This week Celebrity Chef & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala celebrates Michele’s birthday!
LAST week was my wife Michele’s birthday.
I asked what she would like to do and where she would like to go. “We can go anywhere” I said as her birthday fell on a Monday when we close and we also close Sundays so we could get away for two days.
“The Tennis Club” she said without hesitation, referring to The Miraflores Tennis Club where we go every Sunday to play paddle tennis then afterwards we often have lunch there.
We love the atmosphere and the friendly service and as it is local for us, we can drink then walk home! They do a fabulous Sunday lunch with Irish Rib Eye beef cooked on the bone with excellent crispy roasties.
They also have live music, so when you are sitting in the sun on the lovely terrace next to the pool eating great food created by Chef Paul (who was the Head Chef of El Oceano Hotel for many years) you feel well… happy!
Paul and I know each other from many moons ago when we were both training at The Savoy Hotel in London in the 70’s, funny that we should both end up living in the same area!
The Miraflores Tennis Club is owned and run by Jerry and his lovely wife Sammy. Jerry was a county tennis player in his teens and was involved in the sports business. They came to Spain on holiday to play tennis and were offered the run down Miraflores Tennis Club to buy.
Jerry and Sammy have four boys and thought what a fantastic life it would be to own a tennis club especially over here in Spain for their young boys.
They have spent a lot of money on the club developing it and refurbishing throughout, it now looks amazing, has a pool side bar, six tennis courts and two paddle courts.
I met up with Jerry earlier in the week before Michele’s birthday and between us we organised a special menu which included some huge prawns grilled with garlic and lemon, a special Chanel No 5 designer cake and of course Michele’s favourite drink… Veuve Clicquot Rose!
She had no idea about the menu or the cake, so it was going to be a lovely surprise coupled with the special gift that I bought her.
I had gone shopping in Puerto Banus looking for a gift and seen this stunning short white leather jacket covered in studs and Swarovski crystals in the Philipp Plein shop.
You know when you find something that is spectacular and then think, yeah but it’s a lot of money! But we only live once and Michele is the backbone of our little business and she deserves it… Ok I’ll take it!
Back at the tennis club, I presented the huge box to Michele and she opened it slowly expecting something small in a big box, her face was a picture when she saw it! “Wow” she said, then the singer (Grace) sang Happy Birthday, the Champagne flowed and the tennis club party came alive, made even more lively when I sang U2’s With or Without you live with my team around me!
What a day, great food, great service and lovely guests, it really was the best birthday ever!
Steven Saunders’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.
Huge prawns with prawn and garlic oil
Huge prawns like carabineros can be expensive, but you can find small lobsters at the moment weighing in at about 500g each which are a sensible price. You only need one per person for this simple recipe. Everybody does prawns in garlic, but try this recipe using a garlic and prawn oil!
Ingredients (serves four)
- 4 huge prawns or 4 small lobsters
- 500g of prawn shells or prawns in their shell (any size) can be frozen
- 300g of wild garlic peeled but left whole (if you can’t get this use regular garlic)
- 250 ml of virgin olive oil
- 500 ml of sunflower oil
- 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Maldon salt
To prepare the prawns cut in half through the heads but not all the way through so that the two halves are still connected slightly. Remove the bowel vein and wash under cold water.
Peel off the little legs and reserve with the prawn shells. For lobsters do the same but remove the claws and boil them for two to three minutes so that you can remove the claw meat.
Reserve the claw shells for the prawn oil.
To make the prawn oil
Put the frozen prawns or prawn shells in a roasting tray with half of the garlic – one that is deep enough so that you can cover them with the oil without it overflowing.
Roast in the set at 140ºC oven until a rich golden colour, then remove from the oven, cover in the sunflower oil whilst warm and allow to sit for 12 hours covered with a cloth.
After this time, pass through muslin or a fine sieve and squeeze as much flavour out as you possibly can. Keep in fridge until required.
Cook the prawns
Blanch the remaining garlic in a little water (enough to cover) to remove the bitterness. Then chop finely and mix with the virgin olive oil so that you have a garlic oil dressing.
Pour this over the prawns and grill for approximately two minutes until you see the garlic starting to colour a little.
Season with a little Maldon salt.
Remove the prawns and arrange in a deep bowl or on a plate and drizzle all over with the prawn oil.
Finally squeeze over the lemons and sprinkle over the parsley and serve in the centre of the table.
The prawn oil seems a bit extravagant and time consuming, but it really does take garlic prawns up a few levels!
The intensity of the prawn and garlic oil gives the dish some real punch.
Whenever you have any prawn shells left over put them in a bag and freeze them.
They not only make great oils but also great bisque too!
Follow Steven on Instagram ….saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best Contemporary International Restaurant Spain 2020 (Innovation and Excellence Award)