Scallops on a bed of passion fruit hollandese and wilted ginger spinach

Once in a while, when we want to enjoy ourselves, yet not go out, we decide to have a slow Friday evening, with a bit more fancy food. We open a bottle of wine and start to prepare a three course dinner, that usually lasts for several hours. Mr No Onion Please is responsible for the main course, as for him the proper main dish consists of a good quality steak 😉 I focus on appetizer and dessert. This is a starter from one of such evenings. I found the recipe in a fantastic book of Gary Rhodes – 365/One year. One book. One simple recipe for every day. It takes a while to prepare, but is really worth it. It was the first time I’ve used passion fruit in combination with seafood and I must say it’s absolutely fabulous, particularly now, in the summer time!

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PASSION FRUIT HOLLANDAISE

175g butter
3 egg yolks
juice of 1 small lemon
salt
pinch of pepper
3 passion fruits

Melt the butter. Place the egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender and while at maximum speed slowly add the melted butter, continuing to blend until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Halve the passion fruits, scooping the seeds into a sieve over a bowl. with the back of the spoon press and scrape all of the juices and pulp from the seeds. Add the juice to the hollandaise along with spoonful of the seeds. Put the sauce to one side and keep warm.

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WILTED GINGER SPINACH

200g young spinach, trimmed
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
(2 shallots finelly chopped)

Fry the ginger (and shallots) in a bit of butter. Throw in the spinach and saute till wilted.

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SCALLOPS

12 scallops
butter

Fry the scallops on a smoking hot pan for 2 minutes on one side, then turn and cook for further 1 to 1,5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Chicken in creamy amaretto sauce

Not so long ago I was writing how much we like chicken filles stuffed with goat cheese and prosciutto. Well here is another version of this dish and what is really particular about it, is that it utilises amaretto to create really fragrant, delicious sauce. When I saw it on lol foodie I immediately knew I have to make it. Combination of amaretto, chicken, goat cheese and cured ham sounded peculiar and I knew it will be delicious. I decided to change the recipe slightly, I used shiitake mushrooms from Lapland and made the amaretto sauce based on cream instead of stock. I served the chicken with mashed potatoes and honey roasted root vegetables. It was a really memorable dish and definitely we will be making it often.

INGREDIENTS:

3 chicken breast halves, lightly pounded

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

6 tbsp fresh goat cheese

3 thin slices of prosciutto

4 tbsp butter

several tbsp of flour

150g shiitake mushrooms

200ml single cream

1 tbsp chicken stock concentrate

2-3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur

chopped thyme

1.  Season both sides of the chicken filles with salt and pepper. Spread each chicken breast half with 2 tbsp of goat cheese and top with 1 slice of prosciutto. Roll the chicken into a tight cylinder. Tie with kitchen twine or bind with skewers.

2. Melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat in a pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms to a plate, and set aside.

3. Dredge each chicken “roll” in flour. Add the remaining butter to the pan. Once melted, add in the chicken rolls.  Fry for several minutes turning the rolls from time to time and in the meanwhile keeping the pan covered. Remove the chicken to the plate with mushrooms.

4. Take the pan off the heat. Add the cream, chicken broth concentrate and bring the pan to the heat. Bring it to the boil and scrape to deglaze all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add amaretto and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan, turning to coat in the sauce and heating through. Serve with chopped thyme.

Venison in red wine and blackcurrant sauce

I would like to wish all of you peaceful and relaxing Easter time! We’ve just came back from warm and sunny Istanbul, full of blossoming tulips and twittering birds to grey, cloudy Helsinki, still covered with 10cm layer of snow … Pretty depressing to be welcomed by rain, nevertheless after one week  of delightful laziness I feel I’m back boasting with energy 🙂 Now I just need to unpack, go through several hundred of pictures and I promise that soon I’ll be back for good with some posts about Istanbul, its fabulous street foods and some recipes too!

For now though, I’ll leave you with the post about delicious wild bites 😉 We had enjoyed these pretty venison steaks just before we left to Turkey. They were fried and sprinkled with crushed peppercorns, served with potato mash and honey roasted carrots and parsnips. The sauce is a red wine and blackcurrant reduction. I’ve eaten such once in a restaurant and tried to replicate it. It came out pretty well, I must say.

INGREDIENTS

small bunch of thyme
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp juniper berries, crushed
300ml red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 cube of organic beef stock
2-3 tbsp blackcurrant jam (depending on acidity of your wine and your taste)
25g butter, cubed

1. Put the wine, garlic, juniper berries, thyme and a beef stock cube into a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till the liquid volume decreases by half.

2. Pull the sauce through a sieve and return it to the pot. Add jam, season with salt and pepper. Slowly add butter, one cube at a time, whisking continuously till it melts and adds a nice thickness and gloss.