My husband travels quite a lot for his job. And while he is very good about setting a cost-cutting example for his staff, he does eat and drink rather well on his expense account. So, to assuage his feelings of guilt at leaving me alone again with the dogs and cat to look after while he goes galavanting, he usually tells me to “cook something nice for myself” and “allows” me to open a good bottle of wine. I do say the latter with tongue in cheek, dear reader; he knows darn well that I will pick whatever bottle pleases me whether he mentions it or not!
This last time he was away I was picking up some cat food in Waitrose for Gribs my finicky cat (or That Cat as my husband calls her) and I stopped at the fresh fish counter. There to my amazement were 15 gorgeous raw Tiger Prawns on offer for £6.99 per kilo instead of £25.99! The bets are on: did I or didn’t I snap them all up, quicker than quick? You bet I did! I got the whole lot for just £6 and hot footed it on out of the store to come home and create myself an Excellent Delicacy for my tea.
Here I must open a parentheses – ah, but I do it again – I am writing in Ex-Pat Speak. My British readers will recognise the term Brackets while my American readers will have been taught the Latin term parentheses. I mean of course these little symbols here: ( ) Anyway, in America we eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (often called Supper if it’s a normal weeknight affair, Dinner sometimes being reserved for more formal occasions). In Britain I am learning that there are more names for an Evening Meal than you can shake a stick at, tea being one of them. I would expect “a cuppa” and some cake for tea but I get beans on toast. But that’s another story… See Mary Ellen Foley’s excellent Anglo-American Experience blog for more of same (there’s a link in the sidebar).
Right. Close parentheses. Or brackets. (Whatever!) So here I am in my kitchen, gleefully examining my treasure and envisaging all sorts of Excellent Delicacies. I decide to peel all of them, put ten prawn tails in the fridge for tomorrow when my husband comes home, and make myself Tiger Prawns and Fresh Garlic on Tagliatelle. Sounds delish! It was simple as can be, and didn’t really merit a full recipe. Check out my little film below and get out your sauté pan!
Ah, yes. I was “allowed” to open a nice bottle of wine, too. So I dug around in the wine cupboard and chose an Austrian white wine, of all things, that went superbly well with both the prawns and the cream in my sauce. And it was able to stand up to the anisette taste, as well. It was a Domaine Wachau Grüner Veltliner ‘Terraces’ 2009 from Wachau, Austria and it’s on offer now from Waitrose at an amazing £5.69 per bottle. Delightful, crisp, and fruity and well worth every penny. Offer ends 24 August 2010.
Ah, but there’s more… After I peeled my 15 whole tiger prawns I was left with 15 tiger prawn heads, weighing in at exactly 500 grams. I have an absolute aversion to waste and will do anything or invent anything to find a use for bits and pieces (that’s bits and bobs in the UK). So out came my “Fast and Easy” cookbook by Janie Turner of UK Thermomix, and in less than a half hour I had whipped up some fantastic Prawn Bisque in my trusty Thermomix. I chopped up some shallots and several cloves of garlic and sautéed them in the Thermomix bowl and then I cooked the prawn heads (shells and all) with some tomatoes, pastis, and a couple of other ingredients – in the very same Thermomix bowl – with no extra washing up. The blending power of the Thermomix is so fantastic that a mere minute on Speed 10 transformed a lumpy conglomeration into a gorgeous, smooth soup with fabulous deep taste. And best of all, I was watching reruns of “Heartbeat” on the telly while the Thermomix was doing all the work! It’s not terribly photogenic but I promise to show you the next time I make it, which will be soon, I can assure you.