VALENTINE’S DAY MENU
Happy Valentine’s day to all our old and new readers!
Whether or not you’re a fan of this annual ‘day of love’, we somehow all get roped into celebrating it, don’t we? But one thing we can all agree on (especially if you’re here, reading this) is that the way to your Valentine’s heart is through their stomach!
I have learnt through the years that it is better to avoid the restaurant crowds and, more often than not, the disappointing food, and rather to cook something special and delicious at home. Few things feel more special than a steak-house quality steak, some crispy golden chips, a creamy sauce and a little green salad on the side, wouldn’t you agree? So that’s what I cook when I want to spoil my better half.
We have covered cooking the ultimate steak at length in previous blogs (See our “Steak secrets” blog post for more tips and delicious sauces), so I won’t bang on too much about it again. This time, I’ll be focusing on the perfect chip, because what could be more satisfying with a perfectly cooked Cape to Cairo Blou Bull Rump Steak than the ultimate fry? Think crunchy, golden and crispy on the outside and fluffy and cloud-like inside… yum!
We also have a seductive-looking cocktail that you can shake or stir together to get the party going. If you prefer to add vodka, rum or even brandy to it, be my guest. The mix is ever so forgiving.
And to finish, there’s the most decadent red velvet cupcakes you can imagine – easy to make and even easier to devour!
FLIRTY FORAL COCKTAILS
Leave out the alcohol for a delicious “mocktail”. If you are opting for the booze, I usually add about two tots (30ml) per cocktail.
Makes 2 to 4
For the ice cubes:
Handful of edible flowers, mint or berries
½ cup (125ml) Roses Passionfruit Cordial
½ cup (125ml) water
For the cocktail:
Gin, to taste (optional)
Handful of sliced strawberries
Small handful of mint leaves
1-2 cans (300ml each) Stoney Ginger Beer
Soda water, for topping up
- Divide the flowers (or mint or berries) between the segments of an ice tray. Mix the cordial and water and top up the ice tray. Freeze.
- When you are ready to serve your cocktails, fill 2 to 4 glasses with floral ice cubes.
- Add the gin, strawberries and mint to a cocktail shaker and shake to combine and infuse the flavours.
- Strain the gin into the glasses and spoon over the strawberries and mint.
- Top up with ginger beer and soda water, and serve.
THE BEST STEAK AND CHIPS EVER!
Because this recipe serves two, the number of potatoes I use may seem excessive. Remember, they do shrink slightly as they cook, and you always need more than you think when they’re this good!
For the chips:
800g floury potatoes, peeled
1L canola oil (or duck fat if you are feeling swish)
Ina Paarman’s Potato Spice
For the steak:
1 large (600 to 750g) Cape to Cairo Blou Bull Steak
Salt and milled pepper
Rosemary sprigs (optional)
Sauce of your choice (See our sauce recipes)
- Make the chips: Cut the potatoes into chunky chips or wedges and rinse off any starch by running them under cold water. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water (this helps them cook evenly). Add a good pinch of salt, bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender.
- Drain the potatoes and allow them to steam dry and cool a little. Then carefully lay them on a baking paper-lined baking tray that will fit in your fridge. Chill the potatoes, uncovered, for at least an hour or two, or overnight if you can.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Heat the oil in a generous saucepan until it is simmering (it should measure about 180°C on a thermometer). Fry the chips until they are golden and feel crispy. Drain on kitchen towel and season well with salt or potato spice if you are using it. Place them in the oven while your fry the rest and until you are ready to serve them.
- Season and cook your steak either on the braai or in a griddle pan until done to your liking. Psst! Remember to rest your steak before slicing it!
- Serve with a sauce of your choice and those delicious crispy chips.
RED VELVET AND CARAMEL CUPCAKES
Red is the colour of love, so whip up a batch of these delicious hidden-centre cupcakes to treat the love of your life, or simply as a practice in self-love.
Makes about 15 cupcakes
For the cupcakes
1 packet Ina Paarman’s Red Velvet Cupcake Mix
2 extra-large eggs
¾ cup (180ml) sunflower oil
¼ cup (60ml) melted butter
¾ cup (180ml) milk
For the filling:
1 can (90g) Moir’s caramel pudding
1 4/5 cup (400ml) milk
For the icing:
1 block (250g) cream cheese
2 cups (500ml) tightly packed icing sugar
1 tsp (5ml) Moir’s vanilla essence
Moir’s glace cherries, sprinkles or flowers for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 x 8-12-hole muffin pans with cupcake papers.
- Prepare the cake mix as per the packet instructions.
- Once cupcakes are cooked, allow them to cool completely.
- Make the pudding mixture according to the packet instructions using 400ml of milk and set in the fridge.
- Whisk the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Spoon it into a piping bag (or a Ziploc bag if you don’t have one) and refrigerate until needed.
- To assemble the cupcakes, cut a hollow into the top of each cupcake to create an indentation for the filling (you can keep the tops for trifle, cake pops or just snack on them as you go).
- Spoon a little pudding into each hole and pipe the icing on to cover the hole. Garnish and serve.
Store the cupcakes in a sealed container in the fridge to keep them fresh.
That’s all, folks! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with good food, bubbles, laughter and love!
P.S. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of our recipes, or if there’s a particular recipe you’d love to see!