Antony Worrall Thompson





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Valentines Day


Make room for the mushrooms - More tips

I love cooking with mushrooms as they are so versatile and earthy! However, a word of warning: treat them with respect. They are very fragile. They really don't need peeling and are not fond of water - so simply rub off any dirt. There are many great varieties and the more artisan, wild mushrooms, such as ceps and chanterelles; are great to stir-fry. Oyster mushrooms are perfect in risottos and for tonnes of taste opt for chestnut mushrooms. The trumpet-shaped chanterelles are brilliant to use with creamy scrambled eggs and gigante mushrooms are ideal for stuffing.

Saturday Express magazine 20th March



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Here is some ideas for Valentines Day


Serves 2

2 shop bought meringues heart shaped

For the filling and garnish

4 passion fruits

120ml/4 fl oz double cream

1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons tinned pineapple pulp or crushed pineapple

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Cut three passion fruits in half and scoop out the centres into a sieve, set over a bowl.

Force the pulp through the sieve, pressing hard on the seeds, and discard the seeds.

In a bowl beat the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold in the pineapple and passion fruit juice with the sugar until just combined.

To make the garnish cut the remaining passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds, reserving them.

Arrange a shop bought meringue heart on each of 2 plates. Top the meringue hearts with the flavoured whipped cream and garnish with passion fruit and pomegranate seeds.

Around Valentines you can often find heart shaped meringues otherwise just use normal ones.


Serves 2-4

115g (4oz) pistachio nuts, shelled

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange liqueur

4 tablespoons caster sugar

600ml (1pt) double cream

5 egg yolks

1 tablespoon orange water

115g (4oz) golden caster sugar

300ml (1/2pt) orange juice

Place the nuts, brandy (or orange liqueur if using), caster sugar in a food processor and grind to a paste. Place this mixture in a saucepan with the cream and bring to almost boiling point.  Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes

Beat the egg yolks in a bowl, pour on the cream and whisk to combine

Return the pistachio cream to a saucepan over a low heat and stir until thick, do not allow to boil

Pour into two flat soup plates or four ramekins and allow to cool then refrigerate until ready to eat.

Meanwhile heat the orange water, add the sugar and orange juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil, cook until slightly reduced and syrupy, allow to cool, strain.  Spoon the orange syrup over the surface of the pistachio cream, when ready to serve

If you do not want a coarse texture you can strain the nuts out, that is up to you

Orange water or orange flower water will be found in the baking section in your supermarket or you can buy online


Makes at least 40

175g/6 oz soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoon black treacle
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
half teaspoon ground cardamom
2 pinches of nutmeg
1 orange, rind of
1 lime, rind of
200g/7 oz butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
450g/1lb plain flour
Heart shaped cookie cutters

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Place the first nine ingredients in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water and stir cover a low heat until just boiling.

2. Remove the above mixture from the heat and allow to cool slightly before whisking in the butter and bicarbonate of soda.

3. Fold in the flour and beat until smooth. Cover the surface of the dough with clingfilm and allow to rest for 30 minutes to firm up the dough.

4. Then roll out the dough to 1/6 inch/2.5mm and cut out using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Transfer the gingerbread to a lightly greased baking sheet and cook in batches for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven or until firm.

6. Remove from the oven and leave the gingerbread on the baking tray for 5 minutes to cool slightly before transferring them to a wire rack for further cooling. As the gingerbread cools, it will become firm and more crisp.

7. Drizzle the hearts with Lemon Icing by using the back of a desertspoon and leave to set.


8 tablespoons sifted icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice.

1. Combine the icing with the lemon juice until smooth.


Makes 12

4 large dates, chopped
25g (1oz) sultanas, chopped
1 tablespoon dark rum
55g (2oz) walnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
115g (4oz) plain, good quality cooking chocolate
15g (1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 medium free-range egg yolk
30ml (1fl oz) double cream
25g (1oz) dates, chopped

1. Place the dates and sultanas in a small bowl with the rum and set aside to soak for at least 2 hours. Place the walnuts in a heavy-based frying pan and lightly toast, tossing occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle toss in the cocoa powder and set aside.

2. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Allow the chocolate to completely melt before stirring, then add the butter and continue to stir until the butter has melted. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.

3. Beat the egg yolk and cream and add little by little to the chocolate mixture, fold in dates and sultanas, then beat with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes until well combined. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill for at least 2 hours to allow the mixture to firm up.

4. Using a melon baller, scoop out balls of the truffle mixture and roll in the toasted walnuts. Place the truffles in mini muffin cups. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and bring out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to eat them.








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