Chilli prawn pasta…wowza!


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…


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…….

Babotie Rhapsody…


Babotie Rhapsody...

I first came across babotie when I lived in New Zealand. We lived in an odd backwater called Wanganui and curiously most of our friends were either Welsh, Serb-Croat or South African. I think all the New Zealanders had left for Europe! Any road, one of our good S.A. friends, Noleen, used to dish this up now and then and we loved it. I have never tried making it before last night but I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted almost as I remembered it…almost. It is one of those dishes like chilli or spag bol that everyone seems to have their own version of…it often comes with a sort of egg and buttermilk topping, finished off on the oven. I cooked mine all on the top in a sauté pan. The word comes from an Indonesian dish called bobotok. Look, the point is, it is a great dish worth giving a go if you never have.

And as ever…tinker as you wish!


A knob of butter
Splash of olive oil
2 red onions chopped
2 crushed garlic cloves
500 gm minced lamb
2 carrots peeled and grated
2 tsps of curry powder
1 tsp of ground coriander
3 tsps of ground ginger
1 tsp each of thyme, rosemary and oregano
I tsp of turmeric
Tsp of cinnamon
Tsp of sugar
1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
10 gm of chopped almonds
2 slices of crusty white bread, soaked in water then drained and squeezed dry – this is the fun part!
15 ml of red wine vinegar

Heat the butter and oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, fry the onions and garlic in it til soft. Then add the minced lamb. Stir well and fry til coloured, then stir in the carrot, spices, herbs, sugar and chilli. After another 5 minutes add the almonds and a good grind of salt and pepper. Mix well to marry the flavours. Then stir in the bread and wine vinegar. Mix very well and pop a lid on for about 30 minutes whilst it cooks on a low to medium heat. Take lid off then and stir well, if it is catching on the bottom, add a knob more of butter. Check the seasoning.

You could use more curry powder if you like or more chilli – whatever rocks your babotie!

I served it on a decent chilli naan bread – or you could serve it with rice. If you can get hold of it, Mrs Ball’s chutney goes well with it. Frankly, every kitchen should have a bottle of Mrs Ball’s chutney!


Red & Green Salsa…


Red & Green Salsa...

Salsa…simply Spanish for sauce..which does not do justice to this stunning summer dish that I made yesterday for an early evening garden supper. Why anyone buys this from a supermarket I do not understand – they never taste anything like the home made variety. This is one of my takes on a common theme of toms and chillies. We had it with stacks of warm ciabatta and prosciutto.


4 tasty toms, deseeded and chopped
1/2 cucumber peeled and deseeded
1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
1 green chilli deseeded and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
Clove of garlic, finely chopped
Bunch of Greek basil – the one with small leaves, chopped
Balsamic vinegar
Decent extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Pop all ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Add a good glug of balsamic vinegar and about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix again. Season to taste. Refrigerate for a little while to let all the flavours collide, merge and marry. The kick is good and the fresh feeling lingers long.