Valentine’s Menu: All things red

Chilled beetroot soup with sour cream

5 medium fresh beets
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tub of sour cream, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped spring onions, white and green parts

Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and also set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together one and a half cups of the beet cooking liquid, the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife. Cut the beets in pieces. Add the beets and spring onions to the soup and blend. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Season, to taste, and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chives.

Strawberry fillet


Fillet of beef, trimmed and tied
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 260 degrees C.

Place the beef in an oven pan and pat the outside dry with a paper towel. Spread the butter on with your hands. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for exactly 22 minutes for rare and 25 minutes for medium-rare.

Remove the beef from the oven, cover it tightly with aluminium foil, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the strings and slice the fillet thickly.


2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

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

Pears poached in red wine
Pears in red wine with cinnamon and star anise

500ml (2 cups) dry red wine
70g (1/3 cup) castor sugar
2 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split
4 just-ripe pears, peeled, keep stalk intact
250g mascarpone
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 teaspoons rosewater

Combine the wine, castor sugar, star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add the pears and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, turning occasionally, for 1 hour or until pears are tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pears to a heatproof bowl.

Increase heat to high and bring the syrup to the boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly. Pour over the pears and set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours to chill.

Place the mascarpone, icing sugar and rosewater in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

Transfer the pears to a serving dish and drizzle with syrup. Serve with rosewater mascarpone.

Pictures: Corbis




Caxton Central

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