Week 69. Mozambique. Piri Piri Prawns.

I think I’ve been poisoned.

I think I might have ingested oestrogen – and loads of it. It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m sat at my PC with the lighting down low, soft music on and I’m drinking a Hot Chocolate. I didn’t fancy watching the Rugby, and when I opened the fridge and saw a can of lager I just thought of the unnecessary calories. I’m even thinking of having a bath…oh and yesterday I had a Decaffeinated Pumpkin Skinny Latte. I shit you not.

I think it’s my hair and I think oestrogen increases as you grow it. I have had a shaven head for 15 years (as I hated my hair – not as I’m a thug) but after seeing a photo of me recently which looked like I had a never ending face, I decided to break that face up with some hair. Ever since I started to grow it I have felt different. It’s a subtle difference, but I’d always been conscious of people looking at me and judging me for having a shaved bonce. People would avoid sitting next to me on trains if they could and would rarely ask me directions in the street….unless to a football match. Now I’m everyone’s friend. I’m the guy people start conversations with in shops (quite annoying) and I’m smiled at by fellow parents – rather than the looks I used to get which I always read as “poor little boy, your Daddy is going to go to prison soon”. The slightly funnier reactions to my new hair came at work as none of my workmates were aware I could actually grow hair and presumed I was bald. Suddenly I had hair and people thought I had had a transplant, yet no one mentioned anything to me for ages.

Back to the oestrogen point; I think that I might be displaying female traits as I have been told/ ordered to chill out a bit and I’m playing the part well. I had been in back agony on my commute to work and then all day at work and after seeing a couple of people about it I was told I needed to relax more and get exercising. I have taken to reading novels on the way to work instead of pouring over newspapers which talk of how the world is dreadful (I can do that at lunchtime) and I’ve stopped commuting in my suits – which I now leave at the office. In the evenings I have stopped watching crap on TV and reading with music on. It is incredible how different I feel. My mind used to be full of thoughts and stresses and strains and these then poured down my neck and into my back, knotting it up. Relaxation has meant my thoughts are clear and my glass half full attitude is back. I cannot recommend more that if you are ever stressed, you get it addressed quickly. I wasted 5 months of my life thinking I was fine, but in reality I was sleeping poorly and in physical pain. I could have got it sorted quicker. So – I’m relaxed, have a clear mind and hold all the behavioural traits of a 33 year old, strong woman.

Mozambique is a country in the South East of Africa and is a gained independence from Portugal as recently as 1975. Portuguese influences remain and do so in the cuisine. You likely have heard of Piri Piri sauce as Nandos market it as their own. In reality, Piri Piri is the African Birds Eye Chilli which is grown in Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the forests of South Sudan…and Mozambique! It originated from Portugal and took a hold so well in Africa as it grows well in hot climates. Piri Piri dishes are therefore African with Portuguese origins, just like Mozambique.

Piri Piri is hot. It’s blended chilli and used alone can be uncomfortably hot. In this dish I diluted it with Tomato Juice and Coconut Milk. If you like spice and prawns this dish is absolutely for you. If you don’t I’d leave it!

Recipe (serves two):

Piri Piri Sauce (Blitz it):

  • 8 Chillies
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil

Take 500g Uncooked Prawns. I used Tiger Prawns. Cover them in 50% of the Piri Piri Sauce, half a can of coconut milk and 2 cups of tomato juice. Marinade for as long as you have available. I had 6 hours.

When ready to cook, gently cook 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water and 1 cup of coconut milk. It will absorb both, giving the rice a slight coconut flavour.

Barbecue the prawns for 3 minutes on each side until cooked.

Serve together with the remaining Piri Piri sauce drizzled on top with coriander and chopped peanuts to garnish.

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