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The Ritual of The Friday Night Feast

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The end of the working week is always an excuse to push the boat out, let your hair down and indulge in some great food, either at home or out on the town. If chez nous takes your fancy, you really want something that’s packed with flavour, luscious enough to count as a personal reward for all that hard work, but quick and simple to cook and prepare.

Twenty years ago (circa 1990s), the planning for the Friday feast would involve pouring over your collection of recipe books for inspiration or recreating something from the latest food TV show. Going out was probably the easier option. Fast forward to today, and we are flooded with ideas to inspire us. Our inboxes are packed with newsletters from food bloggers around the world, Twitter is constantly streaming snippets of the latest food creations made by amateurs as well as professionals, and Instagram and Pinterest display this in all its naked glory. It’s a true smorgasbord of foodie delights.

So take yesterday - a typical day in the ebb and flow of the digital food world. Friday morning and ping, Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things newsletter arrives in the inbox at 9.04am. Perfect timing as thoughts meander towards the Friday evening blow out. And there it is, right in front of you – a glorious picture of succulent tiger prawns, glistening in chilli, garlic infused olive oil and a smattering of chopped parsley. It’s what you call a no-brainer. What inspired Liz to share this simple but mouth-watering creation with us? A trip to Noosa and a meal at Berardo’s Bistro on the beach. To be truthful it was a bit more than just a meal, with Chef Gene and Chef Brendon taking time out to show Liz how to create the perfect holy trinity of prawn, garlic and chilli.

The technique of first cooking the butterflied prawns shell side down a la plancha is a masterstroke. It releases that wonderful aroma of lightly charred prawn shell into the kitchen. Then all you have to do is line the prawns up like soldiers in a baking tray, slather with your garlic and chilli infused oil and give them three minutes or so in a hot oven. Plate up, scatter over your chopped parsley, and Bob is your father’s brother. We deviated slightly from the original recipe and seasoned the prawns with our roasted garlic sea salt and pink peppercorns for a bit of a visual effect and subtle peppery notes. Lemon basil from Rocco, our herb grower, was a substitute for parsley. A bit of tinkering is what good cooking is all about – and it’s an excuse to use some of our delectable products! Next time we're tempted to tinker further and try seasoning the prawns with our paella seasoning, but that’s for another day.

A little note on how to eat this dish. You, the cook, who spent some time butterflying and de-veining those prawns (and that’s the only fiddly part of the recipe) deserve a little treat (in addition to the glass or two of vino consumed during prep time). So get yourself a hunk of freshly baked baguette and dunk it into those amazing prawn juices that you’ll find in your roasting pan. It’s the best bit. Of course save some for the guests (unless you have decided this is a gluttonous experience for one person only, and we don’t blame you in the slightest)!

So there you have it. The world works something like this: food blogger visits foodie mecca for a well-earned break; blogger eats awesome food; chefs reveal the secret of how to make awesome food to blogger; blogger posts and shares the love and excitement; we get inspired and hey presto from blog to plate that’s our Friday feast sorted. 

It’s a beautiful world.

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