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Speedy Supper time

Haven't got a clue what to make for dinner? Top food writer Diana Henry's prawn, fennel and tomato pilaf is here to help.

Too busy to brush your hair let alone whip up a gourmet feast for 6pm? Yup, us too. What you need is our sanity-saving Speedy Supper. This easy-peasy, summery midweek dish comes courtesy of Diana Henry, Daily Telegraph food columnist and author of Simple: Effortless Food Big Flavours. Help us out here, Diana…

Prawn, fennel & tomato pilaf with mint (serves 2, takes 30 minutes)

pawn fennel feta plaf in big white shell bowlPhoto by Chris Terry

A great dish for two. Leave the pilaf to cook, then quickly fry the prawns at the last minute. You can use dry white wine if you don’t have vermouth… but I always keep vermouth, as it never fails to come in handy and it’s so brilliant with fish.

110g basmati rice
½ fennel bulb
3 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
good pinch of chilli flakes
150g plum tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
100ml dry vermouth
175ml chicken, fish or vegetable stock
200g raw king prawns, shelled and deveined
salt and pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped mixed parsley and mint leaves
50g feta cheese, crumbled


Put the rice into a sieve and rinse it until the water runs clear.

Halve the fennel and remove the outer layer of leaves – they’re usually a bit discoloured – and the tips, but keep any little fronds. Cut out the core of each piece and discard; chop the flesh.

Heat half the olive oil and sauté the fennel and onion until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook for another two minutes. Add the rice and gently combine everything.

Pour in the vermouth and boil until the liquid has reduced by half, then add the stock and return to the boil. Reduce the heat right down and cook for 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.

When it’s almost ready, heat the rest of the oil in a small frying pan and cook the prawns until they turn pink. Season. Gently fork the herbs and prawns through the rice and sprinkle on the feta. Serve immediately.

Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley) is out now.

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