Valentine's Day Dinner Idea

11 February 2014

Eating out on Valentine's Day can be very tricky. Heading to some overpriced, overcrowded restaurant for food that’s just....blah. Avoid the trashy and cheesy decorations, red roses and chocolates and do something a little more personal which, I can guarantee will give you lots of brownie points.

I've come up with a delicious three-course meal that is simple yet so good. Seeing as I like to be nice and helpful, I'm going to break it all down in to a step-by-step guide for you. Plus, you'll also save money, keep dry and warm from the horrid weather and, get to spend some time with your loved one. 

Shell-on prawns in a garlic and chilli butter
Steak with double-cooked chips and Bearnaise sauce
Banoffee Pie

The night before:
Don't leave it until the last minute to grab your ingredients. Head to the supermarket, butchers, deli, etc the day before to get everything. That way if you do forget something on the day, it's not a massive stress.

Shopping list:
2 x packs of shell-on prawns
3 x cloves of garlic
Chilli flakes

2 steaks - my favourite is Rib-eye but, it's up to you what cut you choose
Jar of Bearnaise sauce (Maille is my favourite brand) 
3 large potatoes
Sunflower oil

3 Bananas
500ml of Whipping cream
1 Pack of plain digestive biscuits
1 tin of caramel (Dulche de Leche) 

As many bottles of Champagne/Prosecco/Cava as you wish. Most supermarkets have great offers on these right now so don't spend too much.

Making the base of the Banoffee Pie
Grab some of your Digestive biscuits and, in a bowl smash them up until they're crumbs. Heat some butter in a small saucepan and mix the crumbs and butter together. Once all mixed in, tip into a pie dish and squidge down until it's all compact. Place in the fridge overnight so it sets well. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
On the night - first things first:
Start by pouring yourself a drink and whacking some music on to get you in the mood (My personal favourite to cook to is Prince). Then, peel your potatoes and cut them into chips. Wash them under cold water for 5 minutes to get the starch off. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Once this is done, put them in a saucepan of cold water and cook until the chips look as if they're about to fall apart. Drain and place them on a plate, on a windowsill with the window open to dry them. 

Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. Once really really hot, start cooking your chips (in small batches) until they start to get a little 'crust' on them. Take them out and place on the same plate, and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

Now, take your steaks out of the fridge. This is important as it will help them get up to room temperature. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
By this point, your date should've arrived. Pour them a glass of cold Champagne/Cava/Prosecco before cracking on with your first course.

Starter: Shell-on prawns in a garlic and chilli butter
Put a large knob (teehee) of the butter in a pan over a medium-high heat. When this is nearly all melted, add the crushed garlic and chilli flakes. Once the butter starts to bubble and the garlic is getting a little soft, add your prawns and cook for 8-10 minutes or until they start to turn a slight golden colour. Serve straight from the pan. If you want, cut up some bread to mop the sauce up and, make sure you have plates for the shells and a bowl of water to wash your fingers in.
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
So tasty they'll be gone in minutes. 

Now, top up your glasses and get back to the kitchen. 

Main Course: Steak with double-cooked chips and Bearnaise sauce
Take your chips out of the fridge and heat up the saucepan of oil again. Fry them in small batches until they turn a lovely golden colour. Sprinkle some sea salt over them and place them in the oven whilst you're cooking your steaks. 

I'm a huge fan of steak and, a little bit of a snob when it comes to eating it - it has to be done the right way! Otherwise, you can end up with a grey slab of meat that tastes of nothing. So, with that little rant over, I'm going to share some tips from the steak experts at Hawksmoor. Seriously, they are major know-it-alls when it comes to preparing and cooking meat so listen up. Oh, and buy their cookbook - it's amazing!

Prepping steak tips
  • If you can, get your steak from the Butcher. It only works out to be a couple of quid more than buying them in the supermarket. 
  • Take them out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking. This will get them up to room temperature.
  • If your steak is wet, pat it dry with a paper towel. Otherwise, it will struggle to perform a decent crust
  • Leave it to the VERY last minute to season your meat. More than you probably think - it will help build up a yummy salty crust
  • Don't use any oil on the meat or in the pan. If it's hot enough, the meat won't stick. Also, oil can add a hint of flavour that doesn't sit well with beef. 
Everyone has their own way of how they like their steak cooked. I am a massive fan of rare - the more red, the better. But, that isn't to everyone's taste. Here are a few tips on how to cook your steak.

Cooking steak tips
  • Get your pan really really hot. 
  • Leave the steak in the pan for a couple of minutes, and then flip it. Carry on turning every couple of minutes until it's how you like it. 
  • Rare - 2 mins on each side, Medium - 3 mins on each side
  • If there's a thick layer of fat on your steak, hold it up and brown it. 
  • When you're happy with it, put the steak on to a warm plate and leave to REST for 5 minutes. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Serve with your chips and Bearnaise sauce. The heart shaped serving board is optional but, I couldn't resist (Available from Homesense).

Dessert: Banoffee Pie
Grab your buttery biscuit base out of the fridge and start to whip your cream until it's all lovely and fluffy. Spoon out the caramel onto the base and smooth over so it covers the whole thing. 
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Then, slice your bananas up and place on top of the caramel, before spooning the whipped cream on top. If you're feeling extra naughty, grate some chocolate over the top before serving.
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next
Carry on the night however you wish - after eating all this food, you'll probably just want to curl up on the sofa and not move for the rest of the night. But, I have an idea that will get you up on your feet and having more fun in a jiffy.

Here's a sneak peek. Come back tomorrow for a proper nose
Valentine's Day Dinner Idea by What Laura did Next

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