Like most of my recipes, this one was born of late night foraging after work. Don't let the slapdash manner in which it was conceived put you off, though. This is divine, and I'll be making it again as soon as I can. This recipe serves two, but is easily, and safely, doubled.
Garlic Prawn Penne
200g raw king prawns
250g Penne pasta (gluten-free is fine)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 small bunch of parsley
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
150ml white/rose wine (optional)
100g grated Parmesan/grana padano cheese
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil to finish
• In a small bowl, mix the cheese and lemon zest together.
• Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook pasta according to packet instructions.
• Meanwhile, separate stalks and leaves of the parsley, and finely chop. Add the leaves to the cheese and lemon mix.
• In a pan big enough to take the pasta later, melt the butter over a medium high heat, and add the garlic.
• Cool for 2 mins, then add the parsley stalks and prawns.
• Turn up the heat and cook for a further 2 mins, then add the wine, if using, and let bubble for a minute or two.
• Add the tomatoes and lemon juice, cook for a further minute, season with salt and pepper, and then set aside until the pasta is done.
• When the pasta is cooked, drain it, then add it to the prawn pan, setting it over the heat again while you bring it together.
• Toss it all in the pan until the pasta is coated in the garlicky butter sauce, then drizzle over some olive oil, sprinkle over the cheese, lemon, and parsley gremolata, and SERVE.
So...as promised, here is the Cornish pasty recipe I've been wittering about on Facebook all week. This bout of culinary procrastination came about while I was writing some of the second book I'm contributing to Riptide's British shared world series (think Tucker Springs & Bluewater Bay, but with blokes and birds instead of dudes and chicks).
The Porthkennack books are set in North Cornwall in a fictional town near Constantine Bay. I was handed the cover art contracts for the seven contemporary jobs last week, and from the blurbs I've read, the series is going to be epic. And, in addition to the contemporaries, there are at least three historical on cards, including one by Joanna Chambers. Dude. I love her stuff.
Anyway, it was while writing Junk Yard Heart that I got hit with a massive part craving, though I think my end result might be technically classed as a Devon pasty--Cornish ones are sealed with an upright pleat, as Brix explains to Calum in my first book, House of Cards.
It's not essential to make your own pastry (400g store bought shortcrust will do) but for me it was part of the fun as it entitled me to a double lot of arsing around in the kitchen when I should've been doing a million other things, including feeding the cat, which earned me a paw-punch to the face and twenty-four hours of perpetual feline scowling.
The pastry I've made is quite sturdy and strong. There is a flakier variation you can make using lard, but I didn't have any in the house (honest). I like to add a grinding of black pepper to the dough, but it's entirely optional.
The filling is rigidly plain and traditional, but if you wanted to jazz it up you could add any number of herbs and spices. Thyme would work beautifully.
Top tip: make the pastry first, then set it aside to rest while you chop the filling.
Top tip: be sure to chop the filling thinly, no thicker than 3mm, or it won't cook before the pastry burns. There are few worse things to put in your mouth than a half cooked potato...
450g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
1 pinch black pepper
2tsp baking powder
2 egg yolks
125ml ice cold water
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, finely chopped
300g rump steak, fat/sinew discarded (stolen by cat), finely chopped
1tbs plain flour
1 egg, beaten
* Put flour, salt, butter, baking powder, and egg yolks in a processor or mixer and work until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
* Add the water bit by bit until the dough comes together in a ball.
* Pat into a disc, wrap in cling film, set aside in the fridge while you chop the filling.
* Mix all the ingredients well, seasoning generously.
* Preheat your oven to 220 C. Line a couple of baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
* Flour your work too, then cut your disc of pastry into 6 even-sized pieces
* Roll pastry pieces out into circles (ish) around 8 inches in diameter.
* Divide filling equally between pieces, placing it on one side of your circle.
* Brush water around the edges of the circle, then fold over the remaining side of pastry.
* Pleat or crimp in your preferred style. Smushing it with a fork is entirely acceptable.
* Make two slits in the top of the pasty to let the steam out.
* Transfer to baking trays.
* Glaze with beaten egg and a sprinkle of extra seasoning.
* Bake in the oven for 20 mins, then lower the temperature to 160 C and bake for a further 40 mins.
* Allow to rest for 20 mins before serving.
Note: pasties are even more delicious when left over night and eaten cold at the fridge door...preferably in your pyjamas.
In case you missed it, which is highly unlikely as I've been blathering on about it all weekend, Rented Heart is out on Monday.
However, I have it on good authority that it is available to download from Riptide right NOW if you buy front them direct this weekend. Just click this link...
Happy Saturday, folks!
Garden Glut Pasta
So, because I don't have enough to do, I've decided to blog some of the recipes I witter about on Instagram. Readers and followers have been asking me to do this for years, but it's taken me this long to find a decent iPhone app to facilitate my slovenly approach to blogging.
"Garrett, is this going to be one of those wonderful things you do twice and then leave by the wayside?"
Well, maybe, but I'm going to try my best for it not to be.
Anyway, onto the grub...
Garden Glut Pasta, so called because we had a surplus of courgettes (zucchini) to use, and the restaurant was chucking away a ton of watercress. This dish is simple, but beautiful, and works very well with gluten-free pasta.
I recommend making the sauce and leaving it to one side for the flavours to infuse while the pasta cooks.
400g penne pasta (tesco gluten-free works wonderfully)
2 courgettes (zucchini), finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
100g frozen peas, thawed
70g vintage cheddar cheese, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs extra virgin olive/rapeseed oil
Extra-virgin olive/rapeseed oil
Salt & Pepper
Grana Padano/Parmesan Cheese
A handful of fresh watercress for each bowl
• Set a large pan of liberally salted water on to boil
• In another pan, large enough to hold the remaining ingredients and the pasta later, heat the regular olive oil over a medium heat.
• Add the onion and a pinch of seasoning. Cook for 5 mins.
• Add the courgettes and garlic. Cook until tender. Add the tomatoes and thawed peas.
• Cook for a further 2 minutes, then take off the heat.
• Add 2 tbs of your chosen extra-virgin oil, check seasoning, then set aside.
• Cook the pasta in fiercely boiling water according the packet instructions, or until done to your liking.
• Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water.
• Tip pasta into the sauce, adding in the cheddar cheese, and toss together, splashing in a couple of tbs of cooking water.
• Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of extra-virgin oil, Parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with a handful of fresh watercress.
It's getting close! This time next week I'll be searching for clothes I haven't washed, toiletries I never actually bought, and leaving last minute instructions that make no sense for Caleb, who's kindly (begrudgingly) agreed to move into our house and take care of our menagerie--one devil cat, a highly strung poodle, a hooligan labradoodle puppy, and three unruly chickens--while we're gone.
I'm very excited. Bristol is a special place for Man Fox and I, plus I get to see my sista-from-another-mista Rachel Maybury, catch up with Jay, RJ, Monique, Susan, Lori, and Aleks, and, meet AJ Rose.
And, with Man Fox along for the ride, I don't have to park my car in the claustrophobic dungeon the Marriott calls a car park. Winner.
For the book fair, I will have limited copies of Slide, Rare, Only Love, Heart, and Misfits. These will be priced at cost, which is a round £6. I will also have a stack of the cutest little paperback copies of Shadow Bound. These will be lying around for FREE, so just pick one up whenever you're wandering past.
A word on photographs. I don't do them, and will be wearing a lanyard to show this. You are more than welcome to tackle hug me, or take pictures of my feet, tattoos, or name tag, but please don't ask to take a snap of my ugly mug, 'cause the answer will be NO! Take pictures of Rachel instead. She's hot.
On Saturday afternoon, Kellie Dennis and I will be hosting the cover art discussion group. This is where you can come and learn more about how the design process plays out...how it works with publishers vs indie, how stock sites work, and how to get the most from your relationship with your artist. Kellie and I are looking forward to meeting you all, and we've jointly designed a sparkly sign to celebrate.
Are we there yet?
Following the rebranding of garrettleigh.com six months ago, I have experienced continuing problems with the blogging application of my (ex) host, WIX.
This meant that after opening up my blog for fellow authors, first with Dreamspinner, then genre wide, I was spending hours wrestling with each and every post, trying to reason with the general fuckwittery that was WIX.
Needless to say, it didn't take me long to lose patience with it all. That meant either closing the blog to guest posts, or stamping my feet and jumping ship back to Weebly, where I should have stayed to begin with. Lesson learned? WIX are a bunch of knobheads. Don't be fooled by their shiny new TV adverts. If you want to retain your hair, stick with what you know.
I'd like to say this is the start of my blogging rebirth--that you will get weekly posts from me, filled with lively updates and scintillating news--but in the real world, it's business as usual: sporadic cat-themed rambling from Chez-Garrett, and wonderful promotional posts from authors who are far more diligent than me.
Authors, please contact me however you like, FB, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), smoke signals...whatever. If I've got a slot and you're not promoting squirrel porn, you're more than welcome.
Garrett Leigh is an award winning and LAMBDA nominated romance author, published with Riptide Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, and Fox Love Press.