Valentines Home-Cooked Food Ideas

Sometimes it just makes more sense to have a romantic, cosy night in for Valentines Day. With overcrowded restaurants, overpriced food and the cost of getting a babysitter in for the evening or a taxi home later on as well as gifts and cards for your significant other, it can be a less than relaxing evening. Instead, take your pick of one of these delicious menu ideas, grab a good bottle of fizz and take to the kitchen. A lot of these ideas can be prepared in advance or take little time to cook so you can simply enjoy each others company.

We’ve said it before and I’m sure we’ll be saying it many more times to come – we love a baked Camembert. Easy to prepare and deliciously naughty, we love it with some fresh, crusty bread and a balsamic glaze but you can jazz it up as cricket-st-thomas-camembert-220gmuch as you like. Score the top of the cheese and add some fresh rosemary and garlic before baking, pair with a variety of chutneys, add some finely chopped bacon – the opportunities for this baked box of goodness are endless. Why not try this Somerset Camembert made by Lubborn Cheese at Cricket St Thomas, Somerset full of delicious buttery flavours and a soft, edible white rind?

pateA simple starter that requires no preparation and is ready in the time it takes to burn some toast, this rich paté with some fruity chutney and peppery rocket is sure to hit the spot. Try our coarse cut duck paté  with orange zest and mixed herbs, paired with a Waterhouse Fayre handmade chutney for a truly delicious starter.

Create a restaurant style dish at home with cod lointhis baked cod loin wrapped in proscuitto ham full of the flavours of summer. We like this with some roasted Mediterranean vegetables and sauteed potatoes but if you’re feeling more adventurous, or really want to bring out those fishy flavours, try making a creamy crab risotto to go with it and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Steak is becoming more of a staple for home stilton3cooked Valentines dinners and we can see the appeal – ready in minutes and with lots of sides to tempt you it’s the perfect meal to indulge and treat yourself and your partner. Serve with chunky, thick cut chips, roasted tomato and crunchy onion rings. We like experimenting with sauces so instead of traditional peppercorn why not try a luxurious Stilton sauce instead made with the rich and creamy Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton?

To be honest we’re not really dessert people so forgoing dessert we’ve chosen a locally sourced cheeseboard with crisp crackers, grapes, apple and chutneys 486-1instead. This is something you can pick at later in the evening after a few glasses of wine when you’re not feeling quite so full and the fresh fruit and maybe a few sticks of celery will make you feel not quite so decadent. How about a classic, rich mature Cheddar from Quicke’s, smooth and creamy Cornish Brie from Trevarrian Creamery, fresh tasting Devon Blue from Ticklemore Cheese and deliciously flavoured with pungent garlic leaves Lynher Dairies Garlic Yarg? Of course a cheeseboard can be filled with any of your favourite cheeses and these are just a few of those we think would work together, experiment and see what works for you.


Have you tried paté?

Paté is one of those foods that if you haven’t tried it is distinctly unappealing, it doesn’t look like something you would willingly put in your mouth and just a quick look at the ingredients list leaves you running for the hills. What are you supposed to do with this loaf of minced meat that screams of 1970s dinner parties in the same way that prawn cocktail does? But if you manage to get over all of that, paté can be utterly delicious especially when paired with the right accompaniments.
FarmhousePate_7l7l-jcClassic paté is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece as a way of utilizing every part of the animal to provide livelihood and prevent wastage. Traditionally it had a homely, rustic appeal but there has now been a shift in how patés and terrines are viewed, with some even appearing in Michelin starred restaurants as well as on your own kitchen table. There are many different types of paté from smoked fish to traditional chicken liver as well as the more chunky terrines. We’ve kept things simple and listed a few of them below.

Lets start with one of the most popular here in the UK, Brussels paté. This is smooth textured and usually made using pork and liver and flavoured with garlic, black pepper and cloves.
Ardennes paté is coarser in texture than Brussels but is made using roughly the same ingredients, pork, liver and fat and flavoured with mixed herbs and spices.
Duck and Orange paté, the clue is in the name, is made using duck and pork liver  and is flavoured with orange zest and mixed herbs.
Farmhouse campagne paté is perhaps the best known of them all, made using pork liver and flavoured with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, this is a coarse textured paté with mountains of flavour.

So now you know your patés, but when should you eat them and what should you be eating them with? Patés can be enjoyed as a simple yet effective starter with freshly made toast and perhaps a dollop of fruity chutney or as lunch dish with a warm, crusty baguette or roll. They are even at home alongside slices of meat, cheese, breads, olives and chutneys in an antipasto platter. Whatever you fancy, there is a paté for that and we’re sure you’ll find one that you love. Go on, give it a go.