Hastings on food Spicy prawn cocktail with chili and coconut

2015-10-01 06:00
Photo: supplied
Wild Coast Sun executive chef Gary Hastings.

Photo: supplied Wild Coast Sun executive chef Gary Hastings.

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ONE of the most defining events of the sixties was the moon landing of Apollo 11 whereby Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon on 21 July, 1969. I fondly remember listening on a small radio to this remarkable achievement with my late father. The following month the Woodstock music festival was held where almost a half a million people lived for three days elbow to elbow in pouring rain and mud, wild music and the birth of two babies. In the end it turned into more of a phenomenon and you can be assured that many generations from now many people­ will still be talking about these events.

Although I really only started my career in 1972, I was influenced by the day to day cooking and culture going on all around me while growing up.

I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to not only the food that defined the sixties, but also the explosion of musical giants, - Elvis was already a star, the Beatles­ played for the first time using that name and auditioned, unsuccessfully, for Delta Records (boy did they get that one wrong).

My father played exquisitely on the piano and there were many gathering in our home which sometimes turned into late-night escapades.

There were always canapés of some sort served at these parties usually consisting of cubed cheese on sticks with sprinkled paprika, cucumber slices with sliced radish and piped cream cheese. Biscuits with curry butter, stuffed celery sticks, hollowed out pineapples filled with various salads that were declared awesome were also on the menu. On the hot side, my mom usually­ made Chicken à la King, meat balls with grape jelly, cheese fondue and beef bourguignon­.


· 3-6 prawns depending on size, cooked peeled and sliced into cubes

· 30-60 ml Japanese mayonnaise

· ½ red chili, deseeded and finely chopped

· 20 grams desiccated coconut

· salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


· Place the sliced prawns in a bowl

· Add 1 tablespoons of the dressing

· Add the mayonnaise ( it should just coat the prawns )

· Add the chilli and the coconut. Mix through

· serve


· Small piece of ginger root, finely chopped

· ½ red chili, deseeded and finely chopped,

· ½ cup coconut milk

· zest, of 1 lemons

· 2 teaspoons lemon juice,

· 2 tablespoons, chopped coriander.


· Place the coconut milk in a medium saucepan with the chili, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the chopped coriander­

· Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes

· Leave to cool and infuse

· Strain and keep one side


The garnishes can vary, from using chili, avocado, assorted lettuce, micro shoots and herbs, coriander oil or balsamic syrup

Coriander oil

· 250ml olive oil

· bunch coriander leaves


· Place ingredients into a blender and briefly blend

· Strain and keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Balsamic syrup

· 250 ml balsamic syrup

· 125 ml port

· 75 grams sugar


· Place the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over high heat

· Add the port and the sugar

· Allow to reduce to one third until it appears to be thicker.

· Remember once it has cooled it will be considerably thicker

· Once made place in a bottle and do not refrigerate as the syrup has to be at room temperature to use successfully.

Chef Hastings is on leave. This is one of his popular columns from last year

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