It’s February, we all need a little pick me up after January, and what better way than a nice romantic meal to celebrate the season of love! And because we love our readers so much we have a little surprise competition at the end of this blog… so keep on reading!
One thing I love to do for Valentines is to cook a nice meal, I mean let’s face it… the restaurants are crowded and overpriced and at least if you cook at home there is no need for a designated driver. You can both enjoy a nice glass of wine with your meal. But what to cook… this year Valentines Day is on a weeknight, so most likely you’ll be whipping up this feast after a long day at work. You do not want to be slaving over a hot stove after slaving over a computer all day! Here are our tips to put a quick but delicious meal on the table to wow your significant other.
1. Don’t make it all from scratch
- I would always suggest you buy at least one course. Your starter could be a lovely selection of meats, breads and dips for example. Nothing more complicated than some packets to be opened! Dessert is another good one to purchase, simply decant, garnish with some fresh fruit and you have a really nice finish to the meal.
2. Make something ahead of time
Always get a head start on things if you can! So if you want to make a starter, make a nice soup. This can be made the day ahead and kept in the fridge, simply heat and serve. You could also set the table the night before, this is my golden rule of entertaining. It is one less thing to worry about on the night and is a real time saver.
Keep it simple! Don’t over complicate the situation, make a nice one pot meal, or grill a steak. Good ingredients will speak for themselves. I like to get out my trusty Le Creuset and make some slow cooked ribs. Served with proper creamy mash and there really is nothing better. I have included the recipe here so you can try it for yourself! Prep time is 10 minutes, then it’s simply bubble on the stove while you get on with opening all those Valentines cards!
*3tbsp plain flour
*1.3kg pork spare ribs, cut into 2-rib sections
*6tbsp olive oil
*1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
*2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
*2tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
*15 fresh sage leaves, shredded
*3 bay leaves
*200ml dry white wine
*300ml hot vegetable stock
*1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
*1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dust the ribs with the seasoned flour. Heat half the oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat. When very hot, fry the ribs in batches for about 3 minutes each side or until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl or plate.
2 Pour in the remaining oil. Add the onion, garlic and herbs and fry for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft.
3 Increase the heat and add the wine. Bring to the boil and let bubble for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring.
4 Return the ribs to the pan with any juices. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender and the sauce slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the nutmeg. Serve immediately with crusty bread to mop up the juices or a deliciously creamy mash.
Add a glass or two of a good Italian red and dinner is served!
Like the Italian, the French are also known for their love of all things romance, so to celebrate Valentines we have teamed up with classic French brand Le Creuset to help you cook this meal in style!
To be in with a chance to win an amazing 29cm Oval Le Creuset Casserole worth €290, simply:
– Pop over to our Facebook page and tell us what your favourite romantic recipe is and who will be sharing a romantic dinner with this Valentine’s Day?
The winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day and will be able to choose from one of three colours: Cerise, Volcanic or Almond.