Superbreak are running a fantastic competition. All you need to do to enter is write a blog post with your advice on what your perfect Valentine's Day meal would be. I spent my weekend cooking up what my ideal Valentine's Day meal would be......
These days we don't tend to go out for restaurant meals on Valentine's Day - we find they lack the relaxing ambience which we like when we dine out, as they are too busy and too overpriced. So a great alternative is to pick something that is tasty to make at home. I like to do as much of the preparation as possible ahead of the meal, so that I'm not stressed out trying to get everything done at the last minute. So without further ado, here's what my menu would look like:
COURGETTE, CHEDDAR & POTATO SOUP served with french stick
GRILLED CELTIC PRIDE FILLET STEAK WITH A SHALLOT PUREE served with slow-cooked creamy garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed baby mushrooms and a port jus
PASSIONFRUIT CHEESECAKE with raspberry coulis
Some of this menu I prepped the day before we actually ate it, so that the three-course meal could go blissfully smooth. For starters I made the passionfruit cheesecake. This was from a Nigel Slater recipe which you can find here The cheesecake tastes much better when chilled for several hours, so it's much better if you can do it the day before. I simply served this with a ready-made raspberry coulis and presented it using a heart shaped cutter. As presentation is so important when serving food, I always enjoy using cutters when I am presenting an important meal. The cutters I use are these Judge Heart Cutters and I use them in every romantic meal I make. I also love the heart tray from Sabichi to serve up sandwiches and soup.
Next I moved on to preparing the courgette, cheddar & potato soup. This way I could just reheat the next day when we had our three course-meal. This was a recipe from Good Food, you can find it here
My photo of my main does make everything look a little more dark than it actually was, although I do confess I like my fillet steak well done, I absolutely hate the sight of blood, so it has to be well done or I can't eat it. So before hand I made my creamy slow-cooked garlic mash potatoes in the morning. I got this recipe from here. Although I altered the recipe slightly and omitted the sour cream and just used Philadelphia Spring Onion & black pepper. It was the most delicious mashed potato I have EVER tasted.
Once the mashed potato was cooking away in the slow cooker, I could get on with making my port jus and my shallot puree. I simply chopped a whole bag of shallots and sweated them in a frying pan on the minimum heat for several hours to caramelise them. This way I could just split the amount and use them for the two recipes. The shallot puree recipe I got from here and the port jus recipe I got from here. I then simply served the meal with the sauteed mushrooms and a sprig of rosemary and the caramelised port onions for decoration.
The preparation I done beforehand meant that when it came to serve up, everything was stress-free, and we could really savour the meal. Thanks for this challenge Superbreak as I think this could well be the most delicious meal I have ever cooked.
Of course, preparation is always key to the perfect romantic moment and we are lucky as when it comes to finding the perfect place to stay Superbreak has done all the hard work for us - have a look http://www.superbreak.com/short_breaks/valentines_weekend_breaks.htm