Garlic Chilli Prawns

We’re still trying to ‘eat right’ as our wedding fast approaches, but there are only so many days a week I can eat chicken breast! In the search for something different, I invested in some jumbo, raw prawns, which I turned into a tasty garlic, chilli prawn dish.

I started by adding some oil to a frying pan and allowing that to warm up, before adding 5 small cloves of garlic, crushed – if you really like garlic, add some more! To the garlic, I added two finely chopped chillis – not too fiery for me, but again, cook to your taste – the seeds were left in and some paprika sprinkled over the top.

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Allow these to come together for a couple of minutes and then add some small pieces of chorizo if you have it, don’t panic if you don’t. Cook until it starts to release some of its juices and then throw in some freshly chopped tomatoes.

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Now it’s time to throw in your lovely prawns, along with the juice of one lemon. When the prawns start to turn pink, add some chopped mushrooms.

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To serve, we had pasta, but you could have crusty bread or a salad.

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Mushroom Fun

So, this weekend, I finally lived out a bucket list item – mushroom foraging!

A dear friend of mine, Jonathan, has been promising to take me for year, but for one reason or another, we’ve just never got around to it. Until now!

With typical English weather, we went out in the pouring rain to look for a fungi rewards. The first, were pretty easy, as they were just around the corner from his front door, under some magnificent pine trees. These, I was reliably informed, were cep mushrooms, or porcinis. These funny, yellow squashy things were everywhere, just ripe for the picking.  Of course, we left plenty for others and so they could sew their spores.

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However, mushroom number two – the parasol – was somewhat trickier to gather. It involved climbing Mount Everest. Ok, so maybe not quite that, it was a hill of the South Downs, but for someone who is more out of shape than she’s care to admit, it may as well have been Mount Everest.

Again, there were plenty and they were so big. I had no idea they were going to be so huge. After gathering what we needed, it was back down the hill to a much-needed cup of tea.

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Having gone to so much effort to gather such quality ingredients, I wanted to make sure they were the star of the show and opted to give a mushroom stroganoff a try. I’ve done beef stroganoff many of times, but with my meat-loving partner sharing this dinner, I wasn’t sure how well a vegetarian dish would go down.

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I found this recipe, which I loosely followed – measurements went out of the window to be completely honest! It was really easy to make – just onion, garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock (could be veggie if you don’t eat meat) and of course, the mushrooms!

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I served it up with some rice and dinner was ready in about 10 minutes, literally no time at all.

The mushrooms certainly had a flavour I’ve never tried before. They were pretty fleshy – even Himself said that! – and very filling.

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Definitely a tasty dinner and I would do it again, but I’d probably add some beef – more at the request of Mr Meat-Eater!

Whilst I have no idea about mushroom collecting, I would go again with Jonathan. I would highly recommend going with an expert if you know someone, but please, don’t just go picking and eating wild mushrooms willy-nilly. Some of them can be quite nasty!

I have this book, which is part of the River Cottage Handbook series, in my collection and I love it, I’m just not brave enough to go out mushrooming by myself. Definitely a good read for anyone interested in the topic though.

Chicken With Tomatoes, Mushrooms & Spinach

It was another chicken dinner tonight, which must mean we’re back on a healthy eating attempt in our house.

In fairness, we do eat a lot of chicken generally, but the other half does love his pork. Whilst I like chicken, I prefer thighs, whereas him indoors isn’t really into the dark meat of poultry, saying it’s too strong a flavour for him, so we usually have breast – which can get very boring!

Tonight, was another case of making it up as I went along.

I took a small red onion a diced it up finely and fried it in olive oil along with a finely chopped garlic clove (we’re going out tonight, so we couldn’t go too heavy on that!) Once they had softened, I added two diced chicken breasts and let them start to get a colour on them before throwing in plenty of sliced mushrooms.

Once the chicken was well on its way to cooking, I added a small tub of full fat crème fraiche and let that melt down, along with a chicken stock pot (I use supermarket own brand), of course, if you have your own homemade, then go for it, but not having roast chicken too often means I don’t have that luxury – one day I will!!

As we still have plenty of homegrown tomatoes left, I was very generous with adding the cherry tomatoes that we have.

Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of dried basil. Personally, I don’t like adding salt to my cooking, but that’s a personal taste and my attempt to reduce the other half’s intake of salt.

Whilst all this has been going on, I was cooking up enough pasta for the two of us – penne is our shape of choice, but of course, any would do. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken and sauce and give it a good mix.

Once the pasta is nicely coated, add a few generous handfuls of spinach and let that wilt into the mix – it should only take a few seconds.

Plate up and scatter some roughly torn fresh basil leaves to serve.

It went down very well, with two thumbs up from Himself!

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