Gastronomic Journeys with Reine Sammut

Queen of Hearts Reine Sammut whipping up love

I have always believed that it is impossible to fully enjoy a chocolate éclair without ever being in love, being to Paris, or being in love in Paris.  Food, to me, has always offered the most immediate path to emotions and experiences – whether it conjures up a crisp Spring morning in France, riotous family dinners at home, or warm fuzzy feelings of love.

The best chefs maintain this ongoing ‘conversation’ with you at the dining table.  Like master storytellers, their food tells you about themselves; their personal journeys, joys and heartbreaks; and also trigger your most private memories and intimate experiences.

So it was a rare treat to speak with one-star Michelin chef Reine Sammut before relishing her creations at The Knolls, Capella Singapore, from 13-16 November.  In this short tête-à-tête, the reigning Queen of Hearts talks about meeting her husband, her greatest source of inspiration, and what true love tastes like.

Queen of Hearts Reine Sammut whipping up love

Queen of Hearts Reine Sammut whipping up love

Reine Sammut on Food and Love…

If I weren’t a chef, I would have been a doctor.  I fell in love with cooking when I fell in love with my husband Guy.  I was studying medicine then, but I decided to leave school for him and learn cooking from my mother-in-law Claudette.

My greatest source of inspiration comes from travel and books.  They are my portals to new worlds and perspectives. These experiences help me create food that evokes genuine emotions and create a sense of place.

My favourite comfort food is pasta.  It’s like how some people would dig into a tub of ice cream when they are having a bad day…  I think it’s impossible to have a bad day when you have freshly made pasta.

My favourite ‘cheap thrill’ food is sardine.  They are chockfull of omega-3 fatty acids, and are sustainable and delicious. Even when prepared simply with olive oil and salt, they will win you over with their rich flavour.

An unusual and delicious food I’d recommend is Melokhia.  This popular Middle Eastern soup or stew contains a namesake vegetable, which has a thick, viscous consistency somewhat similar to okra.

One of my favourite French restaurants is La Chassagnette in Arles.  Set in the middle of an organic vegetable garden, this restaurant’s décor and food are irresistibly charming.

If I had to prepare one last meal, it would be bouillabaisse.  This traditional Provencal fish stew contains many kinds of fish, seafood, olive oil, vegetables and herbs. You can taste the freshness of the sea and the garden in every single bite.  We usually make this in a large pot and share it with family and friends, so this dish always makes me feel warm and think of the people I love.

"Calissons” is a Provencal-style iced cream made with almonds

“Calissons” is a Provencal-style iced cream made with almonds

Reine Sammut will be conjuring up culinary magic at CapellaSingapore’s The Knolls from 13-16 November. View her stellar menu HERE.

Chicken And Lobster Ravioli At The Knolls

Chicken And Lobster Ravioli

Starting the first of April, The Knolls got a brand new menu, specially designed by our new Executive Chef, David Senia. It has been very exciting to have Chef Senia on the team, not just because of his vast years of experience that he brings to the kitchen but also his friendly and cheerful personality which brings much life to the kitchen at The Knolls.

Part of the exciting tasks leading up to a new menu launch is the tastings and food shows. Watching the chefs at work skillfully plating each dish is almost like watching a work of art come to life. Next up is the tasting of the food. One of the signatures on the new menu is the Chicken and Lobster Ravioli.  This is a unique dish because it is served with a light citrus sauce, giving it a mildly tangy flavor, which perfectly complements the savory elements.

And what better way to celebrate the new menu than with the recipe for Chicken and Lobster Ravioli?  Now admittedly, this recipe is a bit labor intensive.  So if it is too much for you, then please stop by The Knolls and allow our chefs to prepare it for you!

Chicken And Lobster RavioliIngredients:

Ravioli-
700g  Lobster
700g  Foie gras
500g  Celeriac
300g  Chicken breast
1tbs  Olive oil
White pepper & salt (to taste)
50g  Chicken stock
100g  Ready-made Pasta dough

Ragout-
100g  Shallots
1  Lemon skin
1  Orange skin
1  Tomatoes
100g  Olive oil

Method:

For The Ravioli-
-Remove the lobster from the shell, keeping the head and the shells
-Blend the lobster, foie gras and chicken breast in a food processor until smooth
-Add in the olive oil and mix well. Season with salt & pepper
-Roll out pasta dough and make ravioli with the lobster and chicken stuffing
-Keep refrigerated until needed

For The Ragout-
-Dice the shallots and tomatoes
-Cut the orange and lemon skins into fine slices and blanche in water to remove the bitterness
-Combine shallots, tomatoes, orange and lemon skin, with the olive oil and mix well

For The Sauce-
-Roast the lobster shells in a pan until fragrant
-Add in the chicken stock and reduce until it begins to thicken
-Add a touch of cream and season with salt & pepper
-Strain and keep aside until needed

To Serve-
-Blanche the readymade ravioli in a salted boiling water for about 2 or 3 minutes until cooked
-Add the cooked ravioli into the sauce and braise, until the sauce coats the ravioli
-Divide the ravioli into pasta plates and pour the sauce over
-Drizzle the ragout on top

 

Voila!  Enjoy this beautiful Chicken and Lobster Ravioli!