Linda McCartney Fish Free King Prawns

Wow. These little beauties have forever changed the game for me and Ben. They’ve opened up a whoooole new world of prawn dishes for us and I’ve already got loads of bookmarked recipes to try out!

I was innocently strolling through the frozen vegetarian section to pick up our usual bags of mince and chicken chunks when a little red bag caught my eye in the ever-expanding Linda McCartney section. I gasped in shock when I read the title on the bag – “FISH FREE KING PRAWNS.” I’m a sucker for new veggie products and these were pretty much the most exciting I’d ever seen, so they went straight in the basket.

Although there were a million recipes running through my head with these sat in the freezer, I decided to cook them really simply for my first taste. Ben had already tried them so he was possibly disappointed with this decision. I panfried them straight from frozen, as recommended on the bag, with garlic, sesame oil, salt and pepper. I panfried them for about 7/8 minutes, until the sides went slightly crispy, and I served them with a little dish of soy sauce. They were seriously amazing!

For me, the texture is very similar to scallops – slightly overcooked scallops, but scallops all the same. They have the same just-on-the-cusp of rubbery feeling, buttery but with that satisfying bite. Honestly, I really think if you gave me these and told me they were prawns, I would be none the wiser. I would be slightly sceptical of your cooking skills but I would definitely think they were prawns. They smell fishy too! How do they do that!? If you are a veggie who misses shellfish, these may just change your life. After finishing the bag in a matter of hours, I’m now on the quest for what to do with the next bag. At Β£2.50 a pop they aren’t cheap, but they are definately worthy of being the centrepiece of a special meal. I’m thinking paella first, then maybe a creamy carbonara pasta dish. And obviously I want to make Ben a classic prawn mayo sandwich. Not sure how these would taste thawed, cold though – I think I’d probably cook them in salt and pepper and then refrigerate before using, just to be on the safe side.

Overall, these are a winner and you’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of these fish-free treats on the blog in the coming weeks!

OH, I almost forgot, I have some very exciting news! Me and Ben signed the contracts on our very own little flat last week and will be Β moving in together next month! We are both so excited and I can’t wait to stock my fridge and cupboards with all the kinds of foods we like, experiment with all the recipes I’ve been wanting to try and just be able to cook aaallll the time πŸ™‚ We’ll also be on a budget for a little while as we adjust to the cost of rent/bills/life etc so I’ll be researching some cheap, tasty meals to keep us going. And then we have Christmas coming up so OBVIOUSLY there’ll be some festive cooking and baking – we’re also trying to save money by not going out so much so I think my weekends will be mainly kitchen based from now on! I can’t wait πŸ™‚

Look at my new kitchen! Isn’t it beautiful!? Not polka dot unfortunately but I already have a selection of polka dot kitchenware and utensils, to keep me going until we buy our own house and I can have an entirely polka dot kitchen!

Proper Job Pizzas

A thousand apologies for my prolonged absence from Polka Dot Kitchen! Life has rudely barged in the way of blogging and I’ve really missed it. In the last month a lot has happened…I took voluntary redundancy from my job of two years after finding out Β the company was merging and there would be job duplications. I applied for a LOT of jobs, went on a few interviews and started to get TENSE when my last day at work was approaching and thoughts of unemployment, JobSeekers Allowance and cancelled Florida holidays (GOD FORBID) were looming. In my last week at my job, I went on two interviews. One was absolutely amazing and I was hoping and praying they’d offer me the job, I wanted it SO MUCH!

I then secured a ‘chat with the CEO’ the following week; brilliant, but no guarantee of a job! The second interview that week was before this ‘chat with the CEO’ of the job I really wanted. The interview was great but I just didn’t think the job was for me. Obviously, they then phoned me an hour after the interview and offered me the job. Dilemma! I politely asked the very pushy recruiter if I could let them know Friday. What followed was an extremely tense 48 hours in which I ran through all possible scenarios with Ben and went to sleep the morning of the ‘chat’ convinced I would not get the job and had also ruined my chances of getting the other one.

LONG story short, I was offered the job I really wanted. YES!!!!! Me and Ben then skipped off to Disneyland Paris for a very very very well deserved weekend away and I returned on Bank Holiday Monday pretty much on top of the world. I’ve been working at my new job nearly a month now and I’m feeling very happy, settled in and ready to get back to blogging. Obviously I’ve been eating a lot during this stressful time (mainly carbs…) so I have lots of backed-up posts to get through!

So. Lets start with my favourite food in the world – pizza! But, not just any pizza. Proper job, home-made, from scratch pizza. Yeahhh! Homemade pizza dough has fast become mine and Ben’s newest obsession. Nicer than any shop-bought pizza we’ve ever had, home-made is super quick to make and I keep finding myself knocking up fresh pizza dough when I get in from work during the week. Say goodbye to Lazy Boy Pizzas, we’re never going back!

The recipe I use is a very simple one found on Jamie Oliver’s forum, thanks to a Google search for ‘easy pizza dough fast action yeast’ or something along those lines. It serves 8 to 10 people but although we like pizza a lot, we halve the measurements due to the pressing need to stop gaining weight.

The first time we made them we were seriously amazed with how quick the dough was. Chuck in the flour, yeast, water, salt and sugar and mix it all up and that was it! DOUGH! Next time we’re going to get a bit adventurous and maybe add some flavourings into the mix, I’m thinking a cheesey, garlicky pairing would be a winner. Next was a generous spread of tomato paste, followed by some serious topping assemblage. I was recreating the magical Padana as it had been at least 4 days since I’d had my last hit. Caramelised onions, wilted baby leaf spinach and goats cheese. Always a winning combination, if a little time-consuming with the onions.

After a lengthy caramalisation sesh, I added the onions and spinach to my pizza base, followed by an overly generous sprinkle/slather of the goats cheese. Tada!

 

Ben naturally opted for a spicy, veggie meat based affair. He used the classic Linda McCartney veggie sausages, chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes and jalapeno peppers, as well as some of my very generously donated onions.

 

This is his pre-oven pizza! Proper crust!

 

 

25 agonising moments then passed, spent mainly staring through the oven door watching cheese bubble. Finally, they were ready and we proudly retrieved our pizzas from the steaming oven, ready to slice ’em up.

 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to put the entire pizza on my plate. I was very restrained though, and only put half on. As it was, all the excitement got a bit too much for me and in fact I was only able to eat a measly 4 slices. Call myself a pizza fan!

Ben was equally thrilled with his resplendant, golden circle of goodness.

 

MOUTH. WATERING.

It was too spicy for me but he absolutely loved it. My pizza was gorgeous too; sweet, sticky onions, fragrant tomato and sharp, piquant goats cheese. If you have never sampled a Padana-inspired pizza, I suggest you get on board immediately. You won’t regret it.

So once again, apologies for the brief disappearance and I hope you enjoyed my unemployment to employment sob story and the photos of these pizzas. More exciting food to come. Mainly carbohydrates though, this will never be a salad blog!