George Bernard Shaw said that “there is no sincerer love than the love of food.” A statement I can very nearly endorse, as yesterday my love for food was second only to my love for the chap – my wonderful fiancé – who made me my food and what incredible food it was.
When Josh agreed to cook dinner on Monday night, I – after being prompted that this would be to mark St Valentine’s Day which I may have, ahem, forgotten – was stunned (momentarily only, of course) into silence. I had no idea what he would cook, as he tends to do other things in the house that don’t avoid getting too close to the kitchen, but was jolly excited about the whole adventure…
Well well well. My boy pulled it out of the bag. He cheffed up a gorgeous Salad Aveyronnaise to start, grilled lobster tails for main and (cheated!) with a Gü key lime pie for puds. We listened to songs about New Orleans and drank champers and it was an absolutely wonderful Valentine’s meal. Topped only by curling up to watch Harry Hill on the sofa afterwards, with no expensive taxi ride or smelly bus journey home. Result. The only possible problem is that having wowed me with his culinary prowess he can no longer drop the “I can’t cook line”… he may live to regret this.
Salad Aveyronnaise Ingredients (for two):
* a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved *1 garlic clove *drizzle extra virgin olive oil *2 tbsps walnuts *a handful of baby spinach and rocket leaves *small handful of basil leaves *small pack of pancetta *30g Roquefort cut into little chunks *olive oil, mustard, balsamic vinegar for the dressing
1. Put the tomatoes in a small roasting tin and top with crushed or chopped garlic. Season, drizzle with oil and roast for about 15 mins at a medium temperature in the oven. Keep them warm once roasted.
2. Toast the walnuts until glossy and fragrant and chop them roughly. Keep warm or serve immediately.
3. When ready to eat the salad, heat the pancetta (or bacon lard-ons) in a pan for a few mins until lightly browned.
4. Toss the salad leaves and basil and season. Plate up, then add the warm walnuts, hot pancetta, roasted tomatoes, crumbs of Roquefort and whip up a dressing (Josh made his famous balsamic-mustard dressing) and drizzle before scoffing.
Grilled Lobster Tail Ingredients (for two)
*2 Lobster tails (we had Maine lobster from the Waitrose fish counter) *25g butter *25g plain flour *250ml semi skimmed milk, warmed *60g freshly grated parmigiana reggiano *1 tsp Dijon mustard *rocket, lemon wedges and chips to serve
1. Cut each of the lobster tails in half lengthways by inserting a sharp knife in the centre of the tail and cutting right through the fish and the shell to one end. Turn the whole tail around, keeping the cut side uppermost. Repeat the process to end with the whole tail cut into 2 equal pieces. Place in a heatproof dish, cut-side up.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and, using a wooden spoon, mix together to a thick paste. Cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time. Gradually add the warmed milk, stirring between each addition, until the sauce is thick and creamy. Reduce the heat to low and stir in 3/4 of the cheese and all of the mustard. Season.
3. Preheat the grill to very high. Cook the lobster tails in the dish under the grill for 5 minutes. (Cover the lobster tails with foil to prevent them from getting too brown). Remove from the oven and cover the tails with the cheese sauce, spooned equally between them. Then sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Grill for 4-5 minutes until bubbling, golden and the lobster is cooked through.
4. Serve the lobster with rocket and chips and great music, something bubbly and your best friend in the whole world (shucks, sorry for getting sentimental…).