Coquille St Jacques with a Truffle and Sauterne Sauce

coquille, st jacques, coquille, truffle, sauternes, cream, sauce, france, french, Good Life, magazine, recipe

Coquille St Jacques with a Truffle and Sauterne Sauce

I love scallops and will always take the opportunity to eat them whenever possible – especially with the roes, which for some reason, many people discard: what an absolute travesty!  Coquille St Jacques is traditionally a dish of scallops in their shells, topped with cheese and grilled until brown.  This is a fantastic twist on that dish with the addition of wine and truffles – although I do cheat and use my ever-faithful Cotswold Gold truffle rapeseed oil (which I’ve blogged about before) instead of actual truffles. You can also use any white wine – as long as it’s sweet!

scallops, shells, roes, coquilles st jacques

The recipe is taken from a magazine I love, The Good Life France, which is available as a paper copy as well as online. It was devised by a Countess, no less: Countess Simonof-Arpels who has a saffron farm in the Dordogne. I wrote about saffron and her farm in a recent blog post you can find here.

It’s a stunning looking dish that is deceptively simple.  You could cook it as a starter when you have friends round or as a special meal for your loved one.

The Recipe

Serves 4


3­-4 large prepared scallops per person
2 shallots
l large wine glass of Sauterne (or any dessert wine )
6-­7 dessertspoons double cream
60 g chopped truffle or a good slug of truffle oil (eg Cotswold Gold)
2 tablespoons butter (not needed if using truffle oil – see above)
Salt and black pepper (or pink peppercorns if you have them)

Wash the scallops well in cold water. Dry with a kitchen towel. Remove the roe and put to one side.

Peel and finely chop shallots. Fry with a little butter (or truffle oil – see above) until golden brown.

Add the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute then add the cream. Reduce by a third over a low heat and leave
until needed.

Take a heavy bottomed frying pan, slice scallops horizontally into 2 thinner discs. Melt the butter or heat the truffle oil and sear the scallops on each side until golden brown. Add the chopped roe then take off the heat.

Add the scallops to the prepared sauce and then add the finely chopped truffle (if using).  Reheat gently for 1­2 minutes.

Season to taste with the salt. Serve sprinkled with a grind or two of the pink peppercorns.

Serve immediately on warm plates.


Continue Reading

Saffron: Learn About the World’s Most Expensive Spice

saffron, crocus, harvest, harvesting, picking, Dordogne, France

Saffron: French Red Gold

Saffron is most definitely one of my favourite spices. The heady aroma as it cooks makes my mouth water.

The crimson threads are harvested from the stigma of the crocus flower. Saffron is the world’s most costly spices by weight – unsurprising as it takes it takes anything from 70,000 to 250,000 handpicked flowers to make just one pound of saffron.

Click on the link below to find out more about how it’s harvested in the French Dordogne in this article taken from The Good Life France Magazine.

saffron, spice, rare, Dordogne, crocus, France

Continue Reading

50 at 50

My man and I both turned 50 in 2016 – both ’66 babies!

To celebrate our joint century, we decided to draw up a list of things we wanted to do now we’d reached “maturity”.  The plan is to (eventually) do 50 things.  No time limit!01b79ac5ba70c8859446cb4cd0d0c74e8d2a740fc6_00001

  1. Visit Iceland (DONE! Went Dec ’16 for my 50th birthday … this is us there – blog post coming soon!
  2. Buy a house together (DONE! Bought Nov ’16) – blog post coming soon!
  3. Keep chickens 4 ARRIVED 13TH MARCH 2017! FERN, DORIS, IVY & MABEL 🙂
  4. See the Northern Lights (we weren’t lucky enough to see them in Iceland)
  5. Write 10 reasons each on why it’s great to be 50!
  6. Newfoundland road trip
  7. Sleep outside under the stars
  8. Send a message in a bottle
  9. Go to a nudist beach and swim in the sea (nude!)
  10. Eat in a Michelin star restaurant
  11. Produce a picture together (any media) and frame it
  12. Visit St Michael’s Mount
  13. Visit Mont St Michel
  14. Ride in a hot air balloon (we both dislike heights!)
  15. Walk along the Pennine Way
  16. Learn to sail
  17. Have our portrait taken
  18. Ride horses on a beach
  19. Visit Greenland
  20. Take our motorcycle test
  21. Visit Thermae Bath Spa
  22. Stargaze on the Isle of Man
  23. Visit the Isle of Wight
  24. See a ballet
  25. Watch a Shakespeare play in Stratford
  26. Do a wine-tasting trip
  27. Visit 50 friends in 2017
  28. Drink a 50 year old bottle of port (need to save up for it first – it’s c £140!)
  29. Join the National Trust
  30. Visit Sudbury Museum of Childhood
  31. See Phantom of the Opera
  32. Go on a spa weekend
  33. Visit the Faroe Islands
  34. Buy a bottle of wine to drink in 20 years
  35. Climb a mountain (NOT Kilimanjaro!)
  36. Write a letter to our 10-year future selves
  37. Buy each other a treat for less than £10
  38. Buy a new mattress! DONE!
  39. Learn a new skill (jointly) – dancing?
  40. Go to a music festival
  41. Ride on the West Highlands Railway
  42. Take afternoon tea
  43. Go walking in the Lake District
  44. Do a Treasure Trail
  45. Go to the races
  46. Stay in quirky accommodation– gypsy caravan, lighthouse, treehouse etc
  47. Visit Portmeirion where “The Prisoner” was filmed
  48. Have a weekend in London, visit Borough Market & British Museum
  49. Go to/host Murder Mystery dinner
  50. Get married


Continue Reading