News, Culture & Society

Treat your special ones to a Valentine’s Day feast from James Martin 

James Martin (pictured) shared a selection of delicious recipes for treating your special ones to a Valentine’s Day feast


Now is a great time to enjoy the amazing flavour of early lamb. We have great suppliers in this country, and they need all the support they can get.

Serves 2-4

  • 6 or 7-rib rack of lamb, French trimmed and cleaned (see tip across the bottom of the page)
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 small bunch of mint
  • 25g (1oz) Parmesan, grated
  • 1 thick slice of white bread, torn into chunks
  • 1tbsp cream cheese
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 300g (10½oz) purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Heat a large frying pan until hot, then add the lamb and pan fry on the side with the fat for two minutes to render it down. Set aside.

Blitz the parsley, mint, Parmesan, bread, cream cheese and zest to a fine paste. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the lamb with the mustard, then spread the herb crust over in an even layer. Transfer to a roasting tray and cook for 15-18 minutes until done to your liking. Let it rest for 10 minutes as you prepare the broccoli.

Place the broccoli florets on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Roast for around 10 minutes until nicely charred. Slice the lamb and serve with the broccoli.


This is a classic and very delicious way to serve potatoes (pictured top left). It gets its name from a Parisienne scoop, which is like a melon baller.

Serves 6

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) potatoes (we used King Edward)
  • 50g (1¾oz) butter
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 500ml (18fl oz) beef stock 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the potatoes and place in a bowl of cold water. Using a melon baller, scoop out evensized balls of potato, placing them back in the water until you’ve finished. This will take some time and you can use any remaining potato later to make mash. 

Drain the potato balls and pat dry. Place a large frying pan on a medium heat, and add the potato balls in an even layer. Add 1tbsp cold water and the butter. 

Sprinkle with the thyme sprigs and pour the beef stock over. Bring to the boil and cook until the sauce is sticky and reduced, swirling the pan to coat the potatoes until they are golden and just cooked – around 15 minutes or so. Season and serve alongside your chosen meat or fish.


The key to this dish is the combination of brandy, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and ketchup. I prefer to make my own mayo, but you can use shop-bought. This looks extra special served in martini glasses.


I’ve added a wedge of lemon on the side, but you can also serve this with a whole cooked prawn, shell-on, to garnish, or some brown bread.

Serves 4

  • 600g (1lb 5oz) cooked prawns, peeled

For the mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 300ml (10fl oz) vegetable oil

For the Marie Rose sauce

  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • 25ml (1fl oz) brandy
  • 75ml (2½fl oz) tomato ketchup
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A squeeze of lemon juice

To serve

  • 1 medium lettuce, such as butter lettuce
  • ½tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 punnet of mustard cress
  • 2 lemons, quartered

To make the mayonnaise, place the egg yolks and mustard in a food processor and blend until pale and creamy. With the motor still running, pour in the oil in a steady stream, until the mixture is thick. Transfer to a bowl. 

To make the Marie Rose sauce, mix the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, brandy and tomato ketchup into the mayo. Check the seasoning, and add a squeeze of lemon to taste.

Shred the lettuce leaves and divide between four serving glasses. Top with the prawns and a few good dollops of the sauce. Add a pinch of cayenne, if using, and garnish with the mustard cress and a few lemon wedges.


This is a great vegetarian dish. We made it on our Saturday show using a tin of pumpkin purée and were blown away by the taste. 

You’ll find it in major supermarkets. The lemon zest is the key ingredient for an extra burst of flavour. You can serve it on its own or dressed with salad leaves and sage, as I’ve done here.

Serves 4

For the pumpkin risotto

  • 50g (1¾oz) butter
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 200g (7oz) risotto rice
  • 500ml (18fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 400g (14oz) pumpkin purée (we used America’s Finest Solid Pack Pumpkin)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g (1¾oz) mascarpone
  • 75g (2¾oz) vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese, grated
  • A squeeze of lemon juice

For the salad

  • A small handful of red chicory leaves
  • A small handful of lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 2tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2tbsp herb-infused oil
  • 2tbsp fried sage leaves (see tip overleaf)

For the dressing

  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp pumpkin seed oil
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar

To make the risotto, melt the butter in a large pan. Add the diced shallot, garlic, thyme and risotto rice. Stir in ¾ of the vegetable stock. Bring this to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is just cooked, adding the remaining stock if needed. 

Add the pumpkin purée for the last five minutes. Season to taste. When ready to serve, stir the mascarpone and grated cheese through, and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. In a bowl combine the chicory and lettuce. 

Mix the dressing ingredients together and spoon over the leaves. Add the pumpkin seeds and serve separately or arrange the risotto on plates and top with the salad. Drizzle with the herb oil and top with the sage leaves. 


This is such a beautiful dish and one of my favourites. You need to get the pan really hot for the beurre noisette, but watch it carefully. If it goes too brown it will be bitter, and if it’s too light you just get a butter sauce. Aim for a golden-brown colour, then quickly remove it from the heat.


You can use Dover sole or plaice for this, if you prefer. The classic French way is using skate wings – be sure not to overcook them or they’ll go rubbery.

Serves 2

  • 1tbsp plain flour, for dusting
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lemon sole fillets
  • A knob of butter
  • A drizzle of vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • Lemon wedges

For the beurre noisette sauce

  • 100g (3½oz) butter, cubed
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 10g (¼oz) capers, chopped

Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Coat each fillet in the flour, patting gently to remove any excess.

In a large non-stick frying pan (ideally a silver pan so you can see the colour of the sauce) melt the knob of butter and the oil until foaming. Add the fillets and quickly fry on a medium heat for one minute. 

Increase the heat and fry for a further minute, then gently flip them over and cook through for a final minute. Remove the fillets to a plate and keep warm.

To make the beurre noisette sauce, wipe the pan and melt the butter on a medium high heat for a few minutes until it starts to foam, swirling the pan until it bubbles and turns a golden nutty brown colour. Remove from the heat (it will keep cooking) and add the lemon juice, parsley and capers to finish.

Pop the fish onto plates and spoon the sauce over. Decorate with watercress and lemon wedges and serve immediately.


When I was 17 and straight out of technical college, I went to work for Antony Worrall Thompson at his famous London restaurant, 190 Queen’s Gate. That same day the pastry chef left and I was promoted with zero training. 

Three dozen croissants were meant to have been ordered, but instead 33 dozen arrived and I had to find a way to use them. I developed this dish – and it was put on the menu!


The secret to this pudding is to not overcook it – it should be liquid in the centre, otherwise you end up with scrambled egg.

Serves 6

  • 50g (1¾oz) butter
  • 6 large croissants, cut in 1cm slices
  • 50g (1¾oz) sultanas, soaked in 75ml (2½fl oz) whisky
  • 400ml (14fl oz) full-fat milk
  • 400ml (14fl oz) double cream
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 300g (10½oz) white chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs, plus 5 extra egg yolks
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Melt the butter in a pan. Place the sliced croissants, slightly overlapping, in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the sultanas over, reserving the whisky, then pour the melted butter over.Warm the milk, cream, vanilla paste and chocolate in a pan. 

Set aside to allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl. Pour the cream and chocolate mixture over the eggs, whisking, then add the reserved whisky and whisk again. 

Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 120°C/gas 1. Pour ¾ of the mixture over the croissants and leave for 10 minutes, then add the remaining mix.

Slide the dish into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove and dust with icing sugar, then use a kitchen blowtorch to turn the top a deep gold, or pop under a hot grill for 30 seconds.


This is a fabulous cheat’s dessert that uses a shop-bought smoothie. When buying passion fruit, make sure they’re ripe with wrinkly skin.

Serves 4

For the mousse

  • 5 sheets of gelatine
  • 450ml (16fl oz) mango and passion fruit shopbought smoothie
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) champagne
  • 200ml (7fl oz) double cream, whipped

For the glaze

  • 1 sheet gelatine
  • 2 passion fruit
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) passion fruit juice

To make the mousse, soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes. Heat half the smoothie in a pan until hot. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatine and whisk into the hot smoothie. Remove from the heat.

Add the remaining cold smoothie and champagne, then fold in the cream. Spoon into glasses, leaving a gap at the top for the glaze. Chill for 1-2 hours. To make the glaze, soak the gelatine sheet in cold water for 5 minutes. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the flesh, including the seeds and any juice.

Meanwhile, heat half the passion fruit juice in a pan until hot. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and whisk into the hot juice. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the juice. Stir in the passion fruit pulp, seeds and any juice.

Spoon over the set mousse and chill for a further hour or until ready to serve.


Find local lawyers and law firms at