During my vacation I went home to see my mama for her birthday, cook for her and hang out on her property, on which she grows an amazing amount of food. A short list includes:

Red currants
Fuckload of herbs
The list goes on....

I'm lucky in that my mum and I, although we are opposites in almost every way, are the greatest of friends and really enjoy each others' company. It must be strange for her to look at this creature who doesn't resemble her in the slightest, puttering around in her kitchen, swearing and generally being a pig, and wonder, exactly, how she gave birth to it.

I turn into a complete 8 year old when I go home. I run into her bedroom while she's getting ready, poke her, and run out. She has a hall filled with photos of me from a kid until now, which is sort of a timeline of how I got increasingly weirder-looking. Whatevs. 

I made ma a three-course meal for her birthday, which needed to be very specific, because as I've mentioned before she has major food allergies, so it needed to be carefully planned. And it worked! She didn't get sick from my cooking!

We started with stuffed peppers, the recipe can be found here. Because of ma's food allergies, I've used goat feta, and scrapped the egg and yoghurt. It still works well, it's just not as creamy. Also, because they didn't have any Anaheim chiles in the sticks, we used a Poblano pepper, which works very well:

Next, because you can buy spot prawns right off the boat, we had them at the very end of the season:

Sauteed Garlic Spot Prawns
1 lb, about 24 prawns, fresh or frozen (fresh obv better)
glug of olive oil, to taste
2 jalepenos
5 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp fresh chopped flatleaf parsley
white wine, to deglaze
sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to season

Peel and devein the prawns. Heat the oil to high and add the prawns. Sautee until they begin to release their juices and turn almost pink. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until all pink. Finish with white wine, using to deglaze. Serve immediately, garnished with thyme.

Spot prawns are mum and I's favorite thing ever.

The grand finale:

Maple Seared Scallops with Kalamata Ragout
16 large scallops, fresh if you can get them
4 tbsp high-quality maple syrup
1 shallot, diced
1/2 can or equal-sized container of Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 tbsp chives
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and white pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

For the Ragout:
Heat a small saute pan on medium-high heat. Coat the pan with the olive oil and saute the diced shallot for a few minutes. Add the olives, chives, lemon juice and a glug of olive oil to the pan at the same time. Saute all together until they begin to blend, reduce heat to minimum and keep warm until the scallops are ready.

For the Scallops:
In a small bowl coat the scallops with the maple syrup and season with salt and white pepper. Heat a non-stick pan to a high heat, coat the pan with oil and add the scallops to the pan and sear or both sides until browned (about one minute). Flip onto first side, add a little more oil to cook into the scallops, and cook until all white. Serve immediately by removing from heat, plating and adding the ragout on top.

I accompanied mine with simple steamed asparagus with a little balsamic vinegar on top:

Mmmmmm, summer seafood. Here's the path to ma's flower portion of the garden that you wish you were in right now:

We aren't as different as we think we are. I was making fun of her and then left the room. She called after me:




(recipes with my modifications courtesy of Saveur, the Vancouver Sun, and The Dirty Apron Cooking School, respectively).