little bowls of fishy delights can be accompanied by thin slices of brown bread and butter, gherkins or pickled cucumbers, olives, baby tomatoes and slices of cucumber. With a glass of chilled Xynisteri – superb! two hours; overnight is best.
Skewer the chicken, and put under a very hot grill. This will take just a couple of minutes each side.
If you can’t find peanut butter, here is another recipe for your own sauce, from Indonesia. 100g - 3 1/2 oz of ground roasted unsalted peanuts 3 tbsps of sweet soy sauce (Indonesian “Kecap Manis” for preference) or 3 tbsps Chinese soy sauce + 1 flat tsp sugar 1 1/2 tbsps ground coriander 2-3 pinches of turmeric (one-third tsp) 2 tsps chili sauce 1 tsp minced garlic 180 ml / 6 fl oz tin coconut milk 2-3 tsps palm sugar (or substitute brown sugar) Salt Lemon juice
Combine all of the ingredients, except salt and lemon juice, in a small pan with sugar and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Cool. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Use as a dipping sauce or spooned over flattened pieces of grilled or barbecued chicken fillet.
You can stir-fry almost any combination of vegetables. My sliced/chopped combination, pictured, is: leek, mushroom, cabbage, red pepper. The packet by the plate is one of precoked noodles.
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