Posts Tagged ‘prawns’

Bechamel and Prawn Stuffed Mussels

Bechamel and Prawn Stuffed Mussels

Is it any surprise that my most favourite presents to give (and receive) during Christmas are cookbooks?  I consider myself a pretty good judge cookbook character.  For example, my brother who is a bachelor loves the four ingredients or less series and his idea of cooking is to buy a chicken, buy a packet of spices and chuck everything in the oven. For one of my sisters, I am always on the look out for cookbooks that have recipes that can be completed in thirty minutes or less.  She is so keen on saving time (in fairness to her, she does have a four month old baby), that we call her “Miss Shortcut”.

My Mom is getting a book I bought a few weeks back, Miguel Maestre’s first cookbook, Miguel’s Tapas.

Born in Murcia Spain, Miguel has worked in many celebrated restaurants including Bather’s Pavillion and Bilson’s in Sydney and even Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Roses, Spain. He has also been on a number of TV shows including the popular Boy’s Weekend.  Today Miguel owns two restaurants in Sydney, El Toro Loco and Argyle Bazar.

The cookbook is divided into seven sections based on the times of day the tapas are meant to be eaten. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, dessert, afternoon tea, dinner, and evening snacks. Hmmm… the Spanish seem to love their tapas anytime of the day!  There is also a section at the very end covering basics and sauces which includes among other things, a variety of stocks, flavoured oils and vinaigrettes.

Miguel has managed to strike a balance between the classic tapas such as the tortilla (potato omelette), paella and churros (his chocolate sauce is made with condensed milk!) and some tapas he gives a contemporary twist.  For instance, Wild Rice Popcorn and a Deconstructed Spanish Omelette inspired by his time at El Bulli.

I’ll be honest, the reason I’m giving my Mom this book isn’t so much that I want her to enjoy it (well, that’s part of it), but mainly because I want her to cook many of the dishes from it while she’s here for a visit.  Top of the list would be the Flamenca Eggs, Manchego Bread Rolls (inspired by the very popular Brazilian cheese bread), Salted Cod Croquettes, and Wagyu and Chorizo Meat Pie.  For dessert, I’m thinking she could make Bombe Alaska Fruit Skewers, Santiago’s Tart and Bread and Butter Pudding…

Like his TV shows, Miguel has a light hearted approach to cooking tapas.  As he shares his recipes, he also shares stories behind the recipes, in particular about his childhood growing up with a large family from where he got his love for cooking from.

So yes, this book’s going to my Mom for Christmas… unless of course… I decide to keep the book for myself…


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Basmati Risotto with Grilled Prawns

Basmati Risotto with Grilled Prawns (Tomislav Restaurant)

Is it persistence or stubbornness? Maybe both?

When I have an idea in my head, I’ll do whatever it takes to get it (all within legal means of course!) and I never back down from a dare.  Ever.

Every now and again these two traits can get me into trouble.  Like the time I confidently told my sister that I could get ourselves into the Qantas First Class lounge only to be evicted twenty minutes later as we were about to take a sip of our coffees (she never has forgiven me for that).

But more often than not, I try to channel these traits more noble pursuits.  Like finding a way to get a recipe for a dish I really enjoy, or getting a seat at a restaurant that is booked months in advance or experimenting with food or gadgets I’ve never used.

Introducing: Dare me…

This idea was born out of a conversation between me and my husband.   We were having dinner at Tomislav Restaurant the other night and I was blown away with the Basmati Risotto with Yamba Prawns.  “I wish there was a way to get my hands on this recipe.”  I told him.

“I dare you ask the chef for it.”  He said.  “You seem to get your hands on many of the recipes you like.” he added.  I wasn’t able to ask Chef Tomislav for the recipe that night (he had not yet arrived) but I managed to find the recipe anyway.  I made this dish twice in two days.  Yes, it was that good.  The first time I made it over the stove top, adding the chicken stock gradually as you would a regular risotto.  The next day I made the basmati risotto using the thermomix.  I’m pleased to report both techniques work as well as each other.

So here’s the first of hopefully a series of posts called : Dare me.

If you’re looking for a recipe that you really love – then dare me to find it for you. Just drop me an email or a comment at the end of this post and I’ll turn your craving into a fun challenge and get you that coveted recipe!

Tomislav’s Basmati Risotto with Prawns

  • 250 grams good quality Basmati Rice
  • 1000 to 1500 ml good quality hot chicken stock (homemade is best)
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 10 ml soy sauce
  • 40 grams acidulated butter (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chopped Nori roll (1 sheet)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 200 grams prawns, chopped

Regular Method

  1. Place the butter in a wide surfaced pan and melt. Add the rice and toast for around 3 minutes until the butter is slightly browned and nutty. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken stock (I only used 1000 ml but the recipe calls for 1500 ml) a little at a time and stir continuously for around 15 minutes. The rice will still have a little bite and remember that the dish will not be as creamy as a risotto using regular risotto rice.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, finish the dish by stirring in the soy sauce, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, chopped nori roll and chives. Season with more salt and pepper if needed
  4. Grill the prawns and top the risotto with grilled prawns and grated lemon zest.

Using the Thermomix
FYI: I halved the recipe on the Thermomix

  1. Heat the butter at 100c on speed 3 for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and heat for 5 minutes using the butterfly attachment on reverse and speed soft.
  3. Add the stock (I added 500 ml for 125 grams rice but feel free to add more stock if necessary towards the end of the cooking time) and continue to cook (butterfly attachment, reverse, speed soft) for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the soy, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, nori and chives and give it another stir for 5 or so seconds on reverse, speed soft.
  5. Top with grilled prawns and lemon zest and serve immediately.

Acidulated Butter

  • 100 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 grams basmati rice

In a pan, melt the butter and add the rice and cook until nutty brown flavour is released. Pass this through a sieve. Set aside.

  • 90 ml white wine
  • 90 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 100 grams butter

Combine the onion, white wine and white wine vinegar and heat in a pan and reduce until the pan is almost dry. Take this off the heat and whisk in the butter until the butter is emulsified. Pass through a sieve.

Mix both butters and leave to set in the fridge for around 8 hours. You will have enough for several batches and this lasts a few days in the fridge.

Stumble It!

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Prawns with Coconut Milk and Crab Fat

Prawns with Coconut Milk and Crab Fat

The other day I spent more than sixteen hours trying to get my house in order.  It had been awhile since I did a MAJOR clean up but I knew it was time after speaking to a work colleague.  We were chatting one morning and I mentioned that I needed to get my house more organized.  I told him that I would spend an hour a day organizing a certain part of the house.  He said “That sounds like a great idea!  In fact, I remember you telling me that you were going to do that last year…”

Of course, that project I talked about a year ago never happened and the blogging only contributed to more clutter with all the cookbooks and “props” I managed to accumulate.

By far, the biggest project that day was trying to organize the cookbooks.  In the end over 360 cookbooks (almost one for each day of the year!) were sorted (by color) and stored.

A neater house, a few organized bookshelves, many hours and an aching back later (and thighs), I found it funny how many cookbooks I hoarded over the years.  Is this where all my extra cash went to?  No wonder I had no money to buy nicer clothes!

The more ironic thing is, I hardly ever cook from them.  I buy them thinking “Oh yes, I certainly need THIS ONE cookbook.  It has so many recipes I’m going to make over and over again.” Yeah right…

I’ve noticed, through the years, I rely less and less on the cookbooks for recipes to follow but more for inspiration – whether it be a new cooking technique, an ingredient I’ve never used, or sometimes I take two or three different recipes for the same dish and come up with my own!

This recipe is probably one of those “inspired from” the 15 or so Philippine cookbooks that I have.  It’s my late addition to the Kulinarya Club’s July theme which is “Ginataan”.  Thanks to Asha (Fork, Spoon and Knife) and Althea (Busog Sarap) who decided on using coconut milk as this month’s main ingredient.

For me, coconut milk goes extremely well with the Philippine’s holy trinity of ginger, garlic and onions, sauteed and blended with a chili pepper to create a gravy  base.  Then I added freshly peeled prawns and spinach leaves.  On top of this, I blame  Shirley, who reminded me about how damn delicious Taba ng Talangka could be, so I added a few spoons of this preserved crab fat to the dish. Now tell me, who can resist this dish with a steaming bowl of rice?

Ginataan na Hipon with Taba ng Talangka

Ginataan na Hipon with Taba ng Talangka

Ginataan na Hipon and Taba ng Talangka

  • 500 grams fresh prawns, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small knob of peeled ginger, sliced, around 30 grams
  • 1 red chili, seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons, taba ng talangka – available from Filipino/Asian groceries(optional)
  • Handful of spinach leaves
  1. Heat the oil and add the onion, fry until translucent, around 5 minutes
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and red chili and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes and then process in a food processor.
  4. Once done, fry the paste for a few minutes and add the fish sauce and coconut milk. Allow to simmer for around 15 minutes then add the crab fat.
  5. Add the prawns and cook for around 2 to 3 minutes and then add the spinach leaves and cook until wilted.
  6. Serve over steamed rice, top with some more taba ng talangka.

Another reminder that I’ll be teaching a Macaron making class at the Essential Ingredient in Sydney on the 21st of August 2010.    If you’re interested please contact them on 02 9555 8300.

Essential Ingredient is located in 731 Darling Street, Rozelle.



Stumble It!

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Mum's Cheesy Ketchup Prawns

Mum's Baked Prawns

I knew I was a bit of a condiment anomaly, and more so after reading Thomas Gladwell’s essay, The Ketchup Conundrum.  Give me a plate of fries and I’ll always ask for some garlic mayonnaise over ketchup.  Part of Gladwell’s essay explores why ketchup is so loved by everyone else.  It’s because in one go, it hits all the all the fundamental tastes in the human palate.  Sweet, sour, salty, bitter (I keep forgetting that one!) and of course, umami – where else can you find a condiment that, as Gladwell says, pushes all five of these primal buttons!  So any foodie should love ketchup right?  While I cringe at the thought of pouring ketchup over a finely grilled burger, or a lovely piece of steak – I do love my Mum’s Ketchup Baked Cheese Prawns.  It’s so simple to prepare, take some prawns, and stuff it with a mixture of butter, cheese, mayonnaise and of course ketchup – then bake and you’re done!  With some lovely crust bread or a bowl of steamed white rice, it hits all the flavour buttons I look for.


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Prawns Thermidor

Noche Buena is a traditional celebration in the Philippines.  Literally meaning “Good Night”, this usually entails families gathering on the eve of Christmas for a late family meal.  Growing up, I had two Noche Buenas.  The first one was celebrated with my Dad’s family and the second and later one, with my Mom’s. For Noche Buena with my Dad’s relatives we would spend each year in his sister’s house.  My Tita Bebe (my father’s elder sister) would prepare a fantastic feast but the one dish that really stood out for me were the Prawns Thermidor.  I’ve always associated this dish as being so decadent and festive.  She would prepare this dish by

  1. removing the prawn meat but keeping the shells whole
  2. preparing the thermidor sauce and adding  the prawn meat
  3. stuffing the prawn thermidor into the shells
  4. and finally baking them

You can imagine what a laborious process, especially when feeding her family and friends, but I guess she really only had to do it once a year!

Prawns Thermidor

When I moved to Sydney and was going to spend our first Christmas away from Manila, I immediately emailed my Aunt for the recipe.  Since then, it has been one of my staple dishes – it’s a sure crowd pleaser and if you are not inclined to stuff the prawns, just place it in a festive serving dish.  So here’s my favourite Noche Buena dish.  Enjoy!  And as we say in the Philippines – Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)

Recipe (serves 5 as part of several main dishes)

  • 10 king prawns
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 5 to 10 button mushrooms (depending on size), diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheese (I used parmesan and gruyere)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove the prawn meat from the prawns by placing the prawn on a chopping board (eyes facing upwards), cutting the prawns in the middle with knife, or use scissors.  Carefully remove the prawn meat, keeping the shells intact.

    Prawn Shells

  2. Once the meat is removed, cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the carrot and celery stalk and cook until soft, around 5 minutes.
  4. Next, add the red pepper and saute until soft, around 10 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for around 5 minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the while wine and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add in the flour and cook out for 3 to 5 minutes.  Slowly add in the milk until the mixture thickens.
  8. Lastly, add the prawn meat and heat until just cooked.
  9. Cool the mixture and then stuff the prawn shells with the cooled prawn thermidor sauce (if you are not stuffing shells, just place in a serving dish)

    Prawn Thermidor Filling

  10. Top with cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180c (fan forced for 15 minutes).

Prawns prior to baking

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Trissa, Kath and Trish



Welcome new Kulinarya Members (if I have missed anyone out PLEASE email me!)

Olive http://www.latestrecipes.net/
Caroline http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/
Peachy http://www.thepeachkitchen.com/

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