Feast

Whether you’re celebrating or completely ignoring Valentine’s Day, often the best thing to do is to cook up a spectacular lunch and talk about food instead. Here are some of our favourite makers’ recipes using ingredients from our gourmet food range.

Stephanie Said

Smoked Salmon Oshizushi 

Stephanie Said’s boyfriend bought her this pressed sushi at a train station in Japan. There are a lot of variations, but this is how she makes it.

Ingredients
Cooked medium grain rice
Rice vinegar
Raw sugar
Salt
Shiso leaf, washed and dried removed from stem
Huon Aquaculture smoked salmon
Black Spanish olives, thinly sliced

Method

Make sushi rice. You can use a sushi rice flavouring or using recipe below. I don't really measure anything so just experiment with what looks right.
While rice is hot add vinegar and sugar and a dash of salt (ratio vinegar – sugar – salt could be 3:2:1), fold through rice while cooling the rice with you other hand or a small fan so that the moisture is removed.
Add more or less vinegar/ sugar to suit your taste.
Use a oshizushi press, or if you dont have access to one, line a shallow baking tin with baking paper or cling wrap. Leave some hanging over the edges to make it easy to remove later.
Lay down 1cm hot flavoured rice, spread firmly and evenly. Press into the pan.
Cover the rice with a single layer of shiso leaf.
Now lay another 1cm of the flavoured rice firmly and evenly.
And finally a layer of smoked salmon, carefully placed on top in a single layer but try to cover the rice as much as possible.  Place a sheet of baking paper on top and holding firmly, turn the tin onto a hard surface. You want to press all the layers together.
Turn it back right side up and remove all the paper layers. Cut into rectangles with a sharp wet knife. Place one thin layer of sliced olive onto the center of each individual serve.

Tessa Bontempo (The Seventh Duchess)

French Earl Grey-infused Gin

Ingredients
½ cup gin
2 teaspoons Mon Amour French Earl Grey
Optional: tea totes/bag for infusing

Method
Place tea into one tea tote/bag. Measure out the gin and submerge tea tote/bag in the liquid. Cover the gin and let it seep for 1 hour. Then remove the tea tote, squeezing absorbed gin into the mixture. Splash with tonic or shake with lemon juice, honey syrup and ice before topping with champagne.

Denis White (EVOO)

Olive Pickers Slice

After sharing a few slabs of this slice with his pickers during the tea break, one of them came back for more, saying “this should be called ‘Olive Pickers Slice.’”

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sultanas
1 tablespoon cocoa
2 tablespoons golden syrup
6-8 tablespoons EVOO olive oil (the better the oil, the better the flavour)
½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 tablespoon boiling water

Method

First, mix the dry ingredients together;
Then warm the olive oil and golden syrup to approx 45 degrees C in the saucepan, stirring frequently;
Then pour the olive oil and golden syrup into the dry ingredients, and start mixing it in;
Then put the ½ teaspoon bi-carb soda into a tablespoon, pour boiling water on to make it fizz, then add it to the mixture; Mix thoroughly, working the mixture with your fingers to bring it together;
Then put the mixture in the lined tin, press it down firmly all over and out to the edges
Then cook at 180 degrees for approximately 25 minutes until cooked using the skewer test;
Let it cool, cut it up, give it a try, and you may like to dream of picking a few olives.

Jacqueline Evans

Minted Watermelon with Champagne Granita 

"Since there are only two ingredients, this isn't really a recipe, but in its utter simplicity is is one of the best and most refreshing desserts (or starters) I have tasted," says Jacqui.  "The perfect accompaniment to a romantic dinner."

Ingredients 

6 cups watermelon, diced
¼ cup fresh mint
1 cup champagne

Puree the watermelon with the mint  in a food processor until completely smooth.  Stir in the champagne. Place the mixture in a shallow dish, cover with cling film, and freeze for 30 minutes. Scrape the edges of the mixture with a fork, then return the dish to the freezer. Repeat this mixing and breaking up of any ice crystals using a fork every half an hour for about 3 hours, then serve immediately, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.

Georgie Kay

In the spirit of the weekend, our friend Georgie from Georgeous has also shared a champagne cocktail recipe...

Elderflower Champagne 

For this Champagne cocktail you will need to use St Germain. This is a liqueur made from handpicked elderflowers blossoms from France. That romantic notion alone and the beautiful bottle make this a particularly special drink to be savoured and enjoyed with good company...

 Simply combine 1/3 of St Germain to 2/3 French Champagne in the most beautiful flute you can find. Enjoy!