Top 5 most popular recipes on the Constance blog

Every Friday we publish a deliciously tempting recipe from the Constance kitchens, so you can serve up some 5-star style at home.

Chicken and prawn curry in coconut milk

Chicken and prawn curry in coconut milk

Here’s a round-up of the 5 most popular recipes we’ve published over the last few months. Hunker down this weekend and try your hand at one of these tasty treats.

1. Chicken and prawn curry in coconut milk
This Mauritian chicken and prawn curry is served in a spicy coconut sauce.

2. Lemon compote with star anise and vanilla
Very easy to make – this makes the perfect partner for seafood or duck.

3. Pan-roasted sea bass with mild spices
Served on a salad of warm spinach, asparagus and berries with an almond-green chilli vinaigrette. Scrumptious. 

Ultimate spare ribs

Ultimate spare ribs

4. Ultimate spare ribs
Stuart Blair, the executive chef at Moofushi, has brought back from his native Australia a very special recipe for spare ribs.

5. Spicy chicken legs – Mauritius style
Super-tasty finger food – just remember to make plenty.

Don’t forget – every Friday we publish more Constance recipes. And if you’ve missed others, you’ll find them all in the Culinary section.

Interview with Bruno Le Gac, Corporate Executive Chef at Constance Hotels

Bruno Le Gac is our Corporate Executive Chef at Constance Hotels Experience.

Bruno Le Gac

Bruno Le Gac

Bruno’s passion for his work stems from a great love of food, and his career has taken him around the globe.

1.    Why did you decide to become a chef?

Like many people, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I was a teenager. But I knew I wanted to be independent, earn my own money and enjoy freedom. I also loved to eat and go to restaurants with my parents.

One summer, I spent a month in a restaurant to earn a bit of cash. I was cleaning dishes, peeling vegetables, all that nice stuff…

One day during service time, the kitchen brigade was in such a rush that the chef called me. He put a kitchen hat on my head, tied an apron around my waist and showed me how to place the garnish on the plates.

Strangely enough, at the end of this particular day I knew what I wanted to do in life. I guess I was love struck by the job. I dropped conventional studies and started an apprenticeship. And I’ve never regretted my decision.

2. How did your career get going in the early days?

I started travelling at quite a young age, and I was only 20 when I got my first job abroad, in California. I chose not to come back to France, and instead decided to discover different countries and cultures.

3. What 5 things have influenced your success?

Delicious fresh food at Constance Hotels Experience

Delicious fresh food at Constance Hotels

A combination of factors have been key to the development of my career.

1. I’m lucky to have a fantastic wife. She’s always been very supportive, patient and she has also been able to put me back on track when needed.

2. Lots of work and dedication. A true passion for the job.

3. Self motivation. It’s important to wake up every morning and strive to do better than the day before.

4. I believe I’ve made the right career choices at the right time. One has to provoke his destiny and not wait for things to happen.

5. I’ve been lucky to meet and work with incredible people, who gave me their trust and support.

My current job is completely different from what I was doing before. But I love it even more – it opens so many doors. I’m having a blast!

4. What qualities do you think an aspiring chef needs to make it in the business?

Chefs working in a Constance Hotels kitchen

Chefs hard at work at Constance

 I’d say self motivation and a willingness to work hard, as well as a genuine passion for what you’re doing.

When I started you needed to get ready the first couple of years to wake up very early in the morning, work long hours, do more cleaning than cooking, cut your fingers, burn your arms, stink when you get back home and never say no to your chef.

Work, learn, remember, apply. Think fast, act fast. Then you’ll know if you’re made for the job or not.

Once all of these things are no longer a problem to you, you’ll start really enjoying what your job is and you’ll be on the right track.

After that, it’s all about finding your own style and ways of doing things.

Fortunately things are now very different and the working conditions in the kitchen are getting better and better. It will always remain a fascinating but fairly hard job.

5. How do you see food trends developing in the luxury hotel market?  

There’s a move to create more healthy options on the menu, more ‘custom made’ menus, lighter portions, luxury snacking for lunch. And more than ever: lighter, purer plates made out of quality products. High class modern pastry is also a big draw right now.

We’re going to see even more personality in the food. So called ‘hotel food’ is disappearing and this is good news. And there’ll be even more symbiosis between food, service and wine. Guests are looking for a global experience.

The mix of clientele is also changing. We need to anticipate and propose things that will surprise and delight our European guests but also Asian and Middle Eastern to name two.

6. What and where was the best meal you’ve ever had?

If I say ‘my Mum’s food’ it will sound very conventional! Let me think… I don’t have one best meal that stands out. Instead, I like to remember dozens of great food experiences that vary with the context, the place, the people I was with.

Here’s a window on some of the best food experiences I’ve had:

  • A ‘vuelve la vida’ seafood cocktail in Mercado 28 in Cancun, Mexico.
  • A salad of fresh heart of palmtree in Constance Belle Mare Plage,Mauritius.
  • A splendid and surprising langoustine and raw wagyu beef in a delicate broth at Relais Bernard Loiseau this summer.
  • A perfect spaghetti al pesto at La Merenda, a small restaurant in Nice.
  • A giant chili crab in a street food shack inSingapore.
  • A plate of freshly picked organic tomatoes from my mother-in-law’s garden, with lots of olive oil from Baux de Provence and sprinkled with salt flower.
  • A tray of Oysters in Cancale,Brittany.
  • And so many many more…

 My memory is full of incredible food souvenirs. I think you got it by now… I love food!

Favourite recipes from Constance
Want to create some of our chefs’ amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes online. You’ll find them in our culinary section.

Recipe: Black lentil soup with smoked pork belly and grilled scallops

Warm yourself up with this delicious lentil soup from the kitchens of the luxury 5* Le Prince Maurice.

Ginger root

Ginger adds extra warmth to the soup

Serves 4
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Soaking time for the lentils: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 250g cleaned scallops (without roes)
  • 15g butter

For the soup:

  • 200g black lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 50g boucane (smoked pork belly)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 curry leaves
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 5cl crème fraîche
  • salt and pepper

1. Soak the black lentils for 2 hours.
2. Peel and chop the onion and garlic separately. Grate the carrot. Finely dice the celery and carrot.
3. Cut the boucane in two pieces. Fry the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger and boucane in hot olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the drained black lentils, thyme, parsley and curry leaves. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper, and simmer for 1 hour on low heat.
4. Remove the boucane, blend and sieve the soup. Add the crème fraîche and correct seasoning.
5. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Grill them for 2 minutes on each side.
6. Using a hand blender, blend the soup with the butter. Serve hot with the scallops.

Recipe: how to make coconut milk

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Today Chef Rufus Elizabeth of Seselwa restaurant at Constance Ephélia Resort explains how to make coconut milk the traditional way.

Coconuts are poetically called ‘suspended water’. They’re used in many different culinary preparations in the Seychelles – the most famous one is probably the kari koko, or curry with coconut milk.

1. To make fresh coconut milk, you need to use a dry coconut. First remove the husk by splitting it on a sharp rock. If you buy it in a supermarket, it will come without the husk.

Splitting coconut husk on a sharp rock

Split the coconut husk on a sharp rock

2. Then, break open the nut. This can be a dangerous operation if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Seychellois do it with a machete… but please don’t try this at home!

Instead, I’d recommend using a pastry roller or a metal pipe. The trick is to place the nut in your hand the right way. It will easily break open if you hit it right in the middle, against the sense of the fibers.

3. Hold the nut tightly in the palm of your left hand, hide your fingers, and hit it with the pastry roll. If it doesn’t break the first time, try again.

4. Place a glass or bowl under to collect the coconut water.

5. Once the nut is open:

  • Sieve the coconut water and use it to prepare a delicious drink. It’s perfect pure and ice cold. Seychellois have it for breakfast to give them strength for the day.
  • You can also mix it with white rum and prepare a delicious punch.

6. Remove the pulp from the shell: one easy way is to use an oyster knife. Protect your fingers as the blade can easily rip against the inside of the shell.

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Try to keep at least one side of the coconut shell intact. Seychellois use it a measuring unit and call it the kafoul.

7. Rinse the pieces of pulp. You can choose to keep the brown skin around it or remove it with a knife. Grate the pulp. Seychellois use a traditional grater (a piece of sharp metal on a wooden plank). At home, a blender is probably your best bet.

8. Place the grated pulp in a bowl. Add a bit of fresh water and let it soak for 5 minutes.

9. Place the preparation in a clean cloth. Wrap the cloth around the pulp and press with your hands on top of a bowl. The coconut milk will be extracted slowly.

Sieve milk through the husk

Sieve milk through the husk

To do this, Seychellois use a piece of natural coconut husk. They call it tamis coco.

10. Keep the coconut milk in the fridge until you need it. Keep the dry grated pulp to prepare pastries such as a delicious coconut tart, or a coconut jam.

11. If you want a thicker milk, or coconut cream, allow the milk to rest for 2 to 3 hours. The liquid will progressively split and the coconut cream will stay at the top. Use a ladle to gently collect it from the top.

It may be easier to open a can of coconut milk but what a pleasure to make your own!

 

Constance Belle Mare Plage wins International Chefs’ Day Challenge

Winning team from Belle Mare Plage
Winning team from Belle Mare Plage

Constance Belle Mare Plage has won one of the top culinary contests on the island of Mauritius.

Out of a total of 9 teams, Belle Mare Plage won the Best Table Set Up and was overall winner in the Black Box Competition.

Belle Mare Plage presented an elegant and classic table setting.

The general theme was futuristic with plexiglass balls suspended like planets, a small nod to us treating the International Day as a ‘universal’ event. The table design included a dominant orchid floral decoration and handwritten blackboard menus.

All decorations reflected our eco-awareness and included LED lamps, recycled materials and volcanic rock.

The event marks International Chefs’ Day and is organised by the Mauritius Chefs’ Association.

Recipe: Chicken Tandoori Marinade

Cumin seeds

Cumin seeds

This week Siddq, our Sous Chef at Jahaz Restaurant, Constance Halaveli, brings you his special homemade recipe for Tandoori Chicken Marinade.

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken
  • 5g cumin seeds
  • 5g coriander seeds
  • 20g garam masala
  • 8g chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
     

1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 C
2. Prepare the ground cumin and coriander. Take your cumin and coriander seeds and toast over a medium heat until the spices become very fragrant and brown a little. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. When the toasted spices have cooled grind them in a pestle and mortar to a fine powder, reserve until needed.
3. Make the garlic and ginger paste - simply puree 50% fresh peeled ginger and 50% fresh peeled garlic. Mix together. This keeps for up to 7 days in the fridge if stored in an air tight container.
4. Blend all the ingredients from the recipe together, season to taste with salt and pepper, reserve.
5. Take 1 large chicken and completely remove the skin. Make 3 slices diagonally across both breasts and thighs approx 5 mm deep. This helps the marinade to penetrate and also ensures that your chicken will cook evenly. Then coat the chicken well with your Tandoori marinade.
6. Place chicken on a tray in the oven and leave until the edges almost blacken, when you see this colour change, lower the oven temperature to 180C and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the meat has reached 74 C. When cooking chicken, allow 20 minutes per 500g + an additional 20 minutes at the end.
7. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken on the BBQ.

Every Friday we publish tasty recipes from the Indian Ocean. If you’ve got a favourite dish from your holidays with Constance Hotels, get in contact with us and let us know which recipe you want us to feature next.

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