The season of romance is upon us. Flowers bloom, birds tweet, and at Corus Hotels we are busy perfecting our dashing Valentine’s Afternoon Tea menu. Smoked salmon & avocado croissants, soft whipped champagne & chocolate mousse, and to-die-for white chocolate & raspberry scones are all waiting to delight your senses…
We’re still determined to keep up the super-healthy good work from our Healthy January kick, so this week our Head Chef at Hyde Park, Richard Cerphus, is going to let us in on his “dating” secrets. He may have married them with chocolate to create a mouth-watering Date & Chocolate Brownie for Hyde Park's Valentine’s Afternoon Tea menu, but that doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned our healthy 2018 diet! He’ll even share his special dates recipe with you, so you can bake delicious brownies for your special someone at home.
Richard says, “Chefs across the world use dates in their recipes, especially with the rise of Middle Eastern cuisine. I use it in many dishes, including my famous sticky toffee pudding. As you can probably guess, it’s one of the most popular dishes in the UK - along with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding!
“What stands out as most important to me is that not only is the fruit of the date palm tree delightfully chewy and sweet, but it also comes with so many health benefits: Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, fibre and zinc. It’s time we stopped overlooking this slightly wrinkled superfood; it’s beautiful on the inside!”
Tuck into Richard’s six reasons why you should introduce dates to your life now:
1. Dates help to lower cholesterol: Free from cholesterol and containing very little fat, including dates in small quantities in your diet can help you keep a check on your cholesterol levels, and even assist in weight loss. Good news for the New Year’s resolutions!
2. Dates are rich in protein: Dates are a strong source for proteins that are beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. Ideal for those who want to build muscles, they’re also perfect for a quick energy boost. Gym-goers, pack dates as the perfect snack to keep you going after a work-out.
3. They’re a good source of vitamins: Cast aside your daily supplements! Dates contain vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K, and a range of essential minerals. Add a couple of dates to your daily diet to reap the benefits. Not only will it keep you in good health, there will be a noticeable change in your energy levels as well because dates contain natural sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose.
4. Dates help improve bone health: Dates are rich in selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, so they’re considered a superfood when it comes to keeping our bones healthy as we age and helping to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis.
5. They strengthen the nervous system: Date are loaded with potassium, and yet contain little sodium, and that goes a long way in keeping your nervous system in order. The potassium improves the alertness of brain activity and keeps the mind sharp and active.
6. Dates are rich in iron: With high levels of minerals, dates are a great supplement for those suffering with anaemia. Feelings of fatigue are replaced with higher energy levels and increased strength. Just what you need to get you through the last few chilly weeks of winter!
Perfect for sharing with your date, try our super-easy Date-Sweetened Chocolate Brownie recipe!
30g dates, soaked
85g dark chocolate
60g coconut oil
65g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
20g ground flax seeds soaked in 2 tbsp. water
75ml whole coconut milk
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Remove the pits from the dates and soak in 1/4 cup warm water for 5 minutes. Then, in another bowl, combine ground flax seeds and water and allow to set.
- Over a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together
- Put the dates and water in a food processor and mix into a paste. Add flax mixture, coconut milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add melted chocolate and coconut oil and mix until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking tray and bake at 180°C for 25 to 30 minutes. When baked, the centre will be still wobbly. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before eating. Garnish as desired, but best served with coconut ice-cream!
Look out for these deliciously chewy chocolate brownies in our hotels around Valentine's Day - they're perfect with a glass of prosecco...
Enjoy Valentine's Afternoon Tea with live ambient jazz at our Hyde Park Hotel on selected weekends in February, complete with a glass of pink fizz each and a rose for your sweetheart - just £35.00 per person. Call us on 020 7262 1404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your table.
Corus Hotels were created with the belief that warm, friendly hospitality, personalised experiences & inviting settings are essential to a well-travelled life.
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Our gorgeous blog cover photo is courtesy of ©Beth Sandland Photography, who stayed with us in December 2017. Check out her blog here.