Normally, celebrating Valentine’s Day was as simple as just booking a table at a fancy restaurant, a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates, then you’re good to go.
Now, due to the Covid pandemic, making these arrangements won’t be so simple. If you’re feeling nervous about eating out on the most romantic day on the calendar – when restaurants may be packed – maybe a special evening at home, created by you, might be just the ticket this Valentine’s Day.
With corona, curfews and social distancing in mind, the chefs at Granny Mouse Country House and Spa have shared some recipes you can try at home, that are sure to impress that special someone in your life.
Or, if you going to go out on February 14, why not make a reservation and book in with your other half, get spoilt and sample Granny Mouse’s various menus. Rest assured, all Covid-19 precautions are taken at the famous Midlands venue.
SMOKED SALMON AND BACON RISOTTO
· 200g Smoked Salmon cut into fine cubes
· 50g Smoked Streaky Bacon
· 150g Arborio Rice
· 100ml Rose or White Wine
· 300ml Chicken Stock
· ½ Onion Finely Chopped
· 2 Cloves Garlic Chopped
· 1tbsp Fennel Flowers
· 1tsp Turmeric
· 50g Butter
· 100g Parmesan Cheese
· 50ml Oil
1. Pour the oil into a heavy based sauce pan.
2. Add the onions, turmeric and bacon, sauté on low heat until they become translucent.
3. In a separate pan, gently heat the stock. Do not allow to boil, it just must be hot.
4. To the onions, add the garlic and rice. Continue to sauté for a further 3 min on low heat until the garlic gets soft.
5. Pour in the wine, increase the heat to max. Once the wine starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
6. Pour in half the chopped salmon.
7. Once the wine has reduced by half, begin to add the stock one ladle at a time making sure that the liquid does not drown the rice and stirring occasionally. This process should take between 10 and 13 min. By now the rice should have swollen but still be a little hard to the bite. If so, add the butter 1tsp at a time and stir occasionally.
8. When the rice has cooked, remove it from the heat.
9. Add the salmon, chopped fennel and season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese when plated.
CRISPY PORK BELLY, RED ONION JAM & WHOLE GRAIN MASH
· 500g Pork Belly bone removed
· 2 Onions roughly chopped
· 2 Carrots roughly chopped
· 2 Sticks of Celery roughly chopped
· 2 Bay Leaves
· 1tsp Black Peppercorns
· 1L Chicken Stock
· 4 large Red Onions sliced
· 100ml Red Wine
· 100ml Balsamic Vinegar
· 200g White Sugar
· 4 large Potatoes chopped and boiled
· 3tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
· 100g Butter
· 50g Chorizo chopped
· 30g Broccoli Tender Stems or Florets
· 50g Pistachio Nuts
· 6 Portabellini or Button Mushrooms cut into quarters
1. Place the pork belly skin side up.
2. Sprinkle the carrots, onions and celery.
3. Pour the stock over this and cover with foil paper.
4. Place in an oven preheated to 140C for 3 ½ hours.
5. Transfer the belly onto another tray, place a heavy weight on it and cool overnight in the fridge.
6. Once ready – Trim the edges of the pork belly so to have either a perfect square or rectangle.
7. Divide this by two so that you have two equal pieces.
8. Add a little oil to a heavy based frying pan.
9. Begin to seal the outer sides of the belly starting with the skin side.
10. Once all sides are golden brown and the skin crispy, place in the oven heated at 180C for 5 min.
For the red onion jam
1. Sauté the onions in a pot on medium heat for about 3 min, add the wine and turn up the heat to high.
2. Continue to cook on high heat until the wine has reduced by half.
3. Once reduced, pour in the vinegar.
4. When the sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat to a light simmer.
5. Pour in the sugar and continue to cook until the liquid becomes thick and syrupy.
For the mash
1. Drain the boiled potatoes.
2. Pass them through a potato masher while they are still hot.
3. In a medium sauce pan, add butter and melt on medium heat.
4. Add the potato and fold with a spatula breaking any lumps along the way.
5. Once the mash is smooth and has completely combined with the butter, add the mustard and continue to fold until combined and smooth.
6. Season with salt and pepper for taste.
7. In a frying pan, sauté the chorizo and mushrooms until the mushrooms are cooked through.
DECONSTRUCTED BANOFFEE PIE
· 1 tin Caramel Treat
· 1 large Banana sliced
· 500ml Double Cream
· 1tsp Vanilla Essence
· 1tsp Icing Sugar
· 20g Butter softened
· 100g Tennis Biscuits crushed
· 250g Banana Puree
· 112g Sugar
· 75ml Water
· 185ml Double Cream
· 1tsp Vanilla Essence
· 4 Egg Yolks
1. For the parfait. Add the sugar and water to a pan and bring to 118C.
2. Semi whip the cream and vanilla essence until almost at soft peak stage.
3. Add the eggs to an upright electric mixer and whisk at high speed until the egg yolks become light and creamy in appearance.
4. Once the sugar mixture has reached temperature, gradually pour it into the eggs at a steady stream.
5. Continue to whisk at high speed until the mixture has cooled and doubled in size.
6. Once cool, gently fold in the cream followed by the banana puree.
7. Pour into moulds and freeze for about 12 hours.
For the biscuit
1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the butter until they are combined and resemble a paste.
2. Press into a mould and bake in an oven at 180C for 5 min or until it has become semi solid.
3. Remove and cool.
For the cream
1. Whip the cream, vanilla essence and icing sugar together with an upright electric whisk until it forms semi hard peaks.
2. Transfer to a piping bag.
1. Transfer the caramel treat into a piping bag and pipe a spiral at the centre of the plate.
2. Slice the parfait and place just off the centre of the plate.
3. Roughly break the biscuit and arrange randomly on the plate.
4. Pipe the cream haphazardly alongside the parfait.
5. Place the banana slices so that they lean on the whipped cream.
Now read: A fresh take on a Midlands classic