Valentines Day might be one of the few occasions that I push myself to make a 3 course meal. If I was cooking I would want it to be simple, sexy and relatively stress free, so would look to have a starter like a cauliflower soup with scallops, and these poached apples for desert. Both the soup and the poached apples can be prepared in advance, leaving me to concentrate on the main course.
This year I’m going to spend Valentines night at the United Arts Club at a Speaking Suppers evening – the thoughts of which fills me with more trepidation and fear than tackling a monstrously technical recipe. Saying that – it does look a lot of fun and a good friendly crowd. The theme of the evening is love, and if I decide to speak, I’ll need all the love in the room with me. Think I might end up talking about food….
Poached Apple in syrup with Vanilla Bean Yoghurt
Peel and core 2 apples (you can leave the stalk on for decoration).
In a saucepan combine 250ml of red wine, 100g of sugar, 50ml of fresh orange juice, 2 long strips each of orange and lemon peel (no white pith), cinnamon stick, a whole star anise. Bring to the boil until the sugar dissolves.
Add the apples and reduce the heat to a simmer. Rotate the apples and cook until they’re tender and deep red in colour (30-40mins).
Remove the apples and strain the cooking liquid removing the aromatics and peel. Add back to the pan bring the remaining cooking liquid to the boil, reduce down to a syrup (10-15mins).
Meanwhile mix 250ml of thick Greek yoghurt with a tablespoon of honey.
Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and add to the yoghurt. Add a little yoghurt to the plate, put on the apple and pour over the syrup.