Caution Cupid at work…

We all need a bit of cheer on the horizon to get through the storms and gloom of

February, not to mention the minefield that is Valentine’s Day (great fun for some, not so easy for others). So if you’re short of ideas of how to show you love someone but without the clichés, then we can get you all fired up and raring to go by suggesting the following courses:

Stoke the flames by giving a course voucher for ‘Fire!’ (£150, 7 March) with the titan of outdoor-cooking Andi Tuck who not only brings his considerable reputation as a culinary wizard with smoke and flames, but has a second-to-none know-how with flavour combinations, and ways of execution that will get you cooking in sun, rain and snow. Whether you want to cook your oysters in the embers, bring a whole contemporary twist to the ordinary bbq vegetable or smoke your freshly caught fish on the beach, then Andi’s your man.

Next create your own Arabian Nights with a day spent learning the key ingredients of food from North Africa to Iran with head chef Rupert Cooper, including the use of essential spices from the Middle East such as cinnamon, caraway seeds, saffron and pomegranate molasses to be used in starters, mains and puddings. Rupert’s love of the Middle East and his passion for this cuisine is obvious throughout the day, helping you to make dips, marinades & curries for that adventurous lovers’ feast and Arabian night of your own. (£140 – 1 March or 22 May).

Or you could make a day of it starting off with a romantic walk in the Roseland, followed by lunch at the Roseland Inn or Hidden Hut, if the fresh sea breeze strikes a cord Andy Carr will be running a fish masterclass on the 21st March. Spoil your better halves with crustacea, wonderful fish and glorious sauces. 
Naturally we welcome women on this course, but Just For Men is a great way to encourage the man you love – dad, partner, son or brother – to bring on the perfect

Sunday roast, the steak & chips, the sticky toffee puddings and salted caramel and even how to butcher and fillet. Encouraging him to cook is the old win-win because he feels great and triumphant, and you don’t have to cook. Ta daaaa! You’re Welcome.
If you’re dreaming of Paris and scrambling for ideas of what to cook on Valentine’s day – or even this month – then let me give you the perfect in-season recipe to transport you to that little bistro table for two on the Isle-St-Louis near Notre Dame. It’s a chicory, walnut, pear and Roquefort salad. For the uninitiated it could sound weird but nothing tastes more of Paris to me.


Roquefort (or a similar soft blue cheese) 50 g

20 ml water

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbps olive oil

pinch pepper freshly ground

4 chicory – preferably small, white & purple, washed and quartered in lengths.

1 medium sized firm Conference or Comice pear. Cored, halved and finely sliced.

1 stick celery

80 g cold Roquefort, crumbled

100g walnuts roughly chopped

10 g chives if you have, finely chopped


Toss the chicory, walnuts, celery, pear slices and two thirds of the cold Roquefort into the salad bowl.

In a separate large bowl beat the Roquefort to a smooth paste, then add the lightly warmed water, white wine vinegar and whisk til smooth. Using a balloon whisk slowly add in the olive oil, beating all the time. Season to taste with the pepper but NO SALT as the cheese is already salty. Toss the salad in the dressing and then sprinkle with left over Roquefort crumbs and the chopped chives. Et voila!  Paris in a mouthful. 

Wash it down with a glass of White Cote du Rhone… trust me! (Sainsbury’s on offer at the moment!)

The other seasonal ingredient you might get excited about this month is the halibut. Sweet-tasting with a firm and yet tender texture, it’s the largest of the flat fish and the most versatile too. You can bake it, poach it, cook it in a seafood stew or even try

it cured in ceviche – any method will impress your loved one because this fish always delivers. Why not write in and let me know how you got on.

So – it’s a blowy February out there but the Philleigh Way send you love and warmth

for this Valentine’s Day.


Rupert and the Team.

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