Dress to Impress: Thai Prawn Mussel Starter with Parma Ham Risotto Wraps for Mains

thai prawn musselsDelicious Delights for a Night In with Friends

Sometimes we have the urge to splurge. It’s in our blood and I find the best way to go all out is to cook a seriously good meal for my friends. You could buy a new pair of jeans but they will only be enjoyed by you, however cook your mates a meal and everyone gets a little piece of happiness. This is a winning recipe for two completely different styles of food, but somehow they work together. I have included a starter and a main, but for dessert go wild. Try some luxury ice-cream with a home-made chocolate sauce and some crumbled shortbread and fresh mint. Enjoy!!!

Starter: Thai Style Coconut Mussels and Prawns

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, beaten with the butt of your knife and finely chopped
  • 2 Thai green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste, if you can’t get this, use fish sauce
  • 1 tbs palm or brown sugar
  • Juice and rind of 2 limes
  • A large handful of fresh coriander, half coarsely chopped and the other half for garnish
  • 1kg fresh or half shell frozen mussels
  • 800g prawns, 20-30s, de-shelled and deveined, keeping the tails on
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk
  • 1/2 tin coconut cream
  • 2 tbs toasted, dried coconut

Method:

  1. To start, combine the first six ingredient and the juice and rind of one lime in a pestle and mortar or a blender, and pulse till a smooth paste is formed.
  2. Heat a heavy based pot over a high heat.
  3. Add the olive oil and then the spring onion, fry for a minute and then add the paste you made. Fry for 2 minutes, or until the kitchen is filled with amazing smells.
  4. Next add the mussels and water, wait till the water is almost evaporated and then add the prawns, coconut milk, coconut cream and coriander.
  5. Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until all the mussels have opened.
  6. Serve in small bowls. Use 8-10 mussels and 3-4 prawns per portion and pour over a bit of the sauce.
  7. Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, the remaining coriander and some flakes of dried coconut.

Mains: Parma Ham Risotto Wraps

parma-hamServes: 6

Ingredients:

  • 750g Arborio rice
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g mixed mushrooms e.g. Portabellini, brown, chantrelle, shitake
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 40g fresh basil, half chopped and the other half left whole
  • 3 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 250ml red wine
  • 3l hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 24 slices of parma ham or streaky bacon
  • 180g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for the finishing touch
  • Fresh rocket to garnish

Method:

  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the onions and sauté for a minute or two. Next add the garlic, thyme and mushrooms.
  3. Fry the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Next add the Arborio rice and stir, try to coat all the grains with the butter mixture.
  4. Once you have mixed the rice mixture, add the red wine and a cup of stock. The rice will absorb the liquid very quickly.
  5. Turn the heat down to a medium heat, and add a cup of stock at a time, constantly stirring so it doesn’t stick. Continue adding a cup of stock at a time, the risotto will swell and get thicker.
  6. Once the risotto is almost soft, take off the heat and stir through the dill and the chopped basil, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  7. Once the risotto has cooled, pre-heat your oven to 180˚C.
  8. Lay out 2 slices of Parma ham at a time, then place 4-5 tablespoons onto the ham, topped with a leaf of basil. Roll the ham around everything and form little parcels. Repeat this process till you have 12 parcels.
  9. Place your parcels on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
  10. Drizzle a white plate with some lashings  of olive oil, place 2 parcels on each plate, sprinkle with the parmesan and garnish with fresh rocket.
  11. Serve hot and enjoy.
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