Three Cotswold chefs share a few of their tried-and-tested romantic recipes

Viennese Valentine’s whirls recipe

Jolly Nice’s buttery soft and crumbly Viennese Valentine’s whirls, filled with vanilla buttercream and homemade raspberry jam will melt your Valentine’s heart.

This recipe will make 12 Valentine’s whirls

Homemade raspberry jam

  • 400g Herefordshire raspberries
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • Juice of one unwaxed lemon

Place everything into a heavy-based saucepan. Cook over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the raspberries break up. Increase the heat, whilst stirring regularly, until setting point is achieved (105°C). Pour the jam into a sterilised jar and lid, and keep until required.

Viennese biscuit mix

  • 475g English butter (at room temperature)
  • 240g icing sugar
  • 615g Shipton Mill organic plain flour

Cream together the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer on a medium speed until very pale and fluffy.

Add the flour gradually, over three additions, creaming well between each addition, and scraping the bowl down to ensure a well combined mix.

Mix for a further 5 minutes on medium speed, this will produce a very soft dough, perfect for piping.

Fit your piping bag with a large star piping nozzle, and pipe 24 heart-shaped biscuits onto flat cookie sheets lined with greaseproof paper.

(Using a heart shaped cutter and a pencil you can draw heart shapes onto the reverse of the greaseproof paper to guide your piping. They will spread slightly on baking, so bear this in mind when choosing the size.

Start piping from the crest of the heart going up around and down to the bottom, then repeat a mirror image on the other side).

Place the biscuits unto the fridge for 30-40 minutes to firm, this will help maintain their shape during baking

Preheat your oven to 190°C (fan), bake your biscuits until very light golden in colour. This can take anywhere from 12-20 minutes, so keep an eye on them.

Cool on the baking trays completely before filling.

Vanilla buttercream

  • 60g English butter (at room temperature)
  • 120g icing sugar
  • Seeds scraped from ¼ of a vanilla pod

Place all ingredients into the mixer, start mixing slowly, and then increase to a medium speed. Mix until pale and fluffy, scraping the mixer down a few times if required.

Pair up the biscuits to find ones that match closely in shape and size. Upturn one of the pair, and pipe a heart shaped outline of buttercream slightly inside the edge of the biscuit, approximately 10mm in diameter. Fill the heart shaped well with your homemade jam and then top with the remaining biscuit.

Repeat this for all 12 pairs of biscuits. Finish by lightly dusting the tops with icing sugar.

Store in an airtight container. They will keep well for 1 week.

Jolly Nice Farmshop & Kitchen, Frampton Mansell, Stroud GL6 8HZ,


Great British Life: Alisha Philpotts' decadent Black Forest dessert.Alisha Philpotts' decadent Black Forest dessert. (Image: Catherine Bachelor)

Black Forest dessert recipe

Alisha Philpotts of The Nook on Five shares with us her decadently delicious recipe for Black Forest dessert.

Chocolate mousse

  • 50g sugar
  • 20g water
  • 90g whole egg
  • 2 bloomed gelatine leaves
  • 200g + 100g double cream
  • 180g dark chocolate

Mix the sugar with the water and heat this up till the temperature is 121 degrees.

Meanwhile beat the egg in your KitchenAid till fluffy. Add the hot sugar syrup and continue beating until cool to the touch.

Bloom the gelatine in cold water.

Heat 100g of double cream and then add the gelatine (squeezing out excess water before) and combine well. Now add your dark chocolate and mix.

Whisk your double cream to ribbon stage.

By this point the egg and sugar mix should be cool, add this to the chocolate mix by gently folding it in. Now add your lightly whisked cream, trying not to knock out any air. Pour into your desired mould and set in the freezer. If you do not have a silicone mould, you could set the mixture on a high sided container lined with cling film and slice with a hot knife.

Chocolate sponge

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g dark chocolate (melted)
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 150g natural yoghurt

Cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy

Whisk in the eggs one at a time

Add the melted dark chocolate

Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, gently folding till combined

Finally add the yoghurt

Bake at 175 for 20-25 minutes and allow to cool

Cherry gel

  • 500g cherry purée
  • 50g sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 5g agar agar powder

Add the cherry purée, sugar and lemon juice to a pan and heat for 3-5 minutes

Whisk in your agar powder and continue to heat, ensuring your puree reaches 100 degrees.

Allow to cool in your fridge

Once set, blitz your puree till smooth and pass through a sieve

To serve, remove your chocolate mousse from the mould and allow to soften slightly for 15-20 minutes. Top with a small amount of the cherry gel. Break apart the chocolate sponge and place around the chocolate mousse. Half a few cherries and remove the stones. Serve with some sweetened mascarpone and enjoy.

The Nook on Five, The Quadrangle Imperial Square, Cheltenham,


Great British Life: Calcot & Spa cheese soufflé, served in The Brasserie restaurant. Calcot & Spa cheese soufflé, served in The Brasserie restaurant. (Image: Adam Lynk)

Cheese soufflé recipe

John Jewel of Calcot & Spa with a cheese soufflé recipe that is sure to warm the cockles of your loved-one’s heart.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour


  • Makes 4 portions
  • 30g butter, plus extra for greasing ramekins
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 30g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • dash of pepper
  • 75g strong Cheddar
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 large free-range eggs, separated


Preheat the oven to 180°C with a baking tray inside – cooking time 33 minutes.

Generously butter four ramekins/dariole dishes. Divide 2 tbsp of the Parmesan between the ramekins and shake them to get the cheese to stick to the butter. Tip out any excess.

Melt the 30g of butter in a heavy based medium pan over a low heat, then sprinkle in the flour. Mix well to form a thick paste. Cook for 1 minute until the paste starts to smell nutty, then add the milk, a splash at a time, stirring continuously, to make a smooth, thick white sauce.

Stir in the mustard, a dash of pepper, the remaining Parmesan and the Cheddar cheese. Stir briefly to melt the cheeses, season generously with salt, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the egg yolks.

Put the egg whites in a clean metal or glass bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form.

Add a dollop of the egg whites into the cheese sauce and give it a stir. This loosens the sauce and makes it easier to incorporate the rest of the egg whites without losing too much air.

Add the remaining egg whites and, using the side of a large spoon or spatula, carefully fold into the bowl. Divide between the ramekins, so each is about three-quarters full.

Using the tip of a cutlery knife, swipe around the insides of the ramekins. Transfer to the oven on the heated baking tray. When ready* (around 10-12 minutes… don’t be tempted to check on them before!) switch the oven off, open the door slightly, leaving the soufflé inside the oven until ready to serve.

*To check they are cooked, give them a gentle nudge and if they wobble too much, they need more time!

Calcot & Spa, Tetbury GL8 8YJ,