It may seem as though I am getting a lot of inspiration from Waitrose of late however it is a coincidence – really!. That said, this recipe is one of the latest in its card series for February and I cooked it the other night and thought it ideal for a quick tasty Friday night dinner. Or any night for that matter.
I have tweaked this recipe a bit too because I thought that the quantities given for the sauce in the original were a bit on the meagre side. Whilst you don’t want your dish to be awash with sauce you do want to have enough to taste and enjoy.
The quantities I have given to make up the sauce (tomato paste, rice vinegar et al) can be fiddled with to suit your own taste and how much you think you may want but the trick is mix as you go along and adjust/add accordingly.
What you’ll need for two people as a main course is:
180 g / 6 oz raw prawns (frozen or fresh) Add or subtract the quantity according to your appetite.
1 tbsp tomato purèe
1 tsp chilli flakes (If you don’t like your food too fiery reduce the amount of chilli – or increase if you prefer it hotter!)
1 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar*
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 and a 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
200 g / 7 oz fine green beans trimmed and cut into halves or thirds
2 Salad/spring onions aka scallions sliced on the diagonal
1 or 2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
2-3 tsp sesame seeds toasted
*I would recommend that you do try to get Chinese rice vinegar if you can because it has a nutty flavour which another rice vinegars (such as Japanese) may not.
Tip:The cooking time for this recipe is short so prepare everything in advance so all you have to do is throw each ingredient into the wok in turn.
To accompany: Steamed rice or fried rice will, of course, go well with this dish. Also egg noodles would be good too – they can be stirred into the mixture at the end before serving. In either case, make sure you have your rice or noodles cooked ahead of stir-frying the prawns and kept warm.
What you’ll need to do:
Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Once the frying pan is hot tip the sesame seeds into the (dry) frying pan and toast the seeds. Keep an eye on them and stir them around. When they turn golden (not nut-brown) remove the frying pan from the heat and set seeds aside to cool.
Then heat the wok over a high heat and add the vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot add the beans, spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
Add the prawns and fry for a minute until they start to turn pink.
Tip in the sauce mixture ensuring that everything is coated nicely and fry for another 2 minutes until the prawns are cooked through.
Just before serving sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the prawns.
This is an adaptation of a Waitrose recipe which appeared in one of its periodic MyWaitrose members’ mailings. The original recipe called for sardines but because I don’t care for sardines I decided to modify the recipe. And in doing so I added some onion, a little stock and changed linguine for spaghetti – only because I didn’t have any linguine to hand when I made this dish the other evening.
Like a number of my recipes this one, too, may be tweaked further. If you don’t care for anchovies you can swap them or simply leave them out particularly if you wish to make it a vegetarian dish.
To say the fennel is caramelised is a little bit of a misnomer insofar that no sugar is used but rather the fennel is cooked over a high heat to brown it a little and give a caramel colour to the vegetable.
What you’ll need for two people as a main course or four people for a first course:
200g/7oz (or more depending on appetites) spaghetti or linguine
1 tin anchovies
1 fennel bulb finely sliced. Reserve the fronds
Half an onion finely chopped
Half a mug of chicken or vegetable stock*
Hot chilli flakes
Juice of half a lemon
* I use (among other stock cubes and concentrated stock) Knorr’s Touch of Taste liquid stock in bottles. I find this ideal if you wish to make just a small amount of stock rather than having to make up 500ml of the stuff when using a stock cube.
What you’ll need to do:
Put a large saucepan of water to boil for the pasta, salting the water. Once the water comes to the boil, add your pasta and cook according to the packet instructions or to taste.
Whilst the pasta is cooking heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. You may use the olive oil from the tinned anchovies if you wish – I did a half-and-half, a bit of the anchovy oil and olive oil.
Add the fennel and fry over a high heat for 4-6 minutes stirring often until the fennel turns a caramel colour and has softened. Remove from the frying pan to a dish and keep warm.
Reduce the heat and add the chopped onion to the frying pan and fry the onions a little. (Add a little more olive/anchovy oil if you think the pan might need it). Add the anchovies to the onions and fry gently breaking up the anchovies with a wooden spoon. They will start to melt into the onion/oil mix.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. A half-mug of stock isn’t too much but what you are aiming for is the stock to reduce to a nice glossy consistency. Return the fennel to the frying pan and mix together.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the fennel, onion and anchovy sauce (add a little pasta water if you wish), add the chilli flakes and lemon juice and mix all together allowing the sauce to bubble a little and coat the pasta.
I invited my friend, Joy, round to supper on Friday and I had decided that I would make steak and kidney pie and as I rummaged around my freezer (for I knew I had kidneys therein as well as the beef) I pulled out what I thought was a very small pack of kidney. To my surprise (for I had not labelled the pack) I discovered, once it had defrosted, that is was a goose liver I had vacuum packed and put into the freezer when I had bought a goose two Christmases ago. The goose, however, is long gone!
Here is the recipe for the seared liver. Well, I don’t think it can really be called a recipe more a suggestion as to what to do with that goose liver you may find lurking in your freezer!
What you’ll need for two people as a mini first course – the amuse-bouche is:
Large frying pan (I used my large, round flat griddle pan)
1 goose or duck liver cut in two*
1 large slice of bread, crusts removed and cut in half
Chopped chives – optional
What you’ll need to do:
Place a teaspoon of fig jam on your serving plates and keep plates to one side
Melt the butter in the pan and place the two pieces of bread to fry. When light golden turn over and fry the other side of the bread
Once you have turned the bread over to fry the second side place the liver pieces on the griddle to sear quickly, turn over and sear the other side. The liver should be pink inside and not over-cooked.
Place a piece of fried bread on each plate and top with a piece of liver and sprinkle with chopped chives if liked.
*Depending how large your goose may be (goose liver usually only comes with a goose, I don’t think I have seen it sold separately here in the UK) you may have enough for 3 to 4 people)
**I use clarified butter as it can be cooked to a higher temperature without burning – very good for searing.