Chico party time!

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: First a bit of exercise took place with Chico.

This week Celebrity Chef from Ready Steady Cook & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala keeps fit with Chico and cooks his favourite scallop dish.

LAST week was my birthday and so I celebrated it with a party at home with close friends and family, Chico (X Factor fame) and his family celebrated with us. Regular readers will know that Chico is often here as he is a close friend and he really knows how to get a party going!

But first we did a bit of exercise with a special fitness routine that Chico created which uses four styles of fitness fused into one class, dance, combat, hi and low interval training and finally yoga and meditation.

We held the class on June 8 at my friends’ restaurant El Torreon on the beach in La Cala. Salvador kindly cleared the restaurant terrace and about 40 of us danced to music that Chico had written and performs; its originality makes the whole experience unique and so much fun, albeit also pretty demanding!

Chico has called this amazing fitness programme Blockfit and now has ambassadors operating it, all over the world.

My darling wife (Michele) is continuing the hype by representing Chico here in Spain in La Cala with the Blockfit formula.

Chico will visit from time to time to check how the students are doing! So look out for Michele’s Blockfit classes at Michele Harper Academy in our La Cala studio in the high street.

It’s a fun way to get fit, dance to great music, a bit of boxing dancing to Muhammad Ali and then relax with some yoga and meditation. For more info contact Michele Harper Academy on Facebook. 

Back to my party, 24 guests and my head Chef Prince cooked us a special BBQ with Dani, Debbie and Dylan looking after us all.

A great day filled with memories and live music from Mr Maph (Mike and Simone) a real class act. We ate, drank and danced all night long until the police asked us to keep it down. Always a good sign that it’s been a good party!

With a few foodies at the party (especially my daughter Serena who is a real foodie!) what do we serve? I chose to keep it simple, which is the right thing to do when you have large numbers.

We had pink cava and smoked salmon blinis with caviar, then scallop and prawn thermidor followed by a steak cooked on the char grill which the Spanish call Chuleton which is a large steak similar to a T Bone. We didn’t make it to dessert as by then we were all singing or dancing, another sign that it’s a good party!

One of my friends asked me about the scallops that I made covered in pastry. 

I explained that about 20 years ago my friend and celebrity Chef Raymond Blanc cooked me a scallop in its shell with a pastry lid. It was beautiful but the pity was that I couldn’t eat the pastry on the top because he had covered the top shell of the scallop with the pastry and it glues to it. 

When I got back to my restaurant in Cambridge I recreated the dish replacing the top shell with just pastry (no top shell) and cooked it until crispy. The textures of the crisp pastry and soft baked scallop with creamy truffle sauce are divine! I kept the dish on my menu for years as everyone loved it so much.

Raymond even admitted that mine was a better version! He said in his soft sexy French accent… “Steven, you cook from the heart and I love that about you!”

So this week I am letting you into the secret Raymond Blanc recipe with the special Steven Saunders twist! Scallops cooked in their shells, with truffle sauce… Enjoy!

Steven Saunders’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.


Steven’s party scallops cooked in pastry

SCALLOPS: Cooked in their shell with truffle sauce.

Ingredients for four

  • 4 large fresh hand dived scallops in their shell (available from the fish markets)
  • 1 large leek washed and cleaned
  • 200g salted butter
  • Light olive oil
  • A tablespoon of chopped fresh dill
  • ½ glass of Champagne or cava
  • 2 teaspoons of truffle pieces (available from supermarkets)
  • A drizzle of truffle oil
  • Approximately 300g of ready made puff pastry
  • 2 egg yolks
  • A little Maldon salt


  1. Firstly prepare the scallops by prizing open the shells with a small knife or oyster knife and remove the flatter of the two halves of shell. This leaves you the scallop sitting in the deeper shell with all the roe and membrane.
  2. Remove the roe and membrane with your fingers carefully and wash under cold water. You should now be able to remove the membrane leaving the red roe intact. Reserve the roe and discard the membrane.
  3. Now carefully remove the scallops using a small palate knife and briefly rinse in cold water. Clean the shells or put them in the dishwasher.
  4. Chop the washed leek very finely and fry in a pre-heated pan with half of the butter. Season with a little salt and as they soak up the butter now add the cava. Add the chopped dill and finally stir in the truffle pieces. Reserve this mix.
  5. In a dry pre-heated frying pan heated at full temperature, add a little olive oil and seal the scallops for a little colour, add the remaining butter and now add the roes. Cook both on one side only for about 30 seconds to one minute, no more. Remove season and drain on tissue paper.
  6. Line up the scallop shells and divide the leek mixture between them evenly. Place the seared scallop coloured side upwards on top of the leek mix and the roe next to it. Drizzle them with the truffle oil.
  7. Roll out the pastry to approx 2mm and cover the scallop shells with the pastry. Cut around the pastry so that you have four shells neatly covered in pastry sealed by squeezing the pastry to the shell.
  8. Brush the pastry with the egg yolk and season the top with Maldon salt.
  9. The scallops can be kept like this in the fridge for up to 12 hours.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven 200ºc until the pastry is lightly golden
  11. Serve them, explaining to the guests that they can pull back the pastry and add a little of the creamy truffle sauce, for the full taste experience.

For the truffle sauce

  • 300ml of thick cream
  • 1white onion chopped          
  • 100g salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and sliced finely
  • 4 teaspoons of truffle pieces
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • Maldon salt

Simply bring the cream to the boil and add the onion and garlic. Simmer until the cream is nice and thick and add the butter and whisk in.

Now pass the sauce through a sieve into a clean pan to remove the garlic and onion pieces. Finally add the truffle pieces to the sauce and whisk in and then add the truffle oil.

You can keep the sauce warm on the stove until needed. When needed pour into a small jug and serve alongside the scallops.


Follow Steven on Instagram … saunderschef  – Email any questions … [email protected]

The Little Geranium, Winner of Best Contemporary International Restaurant 2019-Costa Del Sol –

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Steven Saunders

Steven Saunders FMCGB - The Little Geranium - La Cala de Mijas & Marbella