Prawns with Spinach

A delicious recipe modified from one in  Indian Cooking for Family and Friends.


Vegetable oil or some other neutral oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tbs tomato paste
1 pound raw prawns, shells removed and well rinsed
Salt to taste
Two large handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 heaping tsp garam masala
2 tbs cream


Heat two glugs of oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and bay leaf; stir and cook until the seeds start to crackle. Add the chopped onion and cook for around 10 minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic; cook for another 2 minutes. Add the turmeric and chili powder, stir, then add the tomato paste. You may need to add some water to allow this mixture to cook for a bit (you will want to cook the tomato paste until it has mellowed).

At this point, add a bit of salt to taste. Don’t make it too salty – the garma masala will add much flavour in just a little bit, and you can always add more salt at the end.

Now add the prawns. Stir them in and keep stirring on-and-off for approximately 5 minutes. Add the garam masala.

Turn down to medium heat. Add in the spinach, stir to coat with the mixture, and cover to let the dish steam.

Uncover, add the cream, and stir to incorporate. At this point you can either turn off the heat, or if your dish is a little too wet, cook out a bit longer. Be sure you don’t over-cook the prawns.

This can be served with rice, although I ended up accompanying it with a rustic sourdough toast.

Science! Salmon boom after underwater volcano boom

I love science, because it makes sense. here’s a story that makes science sense:

CBC:  Volcanic eruption led to B.C. salmon boom: scientist

A volcanic eruption might have helped produce B.C.’s largest sockeye salmon run since 1913.

The 34 million salmon that returned to B.C.’s Fraser River this year were “adolescents” in the Gulf of Alaska when the underwater Kasatochi volcano erupted there in 2008, said Tim Parsons, a research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C.

The ash from that eruption fertilized the ocean, leading to a massive bloom of special phytoplankton called diatoms — an unusually rich source of food for the growing salmon.

Read more:

The funnest thing about this story is that it makes such total sense if you have an understanding of the fundamentals of oceanography. One of the limiting factors in phytoplankton growth in all oceans (where there is sufficient oxygen – O is the ultimate limiting factor with life on earth (except when it’s not)) is iron and other nutrients that are found in great grand quantity in volcanic ash.

Sun on the Water
This way lies the ocean.

Snakes on an historical plane

This is just too terrifying to not post about.

‘Anaconda’ Meets ‘Jurassic Park’: Fossil Snake from India Fed on Hatchling Dinosaurs

The remains of an extraordinary fossil unearthed in 67-million-year-old sediments from Gujarat, western India provide a rare glimpse at an unusual feeding behavior in ancient snakes… The remains of a nearly complete snake were found preserved in the nest of a sauropod dinosaur, adults of which are the largest animals known to have walked the earth. The snake was coiled around a recently hatched egg adjacent to a hatchling sauropod. Remains of other snake individuals associated with egg clutches at the same site indicate that the newly described snake made its living feeding on young dinosaurs.

That’s right. Dinosaur-eating snakes.

Sleep tight.

Today's undersea news

Protection Zones In The Wrong Place To Prevent Coral Reef Collapse

Conservation zones are in the wrong place to protect vulnerable coral reefs from the effects of global warming, an international team of scientists warn.

It came from the Deep
Deep-Sea Viruses Quietly Rule a Marine Food Chain

Researchers long ago grasped that viruses on the sea surface play a Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde role, killing biomass while at the same time sustaining it. Now, though, evidence has emerged that these tiny bacterial pathogens also carry out unsung work at the ocean depths — a dark, inhospitable, nutrient-poor place that counts as last great unexplored ecosystem on the planet