The Valentine’s Day dinner worth staying in for

5 mins read

There are loads of pros to cooking your own V-day dinner: your date will be impressed, you will save some cash, you two will avoid loud over-crowded places, and will instead enjoy some (hopefully) good food in intimate and cosy surroundings.

Put out some candles, start a jazzy playlist, and get your apron on. Choose the main dish – either red meat, fish or veggie – that the two of you prefer, pair it up with a no-fail chocolate mousse cake, and have a grand night.

Pan roasted duck breast with raspberry sauce

4 duck breast fillets
4 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
100ml dry red wine
100g raspberries
2 tsp. sea salt
a splash of crème de cassis liqueur

Mix the sea salt, sugar and cinnamon and spread the mix over the duck breast fillets. Score the duck with a knife by cutting some lines into its skin, and fry on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and let rest.

Mix together the red wine and crème de cassis and simmer on a medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, until it thickens. Then add the raspberries and continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Slice the duck breasts and pour thin currents of sauce over the pieces. Serve warm with crusty bread and salad.

Maple salmon

¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound salmon
salt and pepper

Mix the maple syrup, soy, garlic, and salt and pepper, and spread the mixture all over the salmon. Place the salmon in a shallow baking dish, cover it, and place in the fridge to marinate for up to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the salmon uncovered, until easily flaked with a fork. Serve with a green salad.

Lentil ‘meatballs’ with lemon pesto

2 cups cooked lentils
2 eggs
¾ cup ricotta
¼ grated parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. each of parsley and thyme
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

For the lemon pesto:
1 jar green Pesto Sauce
¼ cup grated parmesan
zest and juice of two lemons

Use a blender to mash up the lentils, then combine them with the eggs, the cheeses, the garlic, parsley and thyme, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Brush them with a bit of olive oil if you would like a crust. Bake at 200°C for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden.

For the lemon pesto, combine the green pesto, parmesan, lemon juice and zest in a bowl, and allow to cool properly in the fridge. Serve the lentil balls drizzled with the lemon pesto, with some pasta on the side.

Mocha mousse cake

350g plain cooking chocolate
300g butter, softened and cubed
5 tbsp. cognac
100ml strong filter coffee or espresso
6 egg yolks
8 egg whites
Pinch of salt

For the glaze:
150g dark chocolate
120ml rapeseed oil

In a saucepan, over a low heat, combine the coffee and cooking chocolate. Add the cubed butter into the coffee mixture gradually, stirring well after each addition. Remove pan from heat and add the yolks one at a time, stirring well. Add the cognac, mix well and set aside.

Place the egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour into a heart-shaped tin, and place in the fridge for 12 hours.

The following day, prepare the chocolate glaze. Over low heat, melt the dark chocolate in a saucepan. Add oil, remove from heat and mix well. Pour glaze over the mousse cake. Place in the fridge for up to an hour. Serve with cream or Bailey’s.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

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Hi there. I'm Irina, a student/staff member at University of Stirling, studying English and Journalism.

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