Valentine's weekend delights for your special someone

FOOD

Steamed clams and mussels cooked in a chilli and bacon broth with rocket.

Steamed clams and mussels cooked in a chilli and bacon broth with rocket.

Valentine’s Day, romance is in the air. The cards and the presents will be exchanged, but will everyone get out for a romantic meal? As Valentine’s has fallen on a Tuesday this year many restaurants are spreading the love over the whole weekend, and Monday and Tuesday, and why not?

If you do not fancy eating out, but want to celebrate the big day at home, here are a few easy, yet delicious, food ideas that you can make in your own kitchen. These are a few choices on our Valentine’s menu in Knock House Hotel this year.

Steamed clams and mussels cooked in a chilli and bacon broth with rocket

For the adventurous cook, here is a succulent fishy starter to get you in the mood and will be perfect for two people.

Ingredients

½ lb mussels

½ lb clams

1 medium onion (cut in half and sliced thin )

2 teaspoons garlic (minced )

1 streaky rasher (cut into fine strips )

1 pinch red chilli flakes

Good splash of white wine

2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped fine )

1 handful of rocket leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method

Get your shellfish from your local shop, and make sure that you wash the mussels and clams in cold water before you cook them. If any of the shellfish have opened, throw them out as they are dead and dangerous to eat. In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and bring to medium high heat. Add the onion, bacon, and garlic and sauté a couple of minutes.

Add the wine, chilli, clams and mussels to the pan and reduce the heat to medium and cover. Simmer approximately five to seven minutes until the clams and mussels begin to open. Turn the heat off and add the butter, rocket leaves, and parsley and stir well. Don't overcook the fish. You just want to make sure they all open well.

Serve with crusty bread. I like to drizzle with olive oil before toasting, then rub with a garlic clove and a tomato. Just cut a tomato in half and rub over the bread. It has amazing flavour. The broth and onions in the broth are a great topping to the bread with.

Fillet mignon with rich balsamic glaze

This is an elegant and quick romantic dinner for two. Wonderful served with steamed asparagus and baby potatoes.

FILLETT

Ingredients

2 (4 ounce ) fillet steaks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup dry red wine

Method

Sprinkle freshly ground pepper and salt over both sides of each steak, and rub a small bit of olive oil on both sides. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Place steaks in hot pan, and cook for one minute on each side, or until browned.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover, and cook for four minutes on each side, basting with sauce when you turn the meat over. Remove steaks to two warmed plates, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each, and serve immediately. Serve with some nice vegetables and potatoes. It really is love on a plate.

Chocolate-cinnamon pudding with raspberries

It is Valentine's Day, so you have to have some tasty and sweet dessert to finish off the evening.

CHOC

Ingredients

½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ cup corn flour

2/3 cup of brown sugar (for the pudding )

1 tablespoon brown sugar (for the cream )

2 ½ cups milk

1 ¼ cups cream

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 ½ cups fresh raspberries, or frozen raspberries, thawed

Method

In a heavy saucepan, combine the cocoa, cinnamon, corn flour, and 2/3 cup of brown sugar. Whisk in the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream. Over medium-low heat, bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour into individual ramekins or a large bowl and press cling film directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Whip the remaining heavy cream with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Serve the pudding warm or chilled with the raspberries and whipped cream. What could be more satisfying and easy to assemble! Perfection, love and simplicity on a plate.

If anyone wants a recipe for anything at all, do not hesitate to contact me on my e-mail, [email protected].

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