Single This Valentines Day? Fret No More

A day that connotes everything love, loving and being loved, it is really important that you start the journey with yourself first.

You deserve it and it’s time to ‘Create Your Me Time & indulge. Make this the day that you make true love to yourself, affirm within yourself all your positive attributes, and celebrate both inwardly and outwardly ‘YOU ‘as a ‘WOMAN’.

Give your soul and body a good spring clean, indulge in a long luxurious bath or a vocal shower (natch..that thought, just sing). Pluck wax shave, epilate, cream your body all-over indulgently and make sure that you do ‘that thing’ you love doing that feeds your soul. No, no reference is being made to anything battery operated, but if that floats our boat, who’s to say no? It may be hanging out with that great friend who also happens to be single that you haven’t seen in a good while, giving your debit card a well-deserved work-out, heading out to the movies, reading that exciting new book that you haven’t had the chance read yet, luxuriating in that onesie whilst relaxing in-front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn…., if you are a single momma make it a date with your offspring[s], the list continues…… Hoping that this message gets across i.e, the loving starts with you loving you too on the day love rocks the world.

Courtesy of Michelin star chef Paul Welburn head chef at Searcys and Gary Rhodes protégé, we have a recipe that will make love to your taste buds. Be adventurous, try something new if you’ve never tried anything in the menu before, liberate your culinary acuity and start cooking to nourish your body on the day that love rocks the world. The menu serves 8, so make a party night of it!

Images Credits: Gemma Morson and Richard Hennessey

Let’s start with desert that sounds more fun J X

Hot chocolate tart, lemon curd ice cream and salted caramel popcorn

Serves 8 

Chocolate tart pastry–

200g icing sugar

400g butter

3 large eggs

700g plain flour

Chocolate tart filling-

200g dark chocolate

100g butter

75g olive oil

70g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

6 eggs

150g caster sugar

Lemon curd ice cream

1 litre milk

200ml double cream

60g milk powder

300g lemon juice

325g whole eggs

200g egg yolks

300g caster sugar

Salted caramel popcorn

25g pop corn kernels

50g clarified butter

150g caster sugar

Pinch of coarse sea salt

Other ingredients

Chocolate crumble (optional)


For the pastry, start by creaming the butter and sugar together till pale, add the eggs and beat till smooth, add the flour and then mix until a smooth dough is formed, don’t overwork the pastry or it will affect the finished texture, wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

Once rested roll out the pastry to 2mm thick and line 8 x 4inch tart moulds and then fill with parchment paper and baking beans and blind bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°c for 12 minutes, remove the baking beans and return to the oven for a further 4 minutes till golden brown.

Once cooked allow to cool before trimming any excess pastry with a sharp knife, keep the cases till ready

For the ice cream, place the lemon juice, eggs, yolks and sugar in a pan and cook over a medium heat stirring all the time and cook until the mixture thickens and remove just before it reaches the boil, once cooked pass through a fine sieve .

In a pan bring the milk, milk powder and double cream to the boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon curd, allow the mix to cool and then churn in an ice cream maker , and store in a plastic container till required.

For the pop corn in a pan place the clarified butter, heat the butter and add the popcorn kernels and continue heating until the kernels begin to pop, place a lid on the pan and remove from the heat and allow the kernels to continue popping.

In a separate pan add the sugar and begin to heat until a dark amber caramel is achieved (be careful not to burn the caramel) then remove from the stove and add the popcorn and stir immediately to coat each piece, add a sprinkle of salt and stir in ,  place the coated corn on a piece of greaseproof paper , and allow to cool and the caramel to harden

For the tart filling melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water, add the butter and incorporate, remove the bowl from the heat and  add the olive oil and whisk in to emulsify, then add the flour and cocoa powder and mix in thoroughly,

In a separate bowl place the eggs and sugar and lightly whisk until pale, fold this into the chocolate mixture and mix together.

Pipe the filling into the tart case and place In preheated oven on 170°c for 7 minutes.

To serve place a tart on the plate, add a sprinkle of chocolate crumble (optional) a scoop of the lemon curd ice cream and top with some of the salted caramel popcorn.

Cornish Lobster cocktail, pickled fennel and bloody Mary sorbet:  Serves 4

Lobster –

2 x 300g-400g live native Cornish lobsters

3 tsp  mayonnaise

3 tsp crème fraiche

Juice of ½ lemon

Season to taste

½ tsp chopped chervil

Bloody mary sorbet-

1 litre tomato juice

75ml belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Juice of 1 lemon

5 splash of tabasco (depending on the heat you prefer)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pickled fennel

1 bulb of fennel (sliced thinly as possible)

150ml white wine

100ml white wine vinegar

150ml water

50g caster sugar

1 x star anise

1 x sprig of thyme

Avocado puree

2 ripe avocados

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp crème fraice

Salt and pepper to taste

Other ingredients

Baby gem leaves – washed and torn roughly

Fennel cress (optional)

Olive oil to dress the leaves


For the lobster, first cook the lobster, the most humane way is to place the lobsters in a freezer for 30 mins to relax and place them in a dormant state, then once removed pierce the lobster with a knife just behind the head pressing the tip all the way through, may seem a lot of work but fresh lobster is the only way to eat it in my opinion.(it can be replaced with the traditional prawns but it is supposed to be a special occasion!)

Next place the lobsters into a pan of boiling salted water and allow to cook for 8 minutes, remove and place into iced water, immediately remove the shell and slice the meat up and reserve the claws for garnish.

Mix gently the chilled sliced lobster meat with the mayonnaise, crème fraiche, herbs, lemon  juice and season to taste, keep till required.

For the bloody Mary sorbet combine all the ingredients in a bowl , like the drink it’s a personal preference to the seasoning, lemon juice and heat from the tabasco, for me I like that strong  kick of flavour and this ends up as the replacement for the traditional Mary Rose sauce in the finished dish so bear this in mind.

Once mixed churn in an ice cream maker and then store in a plastic container in the freezer until ready

For the pickled fennel bring all the ingredients apart from the fennel to the boil and then pour directly onto the thinly sliced fennel , cover and leave for a minimum of 1 hour to marinade, the longer the better if possible.

For the avocado puree place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth adjust the seasoning to taste.

To serve take a retro-style martini glass, place the baby gem leaves dressed in olive oil and lemon juice in the base, top with a generous mound of lobster mix, add few shavings of the pickled fennel and top off with a spoon of avocado puree, the dressed claw some fennel cress, and finally a spoon of the bloody Mary sorbet.

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