Our Favourite Valentine’s Day Recipes – Stuffed Squid by Collette White

One of Collette White’s mantras is “Take care of you”, along with “Cut out the Crap” which is also the name of her website. Cut out the Crap is the result of Collette’s personal journey to improve her diet after developing severe food allergies. This inspiring lady challenges the way we think about food. Instead of considering food intolerance and allergies as an obstacle, Collette encourages her readers to see them as a positive challenge that requires creative thinking and a fresh approach to food.

Collette’s Stuffed Squid recipe is light and fresh – perfect for summer, and Valentine’s Day.

“It is a beautifully satisfying meal, something a little bit fancy, but easy enough that anyone can cook it!” says Collette. We also love Collette’s cheeky idea of printing out the recipe and leaving it “on the kitchen bench for your partner with a very subtle message of “cook this for me” written on it???!!!” ENJOY!



  • 2 squid tubes (cleaned) – approx 300g each
  • 6 toothpicks

Rice Stuffing:

  • ¾ cup brown rice
  • ½ a lemon
  • 80g pistachios – toasted
  • ½ teaspoon herbamare (or salt & pepper)
  • ½ a bunch of flat leaf parsley – finely shredded
  • ½ a bunch of coriander – finely shredded
  • ½ a bunch of dill – finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of ½ a lemon


  • 2 red capsicums – approx 700g roughly chopped
  • 2 brown onions – approx 250g roughly chopped
  • 1-2 small red hot chilli sliced – (depending on how hot you like food)
  • Pinch herbamare
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¾ cup water


  1. Add the ½ lemon to the brown rice and cook as per normal.
  2. Drain rice and set aside, allow to cool as long as you can (at least half an hour).
  3. Once cooled, place the rice, pistachios, herbamare, parsley, coriander, dill, lemon juice and lemon zest into a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  4. Place all the ingredients for the sauce (EXCEPT FOR THE ¾ cup water) into a large frying pan. Cook over a high heat for 5 minutes (don’t let it burn) then add the ¾ cup water, reduce heat to medium and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and puree with hand whisk. Set aside. DON’T clean out the pan.
  5. Stuff squid tubes 2/3 full with rice stuffing and close ends by threading with toothpicks.
  6. Place 2 tablespoons oil into the frying pan you just made the sauce in and heat on medium -high.
  7. Cook squid tubes for approx 5 minutes either side – until thoroughly cooked – but be careful not to overcook!

To serve:
Place the sauce at the bottom of the serving plate. Slice stuffed squid into approx 2cm pieces and place on top of sauce.

Serves 2 (large portions) or 3 with salad.

Check out Collette’s website, Cut out the Crap.

Mr Gift also has a great range of kitchen gadgets and accessories to help you prepare your dream Valentine’s Day feast.

Our Favourite Valentine’s Day Recipes: Chocolate Fondant

As the parent of a seven-month-old baby, eating out these days is a bit trickier than it used to be. By the time you pay for a babysitter for a few hours, it can also be quite an expensive night out. But the thing is, I love my food. Never one to miss out on a good meal, I’ve taken to hunting down delicious recipes to cook at home.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m on a mission to collect a sumptuous selection of recipes so I can plan the perfect Valentine’s meal with my husband. I’d love to share some of my favourites here on our blog with you, so keep checking back over the next couple of weeks for some darn good dishes.

Our first recipe is a Chocolate Fondant from Mark Bennett, Head Chef at Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant. I’m definitely a dessert girl, and nothing says ‘romance’ like chocolate, especially if it comes in the form of a gooey fondant with some berries on the side…

Chocolate Fondant

Ingredients (makes 12):

200g good quality dark chocolate

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

7 eggs

120g plain flour

  • 12 x Dariole moulds
  • Electric mixer / hand beater
  • Sifter
  • Rubber spatula
  • Bowls
  • Pot
Delicious Chocolate Fondant from Mark Bennett, Head Chef at Esca Bimbadgen, Hunter Valley


  1. Using some extra butter, grease the dariole moulds on the inside and allow the butter to set in the fridge, repeat this process so you have two layers of butter.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl over the top of a pot that is lightly simmering with water, alternatively you can melt them in short bursts in the microwave.
  3. In the mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat on a medium/high speed until the mix is white and leaves a trail in itself (ribbon stage) about 10 minutes.
  4. Sift the flour into the creamed egg and sugar in two batches, folding through the flour between additions.
  5. Fold through the butter and chocolate mix
  6. Pour into the dariole moulds and set in the fridge

To Serve

  1. Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees, you will need to test bake a fondant to get the timing right.
  2. When the oven is hot place a fondant on a tray in the oven and allow to cook for 7 mins.
  3. When it is cooked, turn it out onto the tray it was cooked on and allow any excess butter to run off, leave the dariole mould on the fondant to allow the outside to set fully.
  4. Remove the dariole mould and break open the fondant, it should be soft and gooey inside. If your fondant was completely cooked through, reduce the cooking time. If the fondant was too fragile and broke too easily, increase the cooking time.
  5. Serve with some seasonal fresh raspberries, and ice cream or crème fraiche.

Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant is located within Bimbadgen Winery in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Bimbadgen Winery is a must-see winery the next time you are in the Hunter and boasts an expansive cellar door and modern tasting rooms, café, accommodation, outdoor amphitheatre, and of course the award-winning Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant.

Open 7 days for lunch 12pm – 4pm. Dinner Wednesday to Saturday nights from 6pm.
790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin  NSW  2320

Phone: 02 4998 4666

Email: esca@bimbadgen.com.au