Oven baked rice with brown shrimp and green vegetables, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the centre. Perfect rice without fail, inspired by Diana Henry’s recipe.
Vietnamese cabbage and prawn salad with nuoc mam dressing, layered on baked brown rice. The best salad bowls are a/ Asian and b/ contain cabbage.
Calamari rings pan-fried with chorizo and spring onions. Squid is a cinch to cook, it just needs a gutsy flavour to go with it - like chorizo. My view is this is a match made in heaven.
Paella mixta, chicken and shrimp with crunchy rice at the bottom of the pan and incomparable flavour throughout. I am feeling quite pleased with myself as I’ve just read that paella is one of the top most difficult dishes to make at home.
Crab butter with Thai chilli flavour, fantastic spread on toast or fresh bread. Chili crab butter is easy to make and can be served as a dip or sandwich spread.
Crab salad with spring onions and radishes, served with acocado slices - the classic. The alpha male approach to crab is to grab a live crustacean and plunge it into boiling water, claws waving.
Curried mussels with saffron and ginger, steamed in light creamy sauce. No, I still don’t like curries. One of the very few dishes that revolt me, out there with mushy peas, kale, barley and any veiny, tendony, gelatinous meat.
Ebi fry, Japanese style breaded and deep fried shrimp with tonkatsu sauce. Ebi-furai can fortuitously be pronounced ‘ebi fry’ and that’s what it is: shrimp fry. It’s not katsu - I’ve spent some time around various websites featuring katsu, tonkatsu and such, only to find that there is no ebi katsu.
Fideua, Spanish pasta dish with fish and seafood, is cooked exactly like paella: in an enormous pan, only with short vermicelli pasta replacing rice.
Five spice shrimp with greens and crispy noodles. This is different to your usual stir fry: it’s a warm stir fried salad. The crispy noodles are totally optional: you can do soft noodles or no noodles.
Fresh clams cooked with plenty of garlic and white wine. And then – off they go into spaghetti or linguine, or soup or chowder , or just as a splendid dish of little morsels of saltiness with the juices mopped by some good bread.
Grilled lobster with flavoured butter, and how to boil, crack and split a lobster. Let me tell you: this is a seriously challenging endeavour. First off, to procure one: live lobsters don’t just perambulate along supermarket shelves, ready to be picked up and scanned through the till.
Grilled mussels with savoury breadcrumbs and crumbled black pudding. It’s blood. Mixed with fillers, more often than not cereal of some kind, less often chopped up offal; encased, sausage way, into a length of gut.
Hot butterflied tiger prawns in a spicy marinade by Ottolenghi. Grill them, fry them or barbecue them as long as you’re quick – they only need a minute in the pan.
Crab salad two ways, white crab meat and sweetcorn layered with creamy brown crab meat salad base. Use fresh dressed crab meat and bake corn on the cob for the best crab salad ever.
Moules marinières with cream, fairly standard, but this recipe has a tiny twist. The usual spiel is to cook mussels with wine, take them out and then add cream – what a waste of time. I added the cream beforehand, turned up the heat full whack and threw the shells in...
Prawn burgers with spicy slaw. Fried but briefly, loaded with crunchy slaw scant on mayo, made of the best source of protein in the discovered universe – who says you can’t have the best of all worlds?
Prawn Creole for two served with plain rice is my signature special main dish these days. Easy sauce base and roux, and homemade Creole seasoning recipe included.
Prawn fried rice spiced with cinnamon and star anise; light, healthy and extremely satisfying. The secret of good fried rice is fridge cold rice – and not much stirring.
Homemade gyoza are much easier to make and cook than you’d think and are perfect served with a simple dipping sauce and a quick cabbage salad with oriental dressing. They make a fantastic snack, starter or main course.
Prawn pasta bake with frozen prawns and a handful of spinach. I seem to be cooking just one pasta dish all the time: boil the noodles, throw a handful of greenery into the boiling water by the end, drain the lot and stir in some cheese/sauce/butter.
Prawn tacos with dried fruit salsa, something a bit different for a taco night. Fresh or frozen prawns cooked quickly in a spicy sauce just beg to be loaded into tortillas.
Prawns with stewed tomatoes. The other night I went out for dinner (a respite from all this cooking, shooting and Fiending) and had a very decent red mullet served with tomato and raisin stew. The stew was simply AMAZING.
Scallop ceviche with citrus juice and fresh plums. Contrary to what you might think, a dish of raw fish is actually a pretty common thing.
Scallops and asparagus stir fry. Use frozen queen scallops for this dish, they will come into their own anyway against the background of perfectly cooked aubergines and asparagus.
Scallops thermidor, fat little molluscs baked in creamy fragrant Thermidor sauce on a bed of spelt and pancetta. Who needs lobster?
Fresh scallops, flash fried, with discs of fried chorizo. Fantastically healthy chunks of pure protein, they are easy to cook but just as easy to overcook and turn rubbery. A minute on each side in a very hot pan.
Pan fried scallops with pancetta and spiced Napa cabbage. This dish has all my favourite tastes combined: it’s salty and sweet and spicy and sour.
Spicy prawns cooked with garlic, lemon and sriracha. Serve in individual cast iron dishes if you have them - it looks pretty. Serve with some crusty freshly baked, a green salad and your lunch or supper is sorted.
Thai tom yum soup with rice vermicelli noodles and fresh clams. I’ve concocted the recipe from an extensive search through various, more and less authentic-looking sources.
Vietnamese summer rolls in rice wrappers, with pork, shrimp and herb filling. Daintily packaged, with shrimp peeking pinkily through the thin film of the wrapper, like some kind of exotic reptile or jellyfish with transparent skin.
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