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The Review - FOOD & DRINK- Cooking with CLARE
Published: 14 February 2008
Win your Valentine's heart with a feast of the food of love

Clare Latimer lays on a mood-
setting menu for a romantic night

IF you are cooking for your loved one this St Valentine’s day here’s the perfect menu. Get it right and it could set you in good stead for the rest of the year.

Marinated prawns
This is very easy to prepare and perfect if you have come home after a day’s work. 
Just get the marinade done the moment you take your coat off. 
The rest is last-minute and very simple. I suggest that you forget knives and forks: put a warm bowl of water on the table with a slice of lemon and just attack the prawns with your hands – much more fun and you can really squeeze out all the flavours. Serve with brown bread.

Serves 2
12 whole raw large tiger prawns in shells
Finely grated zest and the juice 1 lime
½ green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Little dark brown sugar
Handful chopped fresh coriander.

Put the prawns in a shallow dish and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. 
Cover and leave in the fridge for one to two hours, stirring half way through to get all the flavours right into the flesh of the prawns.
When ready to serve, heat a large frying pan and toss in the prawns and marinade. Cover and cook for three minutes, then toss around with a spoon. Cook until the prawns are truly pink. 
Put six prawns on two serving plates and sprinkle over the chopped coriander.
Serve warm.

Petit pot au feu 
Poussin are baby chickens and can be bought at most butchers and supermarkets. 
This is a great dish as you only serve the one dish and do not have to worry about the vegetables at the last minute.  Also, once it is cooked timing is not important.

Serves 2
Little butter and olive oil
2 poussin
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 whole cloves
Good sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs parsley
2 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
1 small leek, washed well and chopped
2 small turnips, peeled and quartered
1 stick celery, washed and chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Put a little butter and olive oil into a large casserole dish that has a lid. Add the poussin and brown gently on each side. Stud the cloves into the onion quarters and tie the thyme, bay leaves and parsley up with a bit of string. Add to the casserole and then add about 5cm of warm water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and leave for about half an hour and then add the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. 
Cover and cook a further 15 minutes. Check the poussin and vegetables are cooked and check the seasoning. Serve hot.

Rich chocolate pots with oranges
Quick and easy and can be made in advance. Chocolate melts very well in a microwave on high for a few seconds. Watch it and stir it between blasts. If you want to go over the top then write I Love You in orange zest on top of the whipped cream – or some other personal message!

Serves 2
1 blood orange
1 tsp Cointreau
100g very dark chocolate
2 free-range eggs, ­separated
Whipped cream
Zest of orange.

Peel the blood orange like an apple with a very sharp knife and cut out the segments. Cut them in half and dry on kitchen paper. Put into a bowl and add the Cointreau. Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt it.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Stir the beaten egg yolks into the melted chocolate. 
Add the marinated orange segments and then pour the chocolate mixture into the egg whites and gently fold together with a large metal spoon.
Divide evenly between two ramekins and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
Decorate with whipped cream and the orange zest.

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