There’s something about eating food from a stick that just screams fun to me.
There is something relaxed and celebratory about it. Maybe it’s the fact I grew up in the 90’s. If there was a children’s party or family function that didn’t include tinned pineapple chunks skewered on a cocktail stick with some cheddar, then I didn’t go to it.
Can anybody else recall cheese and a pickled onion on a cocktail stick? Raise your hand.
But there is something heart warmingly cheery about your dinner being served on a stick. Not only does it say that you’re welcome to eat with your hands and bare teeth (which always screams party to me) but there’s also the added notion that there will be minimal dinnerware to wash up afterwards. So the host is happy too.
Alas, in my sad old man ways, I don’t need a party to pop some food on a stick.
Here in the UK we caught the slightest whiff of sun recently, and in true Brit fashion, we all went running for the lilos and Factor 50. I, however, ran to the fridge.
I had a mate coming around to enjoy my balcony (that’s one of the perks of having a balcony in the city – however you then become to the go-to for sweaty city friends) and I wanted to match the mood with the food. So naturally I turned to some prawn skewers. These are an absolute breeze to make. In fact I assembled these super quickly in the morning and let them marinade while I was at work so all I had to do when I got home was char them on my griddle.
SIDE NOTE – I typed too fast then and wrote ‘char them on my girdle’ and it caused me to actually scream laughing out loud. I do not cook things on my girdle. Nor do I have a girdle, for that matter.
Also, prepare yourself with this recipe cos we’re about to make a savoury caramel. Say it with me SAVOURY CARAMEL. It’s so intense – it’s a game changer.
Grab yourself some wooden skewers. Mine were quite long so I placed them against the griddle pan I was going to be using and trimmed them down so that they fit in the pan.
Run them under some water and leave to one side. Wetting them allows for easy sliding! I just re-read that sentence. I’m disgusting.
Now grab some cooked prawns and some pineapple chunks. I got mine from a packet that you can usually get in the sandwich section of a supermarket because they’re already cubed.
Slide the prawns/pineapples on each skewer. Across 8 skewers I managed 4 prawns and 4 pineapple chunks on each. Leave to one side.
In a big roasting tin that would fit all of your skewers, squeeze (or pour) in a good, generous slab of runny honey. To this add a little slick of olive oil. Now grate in the zest of an orange and then squeeze in the juice. Add a teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper and give everything a good stir together.
Place your skewers in the marinade and turn them over a few times to get them glossily coated. Cover the tray with some foil and leave to marinate – I left mine in the fridge and went to work but if you don’t have the time, just leave them for 30 minutes covered and out of the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook, take your skewers out of their marinade and put to one side. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and put it on a high heat on the hob. Once it starts bubbling up, lower it to a simmer. It’ll only be a scant amount of glaze, but it’s just enough.
While this reduces, heat up your griddle pan until it’s piping hot. You can test it by dropping a tiny splash of water on it and you want it to make a big TSSSSSSSK sound. If you don’t have a griddle pan, use a trusty saucepan. You won’t get the tiger stripes, but it’ll do.
Take your skewers and place them directly on the heat. No oil, no anything. They’ve been marinating – they’re fine. Leave them down for about 2/3 minutes then carefully turn them for another 2 minutes on the other side.
When they’ve had their minutes and are now smokily charred, place them on a serving plate and pour over the Spicy Orange Caramel Glaze. Scatter with some chopped fresh mint before serving.
I served this with some plain boiled rice and some sweetcorn which I mixed up with finely sliced chilli and some lime juice.