Today is the beginning of a slightly new departure for my weekly columns. On the first issue each month, together with Ciara Leahy, my long-term friend and food and consumer editor at Irish Farmers Journal, we will have ideas for family and friends celebrations, sometimes it will be a dinner party, other months it may be a match day or a seasonal celebration.
Ciara and I will also be chatting about the meal over video chat and Ciara will be giving her wine pairing suggestions. It will be on farmersjournal.ie and I hope you will enjoy it.
Today has a very Spanish theme. I have always loved Spanish food and earlier in the year I was able to visit Majorca and Menorca to record my new TV series for RTÉ. It required a lot of arranging but we were able to do it and abide by all of the COVID-19 requirements. I met a lot of great producers and chefs. All went well and the series begins soon on RTÉ One on Wednesday 8 September at 8.30pm
This piri piri prawn starter is one that I cook often. It is a beautifully tasty way to begin a meal. It is delicious with rice or with sour dough bread. Get the best prawns for this at your local fishmonger if possible.
In the Balearic Islands, I ate their version of chorizo – a local delicacy which goes by the name sobrassada. Try it if you get a chance.
I always enjoy sampling the regional variations of food. The chicken and chorizo rice bake is a tasty one-pan dish that will go down well with family and friends any time. It is packed with vegetables and full of flavour with the juices of the chorizo going into the rice. This recipe also works well with chicken breasts.
The dessert today is a Spanish version of the well-known French crème brulée. It uses milk, not cream, and is easier to make. This recipe has the delicious Spanish citrus fruits, oranges and lemons, to take away the sweetness of the topping. It is a light and delicious way to finish a meal. You need time for this dessert to cool so it is probably best to make it the day before and have it ready with just the sugar to carmelise on the night. I hope you enjoy this meal and do look out for Ciara and I chatting on farmersjournal.ie.
Piri piri prawn and chorizo skewers
Serves four to six
For the dressing:
2-3 Italian grilled peppers
½ tsp organic harissa spice
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp caster sugar
150ml extra virgin olive oil or the reserved oil from the grilled peppers
Sea salt & ground black pepper
For the prawns
2 x 200g packets of Wild Atlantic jumbo prawns, peeled and with tails still intact
1 x Spanish Chorizo Ibérico De Bellota, cut into 1cm-thick slices
2 tbsp olive oil
Cornfed chicken & chorizo rice bake
2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
8 Irish chicken thighs
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100g Spanish chorizo, sliced
350g long grain rice
2 tsp turmeric
150ml dry white wine
600ml chicken stock
100g frozen peas
2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Catalan crème pots
Serves six to eight
6 egg yolks
150g (5oz) caster sugar
25g (1oz) cornflour
1.2 litres (2 pints) milk
1 cinnamon stick
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
3 tbsp demerara sugar