I don't like going out for dinner on Valentine's Day. There is nothing romantic about paying over the odds for a meal and eating it squashed up next to a lot of other couples also on a date night. I prefer to do something a little bit special, and this year I decided to make a French inspired meal for my husband, spurred on by the Expedia France.
I love France and have been several times. They say Paris is the city of love, and there is definitely something romantic about the place, there are so many nice restaurants and beautiful places to see, how could it not be romantic. I love just walking around Paris, ducking into side streets and finding amazing restaurants just off the beaten track.
So this Valentines Day I tried to create a little bit of that at home with a special menu for a romantic evening. I made the hubby a Beef bourguignon with dauphinoise potatoes and heart shaped carrots, followed by creme brûlée, all served with red wine. We then enjoyed a little cheese, some more red wine, and finally some proper coffee - the perfect romantic dinner.
It was a really lovely evening, yummy homemade food, great company and we left the washing up until the morning!
I'm sharing the recipes here in case you want to recreate the romantic meal yourselves at home.
Main Course - Beef Bourguignon (serves 2)
700g diced beef stewing steak
½ teaspoon salt
1 /2 teaspoon pepper
75g pancetta cubes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
150 ml red wine
200 ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
50g button mushrooms, chopped
Fry the pancetta lardons in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Put aside and keep the fat. Using the bacon fat, sear the beef on all sides in a casserole dish and remove to a plate. Fry the onions in the casserole dish for a few minutes until soft then add the garlic and. After 2 minutes add the flour and stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the wine and give the dish a good stir, scraping the bottom of the dish. Add the remaining ingredients except the shallots and mushrooms, bring to a simmer and put in the oven for an hour at 120 degrees celsius. After an hour take out, gently fry the shallots and mushrooms for a few minutes then add to the casserole dish. Cook in the oven for another hour until the beef is cooked through. Season to taste.
Serve with carrots and potato dauphinoise.
100ml Double Cream
1 Crushed garlic Clove
50g Grated Gruyere Cheese
Peel and slice the potatoes thinly. Heat up the cream and milk in a large saucepan and add the crushed garlic. Bring to a simmer, add the potato slices and cook for 10 minutes. Butter a dish and add half the mixture, then a later of grated gruyere, followed by the rest of the potato mixture and some more gruyere. Bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.
Creme Brulee (makes 2)
2 egg yolks
½ vanilla pod
2 tablespoons caster sugar
200 ml double cream
2 Tsp dark brown soft sugar
Add the cream to a saucepan and scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the cream. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile mix the butter, yolks and caster sugar in a bowl. Bring the cream mixture back to the boil and slowly add to the eggs and sugar mixture, mixing all he time. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees celsius in a bain marie (a baking tray filled with water will do) for 30 minutes then until they have set with just a little bit of wobble left. Leave to cool completely. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and crystallise it using a blowtorch or a grill. Mine could have done with a bit longer under the grill.
We had a brilliant evening, I'd definitely recommend taking the time to cook each other a nice valentine's day meal, it was very romantic even though we were at home!
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