Monthly Archives: August 2012

You say ‘scollops’, I say bollxxxx

I don’t know why this irritates me, but it is annoyingly an accepted variation of ‘scallop’. Scollop is also an Irish word for some kind of thatching device, so in order to avoid this traumatic confusion, let’s stick with scallop.

Continuing the theme of rediscovering Simon Hopkinson recipes, I finally allowed myself to attempt a scallop mousseline. Now, I haven’t avoided this through any technical fear. It’s just the purist in me struggles with the idea of blitzing a perfectly wonderful, gastronomically excellent entity. Likewise steak tartare, and baking really amazing cheeses. However, the fishmonger threw in an extra two handfuls of local mini-scallops, that already only cost $7 a kilo. It would be rude not to…..

So I found myself cleaning and opening about a 100 tiny bloody scallops at around 10pm one evening because I didn’t want the things to lose freshness before being pulverised. “Hi mum, yeah, fine to talk, carry on……”

Anyway, everything has to be kept COLD.

  • 200g (I had 250g) scallop white meat
  • 1 egg
  • 250ml cream (I think I upped to 300ml of 50% fat, almost clotted cream)
  • decent few grinds of  finely ground white pepper

All whizzed up in the (pre-chilled) Kenwood mixer though a food processor would be better, tipped into a chilled bowl and whisked with a chilled whisk until slightly thickened. Maybe I should have turned on the aircon…..

Simon puts his in 6 butter lined little darioles- a great word, they are wee metal conical cups by the way. I put mine in 4 glass cups with almost straight sided, covered with foil, and cooked in a bain marie type affair, filling the water in the pan to just below the level of the mixture. They seemed done when they were just firm to touch.

Meanwhile, the lobster sauce….

Well, it just happened that I had some yabbie/ prawn stock in the freezer, so I reduced this down with some

  • tomato passata
  • sherry
  • tarragon
  • cream

In some kind of appropriate quantity. Basmati rice and salad to serve as shown.

What a bizarre and wonderful creation this was, a massive hit of sheer essence of scallop, almost cep like. It screamed out a very good chardonnay, which was a McHenry Hohnen, from Margaret river.

 

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French Lessons; it’s ‘SOO-BEEZ’

Maybe it’s the wake of the Tour de France, I’m not sure, but I can’t help but currently nod towards our Gallic friends and neighbours (OK, not currently). And more inspiration from Simon Hopkinson, very much the Englishman, whose ‘ Week in, Week Out’ I just can’t help but slaver over, and a man who respects classic French cuisine.

Some saltbush lamb in the freezer had my friend John’s name on it for some reason- no reason at all really, it just did. And ‘sauce Soubise’  hidden away in a chapter under ‘cheffy type sauces to keep handy’ was mentioned partnering lamb. There are versions with stock, and or a bechamel base, but I can’t imagine they could be better than the cholesterol hit described below. Maybe a lighter version would be better with a fattier cut of meat, say lamb chops?

Arm the spit roast, some driftwood/ charcoal from the beach on the Weber, and away we go.

  • 4 medium onions, chopped and slowly cooked 30mins in a knob of butter
  • A decent grind of white pepper

Then add

  • 50ml of vinegar (tarragon cider vinegar here), and reduce until no liquid,
  • 100ml white wine (reduce until almost no liquid), then
  • 300ml double cream  and
  • 1 bay leaf

Simmer for 20mins. Remove the bay leaf and whizz up in a blender, et voila.

Now, I must confess here that I completely under-cooked the lamb and had to resort to the highly risky option of microwaving (don’t do this at home kids, and if you must, don’t go above 50% power and check every couple of minutes).  There were four hungry children to feed so the pressure was on.

In the meantime the poor wee critters were so undernourished that my eldest started passing the naked shin bone (the only bit cooked), around with a straw into the marrow like some primeval childrens peace offering. A proud moment indeed. Roast potatoes in the pan underneath the meat, and glazed carrots with parsley.

It was a sheer delight watching the kids wolf this down followed by an apple and quince Tarte Tatin (with a smidgeon of cream). Oh joy.