I’m guessing that most of our guests were pretty relieved that we chose to go the ‘prawn’ route, rather than their preferred delicacy of catfood for District Nine.

A risotto is perfect for a crowd, and with a couple of semi cheats along the way, the kind of thing that you can 3/4 cook in the morning or the day before, and quickly finish off on the fly with a drink in your hand (shhh- yes know it’s not authentic, but sometimes it’s more important to be paying full attention to a tribute to John Hughes than stirring and stirring a risotto in another room).

Prawn, mint and asparagus risotto

Here’s how we rolled:

The day before I shelled a kilo of prawns and roasted the heads and shells in the oven for about twenty minutes. Then the house smells a lot like prawns. I tried not to say ‘ We have to do something about the prawns’ in a dodgy South African accent to much.

I then added those sad pieces of prawn carnage to a pot of water with roughly chopped onion, carrot, fennel and celery and simmered it for an hour and a bit to make some shellfish stock.

The next morning I snuck out of bed, made a cheeky cup of tea and made a start on a blonde risotto base for ten.

It’s a little bit strange first thing in the morning to be sauteing onion, adding rice til it’s translucent, and then a glass of white wine.

Then it got cooked until it was 3/4 of the way there, so there was still definite bite in the rice, before being put it out in a massive tupperware to cool down.

The only slightly strange bit was when The Hungry One came down for breakfast and said ‘why do I smell….prawns?’

To which I should have reminded him; better prawns than catfood.

After a couple of Pandora cocktails it was well worth it to be able to quickly slink away during the presentation of the ‘nerd Oscars’ to add the last two cups of warmed stock and heat it up.

Then it was topped with the kilo of prawns coloured up in a bit of butter with a blizzard of lemon zest and some fingerlings of asparagus. To that we added a serious punch of fresh mint and a little touch of goats feta.

To me District Nine was all about empathy. I’m happy to say the prawns are welcome at my place any time.

Read the rest of Oscarsfest here

The Hurt Locker

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Inglorious Basterds
Precious and The Blind Side
A Serious Man