As we all endure the pain of a lock-downed nation and we can’t go out to a restaurant this February, why not bring the fine dining home, and cook your significant other a tasty meal this Valentine’s Day, cementing your place in the much desired ‘Good Books’.
Pork Valentine with Sautéed Onions & Potato, with an array of roasted Vegetables.
You can’t really get much more Valentinesee than this can you, it even says it in its name. Pork ‘Valentine’ steaks are named this after their resemblance to the heart shaped figure, which is sure to win over your other half before they even taste it. Match the looks of it up with a delightfully, moist and juicy taste and texture, and it’s sure to be a winner. When it comes to making the Potatoes & Onions, simply sauté them both in one pan, allowing them to share their taste onto one another. Topped off by an array of vegetables. This dish will work well with whatever vegetables you both enjoy. Simply cut them up into smaller chunks and roast them in the oven, until you are happy with their taste and texture.
Top Tip: Make some gravy (or whatever pouring sauce you both like), add some smaller chunks of the vegetables into that before pouring it over the dish, this will give the gravy an extra additional taste as well as adding some beautifully juicy piece of veg over the whole dish, making it look even more colourful and appealing to the eye than before.
Chicken and Veg Pie Topped with Soft & Crispy Mashed Potato
A British classic with this pie. To make this, simply cut up some chicken fillets into smaller pieces and cook them beforehand, before leaving them to the side, these will be adding into the pie crust later on. Now when it comes to the pie crust, you can either try and make your own, or simply buy a ready made one. We’ve found that buying ready made ones taste just as nice as homemade, but saves you the time and hassle of going through with it, so it really is up to you as to how far you want to take this. Once this is either all cooked, or you’re ready to add the fillings into it, add the cooked chicken and the vegetables of your choosing into a pan with the sauce that you prefer. When it comes to my own personal sauce, I choose a creamy chicken sauce, which again can be bought from almost any supermarket. Once these are all in the pan, add a low heat and constantly stir them, making it seem as if they are all one big, thick sauce. Once they’re warm and have been mixed together, add them into the pie crust. Top them off by covering it with some cooked mash and flatten so it’s all of an even height and smooth-ish. Simply place in the oven and wait for the pastry to brown a little and the mash to crust on top, adding an outside layer of crunch yet an inside layer of a smooth and creamy taste. Once complete, this dish will look a bit like our popular Mixed Fish Pie, except for the mash being a lot whiter due to not having parsley mixed in with it, as that’s only really used with seafood.
Once this is all done, serve between your plates with any extra add-ons being more than welcome, a popular additional feature is gravy and some more vegetables to go on the side of the pie, like asparagus tips and broccoli shoots.
Top Tip: If you’d like your pie to be more meaty, simply add more meat to it. This could be anything, from more pieces of chicken, to even adding another meat into the mix, either way, it’ll taste exceptional. Just make sure that the meat is cooked before adding it to the pie crust.
For this creamy beef stroganoff, all you’ll need is an onion, a couple beef steaks, chestnut mushrooms, beef consommé, crème fraiche, beef stock, 2 garlic cloves and a side dish of your choice. So how do we make it? Add the onion to a medium heated frying pan, allowing them to caramelise before adding in the garlic and beef consommé. While this sauce cooks, add the beef steaks onto a griddle (or frying pan) and cook on each side for 2 minutes on a high heat, allowing them to brown. Once the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat and stir through the crème fraiche and the juices from the beef steak pan. As that simmers, cut the meat into thick slices and stir into the sauce. Once they’re all in the pan together, add a low heat and prep the side dish. Once the side has been plated up and the stroganoff is hot, add them together, and Bon Appétit.
Vegan Sausage Roll
Now I know you’re reading that title trying to work out how it can be vegan, and a sausage roll. Well, it’s not a pork sausage like you might be imagining, no, it’s sweet potato and chickpeas. Now there’s no way that the person you’re making this for won’t be impressed, with both the taste and the effort that you’ve taken to ensure this dish is completely meat free, despite the name!
To make this, all you need to do is cut the sweet potatoes into small chunks and oven cook them for around 20 minutes, until they are soft, then add to a bowl with the chickpeas (ensure they are rinsed and drained first though), and add any herbs and seasoning you may like within this, before mashing together. Roll out your pastry sheet & cut in half so you have a few rectangles (however many rolls you want to make), before dividing the chickpea mixture in however many rolls you’re making, then place the mixture down the centre of each pastry rectangle. And there you have it, a vegan friendly, meat free sausage roll ready to cook. All you need to do now is make a couple of cuts in the top of each pastry for air holes, and place on a baking tray & cook at around 200 Degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown & crispy. These can be served either hot or cold, and go excellent with a nice portion of homemade chips…and a bottle of wine!
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Now I know a lot of meat eaters will be sat here reading this thinking they don’t really want to have a vegan dessert, and that surely there must be some vital ingredients being skipped in the making, but that is where you would be wrong, as this dish is just as tasty as the original version, so please persevere, and maybe even try it for yourself. Who knows, it might even open your eyes to a new way of cooking.
It tastes just like the real thing, its creamy, smooth & everything a good chocolate mousse should be. Plus, the best thing about it is that it can be made in only a matter of minutes, and it’s made up of only 3 ingredients, any dairy free chocolate of your choice, avocados and some coconut cream.
To make this, all you need to do is put a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, then break up the dairy free chocolate into small chunks, before adding them to the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt, before setting it aside to slightly cool. Whilst the chocolate is cooling, scoop the flesh out of the avocado (remove the stone) and pulse, making it go like a thick liquid-like texture. Add the coconut cream to this and pulse again, ensuring it’s all mixed together thoroughly. Once the chocolate has cooled, but not gone cold, add it to the mixture, before pulsing it once again. This should make a nice creamy and smooth texture. Finally, pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. And there you have it, a creamy, vegan friendly chocolate mousse, with a lot less calories than what you would get from a restaurant.
And there you go, a variety of different meals eligible for all types of different dietary plans. Happy Valentine’s Day.