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Week 24: Prawn and Butternut squash Biryani.

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This week's recipe was a bit of an experiment and not a 100% successful one at that. I'll discuss that at the end but first, the recipe.

I tossed some uncooked prawns in a seasoned flour mixture which contained paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and mixed spice. I left them to sit for a few minutes while I chopped and fried a red pepper, an onion and a clove of garlic. Next I added a handful of diced butternut squash. When the veg had softened I added the prawns and more spices: half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, curry powder and garam masala. Finally I added a portion of cooked rice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

The end result was something of a curate's egg. The spiced prawns were good - the seasoned flour had gone slightly crispy and created a good texture. The actual flavour of the biryani was also good. The only problem was created by the butternut squash. It was just too sweet and clashed a bit with the savoury flavours. I have used squash before and not found it a problem so it might have just been this squash was more sweet than I'm used to. It may be worth trying a sweet recipe, such as a variation on pumpkin pie, so that may be a future new recipe for me to try.

Week 20 part 2: Spätzle with prawns and mussels

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I have cooked with spätzle a few times before but each time the recipe has been very similar, using onions and cheese along with whatever meat is being used in the meal. Now to be honest tonight's recipe is also a variation on the same theme. The inspiration came from here. We decision to cook this was made at the last minute so we I made a version using the ingredients we had in the house.

I cooked the noodles in a pan of boiling water, sliced an onion and a leek and cooked them in some olive oil, and grated some pecorino cheese. We had cooked prawns and mussels so they got mixed in at the end along with a splash of lemon juice and some freshly ground pepper. It was a quick and easy meal to make.

Week 4: Saag Aloo with Prawn and Butternut Squash Curry

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The recipes this week came about because we had an assortment of vegetables which needed using up: a bag of potatoes we bought which were at their sell-by date, a butternut squash we bought last week but hadn't used yet, some frozen spinach from last year which we keep forgetting to use.

The Saag Aloo contained onion, potatoes, and spinach and was spiced with garlic, ginger, chilli, mustard, cumin and turmeric.

The Prawn and Squash curry was spiced with cumin, chilli, turmeric, ground coriander and curry powder. We had a pot of plain yoghurt open in the fridge so I used that instead of the double cream in the original recipe.

Saag Aloo and Butternut squash curry

I served the curry with a mixture of plain and wild rice.

Prawn and smoked sheep's cheese tart

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At the weekend we were driving near the Millet's farm shop near Abingdon (on our way home after collecting our new Dormouse). We both really like going round shops like these. They have an impressive range of food available. A lot of it is fairly pricey but the fresh cakes are always excellent value. While we were there we bought a cream-filled 'Viennese Slice' and a really nice flapjack. In addition to those we also bought some cheeses. Tonight we used the smoked sheep's cheese.

Prawn and smoked sheep's cheese tart

We used ready-made puff pastry which we rolled out then spread with red pesto. Next we added a layer of sliced onions which had been gently fried to soften them. The next layer was prawns and sun-dried tomatoes before finally being topped with the grated smoked cheese.

It was baked at gas mark 6 for approximately 20 minutes, until the pastry had puffed up and turned golden.

Week 50: Cheesy prawn gnocchi

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This weeks recipe was based on one from the Cottage Smallholder website. While the gnocchi were cooking, I washed and chopped a handful of watercress. After I drained the gnocchi, I put the creme fraiche in the pan and heated it through along with the watercress, a handful of grated cheese (because we had spare in the freezer), and a pinch of chilli flakes. I stirred the gnocchi into the sauce before pouring everything into a pan, ready to be grilled.

We had a packet of mozzarella which was nearly out of date so that got shredded and sprinkled on top before we added the breadcrumbs and parmesan. The pan then went under the grill to melt the cheese.

The meal was very quick to prepare and could easily be adapted to other ingredients, such as chicken instead of prawns, leek instead of the watercress (which was itself a replacement for the spinach in the original recipe).