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Spicy Vegetable Rice with Prawns

I figured that if it’s good enough for Jamie Oliver and his 15 minute meals, it’s good enough for Miss Friday’s midweek meals. I’m talking about Uncle Ben’s Express Rice; I had a pouch of his Wholegrain Tomato and Basil Rice with Quinoa lurking in the back of my cupboard, which was the inspiration behind tonight’s dinner. Of course I had to pimp it up a little.

I’m a huge fan of short cuts, and I make no bones about it either – especially during the week when time is tight, or for those evenings where you’d rather not be slaving over the hot stove all night. Yes, even I have days like that.

So, using what I could find in my fridge (a few random left over vegetables) and store cupboard (herbs and spices) I created a speedy midweek meal that also happens to be wonderfully healthy. I had some jumbo king prawns to use so I decided to make this delicious spicy rice dish. It reminded me of a jambalaya, now I realise the ingredients are quite different, but you’ll appreciate what I mean from the picture.

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Spicy Vegetable Rice with Prawns
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • Uncle Ben’s Express Tomato and Basil Wholegrain Rice
  • 225g cooked jumbo king prawns
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, small dice
  • 1 red onion, small dice
  • 1 courgette, small dice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Knorr herb infusion stock pot
  • 600g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp spicy smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and garlic, cook for about 10 minutes stirring until the vegetables have softened. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Then add the chopped tomatoes, stock pot, and vinegar, allow to cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the sugar, paprika and chilli flakes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the rice in the microwave and add it to the pan, mix well to incorporate all of the vegetables.
  4. Finally, add the jumbo king prawns and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

1

Fillet Steak with Whisky Peppercorn Sauce, Creamy Mustard Mash & Wilted Spinach

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One thing I really missed when I was pregnant was steak, since I won’t eat it unless it’s very rare (practically blue), I didn’t really eat it at all. So last week when Richard asked for fillet steak, I was more than happy to oblige.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t choose fillet; I find the fatter cuts have much more flavour, but I must confess this particular steak was utterly delicious and really melted in the mouth. It was also reduced to about £2.50 per steak, a real bargain not to be missed. I have a slight obsession with the reduced section of the supermarket.

I’ve been making the same whisky and peppercorn sauce for some years and it never fails me. Rich even said that he had never really liked peppercorn sauce until he tasted mine – high praise indeed. I’ll take that.

So I figured, if we were pushing the boat out and having fillet steak, we should serve it with the whisky peppercorn sauce and not worry about calories, hence the accompaniment of creamy mustard mash. The spinach adds a much needed touch of colour to the dish as well as offsetting the sweetness of the mash.

For the peppercorn sauce:

In a small saucepan, heat 300ml of beef stock and 1 tbsp of freshly cracked black peppercorns over a medium heat, allow to simmer (stirring frequently) until it has reduced by a third. Add 60ml of whisky and 100ml of double cream continue to simmer until it has reduced by a third again. Do not boil.

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For the mustard mash:

Place the cooked mashed potatoes into a bowl; add 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard, a pinch of white pepper and 60ml of double cream. Stir well to combine and ensure the mashed potato is a very smooth texture.

Serve with wilted spinach and steak cooked to your liking.

This recipe would make a lovely dinner party dish over the festive season, perhaps for that New Year’s eve dinner?

Now, you may have noticed an improvement in the quality of my photographs, well I certainly hope you have. I finally got round to buying an SLR camera (I’ve only wanted one forever), I just need to learn how to use it properly now. I’ve often thought that a photo doesn’t do a dish justice, so hopefully now I have more chance of truly capturing the deliciousness of my recipes and enticing you to cook them yourself. That, after all is the purpose of this blog, to get others cooking and sharing recipes.