Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gambas al Pil Pil ... & Updates!

Hello stranger.

You still there? I know, I know. I have been awfully quiet. Can't help it ... so many things to do, so much life to live. :)

I hope you've all been well. I've been really, really busy ... in a good way, if you know what I mean. If you have been following me on Twitter, you'd know that I was in Hong Kong recently to celebrate my birthday. It was a "milestone birthday" (ahem!), hence the need for a special celebration. After all, it's not everyday one turns erm, 21, right? Haw haw haw. But boy, did I have a fantastic time! Absolutely loved every minute there. :)

It was also the day my blog turned 3. Yikes! I can't believe I've kept this going for 3 years now. I don't know how long I can keep this up, but I sure hope I'll be blogging for many more years to come ... for the single simple reason that I enjoy it.

In between all that, I managed to squeeze some time to take up elementary French! It was 2 months of fun, fun, fun. While I am not at all proficient yet, I can now order from a menu and not butcher the language. At least that's what I think. Do you believe me? *giggles*

As for my everyday life - of course I still have the daily ferrying and coaching, fussing and rushing to do. But that's part of being a hands-on mum, and I do love being one! At the end of every week though, I make it a point to have my night off, where I catch up with friends over dinner and drinks.

Unbeknownst to me, I have slowly morphed into the type of mum I used to envy - you know, the ones whose baby/toddler days are behind them? The ones who can get out of the house for a couple of hours alone, with nice hair and make-up on? The ones who actually have a life? Yeah, those.

Back then, when I was a harried, sleep-deprived young mother, all I yearned was for some precious me-time which I knew would one day come when the kids got older (although at that point, it did seem like there was no light at the end of the tunnel).

And then one evening, when I was out at dinner, it hit me hard: "It's here! The day has already come! OMG, I have my life back!" Inside, I gave a tiny yelp and did a happy dance. Kids do grow up - thank goodness - and it feels fantastic to move on to a new phase.

So, that's the update from me. What have you been doing? :)

Well, here's what's cookin' today: I wanted to share this Gambas al Pil Pil which I had when I visited Barcelona last December. It's a very common tapas dish which literally takes minutes to prepare. In fact, the "difficult" part about making this is the shelling and deveining of the prawns. It's true! And even better, there is no actual recipe because everything is eyeballed.

In many tapas bars all over Spain, you'd see food served in terracotta-coloured dishes (cerĂ¡mica de barro, if I am not wrong). It's great, really, because you cook the food in the plate you are serving in and the heat gets retained within. In my case, I had to make do with a small frying pan (the type you'd fry an egg in) and then transfer the cooked prawns into a serving bowl.

So essentially, what you need for a 1-2 person serving are:
- 10 large fresh prawns, shelled and deveined (tails on)
- good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thickly
- 1 chilli (fresh or dried), sliced and deseeded
- a pinch of paprika
- a dash of salt
- a scatter of chopped parsley

1. Gently heat up a shallow earthern plate or frying pan. Pour a few glugs of olive oil (enough to submerge the prawns halfway).

2. Add in the garlic, followed by the prawns. Cook over a low-medium heat for 2mins. The oil should sizzle but the garlic should not brown.

3. Throw in the chilli slices and add a pinch of paprika. Let the prawns cook till they turn thoroughly orange, probably another 2mins. Add a dash of salt for taste.

4. Dish up onto a serving bowl or shallow plate and sprinkle with parsley. And seriously, that's it!

5. Serve with a Spanish red and some warm crusty bread (to mop up that glorious crustacean-flavoured oil).

How about that? Tapas in your own home, and since you're not going anywhere, you can drink as much rioja or sangria as you like. ;)

Till the next post ... eat well, live well, love well!