Spicy shrimp pasta salad

14 06 2012

 In honour of last weekends double birthday and our recent engagement we decided to throw a bit of a party last Saturday.

Now even though the weather seems to have decided otherwise it is actually Summer here in Ireland and as such that means it is time for me to break out the BBQ.

If there is one thing that every good BBQ needs to really tip it over the edge it is pasta salad…

Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking how old school and boring can you get but I love pasta salads.

As for being boring my spicy shrimp pasta salad is anything but!

 

Ingredients:

500g fusilli or farfalle pasta

200g shrimp (shells and heads removed)

2 red bell peppers

1 piri piri chilli (you can use a jalapeno if you like)

1 large dill pickle

Good quality full fat mayonnaise (I make my own but you don’t have to)

Heinz tomato ketchup

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp cognac/brandy

2tsp Smokey Paprika powder

1tsp Cayenne pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

Cook the pasta, drain and set aside to cool

Cook your shrimp and leave to cool (if you are tight for time this is one of the only times I would advocate those bags of frozen shrimp)

Deseed and chop your bell peppers into 1/4 inch cubes

Finely chop the dill pickle

Combine together equal amounts of ketchup and mayonnaise with the cayenne pepper, paprika, lime juice, chopped chilli and brandy and mix until you have a light pink coloured sauce with a nice smooth consistency.

Add the pickle, bell pepper and shrimp to the pasta and mix together well, then pour over the sauce and make sure everything is well coated.

 

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Jamaican Jerk Marinade

22 05 2011

Well it has been far too long since I last posted a recipe so I thought I would get back into the saddle with something nice and simple.

 Jerk is a style of cooking that originated in Jamaican and involves the use of a delicious hot and spicy rub or marinade to give a really great flavour to meat, fish and chicken, it is also equally good vegetables, Tofu or even just poured over some plain white rice (a favourite snack of mine)

Now I know not everyone enjoys a lot of heat in their food but I would argue that making any sort of Jerk sauce or rub without using Scotch Bonnet peppers is like trying to drive a car with no suspension, sure you can do it but it just isn’t any good. You really need the delicious fruity taste of the scotch bonnets to make the marinade stand out.

If you are concerned about the level of heat in the peppers then make sure that you remove all of the seeds and the little ribs off the inside and maybe use a mix of half scotch bonnet and half jalapeno but trust me you will be missing out if you don’t add any

Most supermarkets will sell you a jar of jerk sauce or little packets of jerk seasoning but as I have said loudly and often unless you are able to pop into a specialist food shop or deli and pick up something truly authentic then don’t bother, the mass-produced products are inferior in literally every sense

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 stalks spring onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican pimento (allspice)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ tsp  cinnamon
  • 4 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar

Method:
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor with a steel blade attached and blitz until you have the correct consistency – a slightly thick paste
Store leftover marinade in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar for about a month.





Thai fish soup

21 04 2011

I love Thai flavours and think that they work absolutely brilliantly with fish and seafood.

This Thai soup recipe has delicate spicing that allows the fish to really stand out coupled with a subtle kick of background heat that you will love.

I have used a combination of scallops and salmon in my recipe but it works just as well with prawns, cod, squid in fact any fish or seafood that you can think of.


Ingredients:

2 sticks of celery

1″ piece of ginger

5 shallots

4 garlic cloves

2 sticks lemon grass

handful of lime leaves

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 tbsp mustard seeds

6 red chillies

25g coconut cream

2 pints vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp tomato puree

75g red lentils

250g fresh salmon

250g fresh scallops

sesame oil

Method:

chop the onions and garlic and lightly brown in a little sesame oil over a medium flame

roughly chop the celery and add to the pan along with the mustard seeds and the ginger, allow the celery to start to soften

Chop the red chillies (I use a mix of thai birds eye and jalapeno) and pop into the pan

remove the tough outer layer from the lemon grass and add to the pan along with the lime leaves which can be shredded up and added along with the vegetable stock, tomato puree, fish sauce and light soy.

Give everything a good stir, add the red lentils and coconut cream and allow to simmer for about 15/20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the soup to cool.

Once cooled ladle the soup into a blender and blend until you are left with what resembles a thick puree.

Force the puree through a fine sieve into a sauce pan and then return what is left in the sieve to the blender along with a further pint of water. Repeat the process of forcing the puree through the sieve and once you are sure you have extracted all the liquid discard the solids that are left behind.

At this point you should have a lovely rich, smooth Thai soup that is perfect by itself but even better with some fish or seafood added in.

Return the pan to a low heat and allow it to simmer, chop you salmon into small chunks and added to the soup to cook through gently.

You will now lightly pan sear the scallops to make sure they are cooked through perfectly. If you have large scallops you can chop them up a little but otherwise add them as is to a small pan with a little olive oil. They only need 1 minute each side to ensure that they are just right.

Once the scallops have cooked add them to the soup and allow to simmer for another 3/5 minutes before serving.





ABC Sambal Extra Pedas

1 02 2011

A friend from work came back from Holland this week and knowing that I am a sucker for all things hot and spicy grabbed a bottle of hot sauce for me on her way back.

The sauce in question is from ABC, an Indonesian company who manufacture a range of different sauces;  this particular offering is their Sambal Extra Pedas which simply means extra hot.

Sambal being a Southern Asian sauce is often lumped in alongside Thai sauces such as Sriracha, now I cannot stand Sriracha and not just because of all the hype surrounding it at the moment, there is just a flavour to most store bought varieties that doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily for me though I have always quite enjoyed Sambal and I am keen to see how this particular brand measures up.

Ingredients: chile, sugar, water, salt, garlic, starch, acetic acid, sodium benzoate

Smell:

Upon opening the bottle I was hit straight away with a good big hit of chillies and garlic with just the slightest hint of sugary sweetness and vinegar coming through in the background.

Appearance:

This sambal looks an awful look like an orange slightly translucent tomato ketchup, it is completely smooth with not the slightest shred of seed or skin and has a medium viscosity that means you might have to give the bottle a bit of a whack to get things moving initially.

Taste:

I had a sneaking suspicion that I might like this sauce; it looked good it smelt good and I am known to enjoy sambal, even so I was really really pleasantly surprised by just how good this sauce was.

The main flavours that come through straight away are the chillies and the garlic, the vinegar is there but you really have to be looking for it to find it and the sweetness seems just right. There is enough to offset the chillies and the garlic but not so much that it seems overly sweet or cloying.

Since opening the bottle I have tried this sauce on a whole bunch of different foods; sausages, prawns, cod, egg fried rice, wanton rolls…. the list is really quite exhaustive.

The foods have all been really quite different but one thing has been static across the board – the sambal has worked well with pretty much all of them!

Obviously it has faired best with the more Asian items like the fried rice and the wanton rolls but that delicious mix of chillies, garlic and sweetness also worked brillantly with the seafood. The prawns were lifted to another dimension and it really worked well with the big meaty cod steaks.

Heat:

There is a decent bit of heat to this sauce, whilst it wont be breaking any records it is certainly hotter than a lot of other “sweet chilli sauces” that you would typically find in a supermarket which often are just sickly sweet concoctions with just enough chilli for you to notice it.

The burn, such as it is, stays very forward in your mouth and builds nicely whilst never really threatening to overwhelm.  If you think that tap water has a kick to it then I would steer clear but otherwise you shouldn’t be in for any shocks.

Heat 2/5

Overall 3.5/5





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.





Popcorn Shrimp with Marie Rose sauce

4 12 2010

 

 Who doesn’t love the taste of sweet slightly salty shrimp with rich tangy marie roase sauce? 

Well it is even better when the shrimp are breaded in a delicious seasoned crumb and the sauce is homemade.

I taken the liberty of changing the marie rose sauce a little bit by using a 50/50 mix of Greek yoghurt and mayonnaise as I just find it to be a little bit too heavy otherwise, the tabasco is completely optional but the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce are essential to my mind.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

500g white bread crumbs / panko

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 lb small frozen shrimp/prawns

1tbsp milk

Vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper

Method: 

Beat together the eggs and milk in a small bowl

Combine the Breadcrumbs, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Cayenne, Cumin, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, and 1 teaspoon Pepper in a separate bowl.

Pat the shrimp dry with kitchen towels, then season with salt and pepper. (if the shrimp are wet, the egg won’t stick to them)

Dip the shrimp into the egg  and shake off any excess.

Coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Once all of the shrimp have been coated once repeat the process again including dipping them in the egg, this will help ensure a good even coating.

Heat the oil in a large heavy based sauce pan until a small piece of bread goes golden

Ad half of the shrimp to the oil and fry until golden brown, stirring often to prevent sticking this will probably take about 2 minutes.

Remove the fried shrimp from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Serve with the Marie Rose sauce and wedges of lemon.

Marie Rose Sauce

4 tbsp good quality tomato ketchup

2 tbsp good quality mayonnaise

2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Dash of tabasco sauce

Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup and yoghurt and add in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, add tabasco to taste – simple 🙂








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