When we went on our first cruise I was excited to see more than one Cooking Demonstration, as well as a visit to the Galley as part of the daily on-board program.
I’m not ashamed to say that I spend most of my waking hours thinking about food…
I was probably the first in line to get into the Marquee on Cooking Demo days! I don’t think I have ever missed a Cooking Demonstration in all the cruises we have done.
I have been lucky enough to try one of the prepared dishes too (you know how you have to jump up & down and wave your arms around and generally act a little crazy to get noticed… yes that was me!)
On your next cruise if they offer a visit to the Galley, don’t miss it – it’s fascinating to see how that well-orchestrated machine pumps out thousands of meals daily.
The following recipe was made at that very first Cooking Demonstration on our very first Cruise all those years ago and I still remember it well. It was featured on the main dining-room menu that night, so we were able to taste what we had seen prepared.
I had to have the P&O Holiday Cookbook as a holiday souvenir (of course), and I was thrilled to find that recipe inside.
So in the spirit of all good foodies I want to share this perfect spring dish with you. It is made with easy-to-find ingredients and I hope that it evokes some feel-good Cruising memories for you as you enjoy it.
Basil-Marinated Grilled Prawns with Rice Pilaf
(Adapted from the Recipe in the P&O Holidays Cookbook)
For Tomato Sauce
1T Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
4 Eschallots, finely chopped
4 t Fresh Thyme Leaves
1kg Vine Ripened Tomatoes, peeled seeded & diced
50g Caster Sugar
1T Red Wine Vinegar
1 ¼ Cups Basmati Rice (rinse until water runs clear then drain well)
2T Olive Oil
1 Large Red Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
½ C White Wine
2 C Chicken Stock
2T Parsley, finely chopped
4 Wooden Skewers (Soak them in water for about 10 minutes before using to prevent from burning)
16 Large Green Prawns, peeled but with tails intact
150g Basil Pesto
2 T Pine Nuts (toasted)
Lemon or Lime Cheeks to Serve
THIS IS WHAT TO DO:
For the Tomato Sauce:
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add eschallots, garlic and thyme – cook until the onion has softened (about 5 mins).
Add tomatoes, sugar & vinegar – reduce heat to low
Add 1/3 C water & simmer for about 10minutes.
Stir occasionally until the sauce is thickened.
Season well with Salt & Pepper and set aside.
(You can make this earlier in the day, and then just heat it through when you need it).
For the Pilaf:
Heat Oil and half the butter over a low heat.
Add onion & garlic and cook until soft (about 5 mins)
Add the rice and stir well to coat in the oil.
Add Wine, increase heat a little to simmer – reduce by half.
Add Stock, S&P and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, stir well, reduce heat to low then cover and cook for 12min.
Remove lid and stir with a fork then cover with a clean tea-towel & replace lid and leave to sit for 10min.
Then add the remaining butter and parsley and fluff up with a fork.
For the Prawns:
Season with Salt & Pepper.
Thread 2 prawns onto each skewer.
Brush on both sides with about ½ the Pesto.
Heat a pan to medium and cook prawns for about 2min each side until just cooked through.
Place Pilaf on plate and Prawns on top.
Drizzle with Tomato sauce and extra pesto.
Sprinkle over some toasted pine nuts.
Serve with a lemon/lime cheek on the side
ENJOY with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc
I have adjusted the recipe slightly from the original – just a tweak here and there to enhance the final product. If you love cooking like I do you will probably appreciate that it is impossible to follow a recipe exactly, so feel free to make your own changes too if you like!
The main change has been in the amount of liquid to cook the Pilaf in – I found the original recipe resulted in rice that was too wet.
I would love to hear about your favourite dishes and/or recipes that you have recreated from your Cruising Holidays – tell us about them below: