And they call it tummy love

2010-01-30 00:00

CELEBRATE Valentine’s Day with a candlelit dinner for two — at home.

After careful deliberation I’ve come up with aphrodisiac combinations to tantalise your palate. You can’t avoid the usual — oysters or any shellfish, smoked salmon, chocolate and strawberries — and remember the more unfamiliar options of lavender, asparagus, bananas and even mushrooms.

To put a sparkle into your romantic evening, a glass of bubbles promises to set the tone. I remember being served champagne with a dash of chestnut essence in a French two-star Michelin restaurant. This unusual touch gave me the idea of freezing fresh berries and adding them to sparkling wine to enhance the fruitiness. Chill your glasses for extra pleasure. Romantic!

A starter of smoked sal­mon rolls filled with horseradish crème and topped with micro greens is delectable. Add herbed croutons, cherry tomatoes, red onions and a squeeze of fresh le­mon juice, and the result is a mouth-watering explosion of textures and flavours. Dreamy!

An orange and Cointreau granita, semi-frozen ice, with freshly-picked rose geranium and smoky campfire olives is a superb palate cleanser. Enticing!

After the delicately flavoured first course, I suggest a robust main dish. Pan-seared beef fillet, cooked to your required preference, with fresh asparagus and an intense garlic and mushroom risotto will fill your heart and satisfy your appetite. Superb!

Dessert means time to relax so serve something effortless such as crispy crunchy popcorn, smooth-textured Turkish delight and decadent hand-made chocolate truffles. However, if you still have the energy, I suggest heart-shaped la­vender biscuits. Serve these with a white chocolate and lemon mousse finished with hot roasted hazelnuts, pomegranate rubies and Belgian chocolate sauce. Always a hit!

I prefer ending a meal on a savoury note and my current favourite is creamy gorgonzola-filled strawberries, and camembert topped with honey, white-wine poached apples, finely sliced celery and walnuts. Perfection!

Prepare well and your evening will be stress free.

 

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I look forward to hearing from you — Jackie Cameron (head chef, Hartford House, 033 263 2713).

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