Thursday, 11 July 2019

Get the mojo working

Is time worth more than small pleasures that pass us by? The crunch of raw vegetables against a steel blade,the fragrant and heady aroma of hand torn basil. The pungent tear inducing sting to the eyes of finely sliced onions.These are fabulous sensations that I feel give a dimension to food prep. Certain rules must be observed however- we know basil must be hand torn not subjected to the steely precision of a knife, otherwise it will bruise.Lemon juice is essential to stop avocado discolouring.A happy medium can be achieved however between hands-on cooking and labour saving devices.
Grinding your own spices for example, has the advantage of price: it’s much cheaper and less time consuming to buy bulk spices in their whole form than air dry peppers and chillies, parsley, mint and fruits in the sun.A bag of freshly ground spices can save you so much time and effort as long as you make sure you use it pretty pronto and dont let it slip to the back of your spice rack for months or even years.
Second rule of thumb is to ensure you buy from a reliable source with a responsible use by date on the product.You just dont know how long those unstable stacks of glass jars you always knock over in the supermarket,have been sitting there under bright lights.
 I have always bought my dried herbs,seasonings and spices from Algarve spice.They always have something new to offer each time we visit their stall.At the recent Mercadinho de Verão em Cacela Velha the promotion was Mojo  verde.Once sampled there was no looking back, this seasoning is a spark of genius.
Mojos (pronounced "MO-hos") originated in the Canary Islands and are sauces made with vinegar,fresh herbs, garlic,chilli and oil. They are served cold as an accompaniment to potatoes, meat, and fish.or just as a dip to dunk your fresh bread into. There are generally two versions: mojo rojo (red sauce) and mojo verde (green sauce), and they can sometimes be spicy.The red one always more so than the green.
Fresh coriander, parsley ,green chilli and  cumin gives this mojo an intense flavour and deep green colour, but it does not add too much  heat. Make this mojo ahead of time,just add some extra virgin olive oil and store in a tightly-sealed container and refrigerate to have on hand as a sauce to serve with lunch or dinner dishes.This is not to be confused with its  visually similar counterpart chimi churri. Its great with prawns but I have to say my favourite way to get my mojo working is with new potatoes cooked in lots of Flor de sal so they go wrinkly and then soak up the sauce.I buy bags of tiny weeny new potatoes in the market and our dinner guests love them and on one occasion there was even a request for "those tiny little herby new potatoes we had last night."So glad you enjoyed them Dhr.Van Delft.

Potatoes:
1/2 Kg of small potatoes
100 gr of coarse Flor de sal
handful mint leaves

Green Mojo Sauce
1 tbsp mojo verde dry seasoning 
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 
Spanish sherry vinegar (to taste)
Mojo prawns with baby potatoes 
green beans and mojo dressing
serves 2
The dressing on this salad really brings it all together ,the piquancy of the mojo and the saltiness of the capers with the freshness of the herbs will give you a little pick-me-up during your day.
400 g shelled raw prawns 
100g green runner beans
top,tailed cut in half and then sliced again lengthways   
500g Baby potatoes
Make up 1 quantity of green mojo sauce as above.
pour half the mojo over the prawns and save the rest.Set aside in the refrigerator to marinade until ready to cook.
Boil the potatoes with the salt and mint ( 20 mins or until tender)Set aside to cool.
cook the runner beans and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile in a bowl large enough to take all the ingredients make up your mojo dressing.
Mojo dressing
1/4 cup basil leaves
!74 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 tbsp capers
tsp dijon mustard
sherry vinegar to taste

When ready to serve, toss the potatoes in the mojo dressing,add the green beans and finish with the prawns on top

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