there’s no place like home

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
             Dorothea Mac Keller (1885 – 1968)

marinated BBQ prawns

The magic words of Dorothea Mac Keller came to me numerous times over the weekend. The Irishman and I had decided to go for a road trip to see my dear old Dad at our farm, outside a little place called Gunning, few hours drive South West of Sydney. I love a sunburnt country.

As we hurried down the Highway heading into the setting sun on Friday evening, the countryside opened up before us to reveal vast stretches of paddocks covered in grass without even a hint of green to be seen. Bleached almost a blinding white as far as the eye could see, I felt my heart swell a little each time I said it to myself. I love a sunburnt country.

With Australia Day (and a long weekend!) around the corner I thought it high time I shared one of my favourite Summer BBQ recipes. I mean what better way could there be to celebrate this wonderful country than getting a few mates together, kicking back with a glass of crisp cool Semillon or Riesling or an icy cold beer, throwing another shrimp, eerh prawn on the barbie and letting the afternoon unfold…..all good things.

marinated BBQ prawns (shrimp) with tahini sauce
serves 4

This Summer I’ve found myself having a renewed love of prawns thanks to a dinner a few weeks ago cooked by my good mate Mands. If you’re not a big prawn fan or don’t have access to any good raw prawns, by all means substitute in white fish such as flathead or snapper or for the non fishy types even chicken would work well.

If it’s too hot to even contemplate turning on the BBQ you could just buy your prawns ready cooked and serve with the sauce to dip into.

Tahini is just ground up sesame seeds that form an oily paste. It’s readily available in the ‘health’ food section of most supermarkets. It has a lovely nutty flavour and is well worth seeking out. But if you can’t find any some natural yoghurt seasoned with salt and pepper would also do the trick.

1kg large green prawns, peeled & deveined
8 bamboo skewers
for the marinade:
1 bunch coriander leaves & stems washed & finely chopped
2t ground cumin
1t smoky paprika
1t sea salt flakes
½ clove garlic, peeled & finely chopped
1/2C extra virgin olive oil
for the sauce:
4T tahini
1 small clove garlic finely chopped
1/2C lemon juice
2T extra virgin olive oil
6-10T water

Soak skewers in cold water. Combine marinade ingredients and season with pepper. Toss through prawns and allow to marinate in the fridge for as long as you’ve got from a few minutes up to a couple of hours.

For the sauce, stir together tahini, lemon juice, garlic and oil then gradually add water until you have the desired consistency, somewhere around thickened cream. Taste and season.

Preheat BBQ hotplate to high. Thread prawns onto skewers and BBQ for a few minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Serve immediately with sauce on the side.

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