Hello and happy 2012! I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to this new year, ignoring all of the usual January hype about detoxing, and cooking up a storm for your friends and family to enjoy.
If you happened to read my recipe for the easy roast chicken Christmas dinner, you will know that I spent Christmas Eve at the home of my sister and Phillipe, in the lovely company of my immediate family. It was quite a feast (with sadly no Yorkshire puddings as I had hoped – tsk tsk Phillipe!) with a perfectly cooked turkey, my sister’s fabulous Christmas fruit cake and a tree that was completely dwarfed by presents for my nephew, Benjamin. By ten o’clock, I was completely stuffed with food, giddily trying to hold unwrapped presents on my lap whilst recording Benjamin worming his little body through the mass of presents. The poor kid was so overwhelmed that at the end this arduous night, his favourite ‘toy’ was a little piece of wrapping paper that he tore to shreds after being taken for a ride around the room in the laundry basket!
I do have high hopes for Benjamin’s palette though. As I was in charge of making the appetiser, I decided to make a very retro and muy simple, prawn cocktail. The prawn cocktail appetiser had long been a fixture on the Christmas Eve menu at my Tata Hemmie’s house when I was growing up and boy, had I missed them so.
This quantity will comfortably make enough for 9 adults and 1 baby. I say 1 baby, because upon arriving at my sister’s with my 9 bowls ready for prawn-cocktail assembly, I was given strict instructions by Phillipe that an extra bowl was to be made up for 10-month-old Benjamin. Although we kids had grown up being encouraged to try everything, I was a little dubious about my nephew eating a sauce that contained brandy, Tabasco and cayenne pepper. Not only did he eat it, but he ate every last prawn in his bowl and had a lovely coating of sauce all over his face and fingers. Bless you, Benjamin.
1 .5 kg cooked and peeled prawns
1 cos or iceberg lettuce
2 ripe avocados
2 mangoes (optional)
2 ½ cups whole-egg mayonnaise
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Make the sauce by placing the mayonnaise, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce into a large bowl. Whisk these well then add a good few drops of Tabasco sauce, a splash of brandy and the juice of half a lemon. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste, then whisk again. The sauce should be well-balanced with a bit of a kick from the Tabasco and enough lemon to add freshness. I added another splash of brandy to mine, as well as a little extra lemon because I like it quite zingy.
Divide the washed and dried lettuce leaves amongst the bowls, arranging these neatly and ensuring the leaves aren’t too large or shredded to smithereens. Distribute diced avocado (I like to add a squeeze of lemon to the avocado once cut open) and mango pieces (if you desire) on top of the lettuce in each bowl. Place the well-rinsed and dried prawns into another bowl and add about three-quarters of the sauce. Combine so that the prawns are well-coated and then distribute them into each bowl. Add a lemon wedge, an extra drizzle of cocktail sauce and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper on top of the prawns, and you’re done. Simply delish!