A QUICK dash to Dublin to cater for a dinner party and then a Burns Night supper in the West Country before heading to Perthshire for the last pheasant shoot of the season – the life of a travelling chef is hectic, but Philippa Davis from Shaftesbury seems to thrive on the constant changes of scene …
Left foot, swiftly followed by right foot went onto the plane with moments to spare until they shut the doors and we were zipping along the runway to head to Dublin.
I was off to cook for a dinner party. The hosts, having only recently moved in, were practically unpacking the china and glasswear as fast as we could use it. The menu for the evening read as follows
Nibbles – smoked Irish salmon on crisp bread with sourcream; chorizo cooked in cider, garlic and parsley. Starter – pan fried scallop with fino sherry and butter, chicory, blood orange and parsley salad. Main – rare roast fillet of beef with saffron bay potatoes and braised chard. Dessert – dark chocolate mousse, hokey pokey, nutmeg crisps and poached pear in brandy.
Knowing it would be a big night (the Irish really do know how to party)! I had booked myself on a late flight the following day to the west country where I was to prepare another dinner party, this one in celebration of Robert Burns night.
The guests were all donning garments of tartan, except one who had misinterpreted my Scottish and thought I said Rabbi Burns (I clearly need to work on my accents). There was whisky sours , poetry, song, wild wielding of knives by the host to cut the “great chieftan o’ the puddin’ race” (much to the alarm of the guest to his left), explanations of how they make haggis (much to the alarm of the vegetarian guest), and an impressively energetic ceilidh (much to the alarm of the carpet).
The menu was: caviar and egg, haggis neeps and tatties, vanilla ice cream, turnip sorbet (I mean orange and chestnut) chocolate cream.
With a playful approach to the three courses, the meal was well received although I cant help but feel the best bit is always the next day with haggis potato cakes, fried eggs with a splurge of Tommie K.
Fun had, carpet straightened and sporrans back in their boxes, I am now heading north into the blizzards of Perthshire for the final pheasant shoot of this season
Serves 4 as a starter
4 large scallops
100ml fino sherry
Chicory and orange salad
1 head of chicory
1 blood orange peeled and sliced into small segments..
1 tbs roughly chopped parsley
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
Mix the sherry vinegar and 2 tsp olive oil in a bowl. Separate the leaves if the chicory then toss them through the dressing. Mix the orange and parsley together. Arrange the dressed chicory and orange on a serving plate while you cook the scallops.
Cooking the scallops – season the scallops with a pinch of salt. Place a frying pan on a high heat and add the 1 tbs olive oil. Sear the scallops both sides for about 30 seconds – they should get a great caramelised brown colour. Add the fino sherry and butter and shimmy the pan to amalgamate the sauce. Season with pepper.
Serve straight away with the chicory salad, ladling the fino sauce over the oranges and scallops.
PS We are delighted to hear that London Square Meal has named Philippa as blogger of the week – well-deserved, but we’d say blogger of the year!