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Posts Tagged ‘Shellfish’

Spicy Dalboka Mussels

We cooked these mussels on Friday night form Caroline Eden’s ‘Black Sea’. A book that is as good to read as to look at. The recipe is Bulgarian with the mussels cooked in a spicy tomato soup. You will need lots of crusty white bread to go with.

Wine Suggestion: This pairs superbly with a good new world Pinot Noir, ideally from a producer that values freshness. If you can push the boat out a bit we’d suggest a Felton Road from Central Otago or a Tyler from Santa Barbera but tonight it was Newton Johnson’s Felicite from Hermanus to equally good effect.

Spicy Dalboka Mussels – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 500g mussels, scrubbed and beards and barnacles removed (chuck any that don’t close tightly when tapped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder/pul biber (Turkish pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 10 pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a decent handful of spinach (or lovage when it’s around)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • small bunch of dill, chopped
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-based casserole, then sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, paprika and peppercorns, then the stock, vinegar and tomatoes – simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn the heat up to hight and add the mussels, spinach and salt. Cover and steam for a few minutes or until the mussels have opened (don’t eat any that haven’t opened).

Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice and herbs. Serve in bowls with lots of crusty white bread.

(Original recipe from Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Cockles with Tomato, Pastis & Parsley

A Gill Meller recipe for clams or he also suggests mussels. It was cockles on Friday in our local fish shop and they work just as well too. These are boozy and they taste strongly of pastis which we enjoyed immensely and gave the whole dish a real clarity of flavour.

Wine Suggestion: Quite often we’d suggest white wine with seafood, and you’d be right here too. However, this doesn’t mean red can’t work just as well, you need to make sure it isn’t too heavy and has a natural freshness of acidity … like from a cooler vineyard region. Tonight we opened the Dezat Sancerre Rouge which is made from Pinot Noir and is joyful and deliciously ripe while remaining pure and fresh. A good complement to the tomatoes and sea flavours and a match to the anise of the pastis.

Cockles with tomato, pastis & parsley – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • finely grated zest of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 100ml pastis or Pernod
  • 1kg cockles (or clams or mussels), washed and throw away any with broken or open shells
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until soft but not coloured.

Add the lemon zest, fennel seeds, bay leaves and rosemary and cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, then half fill the empty tin with water and pour this in too. Add the sugar, season again, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring, often, until rich and thick.

Add the pastis and turn the heat up. When the liquid is boiling, add the cockles, stir once, give the pan a good shake, then cover with a tight lid.

Cook for 3-4 minutes (shaking occasionally), or until all the shells have opened. Throw away any that remain closed. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Mussels with red onions, cider and creme fraiche

We associate mussels with cold weather and cook them often in the darker months. Makes no sense really when we’ve no issue eating buckets of them in the sunshine on holidays. We loved the creamy sauce on these – crusty bread essential!

Wine Suggestion: it feels natural to use the cider you cook with as the accompaniment. Our choice was the artisanale and organic Cidrerie le Maitre, a very new, young producer in Brittany we stumbled upon by following little signs off the main roads into a winding, forgotten lane in the middle of the French countryside. Daniel le Maitre uses 12 ancient local varieties of apples and the result is dry, very fruity and appley but with a wonderful texture of apple skins and a great depth of flavour which makes it a great food match. A happy discovery, and their Cider Vinegar is also a good addition to our cupboard too.

Mussels with Red Onion, Cider & Crème Fraîche – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 150ml dry cider
  • 2 tsp finely chopped sage
  • 150ml crème fraîche

Scrub the mussels, and discard if open and they won’t close when you give them a sharp tap.

Melt the butter in a large pan, cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Pour the cider over and add the sage, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.

Add the mussels, then cover and cook over a medium heat (shaking the pan occasionally) for 3-4 mins or until they have opened. Lift the mussels into a bowl and keep warm.

Bubble the cooking liquid in the pan for a couple of minutes, then gradually blend in the crème fraîche. Heat the sauce through and pour over the mussels to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Lobster & Pasta

This is inspired by a Rick Stein recipe in his Mediterranean Escapes book called Lobster & Pasta Chez Jen Jen from Corsica. We cooked this on a weeknight and cheated a bit with the lobster by using frozen lobster tails. We thought you could use raw prawns to good effect too.

Wine Suggestion: We made this on a celebratory evening so pushed the boat out with the wine and had the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted to date: the Dermot Sugrue “The Trouble with Dreams” from Sussex. It had a driving purity and vibrancy that makes it feel alive. For years we often compared English sparkling to Champagne without recognising it to have a unique character and with this wine we fully realised this.

Lobster & Spaghetti – serves 2

  • 2 x frozen lobster tails
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • 20ml Cognac
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 200ml passata
  • 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • salt and cayenne pepper

Defrost the lobster tails by putting them into a deep bowl of cold water and leaving for 30 minutes. You’ll know they are defrosted when they feel a bit flexible.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently lower in the lobster tails. Cook for 3½ minutes, then scoop out with a spoon. Leave to cool slightly, then slice into the soft side to check that the meat is white and therefore cooked through. If it looks grey you need to return to the water again until cooked.

Carefully cut down the soft side of the lobster tails and remove flesh from the shell in one piece, it should come away very easily.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of very salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with the curry powder and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster, flesh-side down. Pour over the Cognac and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add the white wine, passata, and herbes de Provence, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster is heated through.

Drain the spaghetti. Lift the lobster tails out of the pan and onto warm plates. Season the sauce to taste with salt and cayenne pepper, add the spaghetti and toss well with the sauce. Spoon alongside the lobster and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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Spaghetti with crab, cherry tomatoes & fresh chillies

This is really simple and fresh and we love it on a Friday night with a glass of chilled white wine. By all means cook a crab but our local fish shop sells cooked and picked crabmeat which makes this extra quick and easy.

Wine Suggestion: One of our stand-by wines for seafood is Muscadet and for this dish it was a good choice. A long standing favourite, the Domaine de la Chauviniere Muscadet sur lie always has good fruit, great texture and freshness and accentuated the flavours of the crab in a very nice way.

Spaghetti with Crab, Cherry Tomatoes and Chillies – serves 4

  • 500g spaghetti
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 medium hot red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100ml white wine
  • 200g white crabmeat
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped chives

Cook the pasta in a very large pot of boiling salty water until al dente.

Meanwhile, gently heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes before adding the wine and bringing to a simmer. Add the crab and cook for a minute to just warm through.

Drain the pasta well and tip into the pan with the crab sauce. Stir to combine, sprinkle over the chives, and serve.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

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Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

Easy, tasty, prawns, chilli & spaghetti 🙂

Wine Suggestion: A great match was the Biancardi Solo Fiano from Puglia which was aromatic, floral and vibrantly fresh.

Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola – serves 4

  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled (or you could use a tsp of chilli flakes)
  • 400g raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 small wineglass of wine – about 175ml
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

When the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns and sauté for a minute, then add the wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of cooking water.

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, the lemon juice and half the chopped rocket and season to taste (add a bit of the pasta water at this stage if needed).

Divide between plates and scatter with rocket and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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Mussels cooked in cider

There’s been a bottle of Normandy Cider in our fridge door and we’ve been saving it for a dish like this. Fabulous and fresh for a Friday night with lots of crusty baguette. Serve with a generous glass of cider.

Mussels cooked in Cider – serves 4

  • 2.5kg mussels
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or crushed
  • 6 rashers of rindless streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 400ml dry cider
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives

Scrub the mussels and remove any barnacles and beards. Throw away any open shells that don’t close when you tap them on the edge of the sink.

Put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Melt the butter in the warm pan, then add the onion, garlic & bacon and cook gently for about 6 minutes or until the onion is softened.

Pour in the cider, bring to a simmer and simmer for a minute before adding the mussels and covering with a tight-fitting lids. Turn the heat up hight and cook for 3-4 minutes until the mussels have opened, giving the pan a shake occasionally. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened.

Drain the mussels in a colander over a bowl to catch the cooking liquid, then return to the pot to keep warm. Pour the cooking juices through a sieve into a pan, add the cream and herbs and bring to the boil, seasoning with salt & pepper.

Divide the mussels between 4 bowls and pour over the hot sauce, then serve with crusty bread.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, Harper Collins, 2013.)

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Spicy Sichuan-style Prawns

This is a delicious Chinese dish but definitely for chilli lovers as its not lacking in fiery heat. Serve with rice to serve 2 or with other dishes to serve 4.

Wine Suggestion: The heat will effect most wines so be careful with your choice here. Our choice was from Alsace, the Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Calcaire 2009 which had a  natural sweetness and a range of spices that really added to the dish.

Spicy Sichuan-style prawns – serves 4

  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 450g raw prawns, shelled and de-veined

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tsp chilli bean paste (buy in an Asian supermarket)
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • handful of coriander leaves and sliced scallion, to serve

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat.

Add the groundnut oil and wait until very hot and slightly smoking, then add the ginger, garlic & scallions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then add the prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce ingredients with the salt and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes over a high heat.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the coriander & scallions.

(Original recipe by Ken Hom IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2015.)

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Crab crostini

Just when you think it’s all over and you’ve eaten enough to persuade you to try just about any diet… comes New Year. More food, more drinks, late night – resistance is futile. If you’re in charge of the first course for a New Year’s party then you can’t go wrong with these delicious crab crostini. You can toast the bread and make up the crab mixture early but don’t combine until you’re ready to serve.

Wine Suggestion: Everyone has their favourite sparkling wine which for NYE is a must; we like vibrant bubbles with a creamy mousse. For this we opened the Bouvet-Ladubay “Saphir” Sparkling Saumur which is brilliant value for money and properly sophisticated. We’ve also tried the Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Blanc which we agree with Jancis Robinson, “is really joyful, happy and upbeat, with real vivaciousness yet quite a bit of serious undertow too.”

Crab Crostini – makes 15

  • 100g white crabmeat
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp small capers
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 15 slices from a skinny baguette, toasted

Mix the crab with the lemon juice, shallot, parsley, chilli, capers & mayonnaise. Pile the crab mix onto the baguette slices and serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe for  BBC Olive Magazine, December 2011.)

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Mussel & fennel risottoWe really liked this tasty risotto made with delicious stock from the mussels. Jules bought half the quantity of mussels (in error!) but it was no worse for it. The sort of thing we like to eat on a Friday night with a glass of something bubbly.

Wine Suggestion: As we have a few bottles of Sparkling Saumur lying around after our summer holiday to the Loire this year, we automatically gravitated to this and found it a good match. This time we opened the Bouvet-Ladubay Trésor blanc, a blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with some Chardonnay. Fresh and vibrant but with the quality of fruit to stand up to the food. Cost aside, we don’t know why more sparkling wines aren’t matched with food.

Mussel & fennel risotto – serves 4

  • 1.75kg mussels, cleaned thoroughly (discard any that don’t close when you hit them off the side of the sink)
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, trimmed & diced
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Put the mussels into a large saucepan over a medium heat with the white wine, parsley stalks and peppercorns. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until opened. Shake the pan a couple of times as they cook.

Strain over a bowl to catch the cooking liquor and remove the mussels from their shells. Throw away any that haven’t opened.

Strain the liquor through a sieve lined with muslin to catch any grit, then heat until simmering gently.

Heat 5 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onion, garlic and fennel over a medium heat until the onion is soft but not coloured. Stir in the risotto rice. Pour on the vermouth, then add the mussel liquor a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. The rice should be cooked after about 20 minutes. Add some water if you run out of mussel liquor.

Stir in the mussels, parsley, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Thai mussels with coconut, chilli & lime

Mussels are a frequent Friday night feature in our house. This Thai inspired method tastes great and it looks very pretty too.

Wine Suggestion: this works with light, fruity and gently aromatic whites and our choice this evening was the Colterenzio Gewürztraminer from the Alto Adige in north-eastern Italy. A dry style but with lovely delicate fruit and subtle aromatics showing its cooler climate roots.

Thai mussels with coconut, chilli & lime – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced finely into long strips
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (or grated zest of a lime)

TO SERVE:

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (or grated zest of a lime)
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
  • ½ a red chilli, deseeded and shredded

Wash the mussels in a few changes of cold water and remove any beards and barnacles. Discard any that don’t close when you tap them on the side of the sink.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger & chillies. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, sugar & lime leaves. Bring almost to the boil, then add the mussels.

Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened, give the pan a good shake now and then. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened and serve in a large bowl with the lime leaves, coriander and chilli scattered over the top.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011)

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Mussels with chorizo and cider

We had a hankering for mussels, as we often do, and thought this sounded a bit different. There’s no finishing of the sauce required once the mussels are cooked unlike other classic mussel dishes. Last minute finishing can be fiddly, especially with guests, so this worked well for us. Easily scalable, provided you have a big pot, and a good party dish.

Wine Suggestion: we used Stonewell Dry Cider from Kinsale in County Cork for this dish which has a really good depth of flavour and it would equally work well as the accompaniment. Some ciders are lighter but the robust nature of the chorizo and mussels needed a more robust flavour like the Stonewell.

Alternately if you would prefer to drink some wine we’d suggest a good South African Chenin Blanc, like Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs. The ripe yellow apple flavours are a good compliment and the freshness, texture and zing provide a good balance. The Secateurs is a great go-to wine in our house and we highly recommend it!

Spanish mussels with cider & chorizo – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chorizo, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Wash the mussels really well and scrape off any barnacles and beardy bits. Tap any opened mussels on the sink and throw them away if they don’t close.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chorizo with the onions until slightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the mussels, cider and some black pepper, then cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and steam until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Buttery chilli prawns

Prawns in their shells are more often a holiday treat for us but they’re so easy to do and it’s nice to eat dinner with your hands. Finger bowls of warm water and lemon slices are useful – or you could lick them 😉

Wine Suggestion: If you are serving this as a special treat for two then go for a good pink sparkling. We had this as on a Friday night and luckily had a half-bottle of Billecart Salmon Rosé champagne which turned it into an extra special evening. On nights when this isn’t an option you should find a good Fiano, Verdicchio or Alvarinho.

Buttery Chilli Prawns – serves 2

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (leave the seeds in)
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 12-20 large raw ing prawns with shells (12 should be enough for a starter for 2, for a main course about 20 is better)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (plus a few extra slices for finger bowls if using)
  • ½ a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • crusty bread – warm it in the oven before serving

Melt the butter & oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli and paprika and cook for a coupled of minutes or until golden. Turn up the heat and throw in the prawns. Fry for a few minutes until they turn pink, don’t be tempted to cook them for any longer. Take the pan off the heat, season and stir in the lemon juice & parsley.

Serve with warm crusty bread for wiping the bowl.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Spicy Prawns

These prawns, flavoured with lots of garlic and warm spices, make a simple but really tasty starter. Serve with plenty of bread for mopping up the juices.

Wine Suggestion: We really like unoaked, slightly lighter, Spanish reds with this dish especially with 30 minutes in the fridge to give a cool edge to them. A newish find has been the Jesus Romero “Rubus”, a delicious blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah which has a purity and persistence of fruit that charms us every time.

Spicy Prawns – serves 4

  • 300g raw peeled king prawns
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • 5 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley

Heat the oil with the garlic and spices in a large frying pan. Keep stirring until aromatic, then throw in the prawns and fry quickly over a medium heat until pink – about a minute. Stir in the coriander or parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Foolproof Mediterranean Cookery by Claudia Roden, BBC Worldwide Ltd., 2003.)

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Pan fried king prawns

These are amazing!!!!! Pick up some prawns and make them tonight.

Pan-fried King Prawns (daeha jjiim) – serves 2 as a starter

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 150g king prawns, shelled
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp roasted pine nuts, roughly chopped

Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and honey together to make a sauce.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a high heat. When it’s very hot, add the prawns and cook for a minute, then turn them over. Add the sauce and cook for another minute until cooked through.

Serve immediately with the spring onion and pine nuts sprinkled over the top.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Regina Pyo, W&N, 2015.)

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Lemon, Prawn & Parsley Spaghetti

We try to keep a bag of frozen raw prawns in the freezer as they always feel like a special treat. This is good if you fancy a special treat on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…

Wine Suggestion: to match this dish you can’t go wrong with a good Albariño (Spain) / Alvarinho (Portugal). What you need to look for is a bit of body as some are just a bit thin; the best have a real depth of flavour along with vibrant freshness. Perfect for the prawns and lemon.

Lemon & Parsley Spaghetti with Prawns – serves 2

  • 175g spaghetti
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 140g large raw peeled prawns, thawed if frozen
  • zest & juice 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
  • bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Cook the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the prawns and fry quickly until pink all over.

Add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, 2 tbsp of the pasta cooking water and salt and pepper, then heat through.

Drain the spaghetti, add to the pan, then toss it all together.

Serve with lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Mussels in a creamy sauce

We can’t get enough of mussels and love them in any kind of sauce. This is a nice easy one to serve 2 with some crusty bread (or hot chips!).

Wine Suggestion: try to find a good Alvarinho from Vinho Verde in Portugal. We’re big fans of Soalheiro whose wines have a delicious vibrancy and freshness that really work with mussels.

Mussels in a Creamy Sauce – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 250ml white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Scrub the mussels under cold water, scraping off any beards or barnacles. Discard any that are damaged or those that don’t close completely when tapped against the sink.

Put the mussels in a large pan with the wine, butter, bay leaf, parsley stalks, thyme and shallot. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Drain, keeping the cooking liquor, and discard any mussels that have not opened. Discard the parsley stalks and bay leaf.

Put the cooked mussels into two serving bowls and keep warm. Return the cooking liquor to the pot and boil rapidly until slightly thickened. Now pour in the cream and add the chopped parsley and cook gently until thickened further. Season, then pour over the mussels and serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Greg Wallace for BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2008.)

 

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Prawn & clam linguine

 

We recently got a new cookbook by Lorraine Pascale and have been impressed by the recipes so far. This one we made for Valentines Day, just the two of us with a bottle of vintage Champagne from the cellar. A very nice evening.

Linguine with prawns, clams, garlic & chilli – serves 4

  • 350g dried linguine
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large banana shallots, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 400g raw peeled tiger prawns, de-veined
  • 400g clams, washed (soak in cold water for an hour to get rid of any sand then discard any that stay open when sharply tapped)
  • 150-200ml white wine
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 70g rocket
  • 1 small lemon, cut into wedges

Cook the pasta according to the packet until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan, with a tight-fitting lid, over a medium heat. Add the shallots and sweat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the prawns and cook for 1 minutes, stirring. Then add the clams and white wine, bring to the boil and cover with the lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until all the clam shells have opened (discard any that don’t) and the prawns have turned pink.

Drain the pasta well and tip onto the cooked shellfish and toss together. Add the chopped parsley and season.

Pile into bowls, drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil, scatter with rocket and serve with a lemon wedge.

(Original recipe from How to be a Better Cook by Lorraine Pascale, HarperCollins, 2014.)

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Moules Marinière

We love this Normandy classic and have been known to make Moules Marinières as an impromptu supper served with some skinny fries or crusty bread. No other dish is as reminiscent of holidays in France and mussels are also very cheap. What could be better? 

Wine Suggestion: You can’t go wrong with a good old Muscadet here. Just the thing to complement the dish and shouldn’t blow the budget. Unfortunately Muscadet has had a few good quality but low quantity vintages so it may be a bit more scarce than usual. 

Moules Marinière – to serve 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  •  50g butter, chilled
  • 150ml water
  • 150ml dry white wine

Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and shallots and sweat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the water, wine and half the parsley and simmer for 5-10 minute. 

Add the mussels, cover the pan quickly with a tight lid and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, giving the pan a good shake occasionally. Check if the mussels are open, if most of them are still closed, cover and cook for another minute or two, or until opened. 

Drain the mussels in a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid and discard any that haven’t opened. Cover the mussels with a pan lid to keep them warm. Pour the mussel liquid back into the pan and boil until it has a strong concentrated flavour. Reduce the heat. 

Cut up the remaining butter into small pieces and whisk into the sauce, piece by piece. Taste and season. 

Transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. 

(Original recipe from Leiths: How to Cook, Quadrille, 2013.)

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These are the prawns we served as a canapé at Jules’ birthday dinner yesterday. Really simple to throw together and tasty too – the mint makes a big impact.

Prawns with mint & chilli yogurt 

Mix 4 tbsp of natural yogurt with 1 small deseeded red chilli and 8 leaves fresh mint, both finely chopped, and some seasoning. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a frying pan, add 12 large raw peeled prawns (leave the tails on if you’re peeling yourself), and fry for a minute each side until they have turned pink and cooked through. Put teaspoonfuls of the yogurt on 12 baby gem lettuce leaves, top each with a hot prawn and a couple of tiny mint leaves. Serve hot.

Wine Suggestion: Something pink and bubbly! We had a Coates & Seely sparkling Rosé from Hampshire in Southern England. This producer used traditional French winemaking techniques and traditional Champagne grapes of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Very classy looking bottle too. Available from Mitchell & Son for €42.95.

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