Week 2: Grilled Cajun Prawns with Sweet Potato Mash & Holy Trinity Veg

This blog post is part of my Jamie Oliver's 15-Minutes, 15 Recipes, 15-Week Challenge.

First and foremost let me just say, this is more like it! This recipe is simple, easy to follow, easy to prepare, delicious and only took me ACTUAL 15 minutes from prep to serve! Yes, I was going as quickly as possible and it got a bit chaotic in the kitchen as I raced to beat time, but I got there in 15 minutes on the dot! If this was a MasterChef pressure test I would've excelled haha.

The recipe required me to firstly start off with boiling the sweet potatoes, so I quickly put a pot of boiling water on, chopped the sweet potatoes skin off into large squares because who has time to peel, chopped them into even smaller dices and off they go into the pot to be left alone for the next 10 minutes.

Then I was off to just toss the raw tiger prawns with olive oil, Cajun seasoning, crushed garlic (I left my garlic whole because I couldn't be bothered crushing them when I can get the same roasted garlic flavour squeezed onto the prawns when served anyway!) and thyme sprigs.. and off to the oven they go in a single layer. Too easy!

Then I was off to chop up the veggies, which is actually pretty simple considering there's only a few green peppers (or capsicum in Australia), some spring onions, celery, fresh red chilli and frozen sweetcorn which needed no prep work! Toss them all in a pan with a bit of olive oil and 1 tsp of sweet smoked paprika, cook through and I'm done!

By this stage, the prawns were not quite ready but the sweet potatoes were, so I quickly drained the water, gave the potatoes a bit of a mash around and added Cheddar cheese. 

Even by this stage, the prawns were not quite done but I can start plating up! I chose to "plate up" on a chopping board because it looks really nice that way and it's large enough to fit everything! I served up the mash, scattered the veg on top, chopped up some lemons into wedges, grabbed the prawns from the oven and served them up last.. and VOILA! All done! 

The prawns were finger lickin' good, so delicious and so naturally tasty with just a bit of Cajun flavours. Everything else went so well with them. So pleased with myself, so pleased with Jamie. Until next time!

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Week 1: Sticky Kicking Chicken with Watermelon Radish Salad & Crunchy Noodles

This blog post is part of my Jamie Oliver's 15-Minutes, 15 Recipes, 15-Week Challenge.

To kick off my Jamie Oliver challenge, I've decided to try a seemingly simple dish which required very common ingredients which I mostly already have in my pantry. The recipe itself looked simple enough, consisting of three main components - the meat, the salad and the dressing. I made sure I read the recipe over and over again many times to familiarize myself with the processes to make sure I work as quickly as possible.

Not surprisingly, it did not take me 15 minutes to come up with this meal. Let's try just over an hour. Of course it is easy for Jamie to do this, he preps like a machine and he tends to make a mess in the kitchen which other people would probably end up cleaning up after. I tend to tidy up as I cook, and I do not chop up ingredients at the speed of light - although I have to say I am not the slowest cook either. So, as Jamie would suggest, I would suggest having ALL the ingredients prepped and ready in front of you before you start timing yourself. But really what's the point of that, I have a handful of other dishes up my sleeve that are just as tasty and requires far less effort to prep.

Here are a few comments on what I think of each component of this dish:

The chicken is absolutely beautiful and the simplest of all to prepare and cook. I will definitely be cooking up this chicken again and again. All it takes was to rub Five Spice Powder, Salt and Pepper onto the chicken thigh fillets, grill them, and then return to pan and add sweet chilli sauce and sesame seeds. So simple and delicious!

P/S: The roast potatoes in the photos are not part of Jamie's recipe, I just decided to add them to complete my version of the meal.

The salad had an interesting combination of flavours. I like the use of watermelon in the salad, I'm not a big fan of radish but it seems to go well with the salad. I enjoy the rice noodles as it numbs the spicy kick from the dressing, but I do not like the fried and crunchy version of the rice noodles. Rice noodles when cooked to a crunch does not deliver the right type of crunch in my opinion. Sure, it looks good on top of the salad as a garnish but had a rough chewy texture that almost makes it inedible. Next time, I will probably substitute that crunchy rice noodle with a packet of pre-fried crunchy noodle for salads.

The dressing had really strong intense flavours of ginger, garlic, coriander & spring onion, with a combination of different sauces to give it some balance in flavour. I added some sugar into the dressing even though the recipe did not list sugar, but I kinda prefer a dressing that had a slight sweetness to it especially when it was so spicy and kicking. I like the dressing, but next time I will definitely reduce the amount of ginger and garlic - it was too intense!

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars