Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pasta with Prawns, King Brown Mushroom & Capers - Ryan Cooks (and Bakes!) and a Double Rainbow

        So it's Friday night, we've spent all day out and about so it's time to chill out at home, hmm what's for dinner? It's the month of Lent and Ryan has decided to go meat free on Fridays. Mum had cooked fish for dinner but there wasn't quite enough for both of us to eat too (she always expects that we'll cook our own or will be going out for dinner).
       So into the fridge and freezer I go, seeing what we could use to cook with. Pasta is always a pantry staple, and we almost always have prawns in the freezer and I was in luck that there were just enough prawns left for us to use. These two ingredients are always a winning combo. I had some capers left from when I made my pan fried fish with salsa and pea puree and I also spotted a tray of Oyster mushrooms and King Brown mushrooms so we decided to throw in one of the King Brown's. Some other fridge staples like garlic, chilli and white wine and we have ourselves a very tasty sounding pasta dish for dinner.
        I let Ryan take care of dinner because I had decided that I wanted to make macarons so needed to to all my prep so I could make them after dinner.

        While Ryan is cooking I notice that there is a huge rainbow right outside. I run out and see that it's a full length rainbow, and it's a double rainbow!

        I ran in to grab my camera but by the time I came out the clouds already started to come rolling in and the rainbow was slowly disappearing. I could still see both ends of the rainbow but unfortunately my camera wasn't capable of capturing it.

        My brother notices that the sky is glowing a bright amber in the direction of the sun setting. There is a really eerie feel in the air, reminds me of when we had the dust storm that made the skies red. The rainbow has faded into the clouds so I return back to the kitchen and dinner is almost ready.

        I can't give you an exact recipe for this (because I can't remember exactly how much we used and what we did) but I'll give a list of ingredients and basic instructions which should help inspire you to recreate it if it takes your fancy. Vary the amounts according to your own taste. This is what Ryan and I have labelled as cooking by instinct. We have a general idea of what flavours work well and we 'wing it'. Most of the time dishes made this way turn out really well for us. We were a little heavy handed on the chilli (even without the seeds there was quite a bit of heat), but other than that it was a tasty flavourful pasta dish. The capers really lifted the dish and gave it a bit of zing. The King Brown mushroom added sweetness while the prawns provided the savoury element. It was a well rounded dish in terms of flavours and textures, exactly my kind of dish.

Ryan and Angie's Pasta with Prawns, King Brown Mushroom & Capers
  • Dried spaghetti (or any type of pasta), half a pack
  • Shelled prawns approximately 300grams
  • Handful of capers in brine
  • 1 King Brown mushroom, sliced
  • 1 Chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • White Wine, approximately 1/4 cup
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta and drain.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the prawns, remove from the pan.
3. Return pan to the heat and add mushroom, garlic and chilli and brown.
4. Pour in the white wine and let it boil to evaporate the alcohol.
5. Add the pasta, prawns and capers to the pan and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Serve with a splash of lemon juice - enjoy!

        After dinner I attempted to make my macarons. I was trying out a new recipe and technique (from a blog I'd found that guaranteed to break the 10 myths of macaron making). I also realised that Ryan has never ever seen me make macarons before this (but has always been a happy taster and critic of them). He watches me make the batter and when I offer him the piping bag he declines but then decided to have a go at piping them in the end. Not a bad job for a first timer! He ends up piping most of the batter for me except for the last tray which I end up doing.

        Unfortunately my macarons did not turn out, they didn't cook through properly and were cracked on the surface. I've been trying to experiment and make a manuka honey macaron shell and this being my second time (with manuka honey), was also a failure. The first time I used manuka honey I tried an italian meringue recipe and that didn't work so I thought that this supposedly fail proof recipe/method would help me achieve my goal but alas this one gave me a failed batch of macarons too.
        Ryan and I have concluded that perhaps honey changes the characteristics of the batter hence ruinging the macarons. I bake them longer and on a higher heat to turn them into delicious little honey meringue cookies. I tried the same recipe/method again the next day (without honey) but get the same results so it could possibly be that I was doing a few things wrong, like undermixing the egg white and almond meal mixture. I also think I may have cooked them on too high of a heat and then when I turned the heat down a little, I probably needed to cook them for longer.
        I've made okay macarons before but being the perfectionist that I am have never thought that they were good enough so am always trying to improve them. I might just resort back to the original recipe I've used as a guide, at last I know it gives me results (even if I don't think my macarons are perfect enough yet).


OohLookBel said...

I make a similar pasta dish all the time; prawns are fantastic with pasta, aren't they? If you want to be completely vego, then porcini mushrooms are also good (instead of prawns).

chocolatesuze said...


Anonymous said...

Agree, pasta + prawns = perfect match! Gorgeous rainbows, I totally missed them.

Richard Elliot said...

Beautiful sunset photos Angie. They're not easy to take, for me at least!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I've only ever made macarons in a class but I think it is very difficult to adapt the recipe. From what we were told, shells are only ever tinted in colour and all the flavour comes from the ganache, which often seeps into the shell after a couple of days. You are a mac master. And I like the way you carefully placed a caper in the curl of each prawn :)

Cooking Gallery said...

I love pasta with prawns, they taste lovely together...!

Anonymous said...

Angie, you are soooooooooooo lucky to have a boyfriend that cooks and bakes! Double rainbow all the way :)

sugarpuffi said...

crazyyyy double rainbow!!! and his macarons are better looking than mine any day. ur too picky haha!

john@heneedsfood said...

I'm impressed by you yet again! Not only do you have prawns in the freezer whenever you want but Ryan takes interest in making something like macarons!

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

So lovely that your other half cooks for you AND with you! I'm definitely jealous with a husband who willingly does my dishes, but partakes in no cooking at all haha.