Ma belle

Darlings one has always been a keen collector of shells. Every trip to a beach has ones pockets stuffed with them ready to fill storm lanterns with sand and empty vases with ones precious cargo when home.

Many a swish beach house uses a scallop shell as an ashtray or a salt dish. Oh to have a beach house, a beach hut doesn’t quite cut it


One can dream.


Ones ablutions would be heavenly from a shell



Fabulous non?
At least poor Mrs.Lee can have a shell mirror. The basin can wait.


From notonthehighstreet , naturally.

In the last French restaurant we went to my husband and a F.F (fabulous friend) ordered Coquilles St.Jaques. How their faces fell when instead of ;


They got ;


No ashtrays for us then. Crikey, this deconstructed muck is everywhere. The shell presentation is the best bit. Robbed .

The darlings did fare better than moi who had escargot and a tricky tum.
Blasted French.

Coquilles St.Jacques.
Done by a v.good French chef.
Michel Roux

– 8 scallops, with shells
– 200g/7oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
– ¼ lemon, juice only
– 500ml/18fl oz fish stock
For the potatoes
– 300g/11oz medium baking potatoes
– 2 free-range egg yolks
– 25g/1oz butter
– salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the sauce
– 50g/2oz butter
– 25g/1oz plain flour
– 2 free-range egg yolks
– 150ml/7fl oz double cream
– salt and freshly ground black pepper

To assemble
– 15g/½oz gruyère, finely grated
– 15g/½oz fine breadcrumbs
– 50g/2oz butter, melted
– salt and freshly ground black pepper

Separate the whites of the scallops from the orange corals and wash gently in cold water to remove any grains of sand.
Place the scallops, corals, mushrooms, and lemon juice into a pan with the fish stock, set over low heat and slowly bring to the boil. Lower the heat to simmer very gently for one minute. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep the scallops and mushrooms in the stock at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
Place potatoes onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake in their jackets for 35-40 minutes, or until soft inside.
Halve the potatoes and scoop out the cooked flesh from the jackets. Force the potato flesh through a hard sieve or ricer into a clean bowl.
Add two of the egg yolks and the butter and beat until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for two minutes to make a roux.
Take the pan off the heat and strain in the stock from the scallops and mushrooms, stirring constantly to combine without lumps. Set the scallops and mushrooms aside.
Simmer the sauce gently for a few minutes, whisking frequently.
In a bowl, mix the two egg yolks with the cream, and then pour this mixture into the sauce. Before it begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat, season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep hot.
To assemble the final dish, increase the oven temperature to 240C/465F/Gas 9.
Cut the scallop whites into thick slices. Place a layer of mushrooms into each of the four clean scallop shells. Add a layer of scallop whites then top with the scallop corals.
Fill a piping bag with the potato mixture and pipe an attractive ribbon around the edge of the scallop shells.
Mix the gruyère and breadcrumbs together in a clean bowl.
Cover the mushroom and scallop layers generously with sauce and sprinkle the top with the gruyère and breadcrumbs mixture.
Melt the butter and pour it over the top of the sauce.
Place the scallops into the hot oven to bake for 3-5 minutes, until the top of the sauce is lightly glazed and the potato border pale golden.

Total faff but totally worth it. I may not want to be bothered but I know a man that will. Darling???


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