2ltrs fresh chicken or veg stock; 200g po­lenta, corn­meal or grits; sprig of thyme; 80g Ched­dar, grated; 30g parme­san, grated; 30g but­ter; pinch of cayenne pep­per; pinch of white pep­per; sea salt 16 raw king prawns, peeled with tails on, de­veined and spli

South Wales Echo - - Food & Drink -


1. Put the chicken (or veg) stock, po­lenta, thyme and quar­ter of a tea­spoon of salt in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Al­low to sim­mer over a very low heat for one hour. Ini­tially it will re­sem­ble murky yel­low water, but it will come to­gether. Keep whisk­ing the mix­ture, es­pe­cially dur­ing the last 15 min­utes of cook­ing, to prevent the bot­tom of the po­lenta scorch­ing.

2. Once you have a nice thick and gloopy con­sis­tency sim­i­lar to a well-cooked por­ridge, which pulls away from the sides of the pan and has no bite to it when tasted, mix in the cheeses, but­ter and pep­pers. The po­lenta will lighten in colour and be­come lovely and shiny. Sea­son with salt to taste and keep hot un­til ready to serve.

3. To make the dirty prawns: Place the prawns in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat them, add the crushed gar­lic and al­low to mar­i­nate while you get ev­ery­thing else ready. This dish cooks fast so have ev­ery­thing prepped and or­gan­ised be­fore cook­ing.

4. Heat a fry­ing pan over a medium heat with a slick of oil and fry the ba­con un­til it is start­ing to crisp and the fat has ren­dered. Re­move it from the pan with a slot­ted spoon and set aside.

5. In the same pan, melt the but­ter in the re­main­ing ba­con fat. Turn up the heat to high and add the prawns. You want to cook th­ese hard and fast. When they be­gin to turn opaque, re­turn the ba­con to the pan along with the spring onions, salt, pep­per and cayenne.

6. Check for sea­son­ing and give it a gen­er­ous squeeze of le­mon juice be­fore serv­ing along­side the po­lenta. THANK good­ness I’ve sur­vived the last cou­ple of weeks. I hid be­hind the front door on Hal­loween (I hate it) and shielded the dog’s ears from the pops and bangs of fire­works. I’m not one for Bon­fire Night ei­ther.

I bet you think I’m a proper sour­puss. But I do like out­door fires – just un­der my own terms.

A few days ago I went to my pal’s house as she’d promised to light the fire pit, throw on a leg of lamb and pour wine. I also took wine to taste-test for your ben­e­fit (my life is all about you).

Our first was a white. It’s eight months since I went to New Zealand and met wine­mak­ers in­clud­ing Matt Pat­ter­son-Green from Jack­son Es­tate. As the fire crack­led, my chum and I poured

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