Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Valentine's Dinner

This year for Valentine's day me and my friends opted out of the tempting chance to go to a traffic light party, green for "yes please" red for "back off I'm taken" or amber for the confused. 
Instead we created a 3 course dinner of romantic themed food.

serves 4
Chilli-honey dressing
  • 5 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp clear honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red chilli, cut in half, seeds removed, finely chopped
For the salad
  • 4 small oranges, segmented
  • 2 ruby grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 plain grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, very finely sliced
  • bunch fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only, to serve

    For the chilli-honey dressing, mix together the vinegar and honey until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil using a fork, then stir in the chilli.

    For the salad, arrange the segmented fruit in a broad shallow bowl.

    Sprinkle over the onion and mint, then pour over the chilli-honey dressing and mix well until it coats the salad.

    Just before serving sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad.

    Beetroot Risotto with Goats Cheese and Rocket

    serves 4

    For the Beetroot Risotto
    3 shallots diced
    1 crushed clove of garlic
    30g of butter
    1 large glass of white wine
    750ml chicken stock
    250g risotto rice
    3 large raw beetroot
    2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
    100g grated parmesan
    2 sprigs of thyme leaves taken off
    salt and pepper

    To serve
    Crumbled goats cheese
    Rocket drizzled with olive oil
    1 beetroot cut into wedges

    Heat the oven to 180/fan 160c/gas 4. Peel and cut the beetroot into large wedges and wrap in tin foil with a drizzle of balsamic, olive oil and a squashed garlic clove, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 hour until the beetroot is soft.

    Meanwhile melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan on a medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, add the chopped shallots and gently fry until transparent but not coloured then stir in the crushed garlic and thyme leaves for 1-2 minutes. 

    Stir in the risotto rice until it is well coated with the oil and butter and cook for around 2 mins until the rice is starting to look a little translucent,  then pour over the wine and still stirring cook for around 4-5 mins. Slowly add a ladle full of hot chicken stock and keep adding as the rice absorbs the stock, the risotto should always be a little wet. Cook until tender but still has a tiny bit of bite.

    Remove the beetroot from the oven and put a few wedges aside to serve and puree the rest in a blender. Stir the puree and the creme fraiche into the risotto and the grated parmesan. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.

    To serve spoon the risotto onto a plate, toss the rocket with a little olive oil and arrange on top, place the wedges around the rocket and sprinkle over the crumbled goats cheese.

    Mini Pavlova's with Mango, Kiwi, Passion Fruit and Berry Coulis
    serves 6

    For The Pavlova
    2 tsp White vine vinegar
    1 tsp of vanilla essence
    2 tsp cornflour
    4 egg whites
    200g caster sugar

    250ml Double or whipping cream
    1 Mango peeled and sliced
    2 Kiwis peeled and sliced into rounds
    2 Passion fruits seeds removed

    For the coulis
    200g of frozen berries
    1 tablespoon of icing sugar
    squeeze of lemon juice

    Preheat the oven to 140c/gas or 120c/fan and line a baking tray with non stick parchment.

    Whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl until they form stiff peaks, the way to test this is to put the bowl upside down on top of your head and if they are done then hopefully they won't fall on your head.

    Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and gradually add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla. Keep whisking until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is thick and marshmallowy.

    Spoon the mix around 2 tablespoons per pavlova onto the baking tray and sculpt a dip out the top to put the cream into later.

    Bake the pavlovas for around an hour until they easily peel off the paper. 

    To make the coulis blend the berries and add a few teaspoons of icing sugar and some lemon juice to taste.

    Whisk the cream until thick and spoon onto the pavlovas, arrange the fruit on top and spoon over the passion fruit seeds and berry coulis.

1 comment:

  1. Your Citrus and Pomegranate salad looks beautiful!