SOUP YOUR WAY TO A SENSUOUS VALENTINES NIGHT

Anyone who has lovingly prepared food for another knows its potential power. Silky-smooth and sensually-satisfying is the way to go for a hot Valentines night this year and Lobster Bisque is hard to beat, say nutritionist and author, Fiona Kirk.

As far back as the late 1800s, the aphrodisiac powers of seafood were championed, which is easy to understand as it’s got the lot. It is a rich source of iron which increases blood flow to our sex organs, zinc which increases the production of testosterone, the ‘libido lifter’ in both males and females, Omega 3 fats which boost our mood and iodine which makes us feel vivacious and ready for whatever the night might have in store!

This slightly extravagant soup takes a little time to prepare but right from the first spoonful you just know that your efforts were worth it and the rest of the evening is going to take you and your valentine into a very good place.

Lobster Bisque

Enough for 2 with plenty left over for a late night snack!

Steam 2 lobster tails (frozen is fine as long as you defrost them completely), shell side down over a pan of simmering salted water (about a pint and a half) for 8-10 minutes or until the flesh is cooked through but not tough. Remove the lobster, save the water for the stock, take the flesh out with a couple of forks and set aside.

In another fairly large pan, gently sauté the lobster shells in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for 5 to 6 minutes. Add a couple of large glasses of dry white wine, 24 fluid ounces of chicken stock and the water used for steaming the lobster, bring the whole lot to the boil and keep at a rolling boil until the liquid is reduced by half (takes around 45 minutes).

In the meantime, sauté 1 small fennel bulb, cleaned, trimmed and finely sliced and 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft and transparent (don’t let them brown). Add 3 medium-sized tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped, 2 tablespoons of white rice, 1 tablespoon tomato puree, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme and stir until well-mixed.

When the stock is reduced, strain it through a fine sieve, return to a clean pan then slowly stir in the vegetable/herb/spice mix. Bring back to the boil, turn down the heat, add at least 2 tablespoons of brandy (it’s Valentines night after all!) then simmer gently for another 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and liquidise the whole lot (you will probably have to do this in two batches) until velvety-smooth. Return to a clean pan and keep on a very gentle simmer until just before serving (or refrigerate overnight and reheat – gently!)

Just before serving, slice the lobster flesh into bite-sized chunks and add to the soup with a dash of lemon juice and a few tablespoons of double cream, heat through for 5 minutes or slightly longer if you can possibly wait and serve in cups, mugs, bowls or just dig into the pan together with very big spoons!

For more (slightly less extravagant) soup recipes and her 10 day Flab Fighting Soup Diet see nutritionist Fiona Kirk’s eBook Soup Can Make You Thin, £4.99 available through www.souperydupery.com

For more ideas for Valetine’s Day, Slimming and Fitness activities near you see www.whatson4me.co.uk

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