GP Life: GP Valentine's recipe - Oysters and scallops with atruffle scented fumet

If there is one night of the year when any restaurant is sure to be full, it is 14 February.

Yet while planning the menu for that night, I still find it difficult to know just how to pitch it. Customers may expect heart-shaped meringue nests and something with passion fruit, but I can't help finding that all a bit too twee.

Better, I think, to serve a proper dish based perhaps on a traditional aphrodisiac for this, the sauciest of saint's days.

Oysters, in a sumptuously preparation such as this, are guaranteed to impress and to give a real sense of occasion to a Valentine's dinner.

1. Shuck the oysters, reserving all the juice. Pass the juice through a very fine sieve into a small saucepan. Add the vermouth to the pan and gently bring to a simmer over a low heat.

2. Meanwhile sear the scallops in the olive oil over high heat in a cast iron skillet until caramelised on both sides and just cooked, about three minutes.

3. Once the oyster liquid has reached a simmer, poach the oysters for 20 seconds only, remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Turn up the heat, add the truffle peelings and cream and reduce quickly to a sauce consistency. Season.

4. Place two scallops and four oysters per person in a small warmed soup bowl, pour sauce over and serve at once.

- Dr Chris Duckham is a GP in Tongue and Armadale, and runs the restaurant Cote du Nord, Farr Bay Inn, Sutherland

INGREDIENTS - For two people
Eight live oysters in the shell
Four king scallops, shucked and roes removed.
One small tin of truffle peelings (available from a good specialist
Three teaspoons Noilly Prat Vermouth
75ml double cream
A little olive oil for frying
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


You need a wine that is delicate enough to marry well with the shellfish yet sturdy and well-structured for the truffle shavings, such as:

Au bon Climat Chardonnay £16.05

Herbal and toasty on the nose, fresh yet complex on the palate. An opulent wine.

Jacquesson Avize Grand Cru 1995 £42.80

Exceptionally dry, with all the ripeness and quality in the grapes you would expect from a top Champagne house. For a special occasion, this wine offers an array of nutty, apply aromas and flavours with a yeasty undertone which gives the wine an elegant structure.

For more details or to purchase these wines, please visit:


We set you a romantic challenge - to send your loved one a message through these pages. We promised the best one would win a huge box of chocolates and below is the poem we chose. Thanks to everyone else who entered - we hope your Valentine buys chocolates this good for you ...

To you
Our eyes met over your detail aid
Our love in heaven was simply made
I saw beyond the clocks, pens and APBI
My heart still goes a flutter
My, oh my.
From me

The winner (she knows who she is ...) will be sent a huge box of chocolates to share with her partner.

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