It was my birthday yesterday. I had the most magical day, being absolutely spoilt rotten by Cork Daddy and the girls. The day started with a delicious hot breakfast of perfectly poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, topped off with what I call ‘bacon sprinkle’ and hot buttered toast, all made by my incredibly capable husband. I was showered in flowers and gifts; given FOUR gorgeous cookbooks being Beatrix Bakes, In Good Company, the new Jamie and ‘Provence to Pondicherry by my new favourite insta find, Tessa Kiros’, a very profesh piping bag which I’m stoked with and Charlotte wrote me a beautiful card. It was all about “her mummy”, a ‘chef’ who runs her own business called Lo’s Kitchen. It was so special and all too cute. It brought a tear to my eye.
I am so grateful for everything.
Needless to say it was a big day of great food (and one too many champagnes), having my absolute favourite – prawn spaghetti for lunch, before indulging in an afternoon of cheese boarding and candle blowing; topping the night off with a snag on bread round the fire bucket with Flemo and Corks. What more could a girl want?
A big week of birthday’s in our house with Corks’ being tomorrow (he loves to remind me that I’m older than him, even if it is all of two days). It’s always hard for me to back up and top the birthday celebrations that he organises every year and I’ve been trying to think of something fun to cook for tomorrow night. I asked what his favourite meal was but never got a reply, it supposedly being too hard to choose. But alas, an idea came to me whilst at IGA this morning, as I was strolling past the freezer section. There sitting behind the glass was a lonely looking whole duck! A whole duck, I thought. How cool.
Now I have no idea what I’m going to do with this duck, having never cooked a whole duck before (watch this space to see how it goes). Oh and along with my very ‘out of character’ duck purchase, I threw these Vol-au-vent cases into the basket along with a packet of smoked oysters. These somewhat 70’s ingredients seem to conjure up images of Basil Fawlty’s gourmet night where his chef gets inebriated and he has to try and keep his guests non the wiser by ordering from a local restaurant. “What do you do if you don’t like duck?” “If you don’t like duck, you’re rather.. stuck”.
But enough about the duck, here’s the recipe for a quick and easy pasta dish that feels all too special, making it perfect for a birthday treat. Using frozen prawns (considering we live 4 hours from the coast) means that you can make it using ingredients from your local supermarket. But of course, if you’ve got access to fresh seafood – then definitely go with that. Fresh is always best.
Don’t be scared off by the use of anchovies either. It won’t end up tasting ‘anchovy-ey’, I promise. They just help to give it a nice saltiness, almost sea-like flavour. And feel free to replace the asparagus with baby spinach, finely sliced zucchini or broccolini. Or leave the greens out altogether. And please do add fresh parsley (I didn’t have any when taking photos yesterday, but normally always throw a good handful in). Oh and one more thing; add bacon if you like. It’s also yum.
And I know I’m a broken record, but whatever you do, do not overcook the pasta. There is no excuse for soggy spaghetti. Yuck.
Isn’t there a saying about birthdays? Something along the lines of ‘do on your birthday as you mean to go on’? Or something like that. I read it somewhere.
And if that’s true… then..
prawn + asparagus spaghetti
Best served with a fresh green salad, some crusty bread and a glass of ridiculously cold white wine.
A little over half a pack of spaghetti
A really good handful of frozen green prawns (placing them in a colander, running cold water over the top, to defrost)
4 x cloves of garlic, finely sliced (this is a lot, but I love a lot of garlic)
1 x Birdseye chilli, finely sliced, or you could use dried chilli flakes instead
4 x anchovies, roughly chopped
A bunch of asparagus, tips removed and cut in to small pieces
A small handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
A good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, plus extra wedges, for serving
A good glug of olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Before you start, get on to defrosting your prawns.
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of heavily salted water.
- Meanwhile, in a large frypan, add a good glug of olive and fry off the prawns, seasoning them well with salt and pepper before reserving them to a clean plate.
- Adding another glug of olive oil to the same fry pan, add the garlic, chilli, anchovies, asparagus and tomatoes and fry them off, stirring constantly so as not to burn.
- Throw the prawns back in to the frypan, add the parsley, lemon juice and a splash of the pasta water to loosen up the sauce.
- By this stage your pasta should be cooked, so you can toss the spaghetti through.
- Serve immediately with a good drizzle of olive oil and wedges of lemon.
I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe. xx