Food, a love story

Shrimpathy for the Devil

I’m afraid I’ve created two monsters.

In my zest to ensure you are both healthy and unfussy eaters, I’m now faced with a five-year-old whose favourite dish on earth is spicy shrimp and a nine-year-old who craves sea bass on a regular basis.

This is all fabulous, ladies, but try as I may, our budgetary restrictions remain firmly in the grip of austerity for the time being.

We will wander the food markets in Barcelona, tour them in Lyon and visit the best bistros in Paris, we will. One day, girls, I’m going to make that happen.

In the meantime, Aldi/Lidl/insertothersupermarkets frozen sections will have to do. As long as the fish is uncooked, with some garlic, lemon and good olive oil, we can conjure up our own Chez Paul, chez nous.

Shrimpies, as you call them, are one of my favourites, too. You can’t imagine how upset I am that I no longer get to have a plate of them to myself. The accusatory look and tone I’ve received, as one or both of you emerge from a room at the slightest hint of garlic sautéeing, is a sight to behold.

“Are you making shrimp?” you say, head cocked in an “and you know you’re sharing, right?” way.

I’m afraid I do. In fact, when your older sister went off to a disco last week and you were left behind, inconsolable apparently, I implored what could cheer you up, stop your tears.

“You got any shrimp, mum?”

When I nodded yes, your wee tear-stained face ruefully nodded back and with a quick wipe of your wet cheeks, all was right in the world again.

Spicy shrimp. Who knew?


Raw shrimp, head on if you can get them

2–3 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

1 lemon

Small glug of white wine (optional)

A knob of butter

A hot sauce and/or chilli of your choice. I usually chop a chilli and add a dash of Sriracha

Fresh coriander

Crusty bread


Sauté the garlic very gently in a big glug of olive oil, taking care not to burn. Add the chilli if you’re using one, soften at a low-ish heat. I usually add a tiny pinch of sea salt at this point.

Once the chilli and garlic are nice and soft, add the shrimp (can be added frozen or fresh) and turn up the heat. They cook quickly, so keep them moving in the pan. A glug of white wine is always a plus, not too much.

When the shrimp are becoming a lovely coral pink, add the juice of half a lemon, the hot sauce (if using) and season to taste.

Add the butter, keeping everything moving. As soon as the shrimp are fully pink, take off the heat.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with fresh crusty bread for mopping up all the juices.

Enjoy x