If I am making a meal just for my husband and I to enjoy, I general rustle up something that the children aren't so keen on. Even though my crew seem to eat me out of house and home on a daily basis, there are some food items that I can’t tempt them with. One of those is shellfish. I happen to love shellfish, or any variety of fish, and I particularly love nothing better than serving it straight from the barbeque. However, as we are currently undergoing torrential weather warnings I don’t think that I'll risk dragging out the barbecue, even in the name of love, on Valentine’ s Day. Instead I'll settle for this quick and tasty oven baked prawn and chorizo dish. In lieu of that smokiness which I've come to love with barbecuing prawns I’ve sprinkled these with a little smoked paprika. This dish is prepared in minutes and is ever so tasty. So, my menu is set for Valentine’s and all I need now is to convince the children that they are all wrecked by 8.30pm so that I can cook this dish at a reasonable hour.

Oven-Baked Spicy Prawns & Chorizo on Toast

50g butter, softened
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ tsp smoked paprika
Zest of ½ a lemon
200g raw prawns, deveined and defrosted, if necessary*
75g chorizo, sliced
1tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Juice half a lemon

To Serve
1 tbsp olive oil
2 thick slices of bread

1.       Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas 5.
2.       In a bowl combine the softened butter with the chilli, garlic, smoked paprika and lemon zest.
3.       Place the prawns and chorizo in a single layer in a casserole dish. Evenly cover with the butter mixture.
4.       Place in the pre-heated oven for 12 minutes, at which time the prawns will be cooked through and white in colour.
5.       While the prawns and chorizo are cooking, heat a griddle pan and add the olive oil. Once hot fry the bread for about 2 minutes on each side. Cut each slice of bread in half and remove to two plates.
6.       Take the prawns from the oven, sprinkle over the parsley and squeeze over the lemon juice. Divide the mixture between the two plates and enjoy straight away.

*If you are using frozen prawns, either thaw them in the fridge overnight, or in a bowl filled with ice water. Ensure that the prawns stay cold, as when bacterial growth is encouraged when raw prawns are left at room temperature.

The children always present me with the most beautiful hand-made cards and inscribed within are the words which will never fail to melt my heart ‘I love you, Mammy’. I truly treasure these cards each year. 
Whatever way that you choose to celebrate, have a Happy Valentine's Day. xx

 I'm so thrilled to tell you that my book, 'Apron Strings - Recipes from a Family Kitchen', is short-listed for an award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. It is nominated in the 'Best First Cookbook' category. 'Apron Strings' is listed as the winner in the category of the 'First Cookbook' award for Ireland, which means that it is now short-listed for the world awards. There are 32 books, in this category nominated from all around the world. It's an absolute honour that 'Apron Strings' will be nestled amongst them.
The Awards will take place in China during the Beijing Cookbook Fair, 19-21 May. As much as I'd love to take a trip to Beijing I think that I'll settle for watching the awards unfold through the power of social media. 
There are eleven other Irish books nominated. Have a look at Gourmand's website and scroll down to 'Ireland' to see the other Irish winners. - http://www.cookbookfair.com/index.php/gourmand-awards/winners-2014-gg 
The very best of luck to all who are nominated! 

If you would like to purchase a copy of Apron Strings, New Island Books are currently selling it, from their website, for half price. Make sure to use the 50TEN2013 code on the checkout.