Valentine’s Day is upon us and you can get in the kitchen to show your loved one how much you care.
Love potion cocktail
Pesto tomato tart
Pink peppercorn fillet with potato and asparagus
White chocolate and raspberry crème brulee
Red velvet whoopee pies
LOVE POTION COCKTAIL
250ml cranberry juice
30-40ml Aperol liqueur
Divide the cranberry juice, Prosecco and liqueur between two glasses.
Add a few fresh raspberries and plenty of crushed ice.
NOTE: Prosecco is an Italian sparking wine and can be replaced with any sparkling wine.
Aperol is an slightly bitter Italian liqueur similar to Campari but has half the alcohol. If you find it too bitter, use an orange liqueur instead.
PESTO TOMATO TARTS
100g frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten
bought basil pesto
30g goat’s cheese
micro basil herbs for garnishing
Unroll the pastry and cut out two large hearts. About 1cm from the edge of the pastry, score around the shape, taking care not to cut through the pastry.
Prick the inside section of the heart with a fork. Brush with egg glaze.
Bake at 180°C for 10 minutes. At this stage the pastry will not be fully cooked. Remove from the oven.
Spread a spoonful of pesto on the inside of the pastry, top with the tomatoes and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden and the tomatoes have softened.
Remove and sprinkle with goat’s cheese and garnish with micro herbs.
PINK PEPPERCORN FILLET WITH POTATO AND ASPARAGUS
4 medallions of fillet
30ml olive oil
salt and pepper
Pink peppercorn sauce
10ml pink peppercorns, crushed
20ml Worcestershire sauce
30ml lemon juice
a pinch of white pepper
Layered potato bake
2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 small butternut, peeled and sliced into rounds
30g butter, melted
125ml grated Parmesan cheese
15ml fresh thyme leaves
200g asparagus, trimmed
60ml olive oil
a few fresh chives
Brush the fillet medallions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying pan over medium high heat, and fry the steaks until browned on each side and cooked to desired doneness – rare is 2-3 minutes.
Remove and set aside, covered, to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with pink peppercorn sauce, potato bake and grilled asparagus.
SAUCE: Heat the butter in a saucepan and fry the crushed peppercorns for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until thickened.
POTATO BAKE: Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush four ramekins with some of the melted butter.
Put potato and butternut slices in a bowl, add the melted butter and gently toss until well coated.
Combine Parmesan and thyme in a bowl.
Arrange a layer of potatoes on the base of the prepared ramekins, sprinkle with Parmesan and season with salt and pepper, followed by a layer of butternut.
Continue layering until all ingredients are used up, finishing off with a layer of Parmesan mixture.
Pour over the cream and cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before turning out onto the serving plate.
ASPARAGUS: Combine asparagus with oil and lemon juice. Season.
Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Cook asparagus, a few at a time, until slightly charred and cooked.
Allow to cool slightly. Tie bundles of 5-6 with chives.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY CRÈME BRULEE
half a vanilla pod, split
90g slab of white chocolate
3 egg yolks
60ml castor sugar plus extra for sprinkling
Put the cream and vanilla pod in a small pot and heat. Add the chocolate and remove from the heat.
Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the vanilla pod.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Pour over the cream mixture and mix well.
Put a few raspberries into ramekins or suitable ovenproof dishes and pour over the cream mixture.
Place the ramekins into a roasting pan and add enough hot water to come half-way up the side of the ramekins.
Bake at 150°C for 30-40 minutes or until the custard is set with a slight wobble in the middle.
Remove from the oven and take the ramekins out of the water. Refrigerate until well chilled.
Sprinkle a layer of castor sugar over the top of the ramekin and melt the sugar either with a blow torch or under a pre-heated grill.
Serve with a few extra raspberries.
RED VELVET WHOOPIE PIES
Makes about 16
125g butter, slightly softened
250ml castor sugar
5ml vanilla essence
500ml cake flour
125ml cocoa powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
30ml red food colouring
125g thick cream cheese
500ml sifted icing sugar
5ml vanilla extract
Cream the butter and sugar very well. Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat well.
Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda.
Combine the milk and colouring and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the dry ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain, 1.5cm-wide nozzle and pipe the mixture onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
Make sure to leave room for spreading.
Bake at 180°C for 8-10 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove and cool on the tray.
Sandwich two halves together with the cream cheese icing.
FILLING: Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix well.
Add enough icing sugar to make a firm icing.
Use to sandwich the two halves together. - The Star