Cath’s Chilli Prawns


Cath’s Chilli Prawns

My good friend, Cath, has sent me her Chili Prawns Recipe (complete with photographic evidence.)

Her recipe sums up her attitude to life:  Keep it simple for the best flavour.

  • Pour enough olive oil in to the pan to coat its base.
  • Add the  2 crushed garlic cloves and chilli flakes to taste.
  • Once the garlic is sizzling and has turned a shade of golden brown, add the prawns.
  • After a few minutes, the prawns will start to brown.
  • It’s now time to add the chunky slices of red and yellow pepper and the slim stalks of asparagus.
  • Stir them around and about until all golden and crispy but still crunchy.

As this dish is fairly hot, the best drink is probably iced water or a chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Dear Lord, thank you for our daily bread but most importantly, thank you for delicious ingredients found in the sea and in our vegetable patches.

Yummy, Spicy, Veggie Dish


This is a simple, healthy veggie spicy yummy dish which I can’t help but rustle up each week.  It feeds me for a couple of days or would feed about four people around the table. You choose.

You can use any vegetables you like, but the most important ones are of course a large, red onion and about 4 cloves of garlic (when cooking up, I always use one clove per person. Garlic, like most things, doesn’t scare me and is vital for flavour).

In the picture above, and pretty much also considered as most important veg to use are two big spuds, a broccoli, one red pepper, a large carrot, about 4 large squishy, ripe tomatoes, a couple of small courgettes, a fair bit of olive oil as you fry up the veg and a spoonful (tablespoon is ok if you like spicy and quite hot) of Arabic masala spice, a small tin of coconut milk and a mug full of chicken or veggie stock.

Start by warming up the pan on a medium heat as you wash and peel the veg. Start by peeling the red onion. I’ve learned over the years that the best way to peel an onion and to avoid streaming eyes, is to work with the onion next to the sink and keep the cold tap running (ok, so not ideal if living in the desert where water can’t really be taken for granted, but if you’re using the water to then wash the rest of the veg in, then it’s completely justified…)

Chop the top and tail off the onion and carefully peel off the outer red layer. Now take a closer look at the onion and you’ll see a small circle in the centre. Sometimes, there are two odd shaped circles but you want to aim the knife towards these little dudes, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CUT THROUGH THEN as they are the little blighters which maketh the crying starteth.

You can either chop the onion or tear it into small pieces as red onions are groovy like that. Keep rinsing the knife under the cold tap as this will keep life from becoming teary.  We all have enough to deal with…

When you’ve given the pan a couple of minutes to warm up, add a splash of olive oil (enough to coat the base of the pan).

Add the onions and the mashed up garlic.

Stir it around a bit and then add the chopped up, peeled potatoes along with the peeled carrots (which should be cut into slices which resemble a little finger). 

Now add the spice and mix it all together. Shawaya Shawaya. Slowly, slowly.

As the potatoes are cooking, you can sort out the rest of the veg.

The capsicum/pepper is pretty easy to deal with. Cut the top off and then just pull out the centre bit with the millions of seeds. Rinse it through and then you have an easy way to slice through if you use the creamy lines as a guide.

Add the peppers and the other veg and keep stirring around. You can also add some chicken/veg stock at this point (about a tablespoon at a time just so that the veg have something to soak in and the flavour gets to groove.

When you’ve added all the veg, add the tin of coconut milk and let it simmer on a low heat for about 45 mins.

When all is finished up, I usually just throw some couscous into a pan of boiling salted water and immediately take it off the stove. Add a knob of butter and let it stand for about 2 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork. Follow the instructions on the side of the couscous packet but usually it’s one cup of couscous for half a cup of boiling water.

This dish may be too spicy for some so make sure you serve this dish up with some/lots of yummy plain yoghurt.

Drink with Peroni/Tiger/Singa beer, if you have an alcohol license, or just plain water if you don’t. Again, I’m a BIG fan of Perrier Water and a slice or two of lemon and/or lime.

Listen to:  Ella Fitzgerald.

Lord, thank you for all the wonderful things you’ve provided for our palates, even the ones which make us cry. Forgive us for the times we have made others cry by the things we have said and done and the things we ought to have said and done and didn’t.  Grant us the grace to forgive those who have made us weep. May we never take things like water or food for granted. Forgive us, O Lord for the countless times we have grumbled, both audibly and internally, at the discomforts of life. Help us Lord. Please help us and graciously hear us. We can’t do this life through our own strength. 

When life in the desert is dry, get together, make some food, pray, laugh, cry and encourage one another.

Tuna Nicoise Salad is a favourite, easy dish to prepare in less than half an hour. It’s got so many yummy ingredients to keep you healthy and sane as you go about your daily life in the desert. The most complicated part is making the dressing into which I sometimes put a dollop of honey. I hope you enjoy! Image

I’m not good at remembering exact quantities when I cook and I know that I most probably have inherited this from my late Grandmother, Lally Jean, who could rustle up the best feed out of next to no ingredients. Please feel free to add whichever vegetables you like to this salad.  I’m not a fan of anything to do with lettuce so never add it to a salad, hence my love of the wonderment that is the Tuna Nicoise Salad.

This evening, I bought about 6 small potatoes, washed, peeled and cut them up into bite size chunks (they’ll cook quicker this way and you get to eat this delicious salad sooner!) and put them into boiling salted water. I set the timer to boil them for ten minutes during which time I then topped and tailed and cut in half the handful of long, French beans I had purchased earlier from my culinary advisor, Mr Abu the fruit & veg vendor in the Local Fresh Market here in the desert lands. (I think he likes to see me each day; he greets me with a big smile and says,’What you cook tonight? You want some zis? And put wis sis, ok ah?’ Last week, it was Banana Plant in a curry. Delish!)

I dropped the chopped up beans into the boiling water along with the potatoes. I’m not a fan of washing up as it wrecks my manicure, lol, so the bigger the pot, the better. While everything is bubbling away and getting to know each other better in that big, bad pot, I started to chop up two super huge, wonderfully pesticide free tomatoes and sprinkled salt over them. I put them into a large salad bowl and opened a tin of tuna and placed it into the bowl along with the tomatoes.

Next come the small tub of fresh Spanish Olives. Add these to your salad bowl.

Bubble, bubble, bubble go the disco dancing French Beans and the Saudi Spuds.

The ten minute timer should now be buzzing, at which point, add three eggs to that multinational bubbling, boiling brood and boil for a further three minutes.

Now start to mix one big tablespoon of olive oil, two big tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a crushed clove of garlic into a mug. You can add your tablespoon of honey now if you like and a squirt of lemon.

Everything in the pot, the French Beans, the Saudi Spuds and the Emirati Eggs should now be almost done and dusted. Carefully drain them into a large colander and pick out the eggs with a large cooking/serving spoon and run them under a cold tap for a minute or so.  Set the eggs into a bowl of cold water and put the spuds and green beans into your salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the top of the dish. Now mix everything together. Carefully peel the eggs and slice them with a sharp knife and place them gently on the top of the dish, giving everything one or two more turns with the big serving spoon.

Voila! Enjoy!

If you’re cooking for one person, there should be enough for lunch and dinner tomorrow. Bring it to work to share with a colleague or drop it in with a neighbour.

Pudding was White Toblerone.

Drinks: Perrier with a slice of lemon.

Music:  Stephane Grapelli on Youtube.

Prayer: Lord, there are so many things to be grateful for today. With my two hands, I offer up these prayers. On my right hand, I thank you for these 5 things. I give you my 5 cares and worries on my left hand and I throw them away. With both hands, I open myself up to you. Please care for us, Lord, through these times in the desert lands. Strengthen and guide us with peace and kindness towards out brothers and sisters. In your name we pray, Amen.