I’m not the world’s best cook but I like giving it a go. Here is where I’ll write about some of the things I’ve had a stab at.
Keralan king prawn and coconut curry:500g king prawns – shelled and deveined
1 white onion
175ml coconut cream
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed so they split open
3 grated garlic cloves
2.5cm/1in piece of ginger, grated
1 red pepper
A handful of trimmed green beans
A handful of spinach 4 curry leaves
Salt and pepper
Brown basmatic rice to serve/brown naan breads/chapattis Method: The most fiddly bit is shelling and deveining the prawns so it’s best to get this out of the way first. I know some people are a bit squeamish about this but if you just do it fast and don’t think about what the vein is, then you’ll be fine! Once the prawns are all naked and clean, give them a good dousing in lemon juice to marinate and put them aside. Now grate the garlic cloves and ginger and chop the onion into small cubey pieces. Then heat a splash of oil in a big dish and add the onion for 2-3 minutes until it is softened. Then add the turmeric, cardamom pods and chilli powder and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon stick, garlic, curry leaves and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped red pepper and beans at this point too. Then blend the coconut cream and coriander in a food processor to make a nice, green mess and add this to the pan. Let it simmer gently then stir in the marinated prawns (they may have turned a bit white where the lemon has ‘cooked’ them) and add some salt and pepper. Finally add the spinach and cook until wilted and well mixed in. Add some coriander and you’re done.Serve this beautiful colourful dish with some brown rice/chapattis/naan bread or whatever you fancy!
P.S. Thank you to Fish Universe in Tooting for the delicious prawns!Nectarine, mozzarella and tomato salad with basil oil: Just before ripe nectarines
Cherry and plum tomatoes
200ml Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Method: I made the basil oil first. Put the leaves from three sprigs of basil into a blender with a peeled clove of garlic and whizz up. Then trickle in 200ml of olive oil while still whizzing and add salt and pepper. Put to one side. Slice the nectarines, mozzarella and tomatoes and cover in basil oil and garnish with a few basil leaves. Honestly, what could be simpler?!?
Orzo with artichoke, broad beans, lemon, thyme and parmesan:Orzo pasta or dried risoni
Jar of marinated artichokes
Frozen broad beans
Method: This is so easy but really summery and tasty and lovely colours! Boil the orzo until it is al dente and the broad beans for around 4-5 minutes. Pod the broad beans in a bowl. Chop the mushrooms and fry them in some olive oil. Then drain the pasta, add a good glug of olive oil, some lemon rind and juice and salt and pepper. Stir in the beans, mushrooms and lemon thyme. Sprinkle some parmesan or pecorino on top. Voila – easy peasy!
Broad beans, mint and mascarpone on sourdough:Frozen broad beans
Salt and Pepper
Method: Boil the broad beans for 4-5 minutes and once cool, take the skins off. Then put them in a bowl with lemon rind, shredded mint, olive oil and seasoning. Then crush them down with a fork. Slice the sourdough and griddle the slices at a high heat so they get those nice, dark lines on them. When they’re done and still hot, rub a piece of sliced garlic across the bread which will make its juice sink into the dough. Then spread mascarpone across each slice and spoon the broad bean mixture over the top. Then they’re ready to serve as a delicious summery canape.
Prawn, pea and asparagus risotto:400g cooked prawns
3 tbsp olive oil
1½ l fish stock
1 onion, chopped
300g arborio rice
1 small glass white wine
200g frozen peas
2 cloves of garlic
Method: Fry the garlic and onions in the olive oil in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Add the rice and mix it in well. Then add the white wine and let it bubble. Then add the stock a ladle full at a time until the rice has absorbed. Keep doing this and stirring well until the rice is cooked. Add the chilli flakes and seasoning. In the meantime boil the asparagus and peas for 3-4 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the prawns, peas and asparagus. Then serve with parmesan on top with a watercress, spinach and rocket salad.
Aubergines with chickpeas and preserved lemon:5 tbsp olive oil
500g aubergine, cut into half moons about 1cm thick
Sea salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small preserved lemon
1 level tbsp ground cumin
1 level tbsp paprika
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp caster sugar
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls of coriander leaves
Greek yoghurt to serve
Method: In a large frying pan, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil add the aubergines and a good pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until the flesh softens and starts to brown. The pan will feel crowded but don’t worry, things will shrink down. Once cooked scoop into a bowl and put to one side. Heat the rest of the oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile scoop out and discard the pulp and pips from the preserved lemon and cut the skin into fine shreds with a sharp knife. Add the peel to the onion mixture, stir in the spices and cook for a few minutes. Mix in the tomatoes, sugar, chickpeas and two-thirds of the coriander leaves. Pour in 150ml water, season and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the cooked aubergine and bubble for 5 minutes. Leave to stand off the heat 10 minutes and then check seasoning and splash with a bit of olive oil. Serve with rice, couscous or bread and a blob of yoghurt on top.
Note: Preserved lemons can be really hard to find so feel free to leave them out, I still find it delicious without!
Super summery guacamole2 large ripe avocados
1 red onion
3 large tomatoes
2 handfuls of coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
Method: Peel the avocado and chop and mash into into a bowl. Cut the red onion into small diced pieces and do the same with the tomatoes. Then mash and mix it all together and add the olive oil. Mix in the coriander leaves and voila, all done! This goes brilliantly with crisps or crudites or you could put it in a chicken or beef burger. A must at any BBQ!