Monday 23 January 2017

Recipes: Ross Lewis gives some tips for cooking a classic romantic meal

Winner of Best Restaurant in last year's Santa Rita/LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards, Chapter One lends us its top chef, Ross Lewis, who gives some Michelin-starred tips for cooking a classic romantic meal with a side of great value

Published 13/02/2012 | 06:00

If you're like me and short on time at home, it is important to grab any opportunity to have a good dinner with your darling wife, but you also want to make sure that it won't mean staying in the kitchen half the night!

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With that in mind, I have put together a Valentine's menu that is really tasty, but it doesn't involve too much hard labour in achieving the end results.

Risotto is one of my wife's favourite dishes, so it had to be included in my recipes for this Valentine's night. It is full of flavour and a real comfort dish. I have followed it with John Dory, which is a light, but hugely flavoursome dish. The muscat grape and smoked-bacon sauce is a finely balanced accompaniment to the fish.

In the spirit of the evening, I decided on two desserts. One is a decadent chocolate mousse, while the other is a classic combination of lemon, praline and puff pastry, which you can share, to promote a bit of romance. Either dessert would be a perfect way to end a lovely (hopefully!) evening.

Risotto of scallop, pea and tarragon

To start, one of those moreish dishes. Scallops are at their best at the moment, and the peas will add just a hint of sweetness, with the tarragon adding a little earthiness. Serves 4.

You will need:

200g (7oz) unsalted butter or light olive oil

100g (3 1/2oz) diced shallots

200g (7oz) risotto rice

200ml (7fl oz) white wine

800ml (1 1/2 pt) light chicken or fish stock, hot

128g (4 1/2oz) peas, frozen is OK

160g (5 1/2oz) scallops, cut into slices

Lemon juice

20 tarragon leaves

Melt the unsalted butter, or heat the light olive oil, if you're using it, then sweat the diced shallots and add the risotto rice. Deglaze -- to deglaze means to add cold liquid to a hot pan to extract pieces of food which may have become stuck to the pan during the cooking process -- with the white wine and reduce to nothing. Add half of the hot chicken or fish stock, whichever you are using, and, as it is absorbed, continue to gradually add the remainder. This should take about 15-17 minutes.

Two minutes before removing the risotto from the heat, add in the peas, and one minute before you remove it, add in the sliced scallops.

Finish with lemon juice and the tarragon. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

John dory with Muscat grapes, cockles and smoked bacon

This main course has been a firm favourite at Chapter One and these ingredients work so well together. The sauce is robust without overpowering the delicate nature of the fish. Serves 4.

For the smoked-bacon stock, you will need:

3 chopped shallots

1 stick celery, chopped

Olive oil

1 glass dry white wine

100g (3 1/2oz) smoked-bacon trimmings

300ml (1/2pt) chicken or good fish stock

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the rest of the dish, you will need:

4 x 140g (5oz) John Dory fillets

Olive oil

16 cockles

1/2 glass dry white wine

150ml (5fl oz) smoked-bacon stock, see above

20 small button mushrooms, sliced and cooked in butter and a dash of white wine

15 flat-leaf parsley leaves

20 white muscat grapes

Butter or olive oil

Lemon juice

8 thin slices of smoked bacon or pancetta, grilled until crispy

New potatoes and fresh greens, to serve

To make the smoked-bacon stock, sweat the chopped shallots and the chopped celery in the olive oil, then deglaze with the dry white wine. Add the smoked-bacon trimmings and the chicken or fish stock, whichever you are using. Simmer for 10 minutes, then pass the stock through a fine sieve and remove the smoked bacon. Take the stock off the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard.

Saute the John Dory fillets in a medium-hot pan in the olive oil -- 1? minutes each side. Add the cockles and then deglaze with the dry white wine and 150ml (5fl oz) of the smoked-bacon stock. The rest of the stock can be frozen for use another time. Remove the John Dory fillets and add the cooked button mushrooms, the parsley leaves and the muscat grapes. Reduce, then whisk in a generous knob of butter or two tablespoons of olive oil, whichever you are using, along with a dash of lemon juice. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve, topped with the crispy grilled smoked-bacon or pancetta, whichever you are using, and the new potatoes and fresh greens.

Light Chocolate mousse, cocoa jelly, mango coulis and ice cream

I've been told you can't do a Valentine's Day menu without some chocolate, so I'm going to give you the recipe of my pastry chef, Darren Hogarty. Serves 4.

For the mousse, you will need:

100g milk chocolate

Pinch of salt

250g (9oz) crushed ginger-nut biscuits

200ml (7fl oz) milk

4g gelatine (usually 2 leaves)

300g (10 1/2oz) dark chocolate, 70 per cent, chopped

500g (17 3/4oz) whipped cream

Melt the milk chocolate and add the salt and the crushed ginger-nut biscuits. Put the mixture into four individual ring moulds until it reaches a level of 1mm. Put the moulds in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Boil the milk, add the gelatine and pour this mixture over the chopped dark chocolate. Mix until smooth. Then fold in the whipped cream and pour this mixture into the ring moulds on top of the chilled biscuit base up to a level of 5mm. Then put the moulds into the freezer until the contents have solidified. When this happens, you can remove the ring moulds.

For the cocoa jelly, you will need:

300ml (1/2pt) water

100g (3 1/2oz) sugar

50g (1 3/4oz) cocoa powder

4g gelatine (usually 2 leaves)

Mix the water, the sugar and the cocoa powder and bring to the boil. Then add the gelatine, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Then pour the mixture over the frozen mousses. Leave the mousses in the fridge to defrost.

For the mango coulis, you will need:

1 mango, peeled and washed

1 tablespoon sugar

Juice of 1 lime

Blitz the peeled and washed mango, the sugar and the lime juice in a blender and then refrigerate.

To assemble, place the mousses on plates and serve with some ice cream -- we suggest mango, but any sharp-tasting ice cream that you can find would be good. Drizzle the mousses with some of the mango coulis and serve. Praline and Lemon MilleFeuille

This a simple yet incredibly delicate, light dessert. You don't always need chocolate to end a meal on a high and this is a really good example of that.

For the praline mousse, you will need:

100g (3 1/2oz) pouring cream

4g gelatine (usually 2 leaves)

250g (8 3/4oz) store-bought praline paste

500g (17 1/2oz) whipped cream

Bring the pouring cream to the boil, then add the gelatine and pour this mixture over the praline paste. Beat until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream.

For the rest of the dish, you will need:

750g (25oz) cream

150g (5oz) sugar

Juice of two lemons

6g gelatine (usually 3 leaves)

1 pack store-bought puff pastry

Icing sugar, to dust

Put 250g of the cream, the sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the gelatine, put aside for a while to cool, and then pour in the remaining cream. Chill for three hours. Once the mixture is sufficently chilled, whip it to a creamy mousse texture.

Dust the sheets of puff pastry with the icing sugar and bake at 180 C, 350 F, Gas 4, for 20 minutes. Cut the pastry into three rectangles. Using a star nozzle, pipe two thirds of the lemon mousse on to the first rectangle. Pipe two thirds of the praline mousse on to the second rectangle of pastry and finally pipe the remainder of each mousse on to the third piece of pastry. Refrigerate the pastry pieces for 20 minutes.

Assemble the dessert by placing the rectangles on top of each other.

L

Chapter One, 19 Parnell Square, D1, tel: (01) 873-2266, or see www.chapteronerestaurant.com

The Santa Rita/LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards are the biggest, brightest and most coveted awards in the Irish restaurant industry. This year's event will recognise and reward excellence in the hospitality and food business the length and breadth of Ireland and across 23 categories, celebrating everything from chefs, restaurants and local heroes to cafes, cocktail shakers and cookery schools. This year's awards will be presented at a glittering black-tie event in the Burlington Hotel, Monday, May 14, 2012. For further details, see www.irishrestaurantawards.com

See page 10 for your Dine Out Voucher, which entitles you to 20 per cent off food and selected wines in top restaurants all over the country

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