I'm slowing making my way through The Lord of the Rings book by J.R.R Tolkien - I haven't seen the films so it is a very exciting read, oh there are times when I fly through the chapters, fight scenes, chases through beautiful countryside with beautiful elven queens bestowing their knowledge on shrewd hobbits and then it slows to a halt where I feel it is happening in real time, every nap, every meal and every tree is accounted for, where it seems that nothing can happen in middle earth but Mr. Tolkien has described it in minute detail.
However, after that belly aching I am enjoying it. It is in my opinion the seed for a large number of the fantasy books that I have read. I can't help but compare the ringwraiths with Harry Potters Dementors and faithful old Dobby is the kinder less deadly version of Gollum. There are characters that I love. Who doesn't love Gandalf - not to mention his similarity to Dumbledore, okay I'll stop now I promise - his all knowing knowledge of all the creatures of middle earth and his astounding ability to be two steps ahead of the "One" we don't speak of -no not Voldemort but Sauron.
The wood elf Legolas, is very easy to like, he is like all elves in fiction, light footed and deadly accurate with his bow and arrow, he has had such a very long life that there isn't much he hasn't seen. Samwise is utterly faithful to Frodo and apart from the occasional blunder he just the kind of person you would want on your side, but it is Frodo that I admire the most, this unwanted burden bestowed on him that has lead him on a dangerous but wonderful journey, his courage and wisdom make him a very likable if somewhat aloof character. I am on this journey with you little hobbit.
Now enough of my ramblings, what about this delicious salad, isn't it tantalising with it's colours and the juicy sweet prawns topped with the mild marie rose sauce. I love it's bright colors and it's crunchy texture, it's very filling. Feel free to use whatever bright vegetables you have, or maybe you prefer some diced cooked chicken, which you can top with mayonnaise combined with sweet chili sauce. Enjoy!
200g Dry pasta shapes
1 Head of Gem lettuce or ¼ Head of Iceberg lettuce
2 Medium Tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes
1 English cucumber, deseeded and diced
1 Red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1 Small can of sweetcorn (optional)
2 Medium carrots, grated
360g Cooked king prawns or large cooked prawns
150g Full fat mayonnaise
Pinch of Paprika
This make plenty of delicious salad so use either four serving bowls or like me use one large bowl -I'm using a 2ltr pyrex glass bowl.
Place the pasta into a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 12 -18 minutes or until taste. Once cooked, drain off the boiling water and refill the pan with cold water - this stops the cooking process and cools the pasta for the salad -dress the drained and cooled pasta with the vinaigrette, set aside.
Wash all the vegetables thoroughly. Using a sharp knife, dice or shred the lettuce and arrange it in a layer at the bottom of your bowl(s). Deseed the tomatoes and dice the flesh, place in the bowl over the lettuce, repeat with the cucumber - when I am deseeding a cucumber, I cut it lengthways into quarters, and simply run my knife down the length each quarter to cut away the watery and bitter seeds - continue dicing and layering your vegetable in this way until you have a colourful and crunchy vegetable salad. Pour a small splash of the vinaigrette dressing over the layered salad as you go and allow it to soak in. Top the vegetables with the cooked pasta and heap the prawns on top!!