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Today I’m feeling a little bit blue. Well not blue but deflated. The week started off with such gusto that now after just two days I’m beginning to feel like I’m in slow motion and the week can’t go quick enough. Yesterday D and I attended some of our closest friends wedding. Such a great day and so happy for them. But today I was back to work and with nothing on for the rest of the week (plus D is going away for the weekend ) that I feel like I have nothing to look forward to. So I decided to make a yummy dinner as a treat.

But first,  yesterdays wedding was such a different experience compared to the wedding in Poland two weeks ago. I had forgotten how different they were as my last wedding in Ireland was about 10 years ago. There are so many elements from both weddings that I would love to take and add to ours.  Thankfully this time at no stage did I have bottles of Vodka stacking up in front of me. Just a nice civilised glass of wine or two instead. But the one thing I will say, is that our friends made sure that they had some of the best food we have had at a wedding ever! The starter was simply lovely ( crab, prawn and salmon dome, with grapefruit and parsnip crisps) and also gave me inspiration for tonights dinner. And the main was something that I will try to make next week (slow cooked beef with garlic mash and bourguignon sauce).

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And of course a really yummy desert of warm apple crumble (individual tarts) with vanilla ice-cream. Of course I was too busily eating it that I forgot to take a photo of it, so here is the end result…

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Wonderful day but came back down with a crash today and so like I said I decided to push the budget and make something that I would be proud to serve and that had a more delicate presentation factor. One of my favourite foods are scallops. I simply love them and this time of year you can get some wonderfully large and meaty scallops. Next door to my work is Cavistons, an amazing store with one of Irelands best fish counters, so before work I ordered my scallops and after work collected them. Wow they were big! And oh so yummy. Every time I had made a scallop dish I would have played safe and served my usual pea and mint puree and salad but today I tried something slightly different…

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SCALLOPS WITH WHITE ONION PUREE, ROASTED BROCCOLI, CRISP PANCETTA AND A PARMESAN CRISPS

This was a really good dish but not perfect yet! The flavours worked but were bordering on too sweet for D. The onion and scallops are sweet so to balance it out you need the salt factor from the pancetta and roasted broccoli. I would add sourdough croutons or some toasted nuts next time for texture.

  • 6-8 large scallops (depending on whether it is a main or starter)
  • 2 large white onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp of creme fraiche
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30 ml of white wine
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 6-8 thin slices of pancetta
  • 30 g grated parmesan
  • a small handful of radish shoots to decorate
  • salt and pepper
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil

THE HOW

Preheat your oven at 180°c  (fan oven). Lay your broccoli on a lined baking tray and drizzle with oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Put in to oven for about 10-15 minutes (I totally forgot about mine so it was more like 17).

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In a heavy bottomed frying pan, cook the pancetta until it crisps up and remove from the pan to dry out on kitchen towel.

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In the same pan with juices from the pancetta remaining, add the knob of butter and the onions, garlic and seasoning. Fry until transparent and then add the wine. Cook until soft. Place the onions in a blender with the creme fraiche and blend until smooth. If too thick add a little cream but you don’t want it too runny either. Tip: if you make it too liquid, once blended put into a saucepan and heat it until it thickens. Set aside and make your parmesan crisps. I haven’t quite mastered this yet but I put my parmesan onto a baking sheet in little circles and baked until melted in the oven (about 5 minutes).

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Season your scallops. Pop them into a hot pan and fry on 2 minutes each side. Don’t stew them or they become rubbery. You want a nice colour on the outside and just cooked through on the inside. It’s hard to describe when you know they are ready, but once browned and beginning to tear at the sides they are done.

To plate up, put a spoonful of puree onto the plate and with the back of the spoon drag it across the plate. Pop your scallops on, place the broccoli in between the scallops, crumble the pancetta over the plate, put your paremsan crisp on and scatter the radish shoots on top. And hey presto a yummy scrummy dish!

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