Prawn, crab and tofu pad thai

Pad thai is a classic street food dish that can be tweaked and adapted to please even the most fussy of eaters. As long as it is packed with delicious noodles and flavours then the world is your oyster- or crab and prawn in this instance. I have also added tofu in for extra texture- if you don’t routinely use it then do give it a go! You may well be surprised. I have chosen a firm tofu here which I think is the best way to introduce yourself to the bean curd world. The key to a perfect pad thai is in the preparation. Once the you start, it happens relatively quickly so you really do need to prep everything beforehand.

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Ingredients- serves 2 hungry people
2 large eggs
4 spring onions cut on the diagonal
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 30ml boiling water
2 tbsp palm sugar
125g firm tofu cut into 2cm cubes
30g grated ginger
2 red chillies finely chopped
1 banana shallot finely sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
150g raw king prawns deveined and roughly chopped
100g rice noodles
100g white crabmeat
75g beansprouts
10 chives cut into 3 cm lengths
50g peanuts roughly chopped
Small handful of Thai basil and coriander finely chopped

1. Beat the eggs lightly and add a tablespoon of the fish sauce before setting aside ready for later. Read the instructions for your rice noodles at this stage as some need soaking for longer than others. Prepare according to instructions all ready for later.

2. Take the tamarind water and add the palm sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce. Stir well to ensure the sugar dissolves; if you find it has not fully dissolved you can add a splash of boiling water to help things along.

3. Place a large wok over a medium/ high heat and add 2 tsp of vegetable or groundnut oil. Add the tofu cubes, in a couple of batches if needed so as to not overcrowd the pan, and fry off until golden all over. Set aside to blot of kitchen paper.

4. Next you need to cook the garlic, chillies, ginger, shallots and spring onion until softening. You could also add a piece of finely sliced lemongrass at this stage of you like.

5. Pop in the prawns and the tamarind water to the wok and cook for a few seconds to make sure the prawns are coated. Add the noodles back into the wok and cook for a minute or so, again ensuring the strands are coated in the tamarind. Next into the wok goes the crab, bean sprouts, chive, basil, coriander and tofu. Toss gently to heat through. At this stage I then pushed the noodle mixture to one side in the wok and added the beaten eggs. Beat them in the wok until it begins to scramble and then you can mix it all the way through the rest of the noodles so the egg is well dispersed. Heat until the noodles are warm, the tofu is reheated and the prawns are a delicate blush pink.

Divide between 2 bowls and serve with a garnish of chopped peanut and you can add some roasted chilli flakes for an extra bit of spice or some extra chives if you like.

Prawn, crab and tofu pad thai- a satisfyingly savoury dish that will leave you wanting more!

Rich braised short rib with mushroom and golden shallot

Let’s continue on the mission to rediscover underused and forgotten cuts of meat. Next up: beef short ribs! These little (BIG!) beauties are full of flavour and create the most deeply flavoured gravy imaginable. Like a lot of our big cuts of meat, they need to be given time to cook so don’t rush, sit back and enjoy!

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Ingredients- serves 2
Glug of oil
2 whole beef short ribs
8 shallots- peeled and left whole
200g pack of button mushrooms- cleaned and left whole
2 garlic cloves- finely chopped or crushed
1 tbsp tomato puree
120ml red wine
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
400ml beef stock
2 sprigs of thyme
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to season

1. Start off by unwrapping the ribs and admiring their beauty…..Done? ok, now you can get cooking! Lightly season the ribs and brown them on all sides over a medium/ high heat in a large pan. Remove and set aside.  Leave any fat in the pan and pop in the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes until they start to go golden and smell amazing. Again, remove and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160c/ 140 fan.

2. Next up goes in the garlic for a minute followed by the tomato puree to cook together for a further minute. I then add the mushroom and shallot in so they get a lovely tomatoey coating. Glug in the wine and cook until reduced by half. I find that doing it like this means that the mushrooms and shallots take up the flavours even more and will give a richer finish.

3. Add in the tomatoes followed by the stock and nestle the ribs, thyme and bay leaf in amongst everything before bringing to the boil. Pop in the oven for 3 hours until the meat is meltingly tender and falling off the bone. Serve with creamy horseradish mash and tuck in!

Braised short rib, mushroom and golden shallot stew- the ultimate in winter grub! Here’s one more rib shot just for you…

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