Dear Readers this week I was thrilled to be approached by the lovely people at Le Domaine/The Eclectic Chef and asked if I would like to contribute on a regular basis to their website.
Le Domaine is the retail side of the operation. Their store is located in Drummoyne, and they have the online store. Both sites sell all kinds of wonderful cooking utensils and appliances - in fact I think you would be very hard pressed not to find something there that you just have to have!
There is also another facet to their business, and that is The Eclectic Chef - at this site you will find lots of interesting culinary information from within the various sections such as Cooking Corner, Food/Health, Recipes, and Cuisine. This blog aims to feature reviews of various types of cookware, restaurant reviews that contributing authors visit, and of course lots of recipes. So I urge you to go have a bit of a wander around. The site is only new, but they are promising that it will only get bigger and better!!
Of all weeks to be asked to write about my adventures in the kitchen!! My problem was that this week I had had a particularly bad week.
In the kitchen you have your ups and downs - one minute you are riding as high as a lovely light fluffy souffle, and the next you are as low as a piece of flatbread!
This week I was as low as a piece of flatbread - and there was not a single piece of falafel in sight to go with it! I was determined to make amends though last night - I was going to go with food that I knew - food that always wins - prawns!! Admittedly I was trying a new recipe - and one at that, that I had looked at in the past and flipped right by when I saw the words "deep fried" - but today even those words were not going to deter me. I wanted a win!!!
This recipe is in the latest edition of Delicious and is one of Ben O'Doughue's recipes. It is called Ben's Peppery Prawns - and they certainly lived up to their name! I know right now that there will be one particular reader out there who will say "you could have used the Thermomix for that!" (she prefers to leave her comments in my email inbox rather than here, where you can all enjoy her scathing wit!!!) Even though I could hear her already I thought no, I am going to do it the way the recipe says - it's the mortar and pestle for me today! (I guess I didn't want to jinx myself as the failures that I had this week all came with recipes I had made using my little buddy - not that I am blaming him of course - the fault lies entirely on my shoulders).
So back to basics tonight.
Black Pepper Prawns
From Delicious Magazine February edition
Serves 4 (or 2 people that love prawns!!!)
1tbs dried shrimp *
2 cloves garlic
2cm piece ginger, peeled
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped
2 tbs whole black peppercorns **
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbs ketchap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 cups sunflower oil ***
800g green prawns, peeled and deveined, leaving heads and tails intact, if desired
1/4 cup fresh curry leaves
6 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
50g unsalted butter
2 tbs coriander leaves
* Found in Asian supermarkets
** I used 1 tbs and found that it was spicy enough for me
*** I opted out on the deep frying and used only a couple of tablespoons of oil
Soak the dried shrimp in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes.
Drain the shrimp, then place in a mortar and pestle with the garlic, ginger, red chilli and whole black peppercorns.
Pound until you have a smooth paste, then set aside.
Combine the chicken stock, ketchap manis and oyster sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the sunflower oil in a wok over medium high heat. In 3 batches, add the prawns to the wok, be careful, as they will spit!!. Cook the prawns, turning so that they cook evenly, for approximately 3 minutes, or until they turn pink in colour. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. When you are cooking the last batch of prawns add the curry leaves for the few final seconds of cooking.
Drain off any excess oil - you only need to have 2-3 tablespoons left. Add the shrimp paste and half of the spring onions to the wok, then cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes, or until lovely and fragrant. Stir in the stock mixture, and bring it to the boil. Whisk in the butter.
Reduce the heat to medium, then return the prawns and curry leaves to the wok. Toss to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the prawns are heated through.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and garnished with additional spring onions and coriander leaves.
One word for these little beauties - YUM!!!! Any recipe that has fresh curry leaves in it is a winner with me!!
I feel redeemed now, reinforced with confidence and ready to head back into the kitchen!
So Dear Readers do you have a comfort food - one that you know you can always produce a winner with?