February 9, 2017

Luxury Valentine’s Dinner

Valentine’s Day is the day and night where love trumps all and we celebrate the people around us who mean the most. Indulgence is encouraged and in that spirit we’ve put together a decadent meal of food and drink that will make sure to tell your loved ones how much you care.

Appetizer: Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto


Via Pinch of Yum

Parmesan Risotto:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 minced clove garlic or 1 minced shallot (or both)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3-ish cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
Seared Scallops:
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 pound jumbo scallops
Sautéed Spinach or Kale:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 cups spinach or kale
Brown Butter:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  1. For the Risotto: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic or shallots and sauté for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat with butter. Add the white wine and enjoy the sizzles. Add the broth, ½ cup at a time, and simmer/stir after each addition until the rice is soft and creamy. I usually err on the side of more liquid to get a creamier texture. Add the parmesan and stir until incorporated. Salt + pepper to taste.
  2. For the Seared Scallops: Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Pat scallops dry (VERY DRY, as dry as possible), sprinkle with salt, and add to pan. They should sizzle (if not, you need a hotter pan.) Shake gently to prevent sticking. After 2-3 minutes, flip each scallop over. They should have a pretty golden brown exterior and an opaque inside. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately.
  3. For the Sautéed Spinach: Heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic, stir for a minute to get the flavor going. Add the spinach or kale and stir until wilted.
  4. For the Brown Butter: Put a few tablespoons of butter in a clean skillet over medium heat and stir it while watching it closely – when it starts to look golden and foamy, remove from heat, transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool slightly, then drizzle over the risotto, scallops, and greens.


Salad: Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad


Via Gimme Some Oven


  • 3 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • pinch of salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs (optional)



Main Course: Beef Wellington


Via Jamie Oliver


  • 1 kg centre fillet of beef , trimmed (the timings below work perfectly for a fillet of roughly 10cm in diameter)
  • olive oil
  • 2 large knobs of unsalted butter
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 600 g mixed mushrooms
  • 100 g chicken livers , (cleaned)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon truffle oil , (optional)
  • 50 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 x 500 g block puff pastry
  • 1 large free-range egg


For the Gravy:

  • 2 onions
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 heaped teaspoon blackcurrant jam
  • 100 ml Maderia wine
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • 2 heaped teaspoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 600 ml beef stock, (hot)



  1. Preheat a large frying pan on a high heat. Rub the beef all over with sea salt and black pepper. Pour a good lug of oil into the pan, then add the beef, 1 knob of butter and 1 sprig of rosemary. Sear the beef for 4 minutes in total, turning regularly with tongs, then remove to a plate. Wipe out the pan and return to a medium heat. Peel the onion and garlic, then very finely chop with the mushrooms and put into the pan with the remaining knob of butter and another lug of oil. Strip in the rest of the rosemary leaves and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and starting to caramelise, stirring regularly. Toss the livers and Worcestershire sauce into the pan and cook for another few minutes, then tip the contents onto a large board and drizzle with the truffle oil (if using). Finely chop it all by hand with a big knife, to a rustic, spreadable consistency. Taste and season to perfection, then stir in the breadcrumbs (you can use pancakes to line the pastry and absorb the juices, but I prefer using breadcrumbs like this).
  2. Preheat the oven to 210°C/425°F/gas 7. On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry to 30cm x 40cm. With one of the longer edges in front of you, spread the mushroom pâté over the pastry, leaving a 5cm gap at either end and at the edge furthest away from you – eggwash these edges. Sit the beef on the pâté then, starting with the edge nearest to you, snugly wrap the pastry around the beef, pinching the ends to seal. Transfer the Wellington to a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, with the pastry seal at the base, and brush all over with eggwash (you can prep to this stage, then refrigerate until needed – just get it out 1½ hours before cooking so it’s not fridge-cold). When you’re ready to cook, heat the tray on the hob for a couple of minutes to start crisping up the base, then transfer to the oven and cook for 40 minutes for blushing, juicy beef – the two end portions will be more cooked, but usually some people prefer that.
  3. Meanwhile, for the gravy, peel and roughly chop the onions and put into a large pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil and the thyme leaves. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in the jam and simmer until shiny and quite dark. Add the Madeira, flame with a match, cook away, then stir in the mustard and flour, gradually followed by the stock. Simmer to the consistency you like, then blend with a stick blender and pass through a sieve, or leave chunky. Once cooked, rest the Wellington for 5 minutes, then serve in 2cm-thick slices with the gravy and steamed greens.


Side: Roasted Broccolini with Mushrooms in Balsamic Sauce

  • 1 lb broccolini (2 bunches) – ends trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot – finely sliced
  • 1/2 lb your choice of mushrooms – thinly sliced (I used baby portobello mushrooms)
  • A dab of unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or chicken broth
  • A swirl of dry white wine or marsala wine (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Season with chili flakes



1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place the broccolini on a baking sheet. Drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and toss to coat evenly. Then spread the broccolini in a single layer.
3. Roast the broccolini for about 12 – 15 minutes, or until tender-crisp (turning over once). Transfer the broccolini to a platter.
4. While the broccolini is roasting, heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add in the sliced shallot and saute until they begin to soften.
5. Turn heat to medium-high, add in the mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt. Saute the mushrooms for about 8 to 10 minutes. The mushrooms will start to release some moisture and once it begins to evaporate, add in a dab of butter. Stir, then add in the balsamic vinegar and broth. Continue to cook for a minute. Swirl in dry white wine or marsala wine (if using), and saute for another 2-3 minutes – until the liquid cooks down. Sprinkle in a bit more sea salt.
6. Serve the mushrooms over the roasted broccolini, then sprinkle the chili flakes on top. Serve warm.

Side: Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Via Closet Cooking


  • 2 pounds potatoes, diced
  • 4+ cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped



  1. Place the potatoes, garlic, broth and butter in a slow cooker and cook until the potatoes are nice and tender, about 4+ hours on low or 2+ hours on high, before adding the remaining ingredients and mashing!


Dessert: Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Via Give Recipe


  • ½ cup butter
  • 220g semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Brush 4 small souffle cups with melted butter very well.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, stir until smooth.
  4. Stir in powdered sugar.
  5. Add eggs and egg yolks and keep stirring.
  6. Stir in flour until well blended.
  7. Share between cups and bak efor 13-14 minutes until the sides are set.
  8. Let them rest for a minute and transfer them on serving plates.
  9. Dust powdered sugar and cocoa powder on each right before serving.


What’s your idea of the perfect Valentine’s dinner? However you celebrate, remember to make memories, enjoy yourself and give lots of kisses!

Happy Valentine’s Day, with love from FLOFORM!