Valentines Aphrodisiac menu
We’ve spent a long time thinking about what to cook for Valentine’s Day. We don’t know about you, but overpriced oysters, lobsters and Champagne served in a fine dining restaurant just don’t do it for us. For one thing, I’m not even sure that we really do love oysters and Champagne (lobster though, yes please), and for another, being on display in public just isn’t the kind of romantic, intimate experience that works for us.
So we’ve devised a menu that includes romance, sexy food and aphrodisiacs for you to make at home. The starter of cheese fondue is simple and messy – and messy food is all part of the fun here.
The main of rack of lamb with mustard works with that ‘getting down and dirty with the food’ idea, with a sharing side of creamy potato gratin. The main is so moist, it doesn’t even need a jus.
And the dessert, figs with chocolate, brings together two aphrodisiacs in a juicy finale. It’s a deliberately light menu that doesn’t leave you feeling overfull and sleepy, and is designed to be cooked by one person as a surprise.
We’d recommend serving with lots of nice wine (a crisp white with the fondue, a rich red with the lamb) and a short coffee at the end. Enjoy!
A 3 course aphrodisiac menu that shows it’s good to get messy with your food.
Mustard & Rosemary Rack of Lamb
- 1 4 cutlet rack of lamb, fat scored
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Sprig of rosemary, stalk removed and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- olive oil
- Knob of butter
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 50ml full fat milk
- 50ml double cream
- 350g waxy potatoes, such as Desiree
- 25g strong cheddar
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 100g double Gloucester
- 100g strong chedder
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
- 75ml Hoegaarden beer
- 2-3 tbsp double cream
- Breadsticks, toasted French bread, or Carrots and Celery
Chocolate & Honey Figs
- 2 figs
- 2 tsp honey
- 100g dark or milk chocolate
- 75ml double cream
Mix together the mustard, rosemary, garlic and a little olive oil. Rub into all sides of the lamb, cover with foil and marinade for up to 24hrs.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and gently fry the garlic for a few minutes, before adding the cream, milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, take off heat and strain into a jug.
Line a small loaf tin with grease proof paper and smear with butter. Peel and slice the potatoes as thinly as possible. Pat dry with kitchen paper then layer in the loaf tin, seasoning with a little salt and pepper after each layer.
Once half the potatoes are used up, pour in half the creamy mixture. Finish off layering the potatoes on top, before pouring in the remaining mixture.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and set aside.
Cut a cross in the top of the figs, place on a baking tray and drizzle with the honey, before setting aside.
Break up the chocolate and set aside in a microwave proof bowl.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/360F/160 FAN.
Cook the gratin for 60 minutes.
Rack of Lamb
Meanwhile, place a non stick frying pan on a medium high heat. Press the lamb fat side down onto the pan and fry for a few minutes, until golden. Place fat side up in a roasting tray.
After the gratin’s been cooking for 30 minutes, turn the oven up to 200C/390F/180 FAN and add the lamb. Cook together for 30 minutes.
While the lamb’s cooking, gently fry the onion in a little olive oil. Place in a bowl over a simmering pan of water and add the cheese, beer and cream. Keep stirring, and don’t allow it to boil.
Once you have a smooth sauce, pour into a hot bowl and serve with bread sticks or carrots and celery.
Lamb, Gratin and Figs
Remove the lamb and potato gratin from the oven and keep warm under foil for 10 minutes.
To serve, cut the gratin into two squares and stack one on top of the other. Place on a serving board next to the lamb.
Place the figs in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, while eating the lamb.
Microwave the chocolate for around 2 1/2 minutes, stirring after every 30 seconds. Once melted stir in the cream and microwave for a further 20 seconds.
Remove the figs from the oven and plate up. Drizzle with the chocolate and serve.
Prepare all your ingredients before hand, to save you time.
Use a mandolin to cut the potatoes if you have one. Not only does it cut them nice and thin, but it saves a lot of time too.
A silicone loaf tin is ideal for cooking a potato gratin, and doesn’t requiring greasing or lining.