As it was our 4th valentines this year, and as I have no job and lots of time on my hands I decided to cook a meal. It's really hard to cook for both of us because, well I'm vegetarian and he's not. He's not very enthused about vegetarian food and just generally a fussy eater. But I decided on a caramelised onion and goats cheese tart for the starter, ricotta and spinach gnocchi for the main and strawberry and champagne topped brownies for desert.
Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Tart.
This is so easy to make, all you need to do it roll out some puff pastry in to any shape you want. Make up some caramelised onions by softening some onions, adding brown sugar to caramelise and then add some balsamic vinegar and a bit of water. Let it reduce and put it on the pastry, top with the goats cheese and the bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi.
I went for this because I know by boyfriend likes pasta but had never tried gnocchi, I cheated a little bit and brought pasta sauce, because, well I couldn't be bothered to make any. But I used a recipe from a vegetarian women's weekly book (or something like that) and it was awful! It called for 960g of chard (what a ridiculous amount!), which I was going to substitute for spinach, and when i made up the gnocchi it was so runny I could never have used it. So I made it up as I went along and added flour ect! Here's the recipe (roughly!)
50g Vegetarian Parmesan
1 Egg beaten
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
Steam the spinach until wilted and remove excess liquid, chop finely and put in a mixing bowl. Add the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, nutmeg and flour and mix until its firm and well combined. Flour your hands and roll the mixture in to 12 balls and refrigerate for 30 Min's. Cook the gnocchi by boiling for about 2 minutes, until the start to float and serve with pasta sauce and a grating of veggie Parmesan cheese.
Brownies always go down well, and I found a recipe for ones topped with champagne strawberries on twitter which sounded perfect for Valentines day. I used my favorite brownie recipe from the Hotel Chocolate 101 book, and used 85% good quality chocolate which made them extra rich! I usually use 70% and you can tell the difference between the two!
Make your bownies then chop the strawberries and dust with icing sugar then pour over some champagne. Mix about 6tsp mascarpone with 2 tsp of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla essence. Warm the brownies in the oven or microwave and then top with the strawberries and pop some mascarpone on the side. I put some milk chocolate covered strawberries on as well just to make it extra indulgent!
My boyfriend got me this beautiful box of Artisan du Chocolat chocolates for valentines, which I was really happy about because I've been wanting to try them for ages! I've only eaten a few so far, but they are absolutely amazing! You can tell that everything is of the highest quality and the flavors are amazing! I'm trying to only eat one a day so that they last me a while, it's incredibly hard though!!