Seafood Tagliatelle & Evie gets scientific again - heating oils & free radical damage

Hello everyone

I'm delighted that weeks after I first did a courgette pasta you're still asking for more ideas of what to do with it. I wanted to change tact and do an Asian noodle dish, but I've not got my butt in gear to get that done, however I will do it soon for you guys, let me know what you want; chicken or beef and I'll pull it together. So this week I'm MC&L-ing what was my favourite thing to have in a pasta restaurant, seafood tagliatelle with chilli and garlic - yum yum yum!


But before I get into the recipe I want to share with you a bit about this new oil I found. As you should know by now olive oil is only good for you when it’s not heated up (well that's the current thinking but some scientists don't agree with that, however the 'clean food community’ tends to think that and that's what I like to follow.)  The beauty of this dish is that you pour the olive oil on at the end so pour away and enjoy.

So the new to me oil I found is called Carotino, I bought it in Morrison's, it’s rich in NATURAL (we love natural here at MC&L HQ) so natural pro-Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Lycopene, all of which are powerful anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants fight cell damage caused by 'free radicals' in the body and are vital for healthy immune systems, which is especially important at this time of year with people coughing and spluttering all around us.

I know you will have heard of free radicals, almost every face cream TV advert says 'protects you against free radicals' but not all of you will know what they are, so I'm going to try and explain. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. In their quest to find another electron, they are very reactive and cause damage to surrounding molecules. “Errr what?” I hear some of you say. So in plain English free radicals are everywhere and I mean everywhere, they're in the air, in our bodies, on our clothes, furniture and everything else around us. In their quest to find their friends they cause deterioration, this can be seen in things aging, such as paintings, wallpaper, chairs and of course our skin, they can also contribute to heart attacks, strokeand cancers. At MC&L we like to eat our way to being healthy so having a diet that helps irradicate free radical damage is all good in our neighbourhood. Just like germs are good for us to build our immune systems, free radicals can also be useful as they help important reactions in our bodies to take place and are sometimes utilised to manufacture pharmaceuticals, custom-designed plastics and other things. So in essence they are everywhere, we can’t remove them and we don't want to as they help us, but they age us so we want to have the anti-oxidants in our diet to deal with them.  

So back to my new oil, the oil is also a NATURAL (our fav word again) source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, like the stuff found in oily fish like mackerel, they help with brain power too. These nutrients are important for good health and cannot be manufactured by our bodies so they must be supplied our diet. Carotino also contains Co-enzyme Q10, which helps boost energy and maintain vitality. Carotino oil contains no artificial colours, preservatives or additives. It’s low in saturated fat, high in healthy mono-unsaturates and is free from harmful trans fats.  Where does this oil come from?  Well it’s a blend of canola oil and red palm oil, derived from the fruit of the palm tree. Red palm fruit oil is the world’s richest natural plant source of carotenes - the nutrients which give carrots, tomatoes and red peppers their rich colour and Carotino's name comes from the carotene connection, and carotene is good for our hair too.  

 Why I really like this oil is because it comes from environmentally sustainable plantations in Malaysia and is subject to strict environmental controls. I love our planet so that makes me H-A-P-P-Y.

The oil extraction process means that the oil is not hydrogenated like almost all cooking oils, hydrogenated oils are bad for us, this non-hydrogenated oil means that the natural nutrients are retained and it has no trans fats. This is all good and remember we want to use things that have little or no processing in our MC&L diet. So I sound like I'm being paid by this company (I wish I was lol) but I've got a massive personal quest on about oils. I still maintain that COCONUT is KING of the OILS, but this one I think seems great. I'm sure you can find loads of healthier oils in your health food store, however, I wanted to share with you what I've found. The oil is yellow so if you fry an egg in it the egg does get a bit yellow but that’s fine right, for years we were eating foods with dyed E numbers so a bit of natural oil is fine.

Now as you know I'm not a scientist or a nutritionist, but I am interested in food and well-read and I found this on the comparison of Carotinousa oil (Cartino is the brand name carotinousa the oil)  I dunno how factual it is but I enjoyed reading it and you may too. 

So on with the dish!
Feeds 4 as a starter (2/3 as a main). You will need:

  • c.450g of prawns & crayfish
  • 3 small courgettes
  • 1/2 lemon - juice only
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley - finely chopped
  • 1 chilli chopped finely almost completely deseeded (or 1.5 tsp chilli flakes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • Pinch of salt  
  • Olive oil

With regards to the seafood, you can use all prawns/all crayfish tails, or a seafood mix, it’s your choice, try experimenting. Also you don't have to stick to the weight I used, add more or less - the dish is flexible.

  1. Start with using your julienne and cut your courgette into tagliatelle / spaghetti shapes.  
  2. Add your courgette to a large pot or wok and add a few tablespoons of water to let it cook and steam.  Best to move them about with a tongs so they don't break. They take about 3/4 mins on a high/med heat to cook.  You can see them start to change colour as they cook.
  3. As they cook heat some oil on a med-high heat in a deep pan or wok, add garlic, chilli and salt. As you know the chilli amount is dependent on how hot you like it, for this dish I like the colour of the chilli but not all the heat so I chop it and deseed it. It’s the seeds which contain the heat so I just leave some of them in. If using dried chilli flakes about 1 - 1.5 teaspoons should be enough. Cook for about 1 min until fragrant then add your seafood. I like to turn the heat down a bit here, as you don’t want your garlic to go too brown, this makes it bitter, you can add a tablespoon of water to stop this from happening.
  4. If using raw prawns they cook in about 3-4 mins, I used pre-cooked so I just needed to heat them up. Overheating prawns will cause them to shrivel and go chewy.
  5. Once the courgette is cooked add to the seafood mix and squeeze the lemon over it and pour a good few glugs of organic olive oil and a good sprinkling of the parsley.
  6. Then using your tongs take some of the dish and place it in the middle of the plate, sprinkle with a bit more of the parsley and enjoy

Love and light