In this Huffington Post article by Adam Roberts, the Amateur Gourmet talks about how food bloggers are a ‘frumpy brunch’ and ‘sometimes lacks polish and/or originality’. And he is definitely on to something here. I look at some cook books and I think there is no way I can do that.
I bought my brother Heston Blumenthal’s book: Heston Blumenthal at Home. It is a beautiful book with amazing creative recipes and techniques and gorgeous photography. But I am intimidated by it. The recipes sound difficult and I can imagine completely butchering a meal.
I don’t feel this way about many of the food bloggers I follow. I tend to follow bloggers who take photos that make the food like tasty but not artistic. Not that these bloggers are taking bad photos, in fact some of them have built up great reputations as food photographers. But the styling of the photos have a more at home feel than some food photos on the web that are beautiful but don’t necessarily look like something I want to attempt to cook. The blogs also tend to have names that feel welcoming and friendly. They make you feel like you could cook their recipe and that it will be successful.
I pinned this recipe for prawns with tomatoes and feta from Saveur a while ago but put off making it because of that intimidation factor. The name Saveur just sounds so fancy. Plus it is prawns which are easy to overcook (shrimps to those in the US and who knows what elsewhere). And the dish looked a bit flashy.
But I was so wrong not to try this recipe sooner. If there is one word I would use to describe this recipe it is forgiving. I made mistakes, I got confused, I forgot an ingredient and yet the recipe still came out delicious. I wasn’t sure about mixing cheese and prawns but the flavours went well together. The recipe is available here:
To make this for one person I used the following ingredients:
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of minced garlic (equivalent to one clove of garlic)
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp of tomato paste
- 30ml white wine
- ¼ tsp of oregano
- A pinch of sugar
- A pinch of crushed red chilli flakes
- 1 medium tomato grated
- 1 tbs fresh mint, chopped
- 150g of king prawns, peeled and deveined (aka shrimp). In the Saveur picture it looks like the prawns still had their heads and tails on but I completely peeled mine.
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 30g of low fat feta
- Half a lemon
I sort of followed the recipe given. Reducing the ingredients meant that after adding the wine, the sauce reduced by half in only 2 minutes. I forgot to turn the heat down to medium low when following the second stage of the instructions. So my sauce thickened in 6 minutes rather than 12. My stove does not change temperature very quickly anyway. And I forgot to garnish with the parsley.
So what would I do differently next time? I would use tinned tomatoes or chop the tomato rather than grating the tomato. The grating was a pain in the neck and I am not sure what difference it made. But that is about it. Not turning the heat down just reduced the cook time which to me is a bonus. The main thing is to keep an eye on the prawns and as soon as they look cooked, take them off the heat.
The added bonus is that this recipe only has about 330 calories if you use low fat feta. So lots of flavor bang whilst not destroying the diet. I ate mine shrimp with some good crusty bread to mop up the leftover sauce. If you choose the right bread you can get a great meal for around 500 calories which for me is about right for dinner on an average day.
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