2 tbsp cornflour
vegetable oil, for deep frying
24 large king prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails
pea shoots or baby salad leaves, to serve (optional)
For the spice mix
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
4 black peppercorns
2 tbsp sea salt flakes
large pinch of chilli flakes
For the dipping sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp caster sugar
juice 3 limes
1 tbsp fish sauce
- First, make the dipping sauce. Crush the garlic, coriander and chilli using a pestle and mortar. (If you don’t have one, just finely chop.) Pound in the sugar until dissolved, then add the lime juice and fish sauce. It should taste sweet, salty and spicy.
- To make the spice mix, toast the Sichuan and black peppercorns in a frying pan over a medium heat for 1 min or until fragrant. Finely grind in a spice mill or using a pestle and mortar, then add the salt and chilli flakes and mix together. Transfer to a bowl.
- Combine the spice mix with the cornflour. Heat 7.5cm of oil in a large wok or deep heavy-based saucepan. You can test the temperature by frying a small piece of bread – it should sizzle instantly and take 20 secs to turn golden. Toss the prawns with the spice mix, shake off the excess and deep-fry, in batches, for 1-2 mins or until crisp at the edges and starting to curl. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the remaining prawns. Scatter over the pea shoots or salad leaves, if you like, and serve with the dipping sauce.
Classic scones with jam & clotted cream
- 350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 85g butter, cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 175ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- squeeze lemon juice (see Know-how below)
- beaten egg, to glaze
- jam and clotted cream, to serve
Cooking timePrep: 5 mins Cook: 10 mins
- Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
- Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.
- Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 4cm deep.
- Take a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. By this point you’ll probably need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
- Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C/fan140C/gas 3) for a few mins to refresh.