Seared Scallops with Black Garlic

Having eaten Black Garlic for the first time at GLASS in Berlin, in their exceptionally tasty version of steak tartare, I’ve wanted to cook with it for some time but struggled to find this alleged superfood easily in German supermarkets. Finally I stumbled upon in Lidl, Ibizatown of all places!


Black garlic has a sweet, mellow, molasses like flavour and none of that harsh acidity that raw normal garlic has. This super simple recipe is a wonderful pairing of flavours and really quick to make for an evening supper. Fresh scallops are seasonal and not so easy to come by in Berlin but good frozen ones can be obtained at Frischeparadies. The delicate sweetness of the scallops harmonises with the smooth caramel of the black garlic and the chilli gives it a little kick. If it a try if you can get a hold of some black garlic!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter, divided
16 extra-large dry-packed scallops, patted very dry
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves black garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp finely minced fresh chilli
60ml white wine
2 tsp good balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method:

  1. Heat a large frying pan with 2 tbsp of butter over high heat.
  2. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, and when the butter is bubbling, gently lay the scallops in the pan, not touching.
  3. Sear the scallops and cook for 4 minutes, turning once.
  4. Once golden coloured on both sides, transfer onto plate. Keep pan on heat.
  5. Put remaining tbsp of butter into pan, add in garlic and chilli and fry until fragrant (about 30 secs), taking care not to burn.
  6. Pour in wine and vinegar into pan, let simmer for 1 minute.
  7. Season and add in parsley.
  8. Pour over scallops and serve.

I served this with a simple salad and boiled new potatoes, classic French style.

The key to good colour is ensuring the scallops are thoroughly patted very dry.

The key to good colour is ensuring the scallops are thoroughly patted very dry.

This is the golden colour to aim for

Finely diced and sliced ingredients

Final result

Comments: Be careful not to burn the garlic and chilli as this will lead to a bitter taste.

Enjoy! x

Spicy Carrot & Butternut Squash soup

This soup is really simple to make and a great warmer for the coming Autumn. With Squashes now coming into season, now is the time to get on this! I love making this on a lazy Sunday afternoon and having any leftovers for a wonderful weekday supper. 

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 medium – large carrots, peeled and diced into 1cm or smaller cubes
1 shallot (or red onion), finely diced
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm or smaller cubes (use a variety that is floury)
1/3 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1cm or smaller cubes (sweet potato can be substituted here)
4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped with skin on (I find the tomatoes on the vine more flavoursome)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 litre of boiling water
1-2 tsp of vegetable stock powder to taste, (I like the Marigold Swiss Bouillion brand)
1 heaped tsp tomato ketchup
2-3 drops of Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps tomato puree concentrate

Creme Fraiche and Croutons to serve

Method

1. Peel and prep all your veggies (potatoes, carrots, butternut squash then shallots & garlic)

2. Heat oil in large pot on medium heat and soften onions and garlic in pot, then add the carrots, potatoes and butternut squash and up the heat a little (not too much as you don’t want to burn them but want to get a caramelisation for flavour) Stir frequently.

3. Boil water in kettle and turn heat down slightly

4. Add spices (tumeric, paprika, chilli flakes and cayenne pepper) and stir in. Then once kettle boiled, add boiling water.

5. Add bay leaves and tomato puree and stock powder and stir well.

6. Chop and add tomatoes to pot. Turn down heat to medium-low in order to simmer for 20 mins (or
until all veggies are soft and potato is floury)

7. Once all cooked through, take the pan off the heat. Take out the bay leaves and blend using either a hand held or stand up blender (I like a bit of texture so I normally keep a ladle or two behind, which is then added back to blended mix).

8. Bring the blended soup back to boil, adding the black pepper, ketchup,
worcestershire sauce and salt to taste. Once it has reached boiling point, it is ready to serve.

Serve with a generous dollop of creme fraiche and homemade crusty croutons! 

IMG_2371

 

Blackened chicken thighs with butternut squash laksa

This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe, with some tweaks. In Berlin, I’ve been craving Laksa and Nasi Lemak and this was a definite way to get my South East Asian fix. For the uninitiated, Laksa is a coconut curry based noodle soup. Spicy, fragrant, creamy and comforting, what more could you want!

Ingredients:

For the chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (for more flavour but butterflied chicken breasts could work)

1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five-spice

1 heaped teaspoon cornflour

pinch of cayenne pepper, white pepper and salt

1 tablespoon runny honey

 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 For the laska

1 liter chicken stock (or chicken/vegetable stock cube

Half a butternut squash (peeled if you prefer)

2 cloves of garlic

1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled

1 fresh red chilli

1 tsp turmeric

½ bunch spring onions, trimmed

2 heaped tsp crunchy peanut butter, 

4 dried kaffir lime leaves

½ bunch fresh coriander stalks 

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce (light and low salt if using stock cube) 

1 tbsp fish sauce

300 g medium rice noodles (preferably the flat ones)

a handful of Mange Tout (optional, other vegetables that would go are broccoli, green beans, carrots and beansprouts)

1 tin of coconut milk (400ml)

2 limes

To garnish: 1 fresh red chilli, sliced thinly, bunch of coriander leaves

Serves 4 people

 

Method:

1. Prepare the chicken, first ensure the chicken is dry. Then place on baking paper, mix together the seasoning (five-spice, pepper, salt and cornflour) and sprinkle evenly over the chicken. Toss if necessary to ensure all evenly coated. Then place another sheet of baking paper over the top and tenderise/flatten with rolling pin or something similar.

2. Place chicken stock into pan on medium heat to bring to boil. Meanwhile using grater attachment of food processor, grate up the butternut squash and add to stock.

3. Make a curry paste using a standing blender: add the garlic, chilli, ginger, tumeric, spring onions, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime leaves, sesame oil, 1 tsp peanut butter and the coriander stalks and blend until smooth paste. Add this to boiling stock and squash.

4. Heat a griddle pan on very high heat before placing chicken thighs flat into pan (with a sizzle! if this doesn’t happen then the pan isn’t hot enough) If using chicken breast, brush the pan with some vegetable oil before placing chicken on as the lean meat will be quite dry. Tip: Use a potato masher to push the meat into the griddle pan to get it really crispy and “blackened”.

5. Add coconut milk to the boiling stock mix and stir well. Adjust heat as necessary if too much liquid is evaporating.

6. Once chicken has crisped up adequately on one side, turn over. Add in the rice noodles to the coconut curry soup.

7. Keep the soup on a medium heat for another 5-10 minutes until noodles cook through. Add the remaining tsp of peanut butter and juice of half a lime. Stir well. Add vegetables if using.

8. The chicken should now be crispy and blackened, if not then continue on griddling for a few more minutes. Once this has been achieved, drizzle tsp of honey and juice of half lime evenly over chicken, this should give it a sticky glaze. Then sprinkle tbsp of sesame seeds over both sides of chicken. Take off heat immediately.

9. Serve noodles with a ladle of soup. Place chicken on top and garnish with plenty of coriander and thinly sliced red chilli and a lime wedge.

To make this dish vegetarian, you can substitute the stock for vegetable bouillon, add more vegetables into the soup and firm tofu.

Enjoy!

Flattening/tenderising chicken

Step 1: flattening/tenderising chicken

Bringing butternut squash and stock to boil

Bringing butternut squash and stock to boil

Blackened chicken

Blackened chicken

Finished product!

Pancetta, butternut squash, goats cheese risotto

This is my go-to risotto dish. A perfect supper for the chilly Autumnal nights. It’s a sure winner.

 

Ingredients:

1 onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped

125g chopped pancetta or smoked lardons

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

150g arborio or carnaroli rice

juice of 1 lemon

a handful of fresh sprigs of thyme

1/3 butternut squash, cut into 2.5cm cubes, peeling optional

1 litre chicken stock, fresh if possible

2 bay leaves

1 glass of white wine (optional)

125g goats cheese

1 tbsp vegetable oil or alternative suitable for roasting

salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Serves 3 hearty portions or 2 greedy piggy coma-inducing portions

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C, place butternut squash cubes into roasting tray with a few sprigs thyme, the tbsp of oil, season and toss so that the oil coats all cubes. Place butternut squash into roast once oven has been preheated.

2. Heat large frying pan on a high heat. Place the pancetta cubes on to render in their own fat and crisp up.

3. Once crispy, there should be adequate fat to add in the garlic, shallots to soften on a medium heat.

4. When this has all softened (1-2 mins), add in the rice and mix in evenly.

5. Pour in a ladle of chicken stock into the rice mix and stir continuously.

6. Add in thyme as desired, (I like to take the tiny leaves off the sprigs but you can leave in the whole sprigs if you like), bay leaves and continue to stir.

7. As the stock evaporates, continue to add the stock ladle by ladle and continue to stir so that the rice cooks through. This process should take around 30 minutes, so chill out with a glass wine and catch up on your day, but whatever you do, don’t leave the pan unattended and keep stirring! Season with black pepper and salt as desired. (I find the pancetta provides enough salt, and rarely add additional salt to mine, also if using stock cubes, this will add salt too)

8. When about 3/4 of the stock has been added, squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Continue to stir the risotto and if necessary adjust heat if the liquid is evaporating too quickly.

9. Add in wine (optional) and last ladle of stock and continue to stir until all the liquid has almost evaporated and the rice is cooked through.

10. Take out the butternut squash from the oven, it should be slightly caramelised on the edges. Stir in the roasted butternut squash into the risotto.

11. Slice goats cheese into thin slices.  Dish up risotto, placing goats cheese slices on top and serve immediately.

 

Welcome!

Hey everyone! Welcome to Chocolate Lobster, where I will be sharing my hearty home cooking recipes, and reviews!

Food has always been an integral part of my life, and being British Chinese, I’ve been lucky enough to have been exposed to a variety of cuisines from an early age. I started out helping my mother in the kitchen from the age of nine and as a result have picked up a few recipes along the way. So expect not only Chinese/Cantonese recipes but also traditional British recipes.

Happy cooking! Guten Appetit!