Monthly Archives: February 2015

Scallop & Prawn Sea-sation!

This was my Sunday Sea-sation treat to the family!

Living here in Portugal, very close to the Atlantic coast, we are very lucky to have oceans of fresh fish to feast on. And feast on it we do, but yesterday I decided, instead, to delve deep into my freezer for some lovely treats, also originally from the sea!

Scallops and prawns are a great combination – these beauties pictured here, I dressed with a creamy shallot, leek and celery sauce, perched aloft some delicious new boiled locally grown potatoes. The combination was a triumph and it’s success was confirmed by the words of my teenage son, “Can I have more Mum?”

Scallop and Prawn Sea-sation!


  • FOR 4 PEOPLE (Main course):
  • 12 large scallops (mine had tails on)
  • 16 large raw prawns, peeled
  • 500/600g of new potatoes
  • 2 small leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 2 small spring onions, finely chopped
  • a cup of white wine
  • 200ml of cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • sweet balsamic vinegar to drizzle and chopped parsley to garnish


  1. Defrost and peel the prawns if frozen. Defrost the scallops if frozen.
  2. In a pan, with a tablespoon of heated olive oil, fry and season the vegetables.
  3. Add the wine and reduce for 5 to 10 minutes minutes.
  4. Boil the potatoes.
  5. In a large heavy based pan, cook the prawns (they turn from a translucent colour to white).
  6. Add the scallops. Be very careful not to over cook,
  7. Add the cream to the vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.
  8. Drain the potatoes and cut them in half. Arrange on a plate.
  9. Place 3 scallops on the top of 3 halved potatoes with 4 prawns.
  10. Drizzle with the sauce reduction.
  11. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  12. Optional: sea salt and cracked black pepper

Sweet, Sticky, Sour and Spicy Chicken with Mandarin Fritters

I was looking for inspiration for dinner last night and wanted to try something creative. I studied the contents of my fridge and larder and decided to make a meal that would tantalise all our taste buds – a surge of heat, a touch of sweetness combined with something sour to create a dish that would be deliciously satisfying. The Mandarin fritters added another dimension, bringing a sharp citrus crunch to the eclectic textures and flavours of the dish.

Subliminally, I had produced a meal in celebration of the Chinese New Year. It wasn’t intentional, my tastebuds just led me that way! So I wish anyone reading this a happy year of the goat! Shanyang kuaile de yi nian!


Sweet, Sticky, Sour and Spicy Chicken with Mandarin Fritters


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of runny honey
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons of chopped root ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce (Piri-Piri)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  •  tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 chopped spring onions to garnish
  • 2 seedless Mandarin oranges, in segments
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. FEEDS 4:
  2. Mix together the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and hot pepper sauce in a bowl.
  3. Salt and pepper the chicken strips.
  4. Add the chicken breast strips into the marinade and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chicken strips and brown on both sides for about a minute.
  6. Pour the sauce/marinade over the chicken and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens (8/10 mins)
  8. Whisk together all the ingredients, in a bowl, until smooth.
  9. Heat a small pan of oil, deep enough to fry the Mandarin segments.
  10. Dip the segments into the batter then drop gently into the hot oil.
  11. Remove when golden brown and crispy.

A Monkfishy tail!

It was my suggestion – let’s have something special for dinner on Valentine’s night rather than go to a restaurant serving food at hiked up prices (I’m sorry to all restaurateurs, I used to be one myself)! So that let Peter off the hook. Ha,ha …… fish, hook!! Okay, not that funny. I hear you sigh, so I’ll get on with the tail ……..

I bought a large frozen monkfish tail from the fishmonger – it weighed about one and half kilos, so needed a day to defrost. I also bought some frozen cooked prawns – they didn’t really add anything to the taste or texture of the dish, so next time I’ll buy a few frozen uncooked tiger prawns. In hindsight, I don’t know what possessed me not to buy the real mccoy – I’ve made this dish many times and not compromised it before!

A monkfish tail weighing about a kilo will feed four people – I made far too much as usual, despite having a permanently hungry teenage boy in the house. I think monkfish is one of my favourite fish because there is no fiddling around with little bones, allowing one to be confident in getting stuck in. The meat is dense so you don’t really need copious quantities and it marries well with prawns, especially the bigger bite size ones. The added vegetables increase the flavours and textures and a dash of Moscatel wine gives a slight sweetness and depth to this deliciously velvety sauce.

It was a truly fishilicious meal and I recommend it all!!


Monkfish and Prawns in Moscatel Wine and Cream with Rice


  • A monkfish tail (a kilo would serve 4 people)
  • 400g prawns 
  • 2 leeks, chopped into rounds
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • a good ‘glug’ of Moscatel wine, or white vermouth
  • a cup of fish stock
  • salt and pepper
  • double cream
  • chopped parsley to garnish


  1. If frozen, defrost the monkfish tail.
  2. Remove the meat from the central bone.
  3. Remove the membrane and cut the meat into chunks.
  4. Set the chunks of fish on a piece of kitchen towel to absorb excess liquid.
  5. Defrost the prawns.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons (approximately) of olive oil to a pan or wok and place on the heat.
  7. Add the prepared leeks, celery, pepper, garlic and carrots to the oil.
  8. Season generously.
  9. Add the Moscatel and the fish stock and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Add the cream and mix together.
  11. Add the monkfish and if the tiger prawns are uncooked, add them also.
  12. If using pre cooked shrimps add these for just a minute at the end.
  13. Cook until the monkfish turns from a translucent colour to white.
  14. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with rice.