It was my flatmates birthday. And I LOVE birthdays. Why? To me, of course, a birthday is a time to eat the most delicious things. But, as it is your birthday, and no one else’s, you must be able to eat exactly what you want. Exactly what you want.
When I was younger my mother subscribed to this adage, and I would always ask for her famous Chicken Curry. It was warm, not hot, flavoursome and always came with the most exciting side dishes. Chutneys, coconut bananas, pappadums, yogurt and cucumber and tomato with onion. It was a feast for the mouth, flavour, freshness and deliciousness. And the fact that no matter how much everyone else whinged ‘But we have that every year!’ it was my choice, and my Birthday.
With this in mind I asked my flatmate for her birthday dinner to name her 3 favourite things and I would make something for her.
Prawns, Haloumi and Chocolate, was the text I got in reply.
So this is how we come to a delicious prawn and haloumi salad!
I felt I was due poetic licence by NOT mixing the third favourite, chocolate, in the salad and simply doing the thing that must be done one ones birthday, and big fat chocolate cake with your name on it.
This salad was divine; light, great textures and deliciously garlicky and salty from the prawns and haloumi. Keep in mind, the couscous is not a side, or main filler in the salad, it is to create texture and interest in the salad. This salad served 3 of us, probably eating a little piggishly, but none the less.
If you need to feed more people bulk up the couscous, and use the ½ cup couscous to ½ cup liquid as a guide. I used stock to add more flavour- of course you can use water, but to me any chance to add more flavour is essential to me.
I decided to cook the prawns in garlic and oil, with a little splash of white wine for delicious fruityness. I have also done the prawns before with rosé.. just amazing! The sweet fruity flavour of rosé makes the most amazing prawns. Try it. You just need a little splash in the hot pan, let it bubble and the flavour is there.
And the cake? Well, let’s just say I have NO problem with Betty Crocker icing, and nor does my flatmate.. So there is no recipe here, just a final note to say- Chocolate cake? YUM.
Sammy’s Prawn and Haloumi Salad
350 g fresh prawns, peeled and de tailed
2 large coves of garlic, finely chopped
A splash of white wine
(I would normally also add chilli, but as the birthday girl isn’t a big fan i left it out! But if you like, add one finely chopped chilli)
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
I bunch mint, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
3 shallots, diced
I large cucumber chopped
60g haloumi, sliced to your liking
½ cup couscous
½ hot stock I used chicken
Juice one lemon
Lemon wedges to serve
½ cup olive oil
To serve, crusty bread or bread rolls
Heat oil in a pan and add garlic, let bubble but not burn, you are infusing the oil! Add prawns and the splash of wine, let cook till prawns are pink. Take off heat, but keep oil, and keep prawns warm.
In a bowl put couscous and hot stock, cover and leave for 5 minutes.
Clean pan and heat for haloumi. The key here is after you have sliced the haloumi, pat dry with paper towel. This ensures your haloumi will be crispy and sexy on the outside, and gooey and dellish on the inside. Fry in batches so they are not crowded in the pan, until golden.
In your serving dish mix the herbs, tomato and cucumber. Fluff couscous with a fork and add to dish. Drizzle with a little oil and the lemon juice, and some of the garlicky prawn oil from cooking.
Add your prawns and haloumi in whatever way you like, and woila!