King Prawns sautéed with tomato, fish sauce and black pepper (Tom Rim)

Serves 4

I first cooked this dish at a cooking class at the Seafood School with my mother Ellen, around 2003. The teacher was Mark Jensen, the head chef at Red Lantern, and I swear, I became infatuated with this dish and cooked it a dozen times for different friends: Rob and Jill, Giles and Nat… even Aaron and Nilhan.

And of course my Nat one winter’s Sunday night where it hit the right note!

It is rich, hot and striking and with fresh prawns, coriander and spring onion, knocks the socks off of unsuspecting guests. I still have the recipe printout from the Seafood School, though I rediscovered it after buying the Red Lantern cookbook a few years back; this should become a staple for you.


1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
12 jumbo king prawns, peeled, deveined, with tails intact
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3/4 cup (185ml) fish stock
1/2 very ripe tomato, diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 small handful coriander leaves


  1. Add the oil, garlic and chilli to a wok over medium heat and stir until fragrant but not coloured.
  2. Add the tomato paste. Prawns and sugar. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the pepper, fish sauce, fish stock and diced tomato.
  4. Increase the heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through.
  5. Remove the prawns to a serving planner, reduce the sauce slightly (the sauce starts to take on a slight syrupy texture) and pour over the prawns.
  6. Garnish with the spring onion and coriander.

Spaghetti with prawns, basil and pistachios

With a glass of cold white wine and some bread and salad, you've set up Saturday afternoon as a win.
With a glass of cold white wine and some bread and salad, you’ve set up Saturday afternoon as a win.

Serves 4

Another simple and successful Neil Perry dish.

And yes, it is essentially pesto through no, it tastes nothing like the stuff in the jar. It is much lighter and fresher and really clean. A great Saturday lunch with a big glass of white.


1 clove garlic
½ tsp salt
¼ bunch basil leaves
¼ bunch parsley leaves
¼ bunch mint leaves
½ c toasted unsalted pistachios
1 tbsp finely grated parmesan
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
400g dried spaghetti
1kg green king prawns, peeled with tails intact


  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt. Add the herbs and continue to pound until a thick paste is formed and the herbs broken down.
  2. Add half the pistachios and continue to pound until the paste is a creamy consistency.
  3. Chop the remaining pistachios and stir through the paste, also adding the parmesan, 2 tbsp oil and lemon juice. Season with more salt as necessary, and a pinch of pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente and set aside keeping warm.
  5. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil over a high heat and pan fry the prawns quickly; around two minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Mix the pesto with the pasta, stir in the prawns and serve.

Antonio Carluccio’s Farfalle con Grancevola e Gamberetti (Butterfly Pasta with Spider Crab and Small Prawns)

Serves 4

This is a left of centre dish and one I was slightly suspicious about; where would the flavour come from? Would it be too subtle?

The recipe is from Antonio Carluccio’s beautiful and modestly named book, ‘Pasta’. It is a wonderful book if only that all of the recipes are simple, unique, rustic and incredibly good.

I substituted Spider Crab for Blue Swimmer Crab (given that Spider Crabs are found fairly much only in the northern hemisphere) and increased slightly the quantity of both the crab and prawn.

Carluccio says to garnish with dill or parsley though the dill is the way to go; it keeps the aniseed flavour lingering longer, really pulling the whole dish together. Seriously, if you had this pasta in a top restaurant, you would not be surprised. Its simplicity and flavour is that good.


350gm dried medium farfalle pasta
3 tbsp finely chopped dill (or fresh flat-leaf parsley)


250gm ready prepared (spider) crab meat
150gm small raw prawns (I used 500gm medium prawns)
1 aubergine (eggplant), peeled and cut into slices
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
150gm leeks, finely chopped (I used one leek)
1 tbsp fennel seeds
50ml White wine


  1. Boil the prawns for about 2 – 3 minutes, drain and peel.
  2. Cook the aubergine in slightly salted water until soft; about five minutes. Mash.
  3. Heat the pol in a large saucepan and fry the garlic and leeks until soft; do not let them brown. Add the fennel seeds and the mashed aubergine and fry for a few minutes before adding the wine and mixing well. Cook gently for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the crab and the prawns, stir and heat through and taste for salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.
  6. Drain well and mix with the sauce. Serve sprinkled with dill (or parsley).