Jones does V-day, cooking classes and more

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I'm always eagerly anticipating the email updates from jones the grocer. There's always a 'cheese of the month' that helps greatly in building on my limited knowledge of cheese, great recipes and the chance to sign up for a cooking class, if you're interested in the final product you'll be learning.

This month's newsletter features a Valentine's Day theme (surprise, surprise). Apparently, the store's team can put together a Valentine's three-course gift hamper for Dh209, in the Abu Dhabi branches of the franchise, one that's "sure to win over the most discerning of hearts".

So, according to jones, you'll be able to win over your Valentine with a delicious starter of ?Trio of Salmon on a blini: beetroot cured, caper tartar and crème fraiche. For the main course, choose between Pan-fried Sea Bass served with pomme mousseline and asparagus with watercress and hazelnut pesto, or, Herb-crusted Premium Lamb Cutlet with braised cabbage and pea puree. Desert is the meal's crowning glory: Valrhona Chocolate-dipped Strawberry, white chocolate mousse with raspberry granita & milk chocolate fondant.

This month's cooking master class schedule will teach you how to make Indonesian prawn curry with tamarind and coconut, for Dh375 per person. I was at jones the grocer in Maamoura the other day; I stopped by for some plain cheesecake I planned to serve with fresh berries for some evening guests. The large rustic wooden table at the entrance of the store was set up with several cooking stations, meant to cater to each individual amateur chef. The ingredients were already prepared in front of each station, and a plate of fresh prawns dominated each set up. A lovely way to both learn a new dish and meet some like-minded individuals, really.

February's cheese of the month? Quickes Vintage Cheddar

"Quickes Cheddar has an intensity and complexity of flavour that comes from the cloth wrapped truckles that mature on wooden shelves for over a year. The cheese is allowed to breathe as it matures, forming the old fashioned rind that is the hallmark of a well-matured traditional Cheddar."

February's recipe of the month? Burrata, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, roasted chilli olive oil & crusty bread

"Leave two 'bundles' of fresh burrata cheese out at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Place the burrata on a large platter and drizzle generously with jones roasted chilli olive oil or jones extra virgin olive oil as desired. Cut in half eight cherry tomatoes, a bunch of fresh basil or basil cress and season with Murray River salt and crushed black pepper. Serve immediately with two slices of freshly baked sourdough to mop up the 'pana' that oozes out from the burrata. A perfect entrée to share."

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