Wednesday 20 April 2011

Random recipe challenge 3...Retro Prawn Stuffing...

I think that we may have to thank Dom of the Belleau Kitchen for a minor (possibly major) resurgence of vintage/retro recipes.

It all started with his challenge. This is his challenge:

“In a continuing celebration of my 1st Year Blog Birthday this month's Random Recipe is a simple one... go back to your first ever cook book. Whether it be the first one you were given as a gift or bought for yourself or had handed down from a relative... it has to be that very first book.... and it's from this book that you should randomly select a recipe.”

In theory it sounded quite simple. That was until I picked up the cookbook. It was 'The St Michael All colour FREEZER COOKERY BOOK' a reprint of a 1976’s book one of my sisters sent me in 1986. I’d recently got married and our big old vintage fridge with a tiny ice-making compartment (which I loved) had broken down for the millionth time and so we splashed out on a fridge freezer with equal space for both, top half fridge, bottom freezer.

But how was I going to fill it? I was used to buying fresh produce from the market in Manchester every lunchtime, or the deli on my way home from work. The M & S cookbook taught me how to freeze everything from fish and poultry to peas and blackberries...Hurrah...I regained my lunch hour. I was now free to window shop, knit sweaters, chat, have coffee or best of all go for lunch with work mates in the Danish Food Centre. We would eat prawn open sandwiches, a slice of Princess Cake a light-as-a-feather sponge layered with cream and covered in pale green marzipan...mmm...and a glass of white wine.Those were the days... I’m not quite sure how we managed to do any work on those afternoons!

Anyway it’s a long time since I’ve used the book and I have to say that to begin with I was pretty confident that it would open up at the Minestrone soup recipe on page 62 that I used to make all the time back then, but it didn’t! It opened up at page 78 ‘Prawn Stuffing’!! I was very tempted to try again, reasoning that stuffing wasn’t really a recipe.

But then Dom’s word’s began ringing out in my metaphorical ears:

“Go on... go and do it NOW!... and no bloody cheating!” I just got on with it. At least I had all the ingredients to hand...well I thought I had.

Prawn stuffing

For fish and tomatoes

Here are the required ingredients: ( I've used the metric and not imperial quantities)

100g Fresh white breadcrumbs
15ml parsley, finely chopped
5ml finely grated lemon rind
75g peeled prawns
25gm butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little milk
  1. Place the breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon rind and prawns in a bowl and stir well. (Easy you may would have been except that the little bag of what I thought were fresh prawns that I had taken out of the freezer the night before, were actually langoustine. They were half-price fresh ones to be used on the day of purchase but I'd popped them in the freezer until I had time to research how to cook them! Thank goodness for youtube tutorials.)

Simple when you know how!

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the onion and fry for about five minutes or until soft and transparent. Stir the butter and onion into the breadcrumb mixture, season to taste and mix well, adding enough milk to stir the stuffing together. ( As usual I had to change at least one thing and omitted using the milk...I didn't think that it was necessary)

To freeze: Pack the stuffing into polythene bags or foil containers, in usable quantities. Seal and freeze.

To serve: Thaw at room temperature for three hours. Use immediately.

I never would have gone to all this bother if it hadn't been for Dan's challenge but I'm so glad I did. This is totally delicious and I could have just wolfed down bowlfuls of the stuffing...just as it was...but I used it to stuff trout and then made it again this time with prawns with white fish that I rolled up and baked in the oven in a spicy tomato sauce it was totally delicious. It would also make a special crumb topping for baked salmon.

This isn't an every day recipe but a lovely treat.

I'm so glad that Dom reintroduced me to this book. It really is full of lots of useful information and lots of good basic recipes with a good cake and bread making section too. Oh, and I'm really thankful for the sister that bought this for me...who has also been the generous giver of some of my all time favourite cookbooks including Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros and my lovely Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights.

So thanks Dom, and thanks Bec...


  1. well, thank you for taking part!... it really has been an excellent challenge this month...a real trip down memory lane for so many of us... I love your story but more importantly, I adore your recipe... I am definitely going to make this, it looks so amazing!... what a great find! x

  2. This was so much fun to do Dom (oh and sorry I called you Dan!) I can't wait to read the recipes of all the others who joined in too.....It would be really cool if someone else used the same cook book!

  3. My goodness, what a challenge!! But I see it is one you successfully overcame and even discovered something tasty in the process!! :D

    Well done you! ... now you have me wondering what my recipe would be? ;)

  4. You should have a go too Tracey, it's really good fun...

  5. This is fantastic - I think I remember my mum having that book - glad it turned out well too!

  6. Really, what a coincidence Lucy...I wonder if she ever made the Prawn Stuffing? The weird thing is you can still get this book on Amazon!

  7. Fantastic recipe - look forward to giving this one a go!