Quick prawn curry

5 01 2011

 This prawn(shrimp) curry is so quick and easy that there would be literally no point in calling up the curry house for a takeaway.

 Assuming you had your rice on to boil before you started making the curry you could have a delicious easy meal on your table in far less than fifteen minutes!

 This curry would be great with a simple carrot salad and maybe some nice hot naan bread.

  

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion
1 clove of garlic
400 g peeled cooked prawns
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
400g pot natural yoghurt
1 medium red chilli
Chopped coriander to serve (optional)
 

Method:

Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic for around 5 minutes until soft and golden.

Add the tomato paste, spices and yoghurt, stir and simmer for around 5 minutes.

Add the cooked  prawns and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes

Serve the curry over boiled rice with a few coriander leaves and slices of red chilli sprinkled on top.

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Spontaneous Combustion Hot Sauce

13 12 2010

I decided to buy an early Christmas present for my uncle who loves chillies and all things chilli related; needless to say he was pleased as punch upon opening the completely over the top packaging and finding a bottle of Spontaneous Combustion Hot Sauce.

So pleased was he with this unexpected gift that he decided to call me up and taste it over the phone, we are a strange strange family. Well I listened to him describe the box and the label to me – they both feature the same set of lips and teeth with a raging inferno on the tongue.

Next up I got to hear him open the seal on the bottle and tell me he was going to have a sniff of it, I heard him take a big big sniff and then proclaim that it smelt vaguely like something Satan had excreted…

Having come this far he couldn’t back out now and decided to try a drop direct onto his tongue, the first thing he said was mmm I can taste fruity peppers and garlic, the next thing he said was OUCH and heard the phone drop whilst he retreated for a stiff drink of milk.

Once he had recovered sufficiently to speak I was informed that too much more of this and he would need to start refrigerating toilet paper.

Boy oh boy did I laugh…

Well that was 3 weeks ago and since that point I have made the arduous journey across the Irish Sea and been to visit said uncle for some much needed R&R. After hearing his amateur dramatics over the phone I had to see for my self just what this bad boy was like….

On looking down the short list of ingredients I see that we are dealing with a predominately Habanero based sauce with some always welcome capsicum extract making an appearance as well, this certainly adds some weight to the advertised Scoville rating of about 400/500,000 – not too shabby.

After having the aroma of this sauce described to me in such a colourful fashion I decided to follow in my uncle’s footsteps and took a honking great snoutfull, you can smell the Habanero, the garlic and a bit of vinegar quite clearly, there is a certain element of heat that you can pick up but nothing to warrant previous histrionics.

Well the time has come to move onto having a taste, now bearing in mind that I heard a grown man reduced to tears I was expecting to have the skin peeled off my face with atomic fury.

I started off by trying a small amount on a teaspoon, much like my uncle I could taste nice fruity habs and some garlic without too much initial heat, after a few seconds I could start to feel some heating coming in and their was a nice kick to it but not really enough to get the blood pumping.

So  I decided to up the ante a little, I made myself one of my favourite treats cheese on toast with chilli sauce, each slice was given a good 7/8 drops of fiery red sauce and I chowed down; the flavour was beautiful, so much so that I will be buying several bottles of this for myself at home. The heat however was still lacklustre, it was there and you could feel it but I just want more bang for my buck.

In terms of an everyday table sauce I think I would be hard pressed to find anything with a better taste; in my opinion this kicks Tabasco straight out of the cupboard and jumps up and down on it in hobnailed boots, it doesn’t just take its place it builds a little fort and sits there looking smug.

Oh and my uncle is a cry baby…





Potted shrimp

7 12 2010

Potted shrimp are one of my favourite indulgences; sweet brown shrimp set in spicy mace infused butter…. delicious, if not really the best thing for your waist line.

I guess you could make great big tureens of potted shrimp and dole it out to people but that just seems somehow uncivilised, half the fun is in having your own little individual pot to dip into as you wish.

The best thing to serve with these shrimp is either delicious fresh brown bread or hot crispy toast that the butter will just ooze into

Ingredients:

1lb brown shrimp

8 oz. unsalted butter

2 tsp mace

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Method:

Shell and de-vein the shrimp, you might want to ask your fish monger to do this for you or buy them already prepared.

Chop half of the shrimp quite finely, mix in the whole shrimp and add the mace.

Melt 6 oz. of the butter in a pan, once all the butter has melted stir in the shrimp allowing it to absorb most of the butter.

Add in the cayenne pepper, stir and pour into ramekins.

Melt the remaining 2 oz of butter and pour over the top of the shrimp to seal.

Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before popping into the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably 12.





Kofte Kebabs

31 10 2010

 Anyone who has read my recipes before will possibly have noticed that I really do like Greek and Turkish food quit a lot, so much in fact that it is probably a very good thing that both cuisines can be some of the healthiest around.

 Kofte or Kefte or Kofta depending on where you are from are made of ground meat such as lamb that is worked with until it is almost like a paste mixed with herbs and spices and then formed into balls, cigar like sausages or worked around a stick before grilling – delicious 🙂

I happen to be particularly fond of a version that I used to have at a Turkish restaurant back home and that I finally managed to get right after many attempts. Whilst you can use most meats and even fish to make your kofte I find lamb to be the best however I do like a 50/50 mix of lamb and beef as well.

Ingredients:

500 g of ground lamb
1 handfull of parsley (stalks removed)
1 slice of white bread with the crust removed
1 medium red onion
1 garlic clove
1 egg
~12 mint leaves
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black
1/2 tsp salt

Method:

When you buy your minced lamb ask the butcher to mince it twice for you to try and get it as fine and smooth as possibly, if you don’t visit a butcher and don’t have access to a mincer at home then place the mince on a chopping board and using 2 knives try and break it down as much as possible- imagine you are playing the drums!

Very lightly toast your slice of bread and using a food processor turn it into bread crumbs, if you don’t have a food processor then it looks like you will get to work on your drum skills again.

Peel your onion and garlic and dice both as finely as you can, also at this point chop up your parsely and mint leaves finely.

Beat together your egg .

Add all of your dry ingredients to a mixing bowl which has been greased with a little bit of olive oil and give them a rough mix together. Now add in your beaten egg and really mix everything together well, you don’t want any pockets of meat that haven’t been seasoned or any big clumps of breadcrumbs.

Once your mixture is well mixed together cover the bowl with a clingfilm/a teatowel and pop in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

After taking your mix out of the fridge divide it into equal amounts and shape it as you wish; either into little meatballs, cigar like sausages, patties or shaped around a wooden skewer.

Now for the cooking, pop your koftes onto a nice hot charcoal grill / bbq or if you don’t have a grill/bbq available you can pop them into a hot frying pan.

Cook the kofte until they are done, if you split this amount of mixture into 15 small sausages you will need to give them 3/4 minutes each, different sized portions will differ accordingly.

Serve with some natural yoghurt, a nice simple salad and some flat bread.





Home baked flat bread

20 09 2010

This past week I have been desperate to eat Pita Gyros like I used to be able to get back home; unfortunately here in Ireland there aren’t many outlets catering to a man with a craving for good Greek food.

So of course I made my own.

I could have used shop bought flat breads or stuffed the gyros into those little cardboard pockets that you can buy from everywhere these days but I wanted something a little fresher and tastier so here we are my take on homemade flat bread:

makes roughly 10 flat breads

500 grams white flour

300 ml lukewarm water

2 tablespoons of olive oil (I used extra virgin but any would do)

2 teaspoons of salt

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, at this point give it a very quick mix together with your hand in order to make sure the salt is distributed throughout the flour.

mix the olive oil in with your warm water, slowly pour the oil and water mixture into your dry ingredients whilst mixing with your hands (there is no point using a spoon as you want to be able to feel the dough)

Mix the ingredients together until there you have a slightly sticking dough formed, flour a clean work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and slightly elastic – about 5 minutes or so.

Pop your dough onto the counter top, cover with the up turned mixing bowl and leave for at least 15 minutes or until you are ready to cook and eat the bread.

Once you are ready to cook the bread take the dough and roll it into a nice fat sausage shape. Divide your sausage into equal chunks – with the measures used here it works out to about 10

roll your chunks of dough into little balls and then roll flat using a floured rolling pin, you should end up with a nice thin bread about 2/3 mm thick.

Dust a little flour onto each piece of bread to stop them sticking and stack them up ready to cook.

Take a large non stick frying pan/skillet and put it onto a high heat until it is smoking. Once you have reached this point place your flat bread into the pan without any sort of liquid.

You will need to cook the bread until the edges start to lift and you start to see nice brown spots on the side that is touching the pan. Once this side is cooked flip the bread and cook the reverse side for about 30/40 seconds. In total you will probably be cooking each piece of flat bread for about 3 minutes.

Keep the flatbreads warm whilst you are cooking by wrapping them in a tea-towel or popping them in the oven at a low heat.








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