Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seafood, Bubbles and Thai Prawn Salad

An evening of seafood, hands-on cooking, bubbly wine.
And it was so good, I tried it at home...

It started with attendance at one of the Sydney Seafood School's regular cooking classes.  The course was presented by food consultant and cookery writer, Lyndey Milan, who showed us how to prepare canapes for the holiday entertaining season, with matching sparkly wines. Then we replicated the dishes ourselves, and then - the best bit - we ate the fruits of our endeavours.

Lyndey Milan has run this particular class for the past 13 years (and some of the attendees have come to the 10 of those).  Lyndey is chatty and entertaining, with lots of helpful tips on making the dishes, the tools to use, the best ingredients, etc.  She has just launched a studio kitchen for film and photography use, hence the cameraman filming during part of the class. 

Here is what we prepared:
From top: salmon tartare with wasabi creme fraiche and crisp skin, swordfish souvlaki with skordalia, salt and pepper squid and Thai prawn cups. Our workstation team consisted of 5 lovely ladies and one handsome man. Everyone put in a stellar performance, chopping, mixing, cleaning and deep-frying squid (champion!), and plating up.

Then we set up a table in the dining room and settled down to enjoy the food:
We were also presented with wines to match the food, including Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Particuliere NV, The Great Wave sparkling pinot grigio, Charles Melton Brut Peche and Rumball NV sparkling shiraz. I loved the Champagne and sparkling pinot grigio, and thought they matched the best with the seafood, especially the salmon tartare and prawns.

Look at the magnificent effort:
The Thai prawn cups were served in lettuce leaves - scrumptious.
The swordfish souvlaki was served with skordalia (made with soaked sourdough).
The salmon tartare was served on finely sliced Melba toasts and topped with yummy wasabi creme fraiche and deep-fried salmon skin - a favourite.
The salt and pepper baby squid was amazingly tender, and beautifully coated in a crisp batter.

Sydney Seafood School is at the Sydney Fish Market. Classes cost from $85-$155. Website here.
Lyndey Milan also has a website here (and a diamond knife that I'm considering getting. She spruiked it during the class, and it looks good, incredibly light and sharp).

The next day, with the weather being quite warm, I reproduced the Thai prawn cups for dinner.  I bumped up the volume of vermicelli noodles and prawns, and it was delightful.  Here is the recipe I used:

Thai Prawn Salad
serves 2

100g bean thread (mung bean vermicelli) noodles
300g medium cooked or green (raw) prawns
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
80g dry roasted cashews or peanuts, roughly chopped

30ml lime juice (from 1 small-medium lime)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp Thai fish sauce
3 tsp grated palm sugar or brown sugar
1 small red chilli, finely chopped

1.  To make the dressing: combine all dressingingredients in a screw-top jar, shake and set aside.
2.  Place vermicelli in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and soak until just tender (about 5 minutes), then rinse under cold water and drain well.
3. If using green prawns, peel and devein the prawns, then quickly sear them in a little vegetable oil, over high heat, until just cooked, about 2 minutes each side.
3. Combine the vermicelli noodles, prawns, mint and cucumber in a large bowl and toss through the dressing.
4. Spoon onto a plate, sprinkle with cashews or peanuts, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Lyndey Milan

Ingredients, including mint, vermicelli, chilli, lime juice, cashews, grated palm sugar, fish sauce and sesame oil.
You can also add 1/2 cup of coriander - but I didn't, because coriander is evil.

The sauce is shaken together, then tossed with the prawns, noodles and mint.

Sprinkle with nuts before serving.

Perfectly fresh-tasting and super quick to make.


  1. Super cool! What an awesome experience! That thai prawn salad looks incredibly tasty. I am so addicted to thai flavors.

  2. Ooooh, that looks wonderful! I'd love to make this sometime for a nice lunch.

  3. Such a delicious idea! I am a huge shrimp fan, but rarely ever cook with it. Going to have to try this.


  4. Oh Bel, this class looks like it would be so much fun. I need to take some kind of class like this too, since the food looks so wonderful! Plus, it would help me branch out a bit (smile)...
    Hope you and your guy have a relaxing weekend with no tummy pain btw;-)!

  5. Your pictures grabbed a hold of me. This salad looks so tasty. I want to try it myself.

  6. I wish I could have joined you for such a fun event! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I've often considered doing one of these classes as they seem so much fun. Especially when there's matching booze

  8. Definitely will make this, but WITH the coriander ;)

  9. I was given a gift voucher a couple of years ago and attended one of the cooking classes at the Sydney Seafood School. What surprised me was that I had been to the fish markets so many times and never noticed the staircase or sign leading up to them!

  10. Fun times, and some good dishes to take home for entertaining. Entertaining yourself too.

    Also, things on sticks. Awesome.

  11. I've heard that the knife is good too although I haven't seen it in action yet. I'm looking forward to my upcoming class there too! :)

  12. awww that prawn salad looks really good. I'm on a healthy kick at the moment and that looks like something right up my alley

  13. Wow! That looks so delicious. This can be a very nice lunch. I would definitely try this one.

  14. OOOO what an amazing looking salad!!! be great for a nice hot summer lunch dish!!

  15. Delicious looking salad! Perfect for Spring!

  16. That does look scrumptious and perfect for the warmer weather. I like the idea of using the lettuce cups too for extra crunch

  17. That class sounds awesome! Everything you made looked sooo good! Definitely love your recreation of the prawns into a salad too!

  18. Thanks for such a lovely review of my class. I teach a different class every programme - so look out for next year. I think the way you increased the other ingredients in the prawn cups makes a lot of sense - but as I was at the Seafood school, I wanted to use as much seafood as possible. Love your pics and I didn't even notice you taking any on the night. Your blog looks great!