I earned the opprobrium of NCCLOLS for the menu I cooked for CDWM which was a little heavy on the meat for his liking, being as how he’s veggie.
I can cook veggie; we try and eat meat free a couple of nights a week. And when our veggie friends come round I can whip up a lovely veggie meal.
Tonight is Valentine’s Day, and we don’t usually go out for it, at least not on the actual day of the 14th. We usually try and have a nice meal out on an adjacent day. We’ve read Waiter’s Rant, and we know that avoiding restaurants on their busiest day in the year is probably a savvy idea, what with them trying to rush customers through, serving up a diminished menu, and bumping into the punters all night. (Read about it here and here if you’re not familiar with Waiter’s Rant on Valentine’s Day.)
When thinking what to make, I ended up with a practically vegan starter and pud, then thought, what the hell, I’ll carry on with a veggie main. (OK, I’ll confess, I had been thinking about getting steaks, then remembered the good butcher is closed Mondays)
So, the starter will be a red pepper velouté, to remind us of a lovely supper we had at Hotel les Cygnes on the banks of Lake Geneva a few years ago. We ordered, then these strange tiny soups, which weren’t anywhere on the menu, and which we probably couldn’t afford, appeared. They were the amuse bouche. The meal was sensational, but mostly memorable for the storm that brewed up halfway through. We’d been eating outside on the terrace, watching the lake, when the wind picked up and it started tipping it down. All the staff worked double quick to get the diners indoors before the rain really hit. They also had an incredibly impressive cheese trolley.
The pud will be pears poached in red wine. I still had uneaten pears after last week’s dubiously spelled tarte, and there’s wine and spices knocking around: wine, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. Serve with yoghurt and honey. This was the dessert we had at our wedding, so there’s the memories for ya.
And for the main? I always end up thinking of mains last. But I think it will be a quichey thing, probably based on this recipe. Somewhere I have a heart shaped tin, so I will make it in that, and serve it with a salad, and spicy potato wedges.
And for afters-afters, I will make some cointreau truffles rolled in cocoa powder and set in little paper cases I have been waiting for an excuse to use. This reminds me (but won’t remind P) of a two colleagues, the one reviewing the other’s dinner party skills: “She goes a bit mad… she even makes her own chocolates!” If it’s faffing around tempering chocolate or delicately melting a couverture or lining moulds before filling with violet cremes… I can see that would be de trop. But simple truffles, particularly if made the day before, should be easily achievable for any kind of dinner party. Melt equal quantities of chocolate and cream, add a little butter and a splash of liqueur of some sort, stir well and fridge overnight. Scoop a small quantity of the chilled chocolate cream the following day, and roll in cocoa powder. I’m sure the irritating foreign chipmunks have a word for how easy that might be.