Friday, January 8, 2010

Grilled honey prawns with noodle salad

Serves 4

When I go comfort at home, there's often noodles in the mix somewhere. Now Christmas and New Year's out of the way, it's time to get the diet back on track as best as possible, and this dish (or variations of it) I could easily eat a couple of times a week without any hint of boredom setting in. The arame seaweed in the noodle salad adds a subtle texture and a depth of flavour. I've done this recipe with chicken before too, but I had it with some fat prawns yesterday and it was the business.

1 tblsp honey
6 tblsp soy sauce
6 tblsp sake
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
4-6 big prawns per person, shelled and cleaned
2 tblsp sesame oil
30g dried arame, shredded
240g vermicelli rice noodles
2 large carrots, peeled
4 inner celery stems, trimmed
2 bunches of chives, roughly snipped
1 large handful of coriander leaves

Place the honey, soy, sake, garlic and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Simmer gently for 3 minutes or until the honey has melted. Leave to cool until tepid.
Place the prawns in a bowl and mix in one-third of the marinade. Add 1 tblsp sesame oil and leave to marinate while you prepare the salad.

Soak the arame in plenty of cold water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a mixing bowl with the remaining marinade.

In the meantime, prepare the noodles according to the packet instructions — usually by soaking in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and shake dry. Mix into the seaweed with 1 tblsp sesame oil. Slice the carrot and celery into matchsticks, about 5cm in length, and mix into the noodles along with the snipped chives and coriander leaves.

Preheat an oven-top griddle pan or non stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Remove the prawns from the marinade and cook in the pan for barely a minute on each side, or until cooked through with no hint of pinkness. Put the noodles on a plate and top with the prawns.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crème brûlée with raspberries

Serves 6

It seems for ever now that it's been impossible to avoid crème brûlée and fashion has fallen out of love with this simple little number. It adoms menus throughout the world and comes with every imaginable flavouring, some nice and some nasty. Don’t let this put you off, the fact is it makes a fine easy dessert, but raspberries are the only addition to the basic recipe that I'd really advocate.

400ml double cream
100ml milk
1 vanilla bean, split in half
4 medium egg yolks
3 tblsp caster sugar
1 punnet raspberries
Caster sugar for dusting

Heat the cream, milk and vanilla bean to boiling point in a saucepan. In a large jug or bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, then whisk in the cream mixture.

Heat the oven to 180˚c/gas mark 3. Divide the raspberries between six ramekins, and then pour in the cream mixture. Place the ramekins in a roasting tray half-filled with hot water and bake for 45 minutes or until the custards have set.

Lift the ramekins onto a wire rack to cool. Just before serving, spread a thin layer of sugar across the top of each ramekin and caramelize with a kitchen blowtorch.