Take the cost out of booking an expensive restaurant & do something a little different by treating your Valentine (and yourself) to our delicious, yet simple-to-make three course menu – created by our excellent chef candidate, Gary Martin – @privateperformancechef
Each course is really straightforward with easy to source ingredients, making this a Valentine’s date, dinner and present in one. Maybe get a present too, just in case.
(*Note: The pink champagne pears are best made in advance, which gives you even more time to concentrate on the first two courses and enjoy the evening.)
Creamed Goats Cheese with Honeyed Apricots & Sourdough toast
To start, try this twist on goat’s cheese bruschetta with a fresh, fruity difference. The apricots blend beautifully with the flavour of the cheese and the pomegranate seeds bring a pop of sharp sweetness to each bite.
150g goat’s cheese (soft)
100g cream cheese
1 Garlic clove (chopped)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
5 parsley leaves (chopped)
2 apricots (cut in quarters)
4-6 slices of toasted sourdough bread
2 tablespoons honey
1 small pomegranate
– Drizzle the honey over the apricots and place in a preheated oven at 180° for 13 mins
– Mix the goat’s cheese, cream cheese, garlic, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper until combined
– Scoop out the pomegranate seeds and mix half through the cheese mix
– Toast the bread and then top with the cheese mix, followed by the rest of the pomegranate seeds and a final drizzle of honey
King Prawn Risotto
For the main, this risotto dish will warm any heart – as long as they like prawns, and risotto…so, most hearts.
Where you’d usually slowly and painstakingly add stock bit by bit for the perfect risotto, our chef has worked out the exact measurements to make the method as simple as possible. He’s always experimenting and this came out really well.
24 king prawns, shelled and washed
1 1/2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp salted butter
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small handful pistachios, chopped
5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups arborio/risotto rice
1 small glass white wine (175ml)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
10 leaves fresh parsley, chopped
– Marinade prawns in 1/2 tbsp of oil, 1/2 tbsp garlic and the lemon zest
– Heat 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp oil over a low heat, add onions and soften for two mins before adding one clove of garlic
– Add the risotto and fry for one min, then add the white wine and cook for a further 2 mins
– Add the stock, bring to boil and then turn down to a low heat for approximately 25-30 mins, stirring occasionally until cooked
– Add the mascarpone, lemon juice, parsley, parmesan and season with salt and pepper as desired
– Heat a frying pan, add 1 tbsp butter and cook the prawns for approx 3 mins or until cooked, then season with salt and pepper
– Create a bed of risotto, top with the prawns and then garnish with the chopped pistachios
Pink Champagne Poached Pears with orange mascarpone
(*If possible, make these 24 hours before & serve chilled*)
What’s a romantic meal without an impressive dessert? And Gary has really created something special here! The champagne soaked pears take on a deliciously decadent taste which is perfectly balanced by the zesty mascarpone – the perfect end to a perfect dinner.
2 pears, peeled and seeds cut out of the bottom
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 bottle pink champagne
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 lemon
2 slices fresh ginger
Zest of 1 orange
3 strawberries cut if half
3 tbsp mascarpone
– Put all ingredients, except the mascarpone, strawberries and orange zest into a pan and bring to the boil
– Turn down the heat and cook on low for 35- 40 minutes or until the pears are soft
– Let it cool and then chill in the fridge overnight
– The next day, just before serving, mix the orange rest through the mascarpone and cut the strawberries in half
– Serve the pears in the pink champagne liquor with orange mascarpone and strawberries for garnish
Previous recipes from Gary:
More about the chef:
Gary Martin is a private performance chef who has been cooking professionally for over 20 years. Being classically trained his work has taken him on a fantastic culinary journey, including time spent honing his skills and techniques in France and Italy.
Upon returning to the UK and looking for a new challenge he decided to take his knowledge and experience into professional sport. Gary brings together nutrition and fine dining to create his own unique style of cooking and has been working as a private chef over the last 10 years.
Gary is now looking to continue his work as a private chef with a new client. He is looking forward to providing his services to a new family who would benefit from his experience and passion of combining two of his favourite things, healthy eating and fine dining.