Friday, 18 September 2015

Prawn and scallop tagliatelle

When away from home, I try to shop for food as exotic as possible. In this context I have been very lucky to visit London quite a bit lately. Why? Well, such a huge city has almost any kind of food you wish for.
I must say, I have been looking at how the British cook and it’s alright. I love watching cooking shows on TV, not to copy recipes but to get ideas. Having seen quite a few people make scallops, I decided that I wanted to try them. Quite expensive little things they are, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere in Belgrade so I treated myself. This was around the time I also advised my sister to start going on shopping sprees and buy herself some clothes before I ate all of our London money!
So, scallops…. What to do with them? How to prepare them... Now the ones I bought had no shells and were quite small, so I decided to add some prawns to the mix. Unless you live in a beautiful place by the sea and get to binge eat seafood all the time, this idea of mine must sound awfully posh. I admit to that. However, I must admit right away that I just love prawns! Somehow they were always close to the scallops in the shops, so I assumed I would love the scallops too. Honestly, I did. Scallops are great food. My dear friends, they are not prawn. My prawn-love stems from a beautiful restaurant in Baghdad that I frequented with my family as a kid. It was called Babeesh. I remember it to this day: a beautiful place on Hindiya, on a corner of two streets if I am not mistaken. It had marble flooring and burgundy tablecloths. Your table was set perfectly with two or three glasses, all having their own purpose (come to think of it, I might get to how to set a table on the blog) and a waiter would always be standing not too far away to refill your glass of water every time you had a sip. Seems a bit odd maybe and the only sad thing about it was that it was in 1990s Iraq meaning that it wouldn’t really be full all of the time. Babeesh was this amazing place I tasted prawns for the first time in. They were battered to perfection and served with cocktail sauce in a pepper. How cute was that! Now, that was years ago so I did not have a phone to take a picture of the plate as we all do on Instagram nowadays, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Throughout the years, I have been rediscovering prawn and reinventing it in many ways. The prawn and scallop tagliatelle are one attempt. This is a classic example of a quick recipe that is so yummy, you will wonder why anyone ever spends hours in the kitchen making food. I know, I came back for seconds (and thirds, but don’t tell). And if you really hate seafood, feel free to use chicken instead. Though, I am one to say that you should always try new things. You never know what might soon become your favourite food! So, keep exploring J

Prawn and scallop tagliatelle

150g prawns
150g scallops
2 large mushrooms
1 corn
A handful of fresh spinach (cut finely)
3 leeks (whites to fry, greens to set aside)
1 carrot, cut into cubes
A spoonful of butter
Sweet chilli sauce
Fish sauce
Cornstarch (a teaspoon dissolved in 50ml of water)
200g tagliatelle

Sauté carrots and leek for a minute, then add mushrooms and make sure they are brown on both sides before adding prawns, scallops and corn to the mix.
Boil the tagliatelle in water. Fresh tagliatelle are the best, it’s worth it in the end.
Add half a teaspoon of honey, a spoonful of chilli sauce, fish sauce and a half a teaspoon of turmeric to the prawns and scallops... Mix it all together and add the cornstarch and mix in quickly (first dissolve cornstarch in a tiny bit of water of course, just to make your life easier).

Turn off the heat. By now your tagliatelle should be done, drain them and mix them with the prawn and scallop mix first then adding the fresh leek and spinach just to give it an exciting crispy texture.

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