It’s been an interesting week in my kitchen this last seven days, so I thought I just blog with a few snippets of the meals I’ve been eating. I started and ended the week with a similar dish mainly because it didn’t go well the first time, but I remained determined and gave it another go – second time lucky and my spicy Asian prawn soup was a triumph.
It was based on a recipe I saw on Nigel Slater’s latest series on BBC, which just finished, called Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers. Anyone who didn’t catch it missed out, I don’t know about anyone else but I thought it was fantastic and have already had a go with some of his ideas – I even had a long chat with a lady in the library about it whilst I was booking out a copy of Nigel’s old book Appetite.
Anyway the recipe involved making a paste with various aromatics then cooking with stock and coconut milk, adding prawns, fish sauce and fresh herbs. As you can see the result was visually wonderful and smelt very good, but unfortunately I think I watered down the flavours too much with an over enthusiastic amount of coconut milk, which meant it smelt much better than it tasted.
But last night I half-followed a similar recipe from Nigel’s book Appetite and it was a winner.
Brief recipe with approx amounts is: In a small food processor whiz together three cloves of garlic, roughly the same volume of fresh ginger, a stick of lemongrass chopped, good handful of fresh coriander, one red chilli, half teaspoon of coriander seeds, half a teaspoon of turmeric and some vegetable oil. Fry in a wok until fragrant then add 250ml chicken stock and 200ml or just less of coconut milk, simmer for five minutes. Add some shredded pak choi and let it wilt. Then add some plump, juicy raw prawns and cook until just pink (minute or two) season with half a teaspoon of sugar, good few glugs of fish sauce (at a guess 2-3 teaspoons) and the juice of half a lime, stir in some fresh coriander and mint then serve on top of some cooked rice noodles and slurp it from a deep bowl.
Given we are well into autumn I thought it was high time I bought some venison, and we have a lovely local supply nearby from Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. The deer roams in their beautiful deer park and makes lovely meat. I have to say if you’re not an experienced cook – just like me – don’t be put off trying to cook venison, it is just as easy to do as steak. You must make sure it is cooked pink though because venison is a lean meat (popular with athletes in fact) so over cook it and it will be dry. I fried it quickly in a pan. Then set aside to rest and added some red wine to the pan, reduced it and added some meat stock and some redcurrant jelly to sweeten it to make a sauce. It is delicious served with sweet potato mash and a rich irony vegetable such as chard, spinach or kale.
And lastly I end on a light and healthy note. This isn’t really a recipe, but it is really tasty. For lunch the last two days I have eaten a salad made up of beetroot that I baked in foil and cooled, chopped into chunks and threw into mixed lettuce and rocket. I then added some sliced cucumber and crumbled over some strong goat’s cheese. I drizzled it with a dressing made of extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and finished with lots of toasted mixed seeds. It was so delicious, the idea really is sweet beetroot against salty cheese and feta works just as well.