Food of Love

The region’s top chefs come together to design the perfect Valentine’s menu to impress your loved one. Cue candlelight and soft music…

THE STARTERS

CORNISH LOBSTER COCKTAIL AND BLOODY MARY SORBET

Lobster

Created by Paul Welburn of The REP

Ingredients – Serves 4 (Perfect for a romantic dinner party, or halve the ingredients for a more intimate twosome.)

For the lobster:

  • 2 x 300g–400g live native Cornish lobsters
  • 3 tsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp crème fraiche
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Season to taste
  • ½ tspchopped chervil

For the Bloody Mary sorbet:

  • 1 litre tomato juice
  • 75ml Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 splashes of tabasco (depending on the heat you prefer)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the 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

For the avocado puree:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp crème fraiche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You will also need: Baby gem leaves – washed and torn roughly Fennel cress (optional) Olive oil Method

t like the idea of using live lobsters, you can replace with the traditional prawns.)save the claws for garnish. Mix chilled lobster meat with mayonnaise, crème fraiche, herbs, lemon juice and season to taste. Keep until required.

For the Bloody Mary sorbet: Combine all ingredients in a bowl – the amount of lemon juice and tabasco is a matter of personal taste! Once mixed, churn in an ice cream maker (borrow one if you don’t have one in your cupboard) and store in a plastic container in the freezer until ready.

For the pickled fennel: Bring all ingredients apart from the fennel to the boil and pour directly onto the thinly sliced fennel. Cover and leave for at least one hour to marinade.For the avocado puree: Place all ingredients in a food processor, blend until smooth, season to taste

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

The REP Centenary Bar & Brasserie www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

SMOKED SALMON TARTARE WITH RADDISH AND PEAS

Salmon Tartare

Created by Adam Stokes of Adams Restaurant

For the tartare:

  • 300g smoked salmon (unsliced)
  • 20g crème fraiche
  • 100g new potatoes
  • 20g finely chopped chives
  • 20g diced gherkin
  • 20g baby capers
  • 20g diced shallot
  • 20ml lemon juice

Wash the new potatoes and cook in a pan with boiling water. Cool the potatoes with running cold water to stop them cooking. Dice the salmon and potatoes into cubes roughly the same size. Gently mix the salmon, potatoes, chives, gherkin, capers and shallot with the crème fraiche. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice.

For the Dressing:An orange, lime, half a grapefruit and half a lemon200ml fresh orange juice25ml olive oilRemove the pith and skin from the oranges, limes, grapefruit and lemon. Cut the fruit into equal size pieces. Put in pan and cover, just, with freshly squeezed orange juice. When soft blitz in a food processor and add 50ml of extra virgin olive oil. You won’t need it all and it keeps in the fridge.

To dress:Eight radisheseight snow peas (or mange tout)half a cucumber12 red grapes and a small bunch of baby parsleyFinely slice cross-sections of the radish and cut the snow peas into small strips. Remove the skin from the cucumber and cube. Slice the red grapes. Place the salmon mix in a neat circle shape on the plate about an inch high. Carefully place the radish and snow pea slices, cucumber and grapes on top of the salmon as shown in the photograph. Top with baby parsley leaves. Finish by drizzling the citrus dressing around the outside.

Adams Restaurant www.adamsrestaurant.co.uk

WESTCOMBE CHEDDAR SOUFFLE

Cheese souffle

Created by Gavin Allcock of The Moorings

Ingredients:

  • For the soufflé:
  • 37g unsalted butter
  • 37g plain flour
  • 250ml milk (warm)
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g Westcombe cheddar (or any strong cheese)
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard

For the white wine cream sauce:

  • 2 large glasses of white wine 1 shallot (peeled and halved)
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200ml double cream

Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and mix to form a roux. Add warm milk a little at a time until it becomes smooth. Stir in the cheese, egg yolks and mustard. Leave to cool a little. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold into the cheese mixture. Line moulds (or teacups) with softened butter and breadcrumbs and pour in the mix. Cook in a water bath at 180 degrees for about 35 minutes until the mixture has risen nicely and is firm to the touch but soft on the inside. Turn out and eat, or leave to cool and enjoy later – simply reheat for eight minutes. Serve with white wine cream sauce and a salad julliene of Braeburn apple and watercress.

The Moorings www.themoorings.co.uk

THE MAINS

LION OF LAMB, SPINACH, POTATO GNOCCHI & PEA PUREE

Lamb

Created by Daniel Topa of Nailcote Hall

Ingredients

For the lamb:

  • Lamb loin
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 10g of butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped
  • Chopped Spinach
  • 10g of butter

For the pea purée

  • 100g of fresh peas
  • 70 g of butter
  • Black pepper & salt

For the gnocchi:

  • 500g of large potato
  • 1 egg
  • 200g of plain flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 knobs of butter

Method:In an ovenproof frying pan, cook the lamb loins on a high heat in one tablespoon of oil, colouring them evenly all over. Add a knob of butter and continue until nicely caramelised, after around three minutes. Season. Cook in the oven at 180 degrees C for five minutes. Add garlic and rosemary, coat the lamb. Sweat spinach in the butter. Drain well. Cook peas in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, blend with butter in a food processor. Season with salt and black pepper Start the gnocchi by baking the potatoes at 180 degrees C for one hour until soft. Remove and scoop out the centres. Pass through a ricer, then fine sieve. In a bowl, work the sieved potatoes, flour and whole egg into a dough. Cut into four pieces. Boil water in a pan. Roll each piece of dough between cling film into a long sausage and blanch for six minutes. Refresh in ice cold water. Once cool, remove cling film and slice each tube into gnocchi parcels. Add a lemon butter sauce by combining white wine, vinegar, thyme, bay and garlic in a pan over a medium to high heat and reduce to 200ml Add cream and boil. Dice butter, whisk in until melted. Sieve contents, season and add lemon juice.

Nailcote Hall www.nailcotehall.co.uk

CORN-FED CHICKEN WITH MELTED BRIE

Chicken

Created by Max Murphy, head chef of The Malt Shovel at Barston

Ingredients

  • 1 corn-fed chicken supreme
  • 1 small red onion (diced)
  • 100ml red wine
  • Fresh raspberries
  • 1 tsp white wine
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Brie
  • Chicken stock

Method:

For the chicken: Cut the wing bone off and fold over the mini fillet to represent a heart shape. Pan fry with a little olive oil and butter, until the skin is golden. Place in pre-heated oven (180 degrees C) for approximately 20 minutes.

Make raspberry jus: Take sweat diced red onion, add 100ml of red wine and reduce. Add a cup of chicken stock and reduce again. Add fresh raspberries and crush into the sauce. Add white wine and sugar.

For the brie: Simply heat a non-stick frying pan and add the brie until both sides are lightly golden. Plate and garnish your meal with fresh micro herbs.

The Malt Shovel at Barston www.themaltshovelatbarston.com

ROAST BEEF FILLET WITH BUTTER-DRIZZLED ASPARAGUS

Beef

Created by Romel Best of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 1-inch thick fillet of beef
  • 250g butter
  • 8 asparagus
  • 2 large potatoes (peeled)
  • 500g spinach (washed)
  • 75ml double cream
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Rosemary (to taste)
  • Thyme (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Splash of oil
  • Splash of lemon juice

Method For the beef: Take a hot pan and add the oil. Cook the fillet for around three minutes each side (this is medium temp). When cooked, take the pan off the heat and add 50g of butter, some thyme and rosemary. Let the beef rest for three minutes to get the best flavour from the meat.

Make fondant potato: You will need an oven tray that can hold one litre of liquid. Take your peeled potatoes and cut it into one-inch cubes. Place them in the tray and slowly start to add the vegetable stock until it is half way up the side of the potato. Place 25g of butter on top of the potato and cook in the oven at 180 degrees C for 45 minutes.

half and remove from the water. Place into the butter and add a splash of lemon juice.Finish the dish with some spinach: Take a hot pan, add 50g of butter and the spinach. As the spinach begins to wilt add the cream, bring to the boil and drain.

Hyatt Regency www.birmingham.regency.hyatt.co.uk

THE PUDDINGS

TURNER’S TART TATIN

Turners Tart tatin

Created by Richard Turner of Turners Restaurant

Ingredients

  • 5 Pink Lady apples
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g full fat butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Piece of pre-rolled puff pastry

Method:to allow all the flavours to combine. When ready to serve, place the tatin back in the oven for 10 minutes to loosen the caramel, which will start to melt. Take out of the oven, place a plate on top of the pan, and very quickly (and carefully) turn the pan over, releasing the tatin onto the plate. Serves two.

Turners Restaurant www.turnersrestaurantbirmingham.co.uk

HOT CHOCOLATE TART WITH LEMON CURD ICE CREAM AND POPCORN

Chocolate tart

Created by Paul Welburn of The Balcony at Selfridges

Serves 8 (Well, you can never have too many lovers!!)

For the chocolate tart pastry:

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 400g butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 700g plain flour

For the chocolate tart filling:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 75g olive oil
  • 70g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar

For the 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

For the salted caramel popcorn:

  • 25g popcorn kernels
  • 50g clarified butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt

Other ingredients Chocolate crumble (optional)

Method For the pastry: Cream butter and sugar together until pale, add the eggs, beat until smooth. Add the flour and mix until smooth dough is formed. Wrap in cling film and rest in fridge for one hour. Then roll out to 2mm thick. Line 8 x 4-inch tart moulds with parchment paper and baking beans, blind bake at 180 degrees C for 12 minutes. Remove baking beans, return to the oven for four minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, trim off any excess pastry. Keep until ready.

For the ice cream: Stir lemon juice, eggs, yolks and sugar in a pan over a medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove just before it reaches the boil, 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 lemon curd. Allow to cool. Churn in an ice cream maker. Store in a plastic container until required.

For the popcorn: In a pan, place the clarified butter, heat the butter and add popcorn kernels. Continue heating until they begin to pop. Place lid on the pan, remove from heat and allow kernels to continue popping. In a separate pan, add the sugar and begin to heat until a dark amber caramel is achieved. Remove from the stove and add the popcorn. Stir to coat each piece, add a sprinkle of salt and stir. Place coated corn on greaseproof paper, allow to cool so the caramel hardens.

For the tart filling: Melt chocolate in a bowl over hot water, add butter and incorporate. Remove bowl from heat, add olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Add flour and cocoa powder, mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, place eggs and sugar and lightly whisk. Fold into the chocolate mixture and mix. Pipe filling into the tart case and place in oven at 170 degrees C for seven minutes. Place a tart on the plate, sprinkle with chocolate crumble (optional), add a scoop lemon curd ice cream and top with salted caramel popcorn.

The Balcony www.searcys.co.uk

WHITE CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA WITH BERRY GRANITA

White chocolate panna cotta

Created by Rachel Dorrell of Aalto Restaurant, Hotel La Tour

Ingredients:

For the panna cotta:

  • 150g double cream
  • 37.5g milk
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 50g white chocolate
  • Three-quarters of a gelatine leaf

For the berry granite:

  • 250g strawberries
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Juice of quarter of a lemon

Method For the panna cotta: Heat the cream, milk and sugar until steaming. Add the gelatine, pour over the white chocolate, strain through a sieve and leave to set in serving glasses.

For the granita: Blitz the strawberries in a food processor, whisk in the lemon juice and icing sugar. Pass through a sieve into a container and freeze.

To serve: Scrape the granita with a fork to break up and use to top the panna cotta. If required, garnish with fresh berries and a mint leaf.

Aalto Restaurant www.hotel-latour.co.uk