Having eaten and drunk to excess over the Christmas and New Year period we may feel like something a bit lighter to start 2012.
We may not have the weather of Dubai but here international chefs from some of the country’s top hotels give their favourite healthy and light recipes for January.
From Gary Rhodes’s seared spiced scallops and prawns to Maurice Fitzgerald’s Houmous and Simon Conboy’s beetroot and Persian Feta salad, why not give them a try at home for a tasty start to the New Year.
It will make a change from all that rich food and will also give you something different to try at home.
Seared spiced scallops and prawns with a pink grapefruit, avocado, mango and cucumber salad
Gary Rhodes, executive chef Rhodes Mazzanine
Scallops halved, tiger prawns, 2 tablespoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon mild curry powder, pink grapefruit segments, cut into small pieces, avocado diced, cucumber diced, fresh mango diced.
Prawn dressing: 150g chopped prawn shells left over from peeling, 100g shell on prawns, chopped , peeled zest of 1 lemon, 6 White peppercorns, cracked, 1 bay leaf, 1 lemon juiced, 2 cubes brown rock sugar, ½ pint olive oil, salt and pepper
For the dressing: Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil with the shells, claws and chopped prawns, lemon zest, peppercorns and bay leaf, cooking very gently – only simmering for a few minutes.
Add the lemon juice and sugar cubes, once the sugar has dissolved add the remaining oil.
Bring to a simmer and cook, infusing for 8-10 minutes, removing the bay leaf and peppercorns before blitzing in a liquidizer to break down all the shells.
Pass through a fine sieve and season. Finish with a little squeeze of lemon juice.
For the salad: Mix together a generous tablespoon of each of the diced avocado, cucumber, mango and grapefruit and season with salt and pepper, drizzling with the prawn dressing.
Grind in a pestle and mortar the salt and curry powder and use to season the prawns and scallops before sautéing in olive oil and butter.
Place a prawn and scallop on a skewer, drizzling each skewer with prawn dressing. Serve with the salad.
Beetroot and Persian Feta salad, with mint, pomegranate and cucumber
Executive Chef Simon Conboy – The Ivy, Dubai
160g creamy Persian feta cheese , 2 cucumbers, 20g picked watercress, 4g mint, 5g chives – cut into 1 inch sticks, 10 baby beetroot – roasted with thyme and olive oil
For the dressing: ½ a garlic clove, juice of one lemon, 125ml extra virgin olive oil, 1 sprig of thyme, 2 shallots, halved, 50ml water, 2g honey, freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
For the garnish: ½ a pomegranate, 10g toasted sliced almonds
Peel the cucumbers and cut into three inch lengths, then slice thinly lengthwise, until you reach the seeds, do not use any slices containing seeds.
Cut the cucumber into 1cm wide strips, place in a colander and season with salt to remove any water.
After twenty minutes, pat dry and mix with the watercress and herbs.
Remove the leaves from the top and the roots from the bottom of the baby beetroot and place in a tray with the thyme, olive oil and a little water.
Cover with tin foil and roast in the oven until cooked ‘al dente’.
Allow to cool naturally then wipe off the skin.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over a low heat and fry the almonds until golden brown. Wipe off any excess oil on a paper towel.
To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together and season with the freshly ground salt and black pepper, then keep to one side.
Cut the beetroot in half lengthwise and arrange on the plate, then crumble the feta in large pieces around and drizzle over a little dressing.
In a bowl mix the herb, cucumber and watercress.
Mix with a little dressing and season with freshly ground pepper.
Add to the plate and garnish the salad with pomegranate seeds and the toasted almonds.
Executive chef Maurice Fitzgerald of ‘Al Khayal’ in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel
140g chickpeas, 90g tahini, 4g garlic, 7g salt, 5g lemon salt, 2g chopped parsley, 6g parsley leaves, 80ml Lebanese olive oil , 4g paprika powder, 2g bicarbonate of soda
First soak the chickpeas overnight with the bicarbonate of soda.
The following day, wash the chickpeas thoroughly and then place in a large pan of boiling water.
Before the chickpeas are completely cooked, remove a handful of them to be used later as garnish.
Keep the heat on the remaining chickpeas until they are cooked thoroughly, then wash them again to remove the skins.
The entire cooking process takes about two hours.
Once completed, put the chickpeas in a strainer and then add some ice at the top to help chill the mix.
Once this has chilled, put the chickpeas in a blender with the garlic, then mix until it resembles the texture of houmous. Add the tahini, salt, lemon salt and blend until you achieve a velvety smooth texture.
To ensure it retains its flavour, keep in the fridge for a few hours before you dish it up.
Garnish with paprika, chopped parsley and the remaining chickpeas in the middle.
Then add the parsley leaves and a splash of olive oil.
Serve alongside pita bread or for a healthier option carrots and/or cucumber, or the raw vegetables of your choice.
For more delicious recipes, readers can download the Dubai Foodie Guide by visiting: http://uk.definitelydubai.com