Monthly Mystery Munchies #11: Prawn Soup

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I have been incredibly slack lately, but for good reason. In my quest to become healthier, I have been playing around with recipes – adjusting, adding, removing, contemplating their worthiness of making it onto my blog. This month I found myself challenged and excited about my and Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme – shellfish. Easy, you might say, but as it turned out, not so much.

Ann killed it again this month, being the creative culinary aficionado that she is. I swear, we’re like long distance psychic twins, as we both did a prawn dish! She made oven grilled Gambas al Aljillo, and for the love of all things food, it looks freakin’ delectable! Initially, however, I had my heart set on doing a crab dish. Ironically, crabs freak the crap out of me! I mean, do not show me a crab. I’ll do an embarrassing girl-run into the next zip code. Yes, it really is that bad. I thought finding crab meat, actual meat, not ‘crab-flavoured’ fish sticks, would be easy. After all, I live in Cape Town, and we have a huge selection of fresh seafood. I phoned around and found two places who swore to me that I would be purchasing meat, not crabs. Off I went, happy that I would not have to put my running shoes on, and, at both places, I was handed freaking crabs, people! Eeeeeeeeeeeek! The Husband laughed as I waved my hands in the air, shouting “I can’t! I really can’t!” whilst trying not to hyperventilate. Yeah, the dudes behind the counter laughed too. That was it, crab was nixed, a hard “no” from me. However, they did have prawns, but the eyes freak me out. I mean, just gross. Aah, but they had prawn tails, challenge accepted. Plan B, I love it!

Prawns purchased, heart rate returning to normal, we headed home and discussed our options. The Husband is also getting into my and Ann’s monthly challenge, and he fancies giving me ideas. I settled on prawn soup because, recently, I made a spicy vegetable soup which we demolished, so why not use that same recipe and add prawns? Excellent. We’re back on track, plan in hand, let’s do this. Of course my hob decided to break at that exact moment. Crap, it’s Monday already, and I need to have this done by Friday! Two long days later, the hob was fixed. Much hallelujah. Finally, after a few setbacks and a mini breakdown, I was able to complete my recipe, all the while wondering what Ann’s going to come up with – please check out her recipe for this month’s shellfish theme. I’m obsessed with spicy, tasty food, so this dish is rocking a Thai-ish theme. It has a beautiful flavour without being hot, and the coconut milk adds a creaminess to it, without having to add actual cream. Without further blabbing and complaining, here we go!

Spicy Prawn Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: not a schlep
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Supplies:

Prawn soup 1400g prawn tails, deshelled
2 grean chillies, sliced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 onion, thinly sliced
250g portabellini mushrooms
4 sliced carrots
400g thinly sliced zucchini/courgettes
1 grated red cabbage
150g snap peas
1 x 400g tin lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Fresh coriander for serving – optional

Making it happen:

Prawn soup 21. Deshell the prawns. In a large pot, fry the chillies, ginger, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

Prawn soup 4 22. Pour in the coconut milk and vegetable stock, and add the remaining vegetables. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice, then cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

 

Prawn soup 73. Add the prawns and simmer until pink, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with coriander if desired.

 

 

 

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut cupcakes 9

I’ve recently developed quite an affinity for coconut, ever since I used it in truffles. I always used to underestimate its taste but I’m now a firm (actually, somewhat flabby) believer. I had some desiccated coconut in the cupboard so I modified my traditional vanilla cupcake and cream cheese frosting recipe to accommodate coconut flakes and coconut milk and the result was amazeballs! These cupcakes are smooth, moist and the perfect balance of flavours. You don’t want them to be too vanilla-y or almond-y because the coconut will go unnoticed, and similarly, you don’t want them to the coconut to overpower the other flavours. This recipe incorporates all of those flavours and brings everything together with a light and fluffy creamy frosting that will leave you wanting more.

Coconut Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 -16
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Coconut cupcakes 1Stuff coconut dreams are made of:

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • ½ cup coconut milk (+ 2 tablespoons for frosting)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut (+ another ½ cup for frosting)

Making it happen:

Coconut cupcakes 31. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides when needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well mixed, again scraping down the sides. Add the vanilla paste (or essence) and almond essence and stir until combined.

Coconut cupcakes 42. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In three stages, add the dry ingredients and coconut milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry, mixing until just combined. Add the desiccated coconut.

 

Coconut cupcakes 53. Pour the batter into 12 individually lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clear.

 

 

Coconut cupcakes 6Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 100g butter, room temperature
  • 150g plain cream cheese, also room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Coconut cupcakes 71. Cut the butter into small cubes and allow to reach room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the coconut milk and beat only until it’s fully mixed, about 5 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Coconut cupcakes 82. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla essence and almond essence and give the frosting one last beat. Ice the cupcakes and generously sprinkle desiccated coconut over them.