04/18/2013 03:34 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Curtis Stone dishes up tasty fare: scallops and peas, sticky toffee ice cream

In "What's For Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life," chef and new dad Curtis Stone helps home cooks with recipes and tips for getting dinner ready every day of the week.

Here are two recipes from the book, published by Appetite by Random House.

Seared Scallops and Peas With Bacon and Mint

This is from the book's section Five-Ingredient Fridays. Stone suggests getting family members to help shuck the peas. You could serve mashed potatoes on the side.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

625 ml (2 1/2 cups) shelled fresh peas (from 1 kg/2 lb peas in the pod)

3 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into strips 5-mm (1/4-inch) wide

125 ml (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped shallots

30 ml (2 tbsp) coarsely chopped fresh mint

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 large sea scallops, tough side muscle removed and patted dry

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add peas and cook for about 2 minutes or just until they are bright green and tender. Drain and transfer peas to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the skillet.

Add shallots to skillet and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes or until softened. Add peas and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until they are heated through. Stir in bacon and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat another large heavy skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Add olive oil, then add scallops and cook for about 2 minutes or until underside is golden brown.

Turn scallops and cook for about 2 minutes more, or until the other side is golden brown but the scallops are still translucent when pierced in the centre with tip of a small knife. Transfer scallops to paper towels to drain briefly.

Divide pea mixture and scallops among 4 dinner plates and serve.

Makes 4 servings.


Lozza's Sticky Toffee Ice Cream

Stone's mother created this recipe, featured in the Something Sweet section of the book. It's a tempting treat for warm-weather entertaining.

"It is delicious," Stone related. "She rang me and said I've got this recipe that you've got to try. And I was like, 'Sticky toffee ice cream? Really?' And she started telling me about it and I was like 'hmm.' I said I'll give it a shot.

"And then she rang me a week later and said, 'You didn't make that ice cream, did you?' I said, 'How'd you know?' She said, 'If you had made it you would have called me. That's how good it is.' ...

"So we made it. And every single person who's tasted it has said 'Holy crap, that's good.' She just has a knack with some things, my mum."

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling time and at least 12 hours freezing time

Storing: The ice cream can be frozen for up to 2 days.

250 g (8 oz) Medjool dates (about 14), pitted and coarsely chopped

250 ml (1 cup) packed light brown sugar

120 ml (8 tbsp/1 stick) unsalted butter

125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream

Non-stick cooking spray

2 l (8 cups) vanilla ice cream

The day before serving ice cream, in a small heavy saucepan, bring dates and 150 ml (2/3 cup) water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 3 minutes or until dates are tender and liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy saucepan, heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, for about 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer. Carefully stir in cream and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 7 minutes or until mixture thickens and darkens slightly.

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in date mixture. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until cold and sticky.

Spray a 23-by-13-by-7.5-cm (9-by-5-by-3-inch) loaf pan with non-stick spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, allowing wrap to extend over edges of pan.

Spoon ice cream into a large bowl and let it soften just slightly if necessary. Working quickly, mix date mixture into ice cream. You can mix it in completely or fold it in to create a ripple effect. Pack ice-cream mixture into prepared loaf pan. Cover with overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for at least 12 hours.

Uncover ice cream. Rub your warm hands over pan to help soften edges of ice cream and loosen it from pan. Invert ice cream onto a rectangular platter and remove pan and plastic wrap. Cut ice cream into slices and serve immediately.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: "What's For Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life" by Curtis Stone (Appetite by Random House, 2013).