Tag: prawns

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

When I have a bowl of hummus in front of me, I grab the biggest spoon I can find and enjoy this creamy, nutty deliciousness with inexplicable enthusiasm. I don’t know where this fascination comes from, I only discovered this Middle Eastern dip relatively late in my kitchen, but I’m obsessed with it.

Most of the time I’m not even very experimental, I just stick to my basic recipe, but sometimes my mood calls for a little change. I either replace the chickpeas with white beans, stir in some fresh or dried herbs, or I try less pleasant combinations that I never ever want to taste again (like my avocado hummus – disastrous!). There must be something in the tahini – the rich, oily sesame sauce that’s used for hummus – its nutritional value, that my body is almost addicted to. I can eat the thick, pure sauce by the spoon, straight out of the jar. It’s strange.

One of my latest experiments led to a very simple yet absolutely scrumptious result: a generous amount of ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground cumin. The spices enhance the dip’s sweetness and give it a warm and earthy touch. You don’t actually taste them, they merge with the other ingredients and create a new flavour, which makes me want to eat even more of it. To accomplish the sweet side of the hummus, I added sliced boiled potatoes (warm or cold, both work), fresh basil, and a few prawns. It felt like summer on a plate and reminded me of a similar Mediterranean meal we had in Malta last year.

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

 

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

Serves 4

For the hummus

drained and rinsed canned chickpeas, 240g / 8 ounces
tahini 150g / 5 ounces
water 120ml / 1/2 cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice 4 tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 1 large clove
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
ground cumin 1/8 teaspoon
fine sea salt about 1 teaspoon

olive oil
prawns, the heads cut off, 8-12
boiled potatoes (warm or cold) 8-12
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
fresh basil leaves, a small handful

For the hummus, purée the ingredients in a blender and season with cinnamon, cumin, and salt to taste.

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil over high heat and sear the prawns for 1-2 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Arrange the sliced potatoes on 1 large platter or on 4 small plates, drizzle generously with the hummus and additional olive oil, and season to taste with flaky sea salt, crushed pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Place the prawns on top, sprinkle with basil and enjoy immediately.

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

 

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

 

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil, and Prawns

 

potatoeshummusprawns11

 

potatoeshummusprawns8

Moscato Prawn Pasta and a Festa to celebrate our arrival in Malta

Moscato Prawn Pasta

I’m finally back in Malta! I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to having my feet on Maltese ground again. I just wanted to smell the air, feel the sun on my skin and see all the beloved faces at the airport again – and finally we’re here again!

When I went to Malta for the first time I learnt that the arrival at the airport is the beginning of a big, endless family feast. Aunts and uncles, cousins, the grandmother of course, sisters, brothers and my Maltese Mama Jenny, there is always a big welcoming committee waiting for us at the gate and escorting us to the house in Msida, our home town for the weeks to come. On the way there I took a deep breath of the salty air mixed with the sweet scent of oleander and wild thyme, this is Malta to me!

In the next weeks I’ll be cooking and baking in Jenny’s kitchen – and her garden as that’s where the grill is. I will share some of my favourite summer dishes with you, show you around on the islands a bit and introduce some passionate food and wine lovers to you. I will show you this wonderful place in the Mediterranean through my eyes but for a bigger picture I will be meeting and writing about Arnold, the bee keeper and Sam who produces his own olive oil, my baker, the butcher, farmers, wine and cheese makers, chefs and Maltese Mamas who’ve been cooking traditional meals for their families for many years. We will exchange recipes so that you and l can get the chance to learn a few more secrets of traditional Maltese cooking. These people, their profession and passion will show you the side of Malta that I fell in love with nine years ago. I hope I can give you an insight into this culture and food but also its warm, hospitable people who make me feel at home every time I come back.

Moscato Prawn Pasta

 

Moscato Prawn Pasta

One of the many things I’m always looking forward to impatiently when we’re in Malta is to go to the fish market in Marsaxlokk in the south of the island. The freshness and variety is overwhelming, especially for someone like me who lives in the city far away from any water (apart from rivers and lakes). Every Sunday, the fishermen offer their catch of the last night. They go out in the dark into the open sea with their colourful boats in blue, red and yellow to come back from their fishing trip a few hours or days later and fill their tables with swordfish, tuna, sea bream, moray eels, prawns and many more. These aren’t big companies, these are families who have been in the fishing business for many generations.We went there yesterday and I didn’t know where to start and when to stop filling our ice box!

One of our purchases were Maltese prawns, the best I ever ate, almost sweet in taste. We threw them on the grill with some garlic and lemon, and enjoyed them with Maltese bread and wine to celebrate our arrival!

Next time when I write about one of our seafood meals I will tell you a bit more about Marsaxlokk, the fishing village and it’s  picturesque atmosphere but for now I’m off to the beach!

Moscato Prawn Pasta

 

Moscato Prawn Pasta

The weekend of our arrival happened to be Msida’s Festa – the holy feast – in honour of Saint Joseph. Each village praises its patron saint with days of celebration including fireworks and a long procession with the saint’s statue carried through the whole village. If you ever get the chance to join a Festa in Malta you will understand a lot about the Maltese culture, its traditions but also about the people’s untamable will to celebrate and enjoy life!

Moscato Prawn Pasta

 Moscato Prawns with Linguine

For 4 people you need

linguine 300g / 10.5 ounces
prawns (in their shells, the heads removed) 300g / 10.5 ounces
garlic, quartered, 2 big cloves
Moscato wine 75ml / 2.5 ounces
water used to cook the pasta, 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
olive oil
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
salt

Cook the pasta al dente in lots of salted water.

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil together with the garlic. When the oil is hot add the prawns and sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze with half of the wine, add the rest of the wine, the lemon juice and the water. Mix in the pasta and season with salt, crushed pepper and lemon juice to taste, serve immediately.

Moscato Prawn Pasta