Saturday Night Treats (Part 3 of 3)… Potato Salad

I’m down to the last part of my Saturday night dinner, a delicious Potato Salad to accompany my Skewered Prawns with Zataar, Cumin and Red Chilli and a Feta and Olive Herb Focaccia. And even though this is a rather simple Potato Salad, it took the most time in terms of preparation from the three dishes on the menu, because I made everything from scratch, apart from growing my own veggies.

Speaking of growing your own lovely fresh veggies you must pop over to Val’s blog over at 100 Square metres. Now Val grows his own veggies and quite an array of them too, the unfortunate part for me is that he lives across the seas in a completely different country and so I don’t have direct access to any of those delicious vegetables except through the pages of his blog.So do visit his blog and feast your eyes… the black and white photos he took recently are just amazing.

For my Potato Salad, I started out by making a Mustard, Pepper Mayonnaise, using 2 egg yolks, lime juice, white wine vinegar, salt, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, freshly milled black pepper and water.

For the dressing

1/4 to 1/3 cup of my home-made Mustard, Pepper Mayonnaise (I forgot to measure…sorry!)

1/2 cup hung yoghurt

1 tablespoon honey

a large pinch of salt

a level teaspoon of dried parsley

Blitz all the above ingredients in the food processor till well incorporated and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve the salad.

For the potato salad… which serves 2, you’ll need –

3 medium potatoes (boiled, peeled and cubed)

2 spring onions (bulbs and tops of the stalks only)

1 stalk celery (chopped)

1 small cucumber (de-seeded, sliced and chopped)

a handful of roasted walnuts (chopped)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

about a 1/4 cup of the dressing

Add the potatoes, spring onions, celery, cucumber and paprika to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Everything… but the walnuts and the dressing

Meanwhile roast, cool and chop the walnuts and keep them aside in a separate bowl (also refrigerated).

Just before serving, mix the walnuts in with the salad and spoon over at least a 1/4 cup (or more) of the dressing.

Saturday Night Treats (Part 2 of 3)… Feta and Olive Herb Focaccia

… to continue where I left off from my previous post (Skewered Prawns with Zataar, Cumin and Red Chilli) I’ll move on to part 2 of my dinner…

A Feta and Olive Herb Focaccia

The baker’s wage… a mini focaccia… all to myself.

I spread out the dough a bit thinner than I normally would (do take a look at my earlier post on Cheesy Herbed Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes) and I spritzed the oven with water just to get that crusty finish to the top and sides of the bread.

Look at these plump olives… delicious!

Here’s a list of ingredients for the focaccia –

3 cups A.P. Flour

12gms fresh yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup + 2 tablespoons tepid water

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (+ extra for sprinkling over the focaccia b4 baking) dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/4 cup olive oil (+ extra for lining the bowl and brushing over the top of the focaccia)

3/4 cup chopped olives

3/4 cup feta (cubed)

pinch of sea salt (for sprinkling over the focaccia… not too much as the olives and feta are both salty… you can omit the salt too coz it’s not necessary in this recipe. But I love salt… and I have low blood pressure, so salt is often my best friend.)

Prepare the yeast the usual way (I used fresh yeast) … water, sugar and leave it for 15 minutes till it gets nice n foamy.

In a separate bowl sift the flour and add salt and the dried herbs. Mix it with the yeast, adding the 1/4 cup of olive oil and knead to form a soft dough. Leave the dough to prove for about 2 hours then knock back and knead again, dividing the dough into half. Using your hands shape the focaccia into the basic shape you like before transferring it onto a parchment lined baking tray. I made one oblong, one rectangular focaccia and a mini focaccia (I call it the baker’s wage :-)). Then using your fingertips punch and jab the dough to give it its dimpled look.

Generously sprinkle on the olives and dot the focaccia with feta, before leaving it to prove for another 1 1/2 hour, covered with a towel. Once the focaccia has risen, brush the top with olive oil, and sprinkle on some dried parsley and whole sea salt (optional).

Bake the bread in an oven pre-heated to 200°C for about 20 – 25 minutes…

Allow the focaccia to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into it. I used a pizza cutter and we ate almost an entire focaccia right then and there… dipping it into some extra virgin olive oil mixed with a combination of zataar, parsley, oregano and whole salt. I should send this over to YeastSpotting

And served the rest with my platter of skewered prawns and potato salad…

Saturday Night Treats (Part 1 of 3) … Skewered Prawns with Zataar, Cumin and Red Chilli

Saturday Night and everything sucks on TV. And then I’ve kinda hung up my dancing shoes for a bit (which is a seasonal thing with me. And NO that doesn’t mean I’m in the winter of my youth… 😉 Besides I have a friend staying over who says that she dances like a horse, and I’m sure she wasn’t referring to the ones you see at show jumping events, so I really wouldn’t have been able to drag her along. But I’m not complaining. It is wonderful having friends over. It gives me another reason to cook and receive a compliment at the end of it, which I’m certainly not averse to.

Now I wanted to enjoy my evening in every way and didn’t want to end up stuck in the kitchen all evening, so I prepped everything in advance and kept it simple, which left me free to chatter away, play a couple of hands of UNO, sip on some extra spicy Bloody Marys and listen to some music… Perfect!

Here’s a sneak peak at the menu… 😉

1. Skewered Prawns with Zataar, Cumin and Red Chilli served with a delicious dip.

2. Feta and Olive Herb Focaccia 

3. Potato Salad with Spring Onions, Cucumber, Roasted Walnuts and Celery (with a home-made dressing… which I also used as a dip for the prawns).

But putting all of these into one post may just be too much, so I split ’em up into three starting with…

The Skewered Prawns with Zataar, Cumin and Red Chilli…

You’ll need about 20 prawns (medium to large sized with their tails on)

2 teaspoons zataar

1level teaspoon freshly pounded cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

large pinch of salt

juice of 1/2 large lime

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons evoo (extra virgin olive oil)

Start by cleaning the prawns, or if you have pre-cleaned prawns make sure that the vein (aka the poop-chute) has been removed. Now some of the larger sized prawns have 2 veins, at the front and at the back, so make sure you get both of them out completely.

Wash the prawns well and drain them thoroughly, then pat them dry before marinading them in the zataar, cumin, chilli powder, honey, lime juice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil marinade. Don’t add the salt in just yet.

Keep your prawns marinading in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (An hour should also be okay if you’re in a hurry, but I prefer to keep them marinading longer).

When you’re ready to cook the prawns, sprinkle on the salt and skewer the prawns onto wooden skewers that have been soaking in water (This will prevent the skewers from burning) and brush with some of the marinade to which you have added the balance tablespoon of olive oil.

I used my trusty grill pan to grill the prawns

Then piled them onto a platter and served them with a dip/dressing I made from my own home-made mayonnaise and hung yoghurt.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…