Prawn and coriander wanton rolls with sweet chilli sauce

29 03 2011

These prawn and coriander wanton rolls are deceptively simple to make but your guests will think you have been slaving in the kitchen for hours on end.

The trick to keeping this simple is to buy the wanton wrappers as opposed to struggling along making your own, there are very few things that really aren’t worth the effort of making myself but these pretty much top that list.

This recipe works best if you get decent sized prawns such as king prawns or tiger prawns but if you can only find the tiny ones than you can always mince them and mix the coriander into the mixture.

 

Ingredients:

1 pack of wanton wrappers

1lb king pranws/tiger prawns

Bunch of coriander

1 red bell pepper

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

Method:

Shell and clean the prawns before butterflying them down the centre, place the prawns to one side and season with a small pinch of salt and black pepper

Beat together the 2 eggs with about 1 tsp of milk to form an egg wash

Place 1 piece of prawn and 1 coriander leaf onto the center of each wanton wrapper, I like to add a slice of chilli to each wrapper as well but this is completely optional.

Brush the edges of the wanton wrapper with the egg wash and either roll up or fold into little triangles.

Fry in hot oil until the wanton wrappers are golden brown and crispy -about 2 or 3 minutes, drain on kitchen paper and serve whilst piping hot.

 

Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce:

There are plenty of good quality sweet chilli sauces that you can buy from the supermarket these days however I still prefer to make my own.

Ingredients:

4 serrano chillies, minced

4 Thai (birds eye) chillies, finely chopped

1 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Water

1/2 cup Rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Finely Minced Garlic

1/2 teaspoon Sweet paprika

1 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1 tablespoon Fresh lime or lemon juice

Method:
Remove stems from peppers and prepare as specified either mincing or chopping

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the chillies, sugar, water, vinegar, garlic, paprika and salt. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer until the liquid reduces slightly and thickens to a light syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce and lime or lemon juice. If you want a thicker sauce still you can stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of flour mixed in with some water towards the end of the simmer. Cool to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cooled sauce to a tightly sealed jar and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

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Homemade Guacamole

1 12 2010

 No party would be complete without some sort of crisps or chips and something to dip them into.

 For me that “something” has to be guacamole and I’m not talking about the rank tasting plastic tubs of crap that most is sold in most supermarkets and that personally I wouldn’t give to my chickens. I like guacamole to have texture and flavour as opposed to just being green coloured mush.

So here is my recipe for great homemade guacamole

Ingredients:

2 ripe hass avocados 
1 tomato
1 onion
1 handful of coriander
2 spring onions
2 jalapeños
Juice of 1 lime
pinch of cayenne pepper
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
2 cloves of garlic

Peel and chop all of the ingredients other than the avocados. This garlic and onion should be as fine as you can get them and the tomato should be in a fine dice with the seeds removed, you can also deseed the chillies if you so wish.

Take the skin off of the avocados and ensure that you keep one of the stones.

Using the back of a fork mash the avocados until you have a nice salsa like consistency with some definate chunks of avocado left intact.

Mix the avocado in with the rest of your chopped ingredients and the lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a little extra coriander.

Take the avocado stone that you kept hold of and pop that into the middle of the bowl holding the guacamole, this will help to keep the avocado from going off quite so quickly. Cover the bowl in clingfilm ensuring that there is as little air trapped under it as possible.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.





Easy Buttercream Icing

23 11 2010

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I was recently discussing the merits of making your own icing over those of buying those awful tubs of Betty Crocker pre-made icing that you can buy in supermarkets.

The discussion ended with me setting out to prove not only that it is easy to make your own icing but that the end result tastes better to.

I know that a lot of people like to use margarine in or shortening when making buttercream but I flat-out refuse to, the taste is completely different and the heavy greasy taste that it leaves in the mouth is just vile.

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter

600g icing sugar

2 tablespoons of milk

vanilla extract

Method:

In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and approximately 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Once the vanilla extract is incorporated into the butter you can start to mix in the sugar adding roughly 1/4 at a time, ensure that the sugar is well beaten in before adding the next batch

Once you have incorporated all of the icing sugar into the butter you will need to add the milk and beat until you have a light and fluffy texture, keep beating until there are no lumps and the icing doesn’t feel gritty.  At this point you can add more vanilla essence if you wish

You can add more or less any flavour that you want to your icing in place of the vanilla and you can also colour it anyway you wish. If you decide to use liquid food colouring then remember that a little goes a long way!





Homemade Harissa Paste

18 11 2010

Harissa is a hot and spicy paste from North Africa, the key ingredient in it is red chillies and it’s use is prevalent in Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian cuisine.

Harissa is hot I won’t deny it but don’t let that put you off, there is more than just heat! There is a lovely rich fruitiness from the tomatoes and indeed from the chillies themselves and the kick of spice just transports you a million miles away from a wet and windy November afternoon.

I know that some recipes will disagree with me on this but the chillies that you use really should be dried, in my opinion this gives the best flavour to the sauce.

Depending on how hot you want the harissa you can vary which type of chillies are used and can remove the pith and seeds if you wish, personally I use a mix of dried habanero and scoth bonnets  and leave all seeds and pith intact.

To make your own harissa you will need:

250g tomatoes

100g Dried Chillies – I use a mix of habanero and scotch bonnet

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

1tbsp cumin seeds

1tbsp coriander seeds

1tbsp mustard seeds

1/2tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2tbsp vinegar

olive oil

Add the chillies and the spices to a food processor and blitz until the chillies have started to break down

At this point add the garlic cloves and the onion and blitz until these are combined

You can now add the tomatoes and the 2 tbsp of vinegar and continue to blitz.

Once everything has reached a paste consistency you can add in the salt and pepper adjusting to taste.

Pour everything into a saucepan and bring to the boil, leave to cool completely and then pop into jars. Add enough olive oil into each jar to completely cover the harissa





Easy and delicious homemade pesto

9 11 2010

Who doesn’t love pesto?

It is just so versatile and delicious, if you are in a hurry it is great by itself over fresh pasta, it can be drizzled over a salad or you can use it as part of a tasty lunchtime treat (here)

The pesto that you buy from the shops is good but it isn’t as fresh as it could be and will never be as good as one that you make at home.

Pesto is so easy to make that there really shouldn’t be any need to even think about buying it from the store.

All you need is a food processor and 5 simple ingredients:

100g pine nuts

1 clove of garlic

300g of basil

100g Parmesan cheese

extra virgin olive oil

Place the pine nuts, the basil and the garlic into the food processor and blitz together until you have something that resembles biscuit crumb in consistency

Now add in enough oil for it to become a paste, probably about 3 1/2  or 4 tablespoons.

Taste your pesto, you might find that you want to add a little bit of sea salt to it but that is down to you.

There we have it fresh delicious pesto in less then 5 minutes








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