Four Top Menus this Valentine’s Day


With lovey dovey doo dah day around the corner ? we are eschewing the long loved habit of going out because 1) we have kids 2) we’re tired 3) we don’t want to be in a restaurant filled with couples… it’s just a bit cringe! Having said that, do go out if that’s your bag!! But if staying in sounds as good as we think it does – with a healthy dose of JOMO (joy of missing out), then here are some fab ideas for your love feast.

Don’t forget to add some sparkle ✨ at the beginning with a nice bottle of fizz ?and then for the meal just think about what you’d like for starter, main and pudding – and careful of the label because there could be some messages in there (Wild at Heart Rosé – perhaps you’re apologising for being a little off the rails with this number… or Twist of Fatebecause here we are again, and this time I really want it to work…? Anyway take your pick, perhaps it could help your case!)

 

MENU 1

To start: Start with simply marinated Kalamata olives. Drain, add olive oil, lots of chunks of feta, and some herbs ? Let them all sit around and become friends during the day and the flavours will be ace when you get back from all your chores. Serve with chunky sourdough bread and soak up every last drop of that olive oil. Once you have that deliciousness in you, take a wee break to cook up one of our grass fed beef steaks. Make some homemade herb butter in advance, and serve with hassleback potatoes and freshly steamed veggies. If you’re feeling fancy and energetic, make a delicious sauce in advance (here are some you can make in minutes). Let that all go down with a swashbuckling Cabernet Sauvignon of your choice. Now you’re well into the love section, finish with one of Delia’s delicious ice-creams (why not pick a seasonal flavour to show how trendy you are, and add in some cones to make it feel like child’s play ?) and again if you’re organised, make a delicious chocolate or butterscotch sauce to go with. Finish up (if you even get to the end) with choccies and coffee.

 

MENU 2

Starting with a kick to the system, try a gazpacho shot with sesame lavash. Add in some chilli ? for that punch or keep it low key with just a little hint towards the end. You could get a little jazzy and throw in a stick of celery which makes it kind of an in between soup and bloody mary. Keep it edgy. Go on to enjoy a light but delicious main course of stuffed chicken breast with crispy cauliflower, and then – as mangos are in season – make the most of them with this super easy to make (and it has to be done in advance) mango khulfi. Seeing as it’s been quite a light meal, you could end with a delectable cheese board ? for two with a small selection of special cheeses. Have a look at the Brown’s Instagram page for tips on how to put a cheese board together.

 

MENU 3

This one’s for the the married couples. Crusty bread that’s slightly messy to eat, followed by a garlicky sauce… you get my gist! Don’t pull this one out of the drawer unless you know your lover well. ? Start with an artichoke and pecorino bruschette, using Brown’s sheepy pecorino (substitute for Brown’s aged gouda) and the sharp acidic cut of the artichoke, it’s an absolute winner. Then move on to a fillet of fish with a deliciously buttery garlicky sauce, spiked with freshly chopped red peppers (thank Jonas Cronqvist for that inspo, it’s exactly what he cooked us in Naivasha when he was in Kenya). Wilt some greens on the side and serve with lashing of sauce. Finally, with a flourish, bring out your lovingly made Ottolenghi chocolate tart with raspberries, and watch as your lover’s eyes devour both you and the tart. ? Well kind of. They might want to eat the tart and then pass out in a haze of gluttony. But don’t be sad about that, they will love you more than ever. Like I said, this menu is for the married ones anyway.

 

MENU 4

Lastly but not leastly, here’s a beautiful marriage of flavours. Starting with the inimitable pink of beetroot reflecting your amorous leanings, make this delicious combination of beetroot and goat’s cheese mousse, using of course, only the best ingredients. Because you, and your lover, are worth it. Move on from this to a more adventurous oriental combination of pork and squid – yes I know you’ll think I’m mad – but how good does this look? YUM. And you can do a lot of it in advance. Finish with our utterly delectable lemon tart ? and the deal will be sealed. Trust us. They are not letting you out of their sight again. Ever.

 

*cover image courtesy of Great British Chefs – one of my go-to’s for inspiration!

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