Little Maggie’s Gambas on Rye

Prawns on Toast

Tony, Chef, me and about 10 other people had followed the fight all the way and where now jammed in the front door wide eyed and expectant jostling for a view of the final round. To this point at least 12 right crosses, 2 upper cuts and a nose bite had been delivered as the duo fought through the bar out onto the street in an oddly balletic melee.

“I’m not a fucking vegetarian or a Lesbian or a Commie you deep-fried fuckwit”!!

Little Maggie stood over the guy now lying face first in a puddle at the front door of The Anchor….a guy incidentally who she had beaten soundly through the entire bar. She let the words hang in the air for a second……then she sunk her boot into his gut just to make sure the words carried the desired weight. The thud was sickening… we collectively winced and drew a sharp intake of breath as Maggie’s biker-booted foot found the creep’s spleen and turned it to mush.

“Jesus LBW Christ” was all Tony could whisper – the big sap was  lock-stock and two-smoking-testicles in love with ‘Little Maggie’ – a name we gave her due to the fact that she was a 6 foot 2 inch peroxide bombshell who owned and ran her own bar, swore like sailor and fought like a dog.  Maggie was a local on the coast, born bred and fed, she came about the Anchor Bar from a long ago failed marriage and she ran it like a youth club for reprobates like us.

Maggie was gorgeous, hard as a coffin nail and a killer bar cook, when we wanted the good stuff and were to lazy to sling it together ourselves Little Maggie’s kitchen is where we holed-up. She took the seemingly dull and obviously simple and turned it into the incredible – her sausage, beans and chips where venison, deep fried polenta and Borlotti,  her Cheese toasties were Croq Monsieurs, her BLTs were LCBLTs (Lobster, Crab, Bacon, Radicchio and Tomato on fried Amish dinner rolls) and her prawns on toast were Gambas on Rye with a Mexican tomatio sauce (the recipe to this story). Maggie’s kitchen  brain worked in ways I could only dream about and I begged her 10, 20, 30 times to hire me but her only response was “no…I’ll only break your heart or your legs Kid”……..

The fight began as all fights do that involve strong beautiful women – an ugly, fat dummy with no respect and with one to  many Gins on board decided to try his luck with the strong beautiful women serving the booze – in fact it happened so much that Maggie erected a sign that read  ‘If you’re gonna flirt – be nice about it’  behind the bar, this was simply a photograph of a dudes broken and bloodied nose known only as ‘Stevie’  –  but still, those dumb blokes would saddle up, fill up, spew up, then get knocked down.

Maggie had delivered the killer blow with a deft boot…. all fell silent as she turned to get back to work only to find the rag tag of drinkers stuck in her front door – her brow furrowed, her hands went to her hips anger still coursed through her veins….for what seemed like an eternity there was silence. The 13 hardy bucks now stuck in her front door did not utter a single word..we just gawked at her  – this was akin to being 10 years old and getting caught red-handed by your Mum as you were half way through shaving the family cat………………………….stand off…..silence…..and then a blood curdling holler……

“Gwaaaaaan Little Maggie Ya good thing ye…..yerhoooooooo”!!!

The shout was let loose by ‘Piss-Head’ Nesbitt..somewhere beneath me and it kindled the eruption of cheers and wolf whistles, Maggie’s eyes widened and her face softened – before she knew it she was being held aloft on shoulders and carried into her own bar like a returning prize fighter.

I hung around outside and lit a Red, eyeing the fat creep crawling on all fours away from the bar…well at least he wasn’t dead..he might not eat solids for a few days though – shame, as Maggie’s Mexican gambas enjoyed legendary status round these parts…..just like her right cross…….


♠ Mexican Gambas on Rye ♣

Prep time: 10 mins ♦  Cook Time: 15 mins ♦ Total time 25 ish mins ♦ Serves 2


  • 100 grms fat tiger prawms (tail shell off)
  • Rye bread sliced into door steps
  • 1 lime
  • Fresh Coriander
  • 1 hot green chili
  • 1 tin top quality chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tps cumin powder
  • 1 tps sweet paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large red onion finley diced
  • 2 tps capers
  • 1 tbs sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tps creme fraiche



Fry the garlic and onion in a few lugs of olive oil until the onions take on a little tan colour then splash on the wine and let it reduce until all but gone

Step 2:

Add the sun-dried tomato paste, cumin, sweet paprika and  capers and cook out stirring continually – feel free to splash in a little water if things get a little dry in the pan

Step 3:

Then add in the tinned tomatoes, drop the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until the sauce thickens and deepens – taste and season as needed.

Step 4

Season the prawns well with salt and pepper (and if you have it a touch of Old Bay is killer here) then fry hard in an oiled and screaming hot pan – you want a really good char on these guys.

Step 5 

When the prawns are well cooked then add in the tomato sauce and combine everything – finally serve up on toasted rye bread and serve with lime, scattering of green chili and fresh coriander.


Punk IPA

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