The Handbook
The Handbook

Although this Valentine’s Day won’t be spent at your partner’s favourite restaurant, you can fill it with restaurant quality dishes at home. If you’ve promised your partner a top notch meal for two this Valentine’s Day, fear not. We’ve enlisted the help from nine of our favourite London restaurants to bring you nine special recipes that’ll be sure to wow your loved one away this February 14th. 

Thankfully you won’t have to rush to make that last minute reservation, but it will mean you’ll be battling it out for the last tub of crème fraîche with the other partners who have drawn the short straw of making the meal on Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for inspiration, take note of these recipes and really impress your partner this Valentine’s.

Portland Crab, Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Almonds, Galvin at Windows 

If you’re going all out and making three courses, this is the perfect dish to start off the evening. Created by Marc Hadiman, the Head Chef at Galvin at Windows, it’s a recipe that’s both fresh and flavourful, and an easy one to prep ahead of time too. 

Serve it alongside a side of warm piece of crusty bread or simply enjoy on its own. 

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 300g white crab meat
  • 40ml almond oil
  • 50g crème fraiche
  • 200g brown crab meat
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 juice of lime

 

  • 250g heirloom tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Dill
  • Chervil
  • Borage flowers

Method: 

  1. Carefully pick through white crab to remove any shell, mix with almond oil and crème fraiche.
  2. In a food processor blitz 2 avocado’s and the juice of 1 lime until smooth.
  3. Pass the brown crab meat through a fine sieve.
  4. Cut the heirloom tomatoes in different shapes, drizzle with olive oil grate over the zest of the lime and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pick down small pieces of the herbs to dress the plate.
  6. Assemble by placing the white crab mixture on the bottom then carefully place the tomatoes on top, pipe avocado puree and brown crab over the tomatoes. Finish with herbs and flowers.

Recipe courtesy of Galvin at Windows |  www.galvinatwindows.com

Pan de Queso, Amazónico

If you’re missing your favourite Mayfair haunt Amazónico or fancy giving one of their recipes a go at home, these simple yet delicious cheese-style doughballs will certainly be a hit with your loved one. Choose your favourite cheese – Monterey Jack or mozzarella works best – and really eek out the deliciousness until you can enjoy them again in the restaurant. 

These are perfect as a starter, bread course or just for dipping into your favourite pizza sauce or garlic mayo. Also great as  a starter or side, if you’re opting for a heart-shaped pizza for main course too.

Makes approx. 12 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 490g Tapioca flour
  • 260ml Whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 125g Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
  • 75ml olive olive
  • Pinch salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 185 degrees.
  2. Place the milk, oil and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as you see it start to boil.
  3. Sieve in the tapioca flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. It will be grainy and gelatinous at this point, don’t worry this is how it should be.
  4. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs into the dough one at a time, waiting until the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second, then third and fourth.
  5. Grate the cheese and add to the dough whilst the mixer is on a medium speed until fully incorporated. The dough will now be very sticky, stretchy and soft with a consistency somewhere between cake batter and cookie dough. It shouldn’t be completely smooth.
  6. Divide the dough equally into approximately 12 small ball and place on a greased baking tray.
  7. Place the baking tray in the oven and reduce the temperature immediately to 175 degrees.
  8. Bake until the balls of dough have puffed out and are just starting to turn golden-brown on the bottom. This should take approx 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes and served immediately sprinkled with sea salt or flavoured butter.

Recipe courtesy of Amazonico |  www.amazonicorestaurant.com

Salmon with Potted Shrimp, Spinach, Vermouth & Chive Sauce, Searcys

Anyone who’s ever visited The Orangery at Blenheim Palace will have tried this sensational fish dish, but if you haven’t, give it a try this Valentine’s and make it yourself at home. 

Crafted by Executive Chef Alun Roberts, the dish is sure to wow you away with its fresh flavours and creamy sauce. Swap the vermouth for white wine if you don’t have any knocking around in your bar cart. 

Serves 2

For the spinach:

  • 50g butter
  • 1tbsp water
  • 250g spinach picked and washed well
  • Sea salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 1 clove garlic peeled but kept whole

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Salmon Fillets 

For the shrimp, cream & chive sauce: 

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 dessert spoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 dessert spoons white vermouth or white wine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 2 dessert spoons of cream
  • 50g butter
  • 150g brown shrimps or 2 pot of Morecambe bay potted shrimps( if can’t hold of brown shrimps prawns can easily be substituted)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Lemon juice

Method:

For the sauce: 

  1. Lightly fry the shallot with 10g of the butter in a small saucepan. Add the vinegar and vermouth or wine and reduce until virtually all has evaporated.
  2. Add cream, bring to the boil and whisk in the cold butter. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Add the brown shrimps and chopped parsley and keep warm.

For the spinach: 

  1. Put the butter and water in a pan; add the spinach and lightly season with sea salt and freshly milled pepper.
  2. Spear the garlic with a fork and stir the spinach with it well. Place on a high heat and cook till soft, discard the garlic.

For the salmon: 

  1. Remove all the scales from the salmon using the back of a spoon or blunt knife. Remove any bones using a pair of tweezers or pliers.
  2. To cook put in a hot pan skin side down, with a little oil, until golden and crisp – approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Flip over for a further 30 seconds and add a squeeze of lemon juice and re- season with sea salt. Serve on a bed of prawns, and green beans and spoon around the chive and Vermouth sauce.
  4. Place the salmon on top of the plate of a good spoonful of shrimps at the side and serve with the spinach.

Recipe courtesy of Searcys | www.searcys.co.uk

Octopus & Lentil Salad, Brindisa

This light recipe is perfect for a quick lunch or to wow your partner with a different and unique take on a side salad. Pair it alongside a crusty roll or fresh baguette and you’re onto a real winner.

Serves 2 

Ingredients: 

  • 1x Pack Steamed Octopus Tentables 450g – buy here.
  • 300g Luego Dried Lentils or a jar of Navarrico Pre-cooked Lentils
  • Chicken stock
  • A big handful of coriander, parsley and basil
  • 2x Limes
  • 2tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 2 tbsp Arbequina Olive Oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and Pepper

Method: 

  1. Cook lentils in chicken or vegetable stock until soft, but not falling apart (approx 20-30 minutes) or warm Navarrico Lentils in a pan.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop a big handful of coriander, parsley and basil (or soft herb of your choice).
  3. Mix with juice of two limes, some chilli flakes, salt and pepper and good olive oil.
  4. Drain the lentils and, once cool, mix with herb dressing.
  5. Dress the octopus with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
  6. Cook on a hot griddle pan, barbecue or under a grill until slightly blackened.
  7. Cut into pieces and serve over the lentils.

Recipe courtesy of Brindisa | www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk

Rack of Lamb with Pea, Courgette, Lemon, Olive & Feta, The Grill at The Dorchester

Tom Booton shares his favourite rack of lamb recipe with us to bring to a delicious dinner for February 14th. Traditional with a twist, this recipe is hearty and delicious. 

It’s a great one to woo your partner or Galentine with this special day or to stash away until a later celebratory date.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 x lamb rack
  • 500g fresh English peas
  • 3 green courgettes
  • 25g butter
  • 30g double cream
  • 5g basil
  • 10 pitted Nocellara olives
  • 3 cubes of feta
  • 1 sliced preserved lemon
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice two courgettes thinly and add into a hot pan to sweat down for 2 mins with no colour, then add in butter, cream and basil. Cook for three more mins on low heat then transfer into a food blender and blitz for two minutes until smooth.
  2. Pod the peas, bring a large pot of water to the boil and season generously with salt. Ready a bowl of ice water to cool down the peas. Blanch the peas for 45 seconds – 1 minute, when ready put straight into ice water to cool, drain and refrigerate ready to use.
  3. Bring the lamb rack to room temp before cooking, season well, place into a cold pan fat side down and melt the fat slowly on a low heat (tip: drain off the lamb fat and save for roasties) After 40 mins, turn up the heat to caramelise all around the rack. Pop in the oven for 4 mins, rest for 30 mins with garlic and rosemary if you’ve got any.
  4. In a bowl mix the peas, thinly sliced remaining courgette, feta, lemon and quartered olives together and dress with rapeseed oil, salt, pepper and basil.
  5. Spoon the courgette purée onto the base of the plate, add the mix salad, then place the sliced lamb rack on top.

Courtesy of The Grill at The Dorchester | www.dorchestercollection.com

Classic Beef Wellington, The English Grill at The Rubens Hotel 

Go classic and try to recreate one of London’s finest beef wellingtons at home. Executive Chef at The English Grill at The Rubens Hotel, Ben Kelliher has shared his delightful recipe with us meaning you can really win some brownie points when you bring this one out to the table.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 kg of beef fillet, trimmed and tied
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 45g of butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

 

  • 250g of flat mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 175g smooth liver pâté
  • 400g ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method:

  1. Season the beef with black pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the beef, and cook over a high heat until browned all over.
  3. Put the beef fillet in a roasting tin and cook in a preheated oven at 220°C (200°C fan, Gas 7) for 25 minutes for rare beef, 35 minutes for medium, or 40 minutes for well-done.
  4. Leave to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the frying pan, add the onion and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until softened.
  6. Increase the heat to high, and cook until the excess moisture has evaporated.
  7. Turn into a bowl and leave to cool completely.
  8. Add the liver pâté to the mushroom and onion mixture, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine.
  9. Wrap the beef and pâté mixture in the pastry (see method below).
  10. Bake at 220°C (200°C fan, Gas 7) for 45 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  11. Cover with foil after 30 minutes to prevent the pastry becoming too brown.
  12. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve with the gravy.

Individual Beef Wellingtons method:

  1. Cut the raw beef into eight slices.
  2. Brown the slices in a frying pan, cool, then wrap each one in pastry.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Wrapping the beef in pastry method:
  5. Roll out 300g of the pastry to a 30 x 40cm rectangle.
  6. Spread half of the pâté mixture down the middle, leaving a 10cm border on each side.
  7. Remove the string from the beef and place the beef on the pâté mixture.
  8. Cover with remaining pâté mixture.
  9. Brush the pastry border with beaten egg.
  10. Fold the short sides of the pastry over the beef.
  11. Fold over the long ends and turn the parcel over and brush with beaten egg.
  12. Roll out the remaining pastry, and cut into strips, 5mm wide.
  13. Arrange in a lattice pattern on top of the pastry, then glaze the strips with beaten egg.

Courtesy of The English Grill, The Rubens Hotel | www.rubenshotel.com

Beetroot & Bean Sprout Salad, St James Court, a Taj Hotel and Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences

Spruce up your side salad with this refreshing recipe from St James’ Court’s Courtyard menu. It’s refreshing thanks to the light honey dressing but packs a flavour punch from the olives and beetroot.

Serves 4

Vinaigrette: 

  • 2g crushed black pepper
  • 25g honey
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 50ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 2g salt

Ingredients: 

Salad:

  • 200g baby gem lettuce
  • 100g mix bell pepper (julienns)
  • 150g golden beetroot (julienns)
  • 150g candid beetroot (julienns)
  • 50g Kalamata Olives
  • 200g Bean Sprouts (washed and cleaned)

Method:

  1. Vinaigrette Dressing: Take a mixing bowl and add the oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and seasoning. Mix it well and put to one side.
  2. Salad: Put the rest of the ingredients in a salad mixing bowl and mix it well
  3. Divide the mix onto four plates and serve the vinaigrette in a small side dish to be used as required

Recipe courtesy of St James Court | www.stjamescourthotel.co.uk

Sticky Toffee Pudding, London Stock 

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, what better way to treat your loved one than with a Sunday roast and a good ol’ sticky toffee pud. Nothing quite beats it. 

Head Chef at London Stock, Nico recommends treating your special one to a warming sticky toffee pudding that’s full of love and nostalgia. Best served up after a hearty Sunday roast and served alongside lashings of double cream and leftover toffee sauce.

Makes 6

Ingredients:

For the pudding mix: 

  • 100g Medjool Dates
  • 50g Beurre Noisette
  • 175g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 50g Golden Syrup
  • 50g Black Treacle
  • 200g T55 Flour
  • 3g Baking Powder
  • 3g Bicarbonate Of Soda
  • 2 Eggs
  • 10g Lemon Zest

For the toffee sauce: 

  • 200g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 75g Whipping Cream
  • 50g Beurre Noisette
  • 50g Lemon Juice

To cook the STP:

  • 20g Melted Butter
  • 20g Plain Flour

Method:

For the pudding mix: 

  1. Dice the dates to approx. 5mm pieces.
  2. Beat the beurre noisette and sugar in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment until it is well combined.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined.
  4. Store in piping bags until ready to use.

For the sauce:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pan and slowly bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce to 300g.
  3. Decant to a 9-pan and chill well.

For the puddings: 

  1. Butter the six basins and set in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  2. Dust the basins with flour and put 10g of toffee sauce in the bottom of each basin. Place back in the freezer until the toffee is firm.
  3. Pipe 70g of pudding mix in each basin and cover tightly with cling film or foil.
  4. Steam the puddings for 1 hour, then rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of London Stock | www.londonstockrestaurant.co.uk

Chocolate Delice, Searcys

They say France is the most romantic country, so why not truly woo your partner, date or galentine with a chocolate filled dessert to remember? Searcys has crafted the perfect solution, their Chocolate Delice. 

Just perfect for special occasions, including Valentine’s Day, this French classic is both sweet and delicious. It’s rich with chocolate and a little complicated to follow along to but it’s certainly going to be worth the extra effort. After all, your partner is worth it, aren’t they?

Ingredients: 

Chocolate Sponge Base:

  • 175g plain chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 30ml cocoa powder

 

Filling:

  • 155g 70% dark chocolate, broken in pieces
  • 1 medium egg
  • 90ml double cream 
  • 150ml milk

Glaze:

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 45g double cream
  • 1.5 gelatine leaves

Method: 

For the Chocolate Sponge Base:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350 °F/gas 4. Lightly grease a 33cm x 23cm (13in x 9in) tin and line with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted.
  3. Separate the eggs into different bowls. Place the sugar and egg yolks in a stand mixer’s bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Pour in the chocolate and stir until evenly blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Stir a large spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Mix gently, then fold in the remaining egg whites and the sieved cocoa powder. 
  6. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until firm.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven, leave in the tin, cover with a dry tea towel and leave until cold.
  8. Using a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin as a sort of cookie cutter. Cut a circle out of sponge, then place it inside the springform cake tin. If you want the restaurant look use 8cm stainless ring, when you want to take it out onto the plate put the ring into freezer for 30 mins so the delice is nearly frozen then put onto the plate and if you have a blow touch give the stainless steel a little flash and it slips off, remembering it will be hot.

For the Filling: 

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Set aside.
  2. Lightly beat the egg in a bowl.
  3. Bring the cream and milk to the boil, then pour onto the egg, whisking vigorously. Slowly whisk this mixture into the melted chocolate.
  4. Leave it to settle for a little while and skim off any bubbles should they pop up.
  5. Pour the mixture over the chocolate sponge base in the spring form tin.
  6. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then chill for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.

For the Glaze: 

  1. Soak the gelatine in water until soft, then squeeze it dry. Set aside.
  2. Place the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 4 minutes, then add the cocoa powder and cream.
  4. Bring the mixture back to the boil and simmer for another 3 minutes and remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the gelatine until it is dissolved.
  6. Pass the chocolate glaze through a sieve then let it cool down to 35°C.
  7. Pour the glaze evenly over the delice filling and leave to cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
  8. Carefully release the chocolate delice from the springform tin and place it on a serving plate. Optional: sprinkle with chocolate curls and if you like, serve with a good coffee ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of Searcys | www.searcys.co.uk


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