Lime and coriander prawns….sex on a plate….

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Lime and coriander prawns....sex on a plate....

Hello! Where have you all been? I know, I know….only joking…tis me…I have been ignoring my duties here in my real life as a blogger whilst trying to earn a decent penny pretending to be grown up, struggling towards the end of the December work schedule that has, frankly, left me plum knackered. Still, I have dusted myself down, had a monumental sleep, ventured out into the real world, breathed it all in and here I am before you, ready to bare my cooking soul. Now, you will all be thinking….’he’s been at the wine again’…..which is true…but I feel liberated, shackles are off and I am rolling into Christmas Drive, foot off the break and in top gear.

So, what have I been eating – nothing exciting sadly – until a day or two ago – and I had these prawns served as a canapé.
So, I rushed home and replicated them. And it didn’t hurt!

A slither of patience is required…but all worth it. Simply add 200 gm of the best tail-on-king prawns you can afford – this for maybe 2 or 3 of you as a nibble cum starter – you could even pop a spoonful into half an avocado if you felt so inclined – then squeeze over the juice from 3 limes. Chop a deseeded red chilli finely and add this, plus a hearty bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped and a smidgen of rock salt and black pepper. Mix well and cover with cling film – pop into your fridge for at least 12 hours – 24 would make them sublime – then simply feast on them with a decadent glass or two of sauvignon blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand.

This is so zingy and sexy and fizzingly tasty that you will have to make it again a day or two later and find friends to invite round to indulge.

Do this as soon as possible – before Christmas – it is GOOD!

Chilli prawn pasta…wowza!

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Chilli prawn pasta...wowza!

Came in last night feeling v peckish but wanting something with real zing but not heavy. Decided to go for a simple prawn dish that took less than 11 minutes – the time the pasta took in fact!

120 gm of fab king prawns, tails on – leads to serious finger licking later. One green chilli, one red chilli – both deseeded and chopped. 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely. A handful of flat leaf parsley chopped. A small glass of white wine. 100 gm of passata or chopped tinned tomatoes. Olive oil. That’s it – for two – oh, and 300 gm of fusili and rigatoni pasta ( I keep and odds and sods pasta tin to which I add all the pasta left over from a packet – and every few weeks I have an odds and sods pasta mix!) – though, had I had any in, it would have been better with spaghetti. Must buy some!

You just pan fry gently in the oil, the chilli & garlic for two minutes, then add the prawns. Fry for another two or three minutes whilst the prawns colour – or if they are already cooked just 2 minutes – then add the white wine and the parsley – move prawns to one side and let the wine bubble and reduce a little for a few minutes, then add the passata. Stir gently together – by the time the pasta is cooked and drained – it will be beautifully wonderful. Spoon over the pasta. This one was hot – I mean lip zingingly hot – which we like – if you prefer it less zingy – just use one chilli. But be brave if you can. Tis worth it.

The poetry of prawns…

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The poetry of prawns...

Saturday evening saw just the two of us, so we indulged in one of our favourite supper dishes…prawns with chilli, parsley, garlic and ginger on lightly toasted ciabatta. I am sure you have all done this before but I make no excuse for recording it here – this is, after all, as much a record of what I eat, as it is to inspire others…though hopefully I do do that from time to time as well!

The succulent nature of this dish, the fizz of the chilli, the dripping ooziness of the oil as it dribbles down your chin, the tenderness of the lemony gingery prawns as they gently massage your tastebuds make this a very sensual supper – I love it!

Ingredients for 2

2 small ciabatta loaves cut in half lengthways and lightly toasted.
Good olive oil
Thumb size piece of ginger peeled and chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 red chillis deseeded and chopped roughly
200 gm of raw tiger prawns – about 8 each
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Into a large hot frying pan add a glug of olive oil – add the ginger, garlic, chilli and the lovely prawns. Fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes until prawns colour up. Turn heat down and add the lemon juice, parsley and another little smidgen of olive oil. Toss together for a minute or so. It should be a nice juicy sauce now – season a little – just a little salt and a tad more pepper. Serve over the warm ciabatta slices – and, being an olive oil freak, I added even more of the golden glory!

All I could do afterwards was simply sit in silence and stare at my plate as the tastes continued to roll around my mouth.

Then I poured another glass of chilled white wine and turned the music up…….

Spring Supper Stir Fry

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Spring Stir Fry Supper

Yesterday when I got back from work, well, umpiring a cricket match…not really work…..I was delighted to find a basket of assorted veg waiting for me….after a long slow glass of cold white wine had revitalised my inner regions..I set to some chopping. A half a savoy cabbage shredded, a carrot slithered into slithers with a potato peeler, and a red chilli deseeded and chopped. A clove of garlic, skinned and crushed ‘neath a knife blade. A couple of spring onions slit into strips. 100 gm of edamame beans set to one side, a bag of fresh bean shoots at the ready. Two organic chicken breasts cut into small bite sized pieces and a handful or two of king prawns. The wok got hot with a spoon or two of sesame oil to keep it company. In went the chilli, garlic and spring onion. Then the chicken with a splash of light and a splash of dark soy sauce…a teaspoon of fish sauce too. A little black pepper. Then after a minute or two the chicken was looking fine..so in went the other veg…now it was looking seriously spring like….finally, the prawns made their entrance into the wok…..moments later the dish hit the table and went down well with all present……I have to confess, being a chilli fan, I added a swirl or two of my favourite hot chilli sauce……….all in all – a fresh dish, with a little crunch and a lot of Spring!

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Prawn pilaf

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I love the Greek name for this dish – Garides Pilafi – sounds more like a Greek centre forward !

Right, bring your chair closer.. this is  a great and terrifically easy dish – once you have mastered it – you can play about with all sorts of combinations.

For 4 people – I am assuming it is people you will be feeding..! 3 tbsp olive oil / 1 onion finely chopped  / 1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and sliced thinly / 1 garlic clove crushed /  225 gm long grain white rice /  700 ml fish, chicken or veg stock  / 1 bay leaf  / salt and pepper /  400 gm peeled cooked prawns. To garnish – a handful of whole cooked prawns, lemon wedges, Greek black olives – well any really… Serve with Pecorino cheese to grate over & cubes of Greek feta cheese – please don’t buy the imitations!

Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan – I use a large stainless steel sauté pan. Add the onion, red pepper and garlic. Fry for 5 mins. until softened. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 mins., stirring all the time until the grains look transparent. Add the stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cover the pan with a tightly fitting lid ( I cover first with a layer of foil, then add the lid.) Simmer for 15 mins. until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Do not stir during cooking. When cooked very gently stir in the prawns. Remove lid. Cover pan with a clean tea towel. Replace lid and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes. I usually just pop it on the corner of the cooker. Stir then with a fork gently to separate the grains. Serve and garnish with the whole prawns, olives and lemon wedges. Pop the two cheeses on the table to serve with it.