This week Celebrity Chef from Ready Steady Cook & Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala prepares a special 30thbirthday dinner for his daughter.
It was my daughter Serena´s 30th birthday last weekend. Thirty is a special number, so I wanted to throw a party for her with many fond memories of her growing up over the last 30 years and blossoming into a beautiful young lady.
We decided that it would be great to have a party over here in Spain at The Little Geranium -the weather is usually good and I would do a special tasting menu with about 10 courses!
Now most families are complex but mine is another story.
A couple of years ago we were all on the Channel 4 documentary called The Wedding Day, it covered the story of Serena’s marriage and some of the family complications. Clients often mention that I was a bit negative about the wedding on the show, in truth, I was uncertain it would work.
Two months later they separated and now they are happily divorced with Jordan (Serena’s ex-husband) having just had a baby with his new partner! Worthy of a sequel?
So Serena is single at the moment and she invited her best friends and family members to all get together, which was the first time since Serena´s wedding.
On the guest list was my ex-wife Sally and her husband Oli, my ex-girlfriend Rosie (one of Serena’s best friends) the sister of Serena’s ex-boyfriend and my brother Stuart, with his latest girlfriend – a stripper from London – and of course my new wife the lovely Michele. A perfect mix I would say!
The menu was to be a gastronomic tour de force starting with truffled humus as an amuse and ending with handmade cheeses I had sourced from various parts of Spain.
Wine and Cava flowed and some of the guests (including me) gave speeches but by 11 pm I had fallen over the cliff (as they say) because of the stress of the sheer volume of dishes and of course the wine!
I don’t remember much except for arm wresting my ex-wife’s husband Oli and the police turning up! It sounds just like an episode from Towie!
A neighbour had complained about the noise five minutes after midnight. (We had stopped the music at 12) so the police put an end to the party so sadly we never got to the cheese course. The neighbours (Spanish) often have family parties themselves but I have never complained.
They are quick to complain, they could have just asked us politely to keep the noise down, it was only chat. Calling the police was unnecessary but adds drama and they love to create a bit of drama unless its pointed at them and it may well be at their next fiesta!
However, each course was very well received and one of the tastiest dishes was a fish course which was my smoked cerviche of scallops marinated in a dressing I make with limes, honey and olive oil and then they are smoked at the table using the dried vines from Rioja.
It’s easy to prepare (although it sounds complicated) and adds great theatre to any dinner party, so I thought I would share it with you.
Maybe the neighbours thought that my restaurant was on fire when they saw the smoke and called the police, so if you do this dish watch out for police turning up!
Smoked Scallop Cerviche
Ingredients for 4
For cooking the scallops
4 fresh large hand dived scallops out of their shell and cleaned
Approx 100g of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of mixed spice or all spice
I whole lemon cut in half for squeezing
Juice of 2 whole lemons
Juice of 2 whole limes
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of honey
Pinch of Maldon salt
Pinch of white pepper
3 radishes sliced thinly and then salted ( sprinkle with salt) to soften them
Some edible flowers and micro cresses
1 tablespoon of edible algae ( In some supermarkets in sushi area)
4 teaspoons of caviar ( or Lumpfish caviar)
Ideally you should get a smoking gun available from either sophisticated cookery shops or online. If you don’t have one you should source some dried wood (which either way you’ll need) and then just simply ignite the twigs/wood in a flame, blow the flame out and you will see the twigs smoking. If you can buy the wood / twigs from wine making vines you get a great flavor.
Some BBQ shops sell cherry wood shavings and you’ll get the same effect by holding a large spoon of smoking shavings under the cloche covering the dish and then simply remove the spoon.
Leave the smoke under the cloche for a few minutes present it to your guest and then slowly remove the cloche.
Method for scallops cerviche
- Heat a pan without oil or butter until very hot and now seal the scallop then after add a little oil and a small knob of butter. Season the scallop with salt and sprinkle over the mixed spices.
- Don’t turn until the scallop has colour underneath you will see it starting to brown around the edges.
- Now flip the scallop over and squeeze the lemon juice over and remove from the heat
- Rest the scallops on a clean board and with a sharp knife cut each into three thin slices so that you have 3 neat perfect rounds
- Mix the lime/ lemon dressing well and then pour over the scallops but reserve at least one tablespoon for later
- Arrange the scallops and radish slices alternately (we souvide the radish to soften but salt does a similar thing)
- Put the algae and caviar in the centre
- Pour the remaining dressing over and around
- Garnish with microcresses and edible flowers
- Smoke under glass cloches and serve
In some Chinese shops you can find mini cheese boards with glass cloches on top. It’s the type of small glass cloche we need for this dish.
You can email Steven for any questions or bookings at:
Steven Saunders FMCGB
The Little Geranium
La Cala de Mijas (Behind the Town Hall)