It’s Valentine’s Day on Thursday, so why not impress your loved one with a romantic evening at home and this delicious menu?
Caramelised onion and fig tart
Dukkah crusted salmon
Romeo sighs and Juliet kisses
FIG AND CARAMELISED ONION TART
250ml cake flour
3ml dry mustard powder
80g butter, cubed
125ml grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
ice water to mix
15ml olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
10ml castor sugar
30ml red wine
a handful of micro herbs
6 small black figs, halved
50g feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
olive oil for drizzling
PASTRY: Put the flour and mustard into a bowl and, using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the Parmesan.
Add the egg (reserve a little to brush over the pastry) and enough water to bring the dough together. Mix until smooth.
Wrap dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove and roll out on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out two large heart shapes. Place them on a greased baking tray and prick all over with a fork. Brush with some leftover egg and bake at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes until light golden brown.
TOPPING: Heat the oil and fry the onion over a gentle heat until soft. Add the butter, castor sugar and red wine and cook until nicely glazed. Remove and cool.
To assemble the tart, put the pastry onto a serving plate. Top with some micro herbs and a generous spoonful of caramelized onion. Add the figs and scatter over some feta. Season and drizzle with olive oil and serve.
* If you can’t find figs you can top the tart with your Valentine’s favourite ingredients like smoked salmon, baby tomatoes, cooked mushrooms or even roasted vegetables.
DUKKAH CRUSTED SALMON WITH POTATOES AND CARROTS
1-2 potatoes, peeled
oil for deep frying
1 punnet of rainbow carrots
2 portions of salmon
30g butter, melted
80ml prepared dukkah
Cut the potatoes into 1cm-thick slices. Use a heart-shaped cutter to press out 6-8 hearts.
Boil the hearts in a little water for 5 minutes until just soft. Drain well and dry.
Just before serving, fry the hearts in deep oil until crisp and golden brown.
Wash the carrots and place in a pot with a little water and the butter. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender.
Remove the lid and cook until the water has evaporated. Add the honey and some seasoning, and cook for a minute until nicely glazed.
Place the salmon onto a baking tray. Brush each piece generously with butter and season with salt and pepper.
Press a generous amount of dukkah on each piece and set aside in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.
Bake at 200°C for about 10-15 minutes until done.
CHOCOLATE PANNACOTTA WITH BERRIES
60ml castor sugar
100g dark chocolate, chopped
icing sugar to taste
Sprinkle gelatine onto the water and set aside.
Warm the cream and sugar in a pot until just boiling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Dissolve gelatine in the microwave for 10 seconds. Add to chocolate mixture. Stir well.
Pour the mixture into moulds or ramekins. Put in the fridge to set.
When ready to serve, dip the mould into hot water for a second and turn out onto a serving plate. Decorate with berry puree and whole berries.
BERRY PUREE: Puree half the berries with some icing sugar to taste. Press the mixture through a sieve to remove the pips.
ROMEO’S SIGHS AND JULIET’S KISSES
Makes about 20. In Italy, you can buy cookies dedicated to the famous couple. This is my version.
125ml castor sugar
5ml vanilla extract
50ml cocoa powder
chocolate hazelnut spread
For both flavours of biscuits, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.
For the vanilla biscuitsm beat in the vanilla extract, then add the flour to form a stiff dough. For the chocolate biscuits, sift the cocoa and flour and add it to the creamed mixture to form a stiff dough.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thickness. Cut out heart shapes. Place on to a greased baking tray and bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes until the white biscuits are a pale golden colour.
Remove and cool. Sandwich one white and one chocolate heart together with hazelnut chocolate spread. - The Star