Seductive suggestions of the culinary kind to impress your Valentine

Red is the colour of love. It is the colour of emotion and passion. It is the colour of the lifeblood that pumps through our veins and through our hearts.

Kir Royale – your welcoming drink to set the scene

Kir Royale is a classic French cocktail made with celebratory French champagne and crème de cassis which is a blackcurrant liqueur. An ordinary kir is chilled white wine mixed with cassis. But you can use pomegranate syrup or juice as well. So, just add sugar, bitters, pomegranate juice and sparkling wine to a flute glass and top it off with pomegranate seeds.

Your table – less is more

Keep it simple. Stick to neutral black or white, combined with pinks and reds. You’re going to need some fresh pink or red roses. Whether you choose open or closed blooms will communicate something about your relationship. Don’t forget the rose petals – everywhere! Use linen serviettes – paper serviettes are a no-no.

For starters – chilled beetroot soup with crème fraîche


4 medium beets, peeled and sliced

1 medium turnip, peeled and sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

2 Tblsp olive oil

3 cups chicken stock

crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving

fresh dill to garnish


Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a large baking sheet, toss the beet, turnip and onion with the olive oil and spread in a single layer. Roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and golden brown around the edges. Transfer the vegetables to a large saucepan. Add the stock, and season with salt and pepper, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer over a low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Let the soup cool down completely and then refrigerate. To serve, top with a dollop of crème fraîche or cream and garnish with fresh, dill tops.

Pan fried steak or pork fillet with a strawberry balsamic glaze


2 cups of strawberries, hulls removed and sliced

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp cornflour

1 tablespoon olive oil


Add sugar, vinegar, olive oil and cornflour to the juices in the pan and stir until thickened. Add water as necessary. Place the sliced strawberries on the meat and pour the sauce over just before serving.

And the piece de resistance…

Pears poached in red wine


2 cups of red wine

2 whole star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla bean, split

4 just-ripe pears, peeled, keep stalk intact

1 cup mascarpone

2 Tblsp icing sugar


Warm the wine, star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, for two minutes. Add the pears and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, spooning the wine over the pears from time to time, until pears are tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a heatproof bowl. Increase the heat to high and bring the syrup to the boil to thicken the syrup slightly. Pour over the pears and set aside to cool. Cover and place in the fridge for four hours to chill. Place the mascarpone and icing sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Transfer the pears to serving dishes and drizzle with the syrup. Serve with a dollop mascarpone.

Caxton Central

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