Recipes

Crème Anglaise

(copyright Michael Macdonald, the Vanilla Pod restaurant, Marlow)

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
250g of double cream
250g of milk
200g custar sugar
1 Vanilla Pod

Method:

Put a small amount of the sugar into a pan, together with the milk and cream (including the sugar prevents the liquid from burning). Put the pan on to the stove, heat gradually and stir regularly. Meanwhile, take the vanilla pod, slit it open lengthways and scrape out the seeds.Put the seeds and the pod into the pan along with the yolk, double cream and milk. (You can improve the flavour by infusing the milk and the cream by leaving overnight in a jug with a vanilla pod.) Mix the rest of the sugar and the egg yolks in a bowl.

Beat them together until the mixture turns white (this will take 5 mins by hand). After the cream and milk has come to the boil add it to the yolk and sugar mixture. Whisk it lightly (still with the pod and seeds in). Return that to the pan, heat it to 84 degrees Celcius and stir gently.

After reaching that temperature, remove from the heat and sieve into a separate container. Leave the seeds in the creme anglais, but remove the pods, wash and dry them ready for use again. Serve the creme anglaise cold.

Scallops with Vanilla Gastrique & Vanilla Pear Compote (Serves 6)

(copyright Michael Macdonald, the Vanilla Pod restaurant, Marlow)

Ingredients: scallopsvanilla

18 fresh scallops

Vanilla gastrique:

zest of one orange
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
100g sugar
60g white wine vinegar
150g orange juice
1 vanilla pod

Pear compote:

4 firm pears, peeled and sliced
200ml Madeira
1 vanilla pod
60g sugar

Method:

The accompaniments can be made in advance with the scallops only taking a few seconds to pan fry just before serving. The preparation is very simple and the results are stunning.

Vanilla gastrique:

Combine all ingredients apart from orange juice in a pan and simmer until a light caramel colour. Add the orange juice and reduce until syrupy.

Pear compote:

Gently heat the Madeira and sugar with the vanilla pod in pan to create a syrup. Add the sliced pears, cover and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool, remove the vanilla pod and blend until smooth.

Scallops:

Allow three scallops per person. Slice in half and season lightly with an equal balance of curry powder and sea salt. Sear in a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan until just golden on each side.

To serve arrange the scallops on a plate, drizzle with the compote and the gastrique and garnish with baby salad leaves and fine slivers of vanilla pod.

Chefs tip: only buy hand dived scallops with a firmly closed shell measuring about 15cm in diameter. A good fishmonger will be happy to open and clean them in front of you.

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