You’d think, thought the librarycook, that after decades of cooking, she’d have learned to read. The recipe, that is, not the book she can hardly tear herself from. But her attempt at Harissa Chicken Skewers with Couscous Salad would prove otherwise. How else to explain her utter failure to make the saffron yoghurt needed to serve the dish? A last minute scramble and all was well, and another delicious dinner was on the table. The chicken was charred and smoky and spicy and perfect, and its accompanying salad of couscous, mint, pistachios, pickled onions, and that most festive of fruits, pomegranate was also sublime.
The librarycook’s other February cooking adventures were linked by a key ingredient, chillies, one of the librarycook’s all-time favourites. Two delicious Asian-style salads, first up, a Thai-inspired Caramelised Salmon Salad, which was perfectly acceptable, if not stratospheric*; and then a “restaurant quality”** Prawns with Cashews and Caramelised Chilli and Lime Sauce. Neither recipe provided many minutes of reading time, but both were quick and relatively simple to make, and both were fresh and spicy and delicious.
And just what literary work was claiming the librarycook’s attention as she cooked? Minette Walter’s The Swift and the Harrier – a gripping tale of Civil War England and a daring female physician. Highly recommended.
*Perhaps this dish may have reached stratospheric heights if the librarycook had included the suggested optional ingredient, salmon roe. Sadly though, happy as the librarycook is in her work, the modest salary earned does not permit wanton extravagance in the cooking realm. (Shoes may or may not be an entirely different matter).
**The librarycook is quoting Mr librarycook, a man not known for careless praise.