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Scallops with chilli and garlic butter, rum baba

This week we’re prepping for Valentine’s Day. By the way, if you plan to cook a romantic meal for two, practise before the big night to avoid any culinary disasters that might ruin the mood.

At James St the dishes we’ve had on Valentine’s menus have always been variations on dishes that people love and that are easy to share.

Our savoury suggestion, scallops, are great as a starter; the rum baba sweet is a slightly technical recipe but well worth the effort as they’re a fabulous way to round off a romantic meal.


Scallops with chilli and garlic butter (Serves 4 )

1 medium chill, deseeded, chopped fine

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine

125g of butter at room temperature

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of olive oil

12 scallops in their shell

½ a bunch of parsley, chopped

Mix the chilli, garlic and butter in a bowl; cover in cling film and refrigerate. Remove the scallops from the shells – clean and keep the shells to serve.

Place a frying pan on the hob and heat the oil; season the scallop, place on the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Melt the butter in a separate pan and pour over the plated scallops. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.


Rum baba (Makes 8–12)

80ml of milk

2 teaspoons of dry yeast

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

1 pinch of sea salt

3 eggs

300g of plain flour

125g of unsalted butter at room temperature

3 tablespoons of white rum

50g of currants

For the syrup:

200g of caster sugar

200g of water

1 tablespoon of syrup

1star anise

1 cinnamon stick

To Garnish:

100ml of rum, brown or white

Double cream

Note: Dariole moulds work best for this recipe.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until warm, remove from hob and, when cooled slightly, add the broken–up yeast, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk mix and whisk vigorously. Add in half of the flour and fold the mix together. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm spot to rise for 60 minutes.

Remove the risen dough from the bowl, add the rest the flour and knead until silky and well combined. Roll out and place back into the bowl, with the butter. Cover again with the tea towel and allow to rise for another hour.

Meanwhile place the rum in a small pan on a gentle heat, add the currants and leave to soak, then add into the dough mix. Using your hands, mix again until the currants are well combined in the dough. It should be thick but pliable. Separate the mix into the tin dariole moulds and leave to set again for 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes, then place on a cooling rack.

For the syrup, reduce the combined ingredients in a small pan until a syrup consistency and taste. Remove the cinnamon and star anise.

Whip the cream with the rum in a bowl. Serve the rum babas with syrup poured over and a dollop of cream on the side.

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