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What pigs and princesses eat when they are not at the party.

When I first moved to London, one of the many things that impressed me about British culture was the extraordinary effort put forth for birthdays. I was amazed to be receiving “save the date” emails six months in advance. And then later reading invitation details that clearly involved hiring private rooms, lengthy guest lists, and sometimes multiple days of activities. If I was really lucky, the birthday party would require some sort of “fancy dress” which is Brit speak for an outlandish costume party that usually follows a theme.

Tom celebrated his 30th this year not once, but three times. One party was scheduled in April even though his birthday is in February. This sort of behaviour is unheard of for most Americans. Sure, we might let loose for the customary 21st or 40th, but you’d be hard pressed to find people getting crazy for their 33rd. That said, I prefer the British way. What could be more fantastic than knowing in four months time you will be required to dress like a pink salamander for someone’s 28th?

We just spent the weekend in Northern Ireland for a 30th, Mad Hatter-themed extravaganza. Three blissful days that included lots of whisky, fish and chips, gin and tonics, cake, vodka, steak, Jagermeister, more cake and of course embarrassingly, McDonalds and Burger King. So what does this have to do with anything? Well, what do you do after a weekend of pure grease and alcohol fuelled indulgence? You make salad and hope that this small plate of health will off set the violence you committed earlier.

Warm Potato Salad with Cumin Spiced Prawns and Roasted Peppers

For the peppers:
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
Turn the oven onto grill/broil and roast the peppers until they are thoroughly charred. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with foil. Let them steam for a few minutes so it’s easier to remove the skin. Cut the peppers in half, remove the skin and discard. Slice the peppers into strips and then toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Hold until ready to assemble.
For the potatoes:
  • 20-30 new potatoes, quartered
  • 3-5 Tbsp goat yogurt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until tender. Keep the potatoes on the al dente side, as you want them to hold their shape for the salad. Drain and let cool slightly. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Hold until ready to assemble.
For the prawns:
  • 500 g raw prawns, peeled and cleaned
  • a glug of olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp of cumin
  • a bit of sugar
  • salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients together and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Heat a pan to medium high. Sear the prawns for 1-2 minutes until cooked through.
Salad assembly:
Even though I consider this a “salad”, I plate this in layers for a cleaner presentation. First toss the potatoes in the yogurt mixture and plate. Top with mixed greens such as chard and rocket leaves. Add the peppers, then the prawns. Serve with a large glass of water for the ultimate detox.


  1. gastrogeek

    What a gorgeous looking salad, and what appalling levels of debauchery – love it!

  2. Su-Lin

    Great salad – I feel like I'm gonna need one of these soon…

  3. Jen

    Gastrogeek and Su-Lin -Thanks! What would life be if it wasn't a balancing act? Boring. Sometimes I think I should get obsessive -all healthy food, no alcohol, all exercise, but then where would that get me? I think Anthony Bourdain says something like (and this is not an exact quote) "Your body is not a temple, it's a roller coaster. Sit back and enjoy the ride".

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