Hmm, I have had a bit of time off over Christmas with the aim being to get moving on creating my own business. Not sure what has happened but things haven’t gone quite to plan. I think this is in part because I just needed to stop. 2014 has been a bit of a crazy year and my body has said I needed to stop and smell the roses for a little while.
Having said that I have taken some baby steps and things are moving and I am so excited even by these small steps. I finally feel like I am heading in the right direction after wandering down a number of seedy alleys and dead end paths. I have a couple of things I am working on. The first is an ecourse for bloggers on managing their blog finances. If you are interested in hearing more about this then sign up at the bottom of this post for updates (and a special discount code).
But my big adventure for 2015 is building a community and support for people who are interested in setting up a food business. The business is called The Ingredients of Business and the website went live just before Christmas thanks to some lovely design work by Katie Rosebraugh. She has been fabulous to work with and if you are looking at having a website designed I can’t recommend her enough. If you or a friend are looking at setting up a food business, pop over and have a look or come and say hello on facebook.
Another goal I have for this year is to develop more of my own recipes for one or two people. I love the recipes that I modify but I am really starting to enjoy the creative process of coming up with my own recipes. I am also keen to try replicating meals I have had at restaurants. I am still going to reduce recipes that are already on the internet but expect to see more of my own creations as well.
To get the year off on the right foot I am sharing this recipe for chilli prawns (shrimp) on lemongrass skewers. It is inspired by a dish I used to love when I was living in Laos. Every now and again we used to go out to dinner to a more upmarket Laos restaurant instead of my lovely small local. It had a gorgeous garden to eat in and the food had some great creative twists on traditional Laos food. One of those dishes was prawns on lemongrass skewers. They were beautifully refreshing and had a wonderful clean flavor to them if that makes sense. The flavours weren’t complex but they melded together just right.
This is my attempt at trying to recreate that dish. The trickiest part is getting the lemongrass to act like a skewer. You have to peel the layers off the lemongrass until you get to a thin enough skewer that you can pop through the prawn but don’t make it too thin that it is not firm enough to act as a skewer. I then trimmed the top of the lemongrass with a knife to make a bit of a point to feed through the prawn. Since making these I have realized my memory of the dish was a bit shaky and what the restaurant did was to mince the prawns and then just mold them around the lemongrass. Next time I am going to try that.
But regardless of this, the dish was still extra delicious and perfect for this hot weather we are having in Canberra. The lemongrass adds a very subtle citrusy flavor to the prawns and I love the spice and sweetness from the chilli. I recommend letting everything marinate for an hour or more, so this is not one of the quickest recipes to get on the table. But actual prep time is only 10 minutes (depending on how quick you are with the lemongrass skewer crafting) and cook time is even less at about 6 minutes. I just ate this as a very light dinner but you could serve it with rice and some fresh steamed vegetables for a low calorie dinner. The prawns have 260 calories assuming you don’t eat the lemongrass (and I wouldn’t recommend doing that).
Oh and when you are buying your lemongrass definitely shop around, otherwise this recipe can get very pricey. At one of the major supermarkets near me, the lemongrass was selling for $2.70 a piece but at the fruit and veg market it was only 80c. Talk about a markup!
- 200g of prawn cutlets (uncooked prawns, peeled but with the tail still on)
- 1/2 tbs of rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tbs of sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp of dried chilli flakes (though you could also use chopped fresh chilli)
- 1/4 tsp of sugar
- 3 pieces of lemongrass
- Olive oil spray
- Mix all the ingredients except the prawns and lemongrass in a bowl to make a marinade
- Peel the lemongrass until it is thin enough to go through the prawns but are still stiff enough to use as a skewer.
- Cut the lemongrass to a size that will hold three prawns and still fit in your pan.
- Trim the end of the lemongrass into a point to enable threading through the prawns.
- Thread the prawns on to the skewers and place on to a plate with a lip.
- Pour the marinade over the prawns - use a brush to spread it evenly.
- Pop the prawns in to the fridge for an hour or longer.
- When you are ready to cook, heat up the barbeque or a grill pan that is big enough to hold the prawns. If using your stove, I heat the pan up to a medium-high heat.
- If using a grill pan, give the pan a quick spray with a cooking oil spray. I normally use an olive oil one.
- Put the prawns on the barbeque or in the grill pan and grill until prawns are fully cooked. About 3 minutes each side. Make sure you keep an eye on the prawns as you don't want to over cook them.