Valentine’s Day recipes to try at home


- Credit: sub

With the day for lovers just around the corner we asked The Castle Hotel in Taunton’s Head Chef, Liam Finnegan, to rustle up some recipes we can try at home.


- Credit: sub

Vanilla set cream with strawberry and honeycomb

Vanilla set cream ingredients

300ml double cream

125ml milk

1 vanilla pod

40g caster sugar

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2 leaves gelatine


1. Scrape one vanilla pod into a small saucepan; add cream and milk.

2. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 3–4 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to one side.

3. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft.

4. Add sugar and gelatine to the cream mixture. Mix, then pass through a fine sieve into a jug. Pour into moulds and set in the fridge. If you don’t have moulds, use a Martini glass or a glass with a wide rim.

5. Leave in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set. Take out before plating mains to bring to room temperature.

Honeycomb ingredients

35g honey

20ml water

70g liquid glucose

200g caster sugar

10g bicarbonate soda


1. Put all ingredients except the bicarbonate soda into a pan.

2. Slowly caramelise without mixing. Heat to hard point (150?c) then take off heat.

3. Whisk in bicarbonate soda. Have a deep tray ready with parchment, as it will bubble like mad.

4. Tip straight into the tray and leave to one side.

Chef’s tip

I’ve used strawberry and honeycomb but you can play around with it and add chocolate or replace the strawberries for another fruit such as spiced plums, raspberries or peaches.

If you have a bit of honeycomb left over, break it up, dip in chocolate and freeze. You’ll have some homemade crunchies for a sweet nibble.

Seared salmon with sprouting broccoli, potato cake and hollandaise sauce

Hollandaise ingredients

125g butter

2 egg yolks

1 tsp white wine vinegar

Pinch of salt & pepper

Lemon juice


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, allow to split, skimming any white from the top.

2. Put two egg yolks, vinegar, salt and a splash of water into a bowl that will fit snugly on to a small pan of simmering water. This is known as bringing your mix to a sabayon stage au bain marie.

3. Whisk until the eggs are a pale-ish colour. You’ll notice they are lighter and more aerated. 4. Once at this stage, remove from heat. Slowly whisk the melted butter into the eggs bit-by-bit - not too much, as it will split.

5. Season at the end with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Potato cake ingredients

2 potatoes

4 spring onions

lemon rind

wholegrain mustard

chopped parsley


These potato cakes are fantastic for dinner parties and are something you can prepare well in advance.

1. Firstly, bake the potatoes on a tray of salt – this heightens the flavour and gives you a drier mash.

2. Break the potato up, mash or leave it crumbled for texture.

3. Add all the ingredients together.

4. Check and adjust seasoning before forming into cakes and leave in fridge until ready to cook.

This dish is very simple to prepare. As always, the labour is in the organisation.

And finally....

1. In a hot pan sear your salmon and potato cakes then place on a tray. This will only take 5-6 minutes in the oven at 180?c.

2. Have a pan of seasoned water simmering.

3. Drop your broccoli in two minutes before you take out your salmon and potato cakes. Season the broccoli and plate all the ingredients up.

Chef’s tip

Make sure to cover your hollandaise with cling film and keep it in a warm area or beside your oven. You cannot leave Hollandaise in the fridge; it will split.

If you can’t get purple sprouting broccoli change your dish around by adding spinach, samphire, romanescu or cauliflower. It’s your dish so play around with it and enjoy!