Imagine a leisurely afternoon in the company of your special someone; the warmth of shared memories, the pleasure of a deep, belly laugh, your favourite tunes playing softly in the background and the tantalizing aroma of a slowly simmered meal wafting about the air. Doesn’t that sound incomparably superior to a stiff, hurried meal with a cookie cutter fixed menu at a ridiculously expensive restaurant? This can be your Valentine’s Day with a loved one; hours of meaningful conversation, cooking food you both actually relish and dining at your own pace.
Love the idea but stretched on time and find cooking a romantic meal too daunting? That’s okay. Celebrate Valentine’s Day on an afternoon or evening convenient to both of you and read on for suggestions and ideas that will ease the pressure and making cooking together a pleasurable activity.
A good Valentine’s menu should feel special but special doesn’t imply a whole day spent slaving away in the kitchen. Neither you nor your partner will be able to enjoy the occasion. The key, then, is to be realistic in your culinary goals, to plan ahead of time and to outsource the unsexy parts where you can. And that’s where we, Godrej Natures Basket come in. With our extensive range of gourmet ingredients, planning and cooking a memorable meal with your loved one is going to be a delightful experience. Our stores are stocked with fresh & exotic fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, nuts and dairy products that can be matched with any one of our luxurious wines. So go ahead and make a plan for this eventful meal.
One rich source of inspiration would be to re-create a meal from your first date, wedding, vacation or another such significant lunch or dinner together. A great idea is to tailor a menu incorporating aphrodisiacal ingredients. Some of these are olive oil, figs, strawberries, banana, honey, salmon, chocolate, pine nuts, arugula, artichokes, asparagus, red wine and champagne. These ingredients easily lend themselves to dishes from Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. One of you can make a simple arugula-strawberry salad with shavings of bittersweet chocolate to begin.
Make a thick, pink salmon steak the star of dinner by cooking it en papilotte. Bake it in a bag made of parchment paper for 20 minutes with blanched and seasoned fennel, potato and carrot slices, garlic, thyme, olive oil & salt-pepper. Nestled in the package, the ingredients cook in their own juices. And when you snip the papillote open before your partner, dinner reveals itself in a cloud of dramatic steam. (For guys, especially, this is a no-fuss way to cook an impressive dinner.)
A Valentine’s meal is not complete without dessert. This is the time to go for simple, fail-proof desserts that are big on flavour; think of spiced up with chili, pears poached in red wine or a wobbly panna cotta. Round out the meal by opening up a bottle of champagne. Valentine’s Day seems the perfect opportunity to splurge a little and toast your cooking success.
Some basic guidelines to pulling off a meal without tearing your hair is to divide the tasks; she on stirring while he arranges the table or he can measure the ingredients needed while she keeps an eye on the oven timing. Another tip is outsource certain components like chopping veggies or baking the bread. Cut out the messy parts and pick up pre-cut veggies and freshly baked sourdough boules or dinner rolls. Serve up easy to assemble appetizers like a cheese board with some nuts, dried fruit and crackers. Or create capers with thin slices of bread. Make a pitcher of your chosen drink to keep from having to mix when you run out. But when your food is in the oven, the sauce simmering, the dessert chilling in the fridge, remember to create the ambiance that will do justice to your meal. Light some candles, put out some flowers in vases. But when everything is said and done, relax and enjoy yourself.