The menu for Valentine’s day!

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By now there’s scarcely a soul alive who isn’t well aware of the approach of Valentine’s Day. For anyone faced with cooking on this most Marmite of days, we are coming swiftly to your rescue with this fantastic menu to seduce anybody in your path. Some effort might be called for but it’ll be totally worth it.

For starters, some light, delectable Alaskan crab cakes; to follow, Rack of lamb with mustard and shallot sauce, and for a spectacular finish a chocolate fondant with sour cherry sorbet alongside. Read on for the recipes!

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Alaskan crab cakes

Ingredients:
500g of Alaska king crab, meat weight
2 tbsp of red curry paste
2 kaffir lime leaves, fresh
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp of fish sauce
1 tbsp of lime juice
2 tbsp of coriander, finely chopped
6 green beans, finely chopped
2 chillies, fresh, finely chopped
peanut oil, for deep frying
Cucumber dipping sauce

1 cucumber, deseeded and thinly sliced
95g of caster sugar
235ml of water
120ml of white wine vinegar
20g of ginger, grated
1 tsp of salt
2 red chillies, finely sliced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
coriander leaves

Method:
Begin by preparing the crab. Using your fingertips or a fork, shred the crab meat, ensuring that there is no shell or cartilage remaining. Add to a blender with the curry paste, lime leaves and juice, onions and fish sauce. Blitz to form a smooth paste.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the coriander, beans and chilli until combined. Using your hands, roll the mix into balls and place on a tray. Store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.

For the dipping sauce, combine the sugar, water, ginger, vinegar and salt in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat, not allowing the sauce to boil, until the sugar dissolves.

Place the cucumber in a bowl and pour over the dressing. Sprinkle in the chilli, onion and coriander, cover the bowl and set aside in the fridge until chilled.

Heat enough peanut oil in a large wok (or, alternatively, in a deep-sided frying pan) to submerge the balls, then deep-fry the crab cakes in batches until golden brown and cooked through – this should take 3-4 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.

Serve the crab cakes alongside the cucumber dipping sauce and some wedges of lime (optional).

Reproduced with thanks from greatbritishchefs.com.

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Rack of lamb with mustard and shallot sauce

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1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
One 2 1/2-pound French trimmed rack of lamb
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
60ml dry white wine
60ml chicken stock
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped thyme

Preheat the oven to 205°. In a medium oven-safe frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add the lamb to the pan, fat side down, and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the lamb fat side up and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the rack for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 52° for medium-rare. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Discard the fat in the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and the shallots to the frying pan and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the whole grain and Dijon mustards and the thyme. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Carve the lamb into chops and arrange on warmed plates. Spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve.

With thanks to foodandwine.com for the recipe.

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And to finish, a trustworthy staple from the undisputed queen of indulgent desserts – Nigella’s Chocolate Fondants, with a sour cherry sorbet alongside.

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These are the acceptable face of culinary cute: their intensity guarantees the triumph of chic over prettiness. And, what’s more, they’re easy to make. You can make the mixture up a few hours in advance and put it ready and waiting in the prepared tins in the fridge until you want to cook them, which must be at the moment you’re ready to eat them. You might think that preparing the tins sounds fiddly, but in fact the job is just demanding enough to make one feel uncharacteristically competent in a Blue Peter kind of a way, but not so much that any actual dexterity is required.

Ingredients:
50 grams soft unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
350 grams best dark chocolate
150 grams caster sugar
4 large eggs (beaten with pinch of salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 grams plain flour (or italian 00)

Method:
You will need 6 individual pudding moulds or ramekins, buttered.
Unless you are making these up in advance, preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6/400ºF, putting in a baking sheet at the same time. Lay 3 of the moulds on a sheet of doubled baking parchment. Draw round them, remove, and then cut out the discs as marked. Press them all into the base of the tins.
Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla. Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.
Divide the batter between the 6 moulds, quickly whip the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the little tins on it and replace in the oven.
Cook for 10-12 minutes (the extra 2 minutes will be needed if the puddings are fridge-cold when you start) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, tip out these luscious babycakes onto small plates or shallow bowls.
Serve these with whipped double cream, the same unwhipped in a jug, creme fraiche, creme anglaise or ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of www.nigella.com

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Sour cherry lambic sorbet

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510g pitted cherries, sour if possible (e.g. Morello)
180ml sugar syrup
240ml cherry lambic beer (known as Kriek)

In a blender, puree the cherries until smooth. Stir in the Sugar Syrup and the cherry lambic beer. Pour the sorbet base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Pack the sour-cherry lambic sorbet into a plastic container. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sorbet and close the container with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, 4 hours.

Thanks to foodandwine.com for the recipe.

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capitalcooking.co.uk
020 8244 3039
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