Old #Tapas favourites at new beach house #morningtonpeninsula

Lovely days settling into our #airbnb beach house at Koonya Beach in Blairgowrie, on the edge of the Mornington Peninsula National Park at the very southern tip of Victoria. This is a very special part of Australia.

View from point overlooking Koonya Ocean Beach, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Today we went for a walk to Koonya Ocean Beach which is the nesting site of endangered birds and visits form wild seals. The coast is rugged and stunning with swim warnings along the way. After our walk we felt we deserved a lazy tapas lunch on the deck and a lazy afternoon, made extra special with time spent with our love,y new 6 month old granddaughter.

Lovely relaxing times in the lead up to Christmas.

Surveying the beauty!
Wild seal resting!!!

Here are some photos and recipe links for old favourite Tapas dishes and menu for lunch!

Tapas lunch

Menu included:

Prawns with chilli and garlic

Catalan chickpeas with spinach and raisins

Roasted capsicum with tuna filling

Potato and onion tortilla

Fried chorizo

Caperberries and olives

Cheese Plate with Manchego and delicious nectarines…

Oven crisped Baguette to sop up the prawn juices!

A lovely relaxed meal conducive to siesta on the deck!

#Bengali inspired #Prawn Curry #nigellaseeds

The combination is inspired by Bengali curries that use of Panch Phoran Five spice mix, except I substituted some of the spices with fresh ingredients to add zing, and added a “Tadka” style garnish for an extra layer of flavour.

The Nigella seeds are key to adding their unique almost maple syrup tones complementing the sweetness of the prawns.

So, the key ingredients for this curry are fresh prawns, nigella seeds (kalonji in Hindi), fennel seeds, lemon, fresh coriander and lots of ginger. I add two whole red chillies to impart some heat but they can be removed or allocated to the spice lovers!

I finished the prawns by adding my version of a Tadka, by slow frying thinly sliced onions in butter and adding fresh ginger and coriander. This “garnish” added another layer of flavour to the dish, resulting in quite a scrumptious outcome.

Can be served in lettuce cups, naan and/or with rice.looks great on a bed of turmeric rice.

Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500g shelled and deveined green prawns
  • 2 brown onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, double that amount of ginger
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies
  • 2 Handfuls of curry leaves (or use 2 bay leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh Coriander and ginger for Tadka

Method

1. Prepare all the fresh ingredients: a) shell and devein prawns, b) finely dice only 1.5 of the onions and finely slice the other half into thin half moons (keep seperate), c) finely dice the tomatoes, d) pound to make a paste the garlic, equivalent amount of fresh ginger and 1 red chilli together with 1/2 teaspoon salt, d) zest lemon and juice it.

2. Heat oil in shallow wide saucepan, add cumin seeds, add 2 red chillies left whole and curry leaves and cook on low heat until fragrant and leaves stop sputtering. Add diced onions only (not the sliced half moons), cook over low heat until just transparent.

3. Add ginger and garlic paste, nigella seeds and fennel seeds, mix through the onion mixture and cook until just fragrant, taking care so it doesn’t stick to the pot.

4. Add tomatoes and mix through, add the other 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer with lid on until tomatoes break down, adding small amounts of water if necessary.

5. While tomatoes are cooking, make the onions for the “Tadka” garnish: in a seperate pan, melt butter add sliced onions and cook slowly until caramelised. Chop 2 handfuls of coriander, finely slice ginger into matchsticks together with coriander. Set aside

6.When the tomatoes have broken down into a saucy consistency, add 1/2 lemon juice, the prawns and cook for 6-10 minutes, simmering until as much excess water that might come from prawns has evaporated but ensuring prawns don’t over cook. Pour over rest of lemon juice.

7. Garnish prawns with the “Tadka” and serve with rice, naan and/lettuce cups.

Bengali inspired prawn curry with nigella seeds

#Vietnamese inspired Stuffed Squid with spicy sauce #stuffedsquid

Vietnamese inspired braised stuffed squid with pork, noodle and prawn filling

I had some large frozen squid tubes so was googling around to see how to use them imaginatively.

Found inspiration in a range of Vietnamese stuffed squid recipes like this one Braised Stuffed Squid and Vietnamese Stuffed Calamari.

Didn’t have any dried mushrooms but did have frozen prawns so chopped them finely to add some texture to the stuffing.

Turned very well and made for an easy dinner. This dish would work well look great as part of a buffet spread as well. This recipe serves 2-3 served with rice but can be easily multiplied for larger groups.

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large squid tubes or 4 smaller tubes
  • 100g pork mince
  • 4 small prawns shelled, deveined, diced finely
  • 4 spring onions, finely diced and white and green parts kept seperately
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 20g cellophane/vermicelli noodles soaked in hot water until soft
  • 2-3 red chillies finely chopped (deseed for less heat)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes diced
  • 2 teaspoons grated palm sugar or 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons or so of roughly chopped fresh mint and coriander
  • 1/2 fresh lime

Method:

1. Defrost frozen squid tubes and frozen prawns until completely thawed.

2. Soak noodles in bowl of hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain. Cut into small pieces/short lengths.

3. Make pork stuffing, place minced pork in a seperate mixing bowl with ½ tsp salt and knead until smooth. Then garb small handfuls of the pork and slap or throw them against the sides of the bowl until tender and almost looks like a paste. Then add prawns, garlic, half the chopped chillies, half the chopped green part of the spring onions,1 teaspoon palm sugar or 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, noodles and combine well.

4. Stuff the squid tubes leaving some room at each end to allow mixture to expand. Make one or two small slits across the top of the squid tubes to allow air to escape. Secure ends with toothpicks and skewers.place in steamer over a pan of simmering water and cook for 15-20 minutes or until filling is firm and cooked and squid tubes are tender. (I steamed the leftover stuffing alongside the squid to not waste it)

5. Heat vegetable oil in frying pan, Then add tomatoes, rest of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, white part of spring onions, rest of the chillies, fish sauce and stir fry. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes have softened. Remove the sauce from the pan to a seperate bowl.

6 Add squid to same frying pan without cleaning pan after removing the sauce. Cook, turning carefully, for 5 minutes or until squid is light golden amd covered in pan juices.

7. Slice squid into thickish rounds, spoon over remaining sauce from the bowl, garnish with chopped coriander and mint and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with steamed rice or present on a platter on a bed of lettuce or watercress as part of a buffet or shared main.

Vietnamese inspired stuffed squid

Oriental Prawn Rice Pilaf

I’m not sure where this name came from but it has been in the family for many years. It is really a light rice pilaf dish. With mild Indian flavours, only a slight kick of chilli and the sweetness of the prawns, peas, carrots, it is an unusual but delicious combination.

Oriental Prawn Rice Pilaf

It’s a lovely accompaniment to grilled fish, like Spicy Salmon Fillets, or a meal in itself with a tangy Cucumber and Yoghurt Raita.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Resting time: 15 minutes

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 500g green prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 1.5 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 medium carrot diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 5 medium size mushrooms diced into small pieces
  • 2 large onions sliced into thin rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder or masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 stick of cinnamon bark
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • handful of fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger(1/2 a fingers worth) and garlic (3 cloves)crushed
  • 2-4 green chillies chopped in large pieces (thirds)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter for frying prawns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying onions

METHOD:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Shell and devein prawns, I cut them in half if they are too large, then marinate prawns with chilli powder/masala.

3. Parboil rice with 5 cups of water with salt until half cooked about 8-10 minutes (stain par boiled rice and set aside…don’t forget it on the stove, while doing other prep, and overcook the rice!)

4. Dice carrots and mushrooms while rice is cooking. (check the rice and strain) Then par-cook the carrots covered with water in the microwave for 2 minutes on high.

5. Heat butter and 1/2 oil in a large casserole dish over medium heat , fry prawns in batches for 2-3 minutes until just sealed, do not cook them through as they will cook in the oven. Remove prawns, draining from oil and place aside.

Fry prawns in small batches for a few minutes only.

6. Add additional oil to leftover pot and add cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, curry leaves and heat gently. Add onions and cook gently until transparent.

7. Add cumin powder, turmeric, green chillies, ginger and garlic to opinion mixture and mix through onion mixture, stirring for 2–3 minutes.

8. Remove the pot from heat, then remove the onion mixture from the oil. (This seems illogical as you add them back in later, but it has something to do with the interaction between the parboiled rice and the oil that does make a difference to the finished dish)

9. Add rice, mushrooms, drained carrots, peas and mix evenly, coating mixture in the leftover oil/butter in the pot. Then add prawns and onion mixture and gently mix through again.

10. Drizzle a cup of water over the whole dish and place in oven for 45 minutes. Leave it to sit in the pot to rest for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Oriental Prawn Rice Pilaf with Grilled Salmon and Tarka Dhal

Three Chilli Seafood Curry

The combination of dried chillies, whole red chillies and chilli powder makes this curry sound fiercely hot, but it’s not unless you eat the while chillies.

It’s actually a great way to cater for all levels of spice lovers, because the curry itself is quite mild – but the chillies are there for the hot heads as well who want to eat them!

A quick and easy mixed seafood curry to spice up your weeknight dinner line up.

You do need a well stocked Indian Spice cupboard though so check the ingredients..although the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves are optional, but they an extra layer of add deliciousness if you have them.

Ingredients:

  • 200g flathead or white fish fillets cut into pieces
  • 100g squid rings
  • 6 medium size green prawns
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 4 dried chillies left whole
  • 2 red chillies stem cut off but left whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds(optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Handful of curry leaves(optional)
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamarind pulp or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • 100g plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Coriander and diced red onion for garnish

Method:

1. Heat oil in heavy based saucepan with lid.

2. Add fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds if using, dried chillies and heat through until just fragrant. Be careful not to burn.

3. Add onions , red chillies and curry leaves and cook gently until onions are translucent.

4. Add ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric and cumin powder and mix through until fragrant.

5. Add seafood, scatter over salt, and mix through to cover in spices. Add tamarind pulp, yoghurt and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer.

6. Simmer gently with lid on for 8-10 minutes or until fish is just cooked through.

7. Check that tamarind has disintegrated and remove any chunks if necessary.

8. Garnish with coriander and diced red onion and serve with plain rice and a cucumber raaita.

Eggplant pieces stuffed with prawn and Zucchini

Eggplant stuffed with prawn and zucchini filling

Traditionally a dim sum/yum cha dish, it is also a Asian delicious starter or accompaniment.

I had read a few different recipes and methods and was initially suspicious about the stuffing coming out whilst the eggplant cooks, but it turned out fine.

The trick is to make sure you use big purple eggplants and cut generous thick slices to begin with so your pockets have generous “side” flaps for the prawn mixture to sit within.

Prep time: 10 minutes cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large thick eggplant about 20-25cm long or 2 smaller ones
  • 3-4 large green prawns shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 Spring onions chopped – about 3/4 cup
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour or potato flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method:

1. Chop prawns, Zucchini, and 2 garlic cloves and put into food processor.

2. Add ginger, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon only of oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, white pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar.

3. Process until a smoothish paste forms.

4. Put paste into a mixing bowl, add 1/2 spring onions chopped, cornflour and mix.

5. Top and tail eggplant, then cut into approximately 5cm pieces. Then cut a deep slit halfway through each piece WITHOUT slicing to the bottom. You should have 4-5

6. Fill each of the pieces generously with the prawn stuffing. Don’t worry too much if there is a bit of “overhang”!

7. Heat the vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in heavy based pan, then place eggplant pockets in pan and fry over medium heat until both sides are golden brown.

8. Add half a cup of water into the pan and cover with lid so the whole thing can steam, turn carefully and repeat with another half cup steaming until prawn mixture is cooked puffy and a pale pinky yellow.

9. Place eggplant on platter, reserving any liquid in pan,and keep warm in low oven whilst you make the sauce.

10. Add 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil to pan, bring to a simmer allowing to slightly thicken. Add rest of chopped spring onion, then pour over eggplant and serve.