Harissa Prawns, Beans & Vegetables Bruschetta

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Sometimes we are inspired to cook something even under the most normal circumstances!  Yesterday my mother was cooking Fasoulada and just before she added the tomatoes (which was the 6th procedure on the Fasoulada recipe) I appropriated a ladled full of cooked white beans. On the recipe that follows I use canned white beans as it would be easier for most people to find this ingredient although if you follow the Fasoulada recipe they are quite easy to make.

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I had once seen a dish with prawns and beans and wanted to do something similar. wondering what else I should put into the dish I immediately thought of northern Greece’s crimson king: the sweet, red Florina pepper. Quickly the other vegetable ingredients came to mind like onions, cauliflower and zucchini/courgette.

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I incorporated these vegetables as I had them on hand, but I might have used others if I had them such as a fennel bulb, snap peas, broccoli or fresh mushrooms. I wanted it to create this dish more as an appetizer rather than a main course and definitely I wanted it to be a very light dish. I only decided on using Harissa paste towards the end of my stir frying. Harissa paste, a spicy North African chile paste, is available even in Corfu but it seems quite easy to make from scratch.  This is readily available in most countries.

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I finished the dish on a bed of garlic bread fried on an iron skillet.

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Alternatively, it can made into a main meal which you could serve with rice, noodles or something a bit more exotic like couscous.

Harissa Prawns, Beans & Vegetables Bruschetta

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5-6 garlic cloves, sliced
10-12 medium prawns, peeled, deveined
1 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed, drained
1 small onion, sliced thickly
2 red peppers of Florina, sliced thickly
1 zucchini/courgette, thinly sliced on the diagonal and halved
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets, (using only a quarter of it)
2–3 tablespoons harissa paste
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
3  tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grilled garlic bread

Preparation:

1. In a non-metallic bowl, combine prawns, lemon juice, one teaspoon of Harissa. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

2. Break up the cauliflower into large florets, then, using your hands, break into very small florets. Blanch cauliflower for 2 minutes in hot water.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once slightly smoking add sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute, add marinated prawns. Cook prawns 3-5 minutes, turning, until they change color and are cooked through. Remove prawns and set aside.

4. In the same skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the oil, then the onions, red peppers and courgette slices for 2-3 minutes. Stir the cauliflower around the pan, allowing it to get very brown in some areas. Add cooked cannellini beans.

5. Add the 1-2 tablespoons of harissa and toss prawn and vegetable mixture well in in the wok. Cook for 3 minutes, add parsley and then turn heat to low. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Fry sliced wholewheat bread on iron skillet or just fry in toaster, rub clove of garlic on one side.

7. For each serving, place garlic bread flat on plate and top with harissa prawn mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

ROSCON DE REYES (BAGEL OF KINGS or The Three Kings Cake)

Although the blog is supposed to be about the hotel, the hotel is about people and the interaction it has with them. This next recipe is not something we will do at the hotel but it only shows me that how similar we all are and how much it resembles the last recipe, Vasilopita, I posted. This article was kindly written by Judy who lives in Spain but has visited Corfu and the hotel twice!! She is a new friend to me but a good friend is what she is!

History of Roscon De Reyes

Traditionally eaten in Spain, France and some other Spanish speaking countries on the 6th of January, the day when children are traditionally given their Christmas presents, the Rosca or Roscon de Reyes (Bagel of Kings) is normally accompanied by a thick drinking chocolate.
The origin of this special large bagel appears to be related to the Roman Saturnalia, although sometimes it is associated with an edible representation of the Advent wreath. These were celebrations dedicated to the god Saturn so that that the Roman people in general could celebrate the longer days after the winter solstice. For such celebrations, round cakes were prepared with figs, dates and honey, which were distributed equally among the commoners and slaves. In the third century, a bean was introduced into the dry ingredients and the fortunate person that was served that bit was named king of kings for the day. Nowadays the Bagel which represents a sort of crown has candied fruits encrusted in it, which represent the crown jewels. Inside the bagel there is a bean and a little ceramic figure, normally something to do with the Nativity. If you get the bean you have to pay for the bagel and if you get the ceramic figure you keep it and you wear the paper crown that accompanies the Bagel. Nowadays people usually eat it at breakfast time or in the afternoon at tea time and served with drinking chocolate.

Recipe Ingredients:

• 500 g flour
• 40 g butter
• Grated orange peel
• Orange blossom water
• 125 cc warmed milk
• Grated lemon peel
• 70 g sugar
• 10 g yeast
• 1 whisked egg
• The ceramic figure

Candied fruits to decorate

Method:

Preheat oven to 110ºC

Form a mountain of flour on a work surface. Make a crater in the middle and place in it the yeast, the sugar, the butter, the orange blossom, the warm milk, the lemon and orange peel.

Make dough until it sticks to your fingers. Form a round shape and let it stand in a warm place for 3 hours until it ferments and increases its volume.

Work the dough into a bagel shape, placing inside the ceramic figure and the bean and decorating it with the pieces of candied fruits. Brush with the whisked egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

If you wish you can fill the finished and cooled bagel with fresh whipped cream or butter.

Cook in a preheated oven for approx 30 minutes or until golden brown.