Valentine’s day. Ahhh… possibly the most dreaded day of all men. A day full of expectations, excitement, happiness and sometimes disappointment. The latter largely from the female species, unfortunately. Is it a surprise the thought of the V word (not the other one, tsk tsk) could send the men to a world of dilemmas, and panic? Damned if you don’t do anything, damned if you do too much (actually, perhaps nothing is too much), and most damned if you’ve done it wrong!
Hey I’m not about to take the men’s side and say I don’t expect anything to happen. Just that I don’t expect magic. True that it’s a special opportunity to celebrate with your lovers, partners alike. But if you are truly in love, you shouldn’t need Valentine’s day to remind yourselves how special your other half is.
And that brings me to another topic: Commercialism. Florists’ business bloom, the restaurants are naturally pushing out their special menus for 2s, and Hallmark inevitably celebrate their sales post Vday. I’ll say the chocolate vendors won’t be doing too bad either. Although why pay RM300+ per person for a dinner for something you’ll get for less than half the price any other days? After sussing out a few restaurants in KL, I’ve declared that I’ll be making the dinner instead. And we do the dining out next week.
I did tell Frank not to get my flowers but he did anyway. Maybe afraid of me using the whole reverse psychology thing but I don’t do that. Really. Anyway since I’ve received them I might as well flaunt them. Here. Thanks baby!
I’ve prepared an all-vegetarian 3 course dinner. That doesn’t mean that it was any less sinful: Think cream, cheese, and butter. It’s a decadent menu for an romantic evening. However, I did leave out the candles in the midst of chaos in kitchen. Oops. Nevermind. We concentrate on food. This will be a combination of all 3 recipes!
The entree was Heart Beet Salad. And this is a dish almost too pretty to eat. But extremely easy to make. Recipe after the photo:
2 medium beetroot, you want it around 4-5cm diameter for the cookie cutter
2 cups of watercress, washed, and picked by hand
2 tomatoes, slice thinly
1 handful of walnuts, chopped
30g Goat’s cheese, torn in small pieces.
Some marjoram leaves to garnish
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
salt and course black pepper to taste
Wrap the beetroots together in aluminium foil and roast for at least 1 hour in 200 degree celcius oven. Once the beetroot is done (make sure you give it a little time to cool too so you don’t burn yourself handling it), slice thinly, and proceed to use cookie cutter to cut out the heart shapes. If you don’t have a cookie cutter you could always just use a knife, just a little more fiddly. Set aside.
Meanwhile prepare your vinaigrette by whisking balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper together.
Place the watercress on the plate first, followed by tomato slices, and then the heart beets. Scatter walnuts, goat cheese and marjoram leaves around. Drizzle the vinaigrette all over. Ready to serve!
For the main course, I’ve decided to dress up the Nigella’s Mushroom Linguine with a cream based sauce. It might be bad for us but we felt really good eating this. Simply divine.
200g assorted mushrooms (I’ve used Baby portobello, Swiss Brown and Cup Mushrooms)
120g linguine (enough just for 2)
2 cloves of garlic, slice thinly
6-7 sprigs of thyme
1 lemon (we need the juice and the zest)
Olive oil and a tablespoon of butter (I told you this is super sinful!)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Extra sprigs of thyme to garnish
truffle oil, about 2 teaspoons
Slice the mushrooms finely, put them into a large bowl with a dash of olive oil, salt, minced garlic, lemon juice and zest, and gorgeously scented thyme leaves.
Prepare the ‘carbonara’ sauce by mixing cream, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. I also sprinkled a dash of cayenne pepper for good luck.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile heat some olive oil in a skillet (quite a bit since we are dealing with mushrooms here) and the *gasp* butter, add all the mushrooms in and cook for 2-3 mins. Turn off heat. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and dump all in with the mushroom mixture. And then….. add the cream sauce. And toss everything together quickly. Add the lemon zest and more lemon juice.
Serve hot, with extra sprigs thyme on top
It’s really okay having this once in a while! I’ll say it’s better than Carbonara (with bacon). Seriously.
To be honest, we were both so full after the 2 dishes we had to rest for more than an hour before our desserts. But it’s only going to get better. For dessert, I’ve made Mango Panna cotta.
Although not a champion in the looks department, this is so refreshing. Tartness with the fresh mango, a little bit of sweetness and just firm enough to hold together. It was an excellent finish! I’m also aware that the Whiskey glass has the world ‘single’ on it, as in single malt. Slightly irony, perhaps? Apart from the cooling time in fridge it literally takes about 5 minutes to make.
Ingredients: (Makes 2 panna cotta or 3 smaller ones)
1 ripe mango
200ml thickened cream
1/4 cup castor sugar (adjust according to how sweet the mango is)
1 tablespoon gelatine
2 tablespoons hot water
Pineapple jam, for garnish
Cut the mango into small cubes. Fastest way to do this is to make cross-hatch cuts on the cheeks and then invert the skins. Cut around the seeds as much as possible to release all the flesh. Puree the mango in a blender until very smooth.
Meanwhile heat the cream with sugar until just scalding then turn the heat off. Sprinkle the gelatine over the hot water and mix well.
Pour the mango puree into the cream mixture and stir well. Pour into individual glass, or ramekins and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. To serve, garnish the pineapple jam on top.
I actually wished I’ve made more! But too dangerous. Hehe.
Hope you all had a great Valentine’s day, or Single Awareness Day as the singles would call it (not in a derogatory way, of course). Some of you might still be celebrating it this weekend. If you are cooking at home give these recipes a go!