5 Minutes with Nick Reynolds

Nick reynolds, Lil Portie, I Love Cooking Chefs

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We have another amazing IGTV recipe take over this week with Chef Nick Reynolds owner of Lil Portie restaurant in Dublin. So make sure to tune in on Sunday 19th July at 1pm to watch Nick create a delicious prawn dish (recipe below).

But first we wanted to find out a little bit more about Nick and how he got started.

After returning from South America, Nick decided he wanted to create something unique in Ireland while keeping true to his roots.

Thinking of a name was easy! In Port Antonio, Jamaica the locals are known as Porties. That tied in with his ancestral roots Lil Portie was born.

Nick sums up the cusine served in Lil Portie, “Caribbean cooking with sprinkles of Latin and Irish influences.”

Nick’s Jamaican granny would bring bottles of scotch bonnet hot sauce by the litre to Dublin that he would in turn, bring back to South America and introduce into creative projects with chefs and cooks from around the world .

This became the starting point for Nick culinary journey and recipes adding them to colourful South American palates. Finding different ways to use his granny’s sauce for marinades, sauces, dips and bases became an obsession.

  • Why did you become a chef?

I’ve became enchanted with the idea of the social gathering in its most primal of settings, around a meal. Being a part of that is special and helping to create a gift as old as time.

  • What was one of the very first things you ever cooked?

Maybe Jamaican patties with my Grandmother or hamburgers with my father. At that age where you think you’re controlling some sort of small contribution.

  • What is your ultimate comfort food recipe?

Fried plantain with some sea salt maybe a little dip on the side but not essential!

  • What are your top ingredient you couldn’t live without and why?

Pimento (all spice), I use it to replace black pepper in my recipes. It has that blended aroma of nutmeg & cinnamon.

  • What are your top tips for people cooking at home?

Flavour your oils and don’t be afraid of spice. I think we’ve a created a misconception with “spiced” & “spicy” food. Spicy food can ruin an experience, getting the balance right will elevate a meal.

  • Name one dish everyone should know how to cook.

I see a lot people that don’t know how to cook rice correctly, you don’t boil it! You need to wash it first till the water runs clear, enough water to cover, the lowest setting on your range , Then leave it alone!

If you fancy cooking along with Nick this Sunday here is the recipe:

Lime Pepper Prawns with Coconut Rice
Serves 4-6

  • 800 grams fresh prawns
  • 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns 
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seed 
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 green pepper (diced)
    250 grams of basmati rice
  • 1 fresh coconut or 100 grams of desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk 
  • 2 bay leaves 
    4 mandarines (diced)
  • 2 ripe avocados (diced)
  • 1 red onion (finely diced)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes 

For the prawns:

  1. Deshell and devein the prawns saving the heads and shells
  2. In a small pot Fry the heads & shells with a couple of tablespoons of oil for 5 minutes then add some water reducing for up to for 40 minutes,
  3. Zest all 3 limes trying not to remove the white pith,
  4. In a pan on medium heat toast the peppercorns and coriander seeds with the lime zest,Keep the pan moving or toss the mixture so It doesn’t burn.Toast for 5 minutes
  5. In pestle and mortar or coffee grinder blend dry the ingredients.
  6. In a medium to hot pan with a drizzle of oil
  7. Sear the green peppers then after 2 minutes pour in the stock (100ml) Pour in the lime pepper mixture
  8. Add the prawns with the garlic
  9. Cook for 6-8 minutes until cooked throughout then let simmer on the lowest heat until the stock has reduced further.

For the rice:

  1. Make sure to rinse your rice in cold water changing the water until the water runs clear. This ensures it becomes extra fluffy.
  2. Crack the coconut and peel off the brown part leaving just the white flesh.
  3. Grate the coconut with the a cheese grater (If you’re using desiccated coconut just add it with the rice).
  4. Fill the pot with the rice, bay leaves and coconut milk and enough water that your reaches your first knuckle when you put your hand in.
    Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.

For the salsa :

  1. Mix  the juice of one lime with the finely diced onion and a pinch of salt.
  2. Dice the mandarine and the avocados into small pieces add the chilli flakes then combine the onion.
  3. Serve the prawn over your rice with the salsa around the plate.
  4. Enjoy.

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