How To Make A Spectacular Valentines Day Platter

recipe

Mocha Strawberry Tart

The chocolate pots are basically a chocolate ganache filling flavoured with a bit of coffee. On top are sliced strawberries that were inspired by a dinner in Copenhagen last year. And the drink is a simple but gorgeous prosecco poured over pink fairy floss creating pink champagne. The rest of the platter is made up of fresh fruit, flowers, lollies and macarons.

Are you into the full blown romance of Valentines Day or do you studiously ignore it? Or are you like we are, and use it as an excuse to do something nice but not too over the top? I don't think we've ever gone to a restaurant on Valentines Day. Not that there's anything wrong with that but Mr NQN doesn't like the idea much. Not that he would know what it's like...

Mocha Strawberry Tart

He doesn't really come from a family full of large romantic gestures. I've somewhat managed to convince him that making the bed is "romantic" (although I suspect he doesn't quite believe it but he thinks that it is romantic in that it avoids arguments) but I tend to buy my own flowers because if I wait for him he'll rarely ever buy them. He bought me roses one Valentines day and they lasted for three days which was disappointing given their marked up price. But yes his family don't really do grand gestures of romance.

His aunt Sisko told me about the time that Mr NQN's parents Tuulikki and Roger came to visit Sisko and her husband Seppo. Sisko and Seppo are much more mainstream than Tuulikki and Roger who were and are full blown hippies. Sisko and Seppo lived in an apartment in Kirribilli near the Governor General's residence. They never knew what would happen on these visits as the Elliotts were and are wildly unpredictable.

During this visit Tuulikki and Roger drove up with a new addition to their family. Not their first baby Mr NQN but instead they brought with them another visitor. Sisko remembers them arriving and as she looked up at the full moon there was a silhouette of...a goat?

Mocha Strawberry Tart

Now a goat didn't go down too well in streets of Kirribilli especially given their proximity to the GG's mansion but Roger seemed unperturbed by the looks and concerns of the residents there. They would keep the goat in the back of the ute and several times a day they would throw vegetables into the back of the ute to feed it. And Sisko remembers "It was very smelly!". As Queen Viv would say, "The Elliotts are wild!".

So as you can see we have a little bit of work to get up to speed in the romance department ;)

So tell me Dear Reader, are you really into the romance of Valentines Day? Are you against it? Or are you somewhere in the middle?

Mocha Strawberry Tart

Mocha Chocolate & Strawberry Tarts (or pots!)

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes 4-6 tarts

  • 150g/5ozs. shortcrust pastry
  • 200g/7ozs.; dark chocolate
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 8 strawberries, hulled and sliced

Mocha Strawberry Tart

Step 1 - Line 4 round flouted tins with the pastry and place int he fridge for 30 minutes (or overnight). Line the pastry with foil and fill with baking beads or dried beans and rice and bake for 10 minutes. remove foil and beans and bake for 5-7 minutes. You can completely skip this step if you're making them in pots. I have also done these in teacups and they work well but you will only get around 4 small teacups out of this mix.

Mocha Strawberry Tart

Step 2 - Heat oven on 140C/280F. Place the chocolate, cream, espresso powder and egg in a double boiler and melt until smooth. Pour into the pastry and bake for 20 minutes (if you're making pots or teacups bake for 30 minutes or until the surface has tiny bubbles). Allow to cool completely.

Step 3 - Decorate with sliced strawberries or other fruit.

Pink Cloud Champagne

  • Pink fairy floss (you can use regular or pashmak)
  • 1 bottle chilled prosecco

Step 1 - Place fairy floss in champagne coupes and pour chilled Prosecco over it.