Thai Pineapple and Prawn Salad
I really like moving from one place to another and being surrounded by people who are different from myself (though maybe not if our spirits were to be too different). Yet, as far as I know, I do not descend from any nomads, only immigrants on both sides of my family.
Have been away from Singapore 15 years now (on the 5th of September). Since then I have lived in France, the USA, Spain, Germany and now Italy. In between I have also travelled in North America, Europe, Australiasia and North Africa. And I still feel that I need to discover more of the world, that we need to keep moving.
It is fortunate that Hub shares the same need to see/live the world. Because it is not given for most to leave their homes, families and friends, in other words to uproot themselves again and again. Just come here to Maranello, many men live and work here in the week, returning to their wives and children in Turin, Milan or Firenze on Friday evenings. And those cities are not so far away, but still it would be uprooting and many Italian women absolutely hate the idea.
One also knows of so many foreign wives and children who have gone home leaving their men behind to work in Modena. Mainly it is because of the schooling problem, but often it would also be due to the fact that they were not happy here. How could one not be happy in Italy? Many of the Italians as well as you out there would wonder.
But an expat's life is not a bed of roses. It is about starting/adapting all over, learning a new language, understanding a new culture, eating new food, meeting new people and constantly having to figure out how to return home on the best routes for the best price. It could be fun/interesting, or it could be a nightmare. And many people often just do not get it right. Add to the fact that the city you are in may not be the most welcoming and you have a recipe for personal and domestic unhappiness.
I am fortunate that I am usually happy no matter where I am. It helps that I like both my own company and that of others. I have a home to look after, I shop/cook/eat and I blog. I love learning new languages and I am quite independent. Generally I am also a positive person. Wait, I do complain about this and that like everybody else, but I never let the negative weigh me down. Life is too short to spend it whinging - and I fear that I may not live long enough to be able to look back and say that I've lived my life to the fullest.
I was reading about MM Lee's wife's recent death and funeral. And I spent the whole morning in tears. But what a life she had led, surely she must have had few regrets as she blew out her last breath. What an inspiration.
Anyway, I am trying to enjoy my time here in Modena as well as I could. And that includes cooking for others and being fed in return. MD prepared this yummy Thai Pineapple and Prawn Salad for me the other day and I have decided to pamper myself by reproducing the same dish for dinner last evening. She didn't share her exact recipe with me, so I've done it my way.
Thai Pineapple and Prawn Salad (serves 2) :
1 whole ripe pineapple
300g cooked peeled deveined prawns
1 tbsp white or brown sugar
5 tbsp lime juice or 4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 dried bird's eye chilli (crushed)
1 garlic clove (minced - optional)
2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
fresh herbs like coriander, thai basil and mint
2 tbsp toasted peanuts or pine nuts
salad leaves, cucumber and/or red peppers
Cut the pineapple into 2 and remove the flesh, cutting it up into cubes. If you wish, reserve the skin of the pineapple and use it as a plate to serve the salad on.
Mix the sugar, lime juice, fish and soy sauces, chilli, garlic and oil in a bowl. Add the pineapple cubes and mix well. Chill in the fridge till ready to serve.
Before serving add the cooked prawns to the pineapple cubes and toss well together. Arrange them on the pineapple skins and serve on a plate with some salad leaves and fresh herbs. Sprinkle some of the toasted nuts over everything.