Romantic meal for two
So we can’t go out for dinner this year – but that shouldn’t stop us from dining in style!
Very economical dish to make and easy to prepare, try & use fresh from a good fish supplier or a good supermarket with a fish counter.
- 1 x kg Fresh Mussels
- 2 x shallots peeled & finely chopped
- 50g butter
- 1x bay-leaf
- 1 x clove of garlic
- 150ml white wine, preferably dry
- bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped
- Salt & black pepper
- Give the mussels a good scrub in cold running water and discard any broken or open ones that do not close when tapped. Remove any dirt or barnacles that are still attached to the shells and pull out the little beards by giving them a sharp tug towards the narrow end of the mussel.
- Place a large pot, which also has a tight-fitting lid, over a medium heat, add the butter and melt, drop in the shallots, and sauté for 2min, stirring frequently just to soften slightly, not brown. Add in the garlic, sauté for 1 min more, add in the wine and reduce by 1/3. Add in the mussels and cover with the lid – cook for 2-3 min until all the mussels have opened. Remove lid and add in chopped parsley & season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Discard any mussels that have not opened.
- Serve in good sized bowls with crusty bread or sourdough slices drizzled with olive oil. (Provide small bowls of water with some lemon juice to rinse fingers while eating)
If you like a richer texture add in 150ml double cream when you add in the mussels. Enjoy
Beef Tournedos Rossini
We used to sell this dish by the bucket loads in the first hotel I worked in. It was named after 19th-century composer Gioachino Rossini, not sure which chef it was, maybe, by the 19th-century chef Casimir Moissons? Well worth making for a special occasion
- 2 x 200g Beef fillet steaks
- 1 x Shallot finely chopped
- 1 x Tbsp Rapeseed oil for frying the steaks & 1 x tsp for sautéing the shallots
- 85g Butter
- 200ml beef stock
- 250ml Madeira wine
- 100g Duck Liver Pate, although classically this would have been Foie gras.
- 2 x croutes stale bread or I have used sourdough cut into circles, which have been sauteed in little oil and butter until crispy. Alternatively, you can put them in the toaster, if you are thinking there is a lot of oil and butter already in this recipe. 😉
- Add 1 x tsp oil to the pan on a medium heat, pop in the shallot and start to sauté for 1mins until starting to brown lightly, add in 20g butter and continue cooking for further minute, reducing the heat so that the butter does not burn.
- Pour in the madeira and reduce by half, then add in the stock and reduce by half. Whisk in 25g of the butter, this will give the sauce a nice glossy & silky finish, strain through a sieve and keep warm. You should end up with around 100-120ml sauce.
- Put a frying pan onto heat and add in 1x tbsp oil, fry each steak on both sides for approx. 2-3 min, this would be medium rare, adding in the remaining butter halfway and season with salt & pepper. Set aside covered with foil or parchment to allow the steaks to rest.
- To serve place a slice of paté on each steak, set your croute onto the plates place the steak on top, spoon over some of the sauce and serve the rest on the side. Enjoy
Great with some Fresh cut chips & a green veg’ steamed then lightly sautéed in butter. If you require your steak more well done put into a pre-heated oven for another 4-5 minutes after you have finished cooking them in the pan, and rest in the same way.
Simple ingredients which make for a silky-smooth dessert with crunchy sugar glaze, best made the day before.
- 6 x Egg yolks. (Whites can be frozen for later use)
- 70g x Golden Caster sugar.
- Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top to caramelise.
- 1 x Tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out
- 450ml Double cream.
- Pre-heat oven to 140c/gas1.
- Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a gentle heat – remove from heat just before it reaches boiling point.
- While the cream is heating, whisk the sugar, vanilla extract, and the egg yolks.
- Pour in the heated cream to the egg mix and whisk together. Pour into ramekin moulds.
- Place into a roasting tray with sides. Pout in hot water – enough to come up halfway of the ramekins. Place into the oven and bake for 35-40min approx. or until just set.
- Remove from the oven and water, cool & then chill in the fridge.
- When you are nearly ready for the brulées, sprinkle demerara sugar on top as evenly as possible, just enough to coat the surface. Then place under a hot grill & caramelise. Cool slightly before serving.
For something romantic for Valentine’s day you could serve with some crystalized rose petals. Just brush a few pre-washed & dried rose petals with egg white and dip into fine sugar e.g., icing sugar and leave to dry for 2-3 hour. The rose petals will harden as they dry.