Get romantic at home

By Drum Digital
17 May 2014

So you’ve decided to give busy restaurants and getting a babysitter a skip this year. There’s no reason why a meal at home can't be just as romantic as dining out. Give these delectable cheese and chocolate recipes a try and surprise your sweetheart.

So you’ve decided to give busy restaurants and getting a babysitter a skip this year. There’s no reason why a meal at home can't be just as romantic as dining out. Give these delectable cheese and chocolate recipes a try and surprise your sweetheart.

Traditional with a twist: pap sticks

Try these three variations of pap sticks as an alternative to bread sticks.

Preparation time: 30-45 min

Cooking time: 15 min

Serves 4-6

Pap

1 litre (4 cups) water

15 ml (1 tbsp) granulated chicken stock

750 ml (3 cups) maize meal

60 ml (1/4 cup) butter

With cheese

310 ml (11/4 cups) Cheddar cheese, grated

2,5 ml (1/2 tsp) cayenne pepper

With herbs

125 ml (1/2 cup) parsley and thyme, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

With seeds

375 ml (11/2 cups) sesame seeds

2 eggs

Dip

1 avocado, mashed

125 ml (1/2 cup) cream cheese

60 ml (1/4 cup) sweet chilli sauce

5 ml (1 tsp) lemon juice

Let’s make it:

Pap

Bring water to the boil and add chicken stock. Slowly add the maize meal. Combine well, using a whisk. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add butter and stir.

With cheese

Mix one third of the pap with the cheese and cayenne pepper. Pour onto a greased baking sheet.

With herbs

Mix one third of the pap with the herbs, salt and pepper. Pour onto a greased baking sheet. Cool ?all the pap. Cut into strips. Grill in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

With seeds

Pour the remaining pap on a greased baking sheet. Cut into strips. Dip each pap stick into the egg, then the sesame seeds. Grill for 5-10 minutes.

Dip

Mash all the ingredients together.

Meaty magic: fillet with blue cheese butter and mandarin sauce

Preparation time: 10 min

Cooking time: 20 min

Serves 3

Mandarin sauce

1 can (310 g) mandarin slices in sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) soy sauce

5 ml (1 tsp) ground ginger

80 ml (1/3 cup) sugar

3 spring onions, chopped

Herb butter

125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

125 ml (1/2 cup) blue cheese, such as gorgonzola

5 ml (1 tsp) each chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley

10 ml (2 tsp) crushed garlic

20 ml (4 tsp) pine nuts or pistachios

Beef fillet

1 beef fillet, cut into 5 cm-thick slices salt and pepper to taste

Vanilla-flavoured mashed potatoes and fried mushrooms to serve

Let’s make it

Sauce

Bring the sauce ingredients to the boil in a saucepan. Stirring continuously, simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Blitz the mixture in a food processor until smooth and strain through a sieve.

Herb butter

Blitz the ingredients in a food processor to make a paste. Shape into a roll, wrap in cling film and chill.

Fillet

Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper and grill in a heated cast-iron pan until cooked to the desired degree of doneness.

Put a slice of herb butter on each fillet and serve with the mandarin sauce, mashed potatoes and fried mushrooms.

Tip

How to make vanilla-flavoured mash: Cook three potatoes with one vanilla pod cut open and seeds not removed. When potatoes are cooked remove pod. Mash potatoes and add milk and butter to taste.

Something sweet: triple chocolate brownies

These are such a delicious chocolate indulgence and very easy to make.

Preparation time: 15 min

Cooking time: 25 min

Makes 20 squares

100 g (1 slab) dark chocolate

2,5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

125 g butter

4 eggs

15 ml (1 tbsp) vanilla essence

350 g castor sugar

225 g flour, sifted

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder

100 g (1 slab) milk chocolate

100 g (1 slab) white chocolate

Icing sugar

Let’s make it:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C. In a bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the dark chocolate, salt and butter until smooth. Roughly chop the milk and white chocolate and put in the freezer to harden.
  • Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla essence and sugar and mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add milk chocolate and white chocolate until well mixed.
  • Pour the mixture into?a lined and greased baking pan and tap gently to remove any air bubbles.
  • Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.
  • Finish off with a dusting?of icing sugar.

- Drum Food

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