The most loved-up edition yet.
In light of the upcoming all-around-love-fest holiday, we decided to dedicate this feature to those of you who are going to celebrate Valentine's Day.
If you're still wondering what to do and where to go, we suggest you skip the restaurant rush and stay in to cook a romantic dinner for two (if you are in a relationship), or whip up a dinner with a bunch of your single friends (if you're free as a bird). Yes ladies, we have the perfect dinner and most scrumptious dessert recipe ideas for you.
Given this most-loved up occasion, we decided to work with someone whose food (and face) we oh-so-dearly love. A good friend, and one of the best dinner-party-throwers we know, Rola Kazzaz (the one in the middle) seriously knows her way around the kitchen. We got her to cook up a delicious 7-recipe menu and sat down with her and some friends for a pseudo-Valentine's Day tasting party.
As expected, everything was d-e-l-i-s-h! Here are some snaps of our dinner party, followed by the recipes for each dish, and a special focus on our dresses (and where you can buy them from).
7 Valentine's Day Recipe Ideas
Find all the recipes on the menu below. We hope you get inspired and use them if you've decided to spend Valentine's Day cooking for a special someone or a group of friends. Enjoy!
1. MELTED CAMEMBERT BRUSCHETTA DRIZZLED WITH TRUFFLE HONEY
1 fresh white French baguette
2 cylindrical blocks of Camembert cheese (each 250g)
Truffle Honey for drizzling (can be found at Aziz)
1. Cut the baguette diagonally into 2cm thick slices.
2. Cut the 2 camembert blocks into 28 generous wedges.
3. Arrange the bruschettas on an oven tray and place it under the oven broiler.
4. Keep until the bread gets a nice char and the cheese starts to melt.
5. Once done, take the tray out of the oven and drizzle the bruschettas with a lot of truffle honey.
2. JAPANESE-INSPIRED SPINACH SALAD
400gr of baby spinach
1 large aubergine
1 fennel bulb
6 spring onions
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Grape seed oil
1. Turn on your oven broiler.
2. Spinach: remove the leaves and throw out the stems. Wash well.
3. Aubergine: dice the aubergine into 1cm cubes, toss in 1 teaspoon of grape seed oil and a pinch of salt. Put under the broiler until soft and charred. Estimated time 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Fennel bulb: finely slice the fennel bulb using a mandolin. Toss with some grape seed oil, salt and pepper. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes until almost crisp.
5. Spring onion: thinly cut spring onions.
6. Mix all the vegetables along with the pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts in a big bowl.
6 tablespoons of Yuzu sauce (that's why the recipe is Japanese-inspired)
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
12 tablespoons of grape seed oil or another similar flavorless oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix the Yuzu sauce and Dijon mustard in a small bowl.
2. Slowly drizzle oil into the mix while whisking.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Mix the dressing into the salad before serving.
3. SLOW ROASTED LEG OF LAMB & ROASTED VEGETABLE MEDLEY
INGREDIENTS FOR LAMB
1 leg of lamb, weighs around 2.5-3kg (bone in for flavor and to retain moisture)
1 tablespoon salt
1 bottle (750ml) of dry white wine (you can choose to use red wine, however the flavor of the white wine is more subtle)
2 heads of garlic broken apart but not peeled
2 cups of water
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
A couple of bay leaves
METHOD FOR LAMB
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
2. Rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the lamb and sear on all sides until it's browned all over. Remove the lamb and place it on a plate.
5. Add the wine and two cups of water to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping up all the brown bits at the bottom. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves into the mix and place the lamb on top. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 4 hours, basting occasionally. If you don't have a lid, you can cover the pot tightly with 2 layers of aluminum foil.
6. After 4 hours, the lamb should be incredibly tender and falling off the bone. Remove the lamb to a plate, cover it tightly with foil and allow to rest.
7. To prepare the sauce, strain the broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce. If you are in a hurry and want the broth to thicken quickly, then fry a tablespoon of flour in a tablespoon of butter until it's cooked, then add to the broth and simmer until thickened.
INGREDIENTS FOR VEGETABLE MEDLEY
4 carrots (peeled)
1 fennel bulb
3 beetroots (peeled)
1/4 pumpkin (peeled)
1 head of garlic
200g brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried chives (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD FOR VEGETABLE MEDLEY
1. Preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees C.
2. Dice all the vegetables into roughly 2.5cm cubes and mix together in a big bowl.
3. Cut the garlic head in half horizontally. Remove the garlic cloves from one of the halves and keep the other half as is. Add the cloves to the bowl and toss with a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil, then season with salt and pepper, curry, turmeric, and chives. Make sure you keep tossing until all the vegetables are well coated with the spice rub.
4. Place all the vegetables on a sheet pan. Drizzle the half a head of garlic with olive oil, rub with slat and add to the sheet pan.
5. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. You want the vegetables to keep a bite, so keep on checking them to make sure they don't become mushy. Serve alongside your protein or main dish.
5. CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY BROWNIES
350g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter
3 free range eggs
250g dark brown sugar (Muscovado sugar if you can find it)
110g all-purpose flour (sifted)
175g fresh or frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of slat
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
2. Butter a 23cm square cake tin.
3. Melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool slightly.
4. Whisk the eggs until thick, then gradually add the sugar and beat until glossy.
5. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the flour, baking powder and salt.
6. Pour just over half of the mixture into the prepare cake tin. Scatter over the raspberries and cover with the remaining mixture.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until the surface is set. It will be cooked when a skewer into the middle comes out with just comes out with just a little mixture adhering.
8. Remove the cake to a wire rack and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
9. Cut the cake into squares and remove them from the rack when cold. (To cut the squares without creating too much mess while keeping the edges of the cuts looking neat is to use a plastic knife).
Note from the Rola: "What I like about this recipe is you can play with it. For example add a layer of caramel instead of raspberries and then sprinkle some sea salt on top. You can also use any type of dehydrated red fruit like strawberries and cherries."
6. LEMON AND OLIVE OIL YOGURT CAKE
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 and 1/3 cup sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
100g blueberries (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
2. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan.
3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and sift into a bowl.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.
5. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
6. With a rubber spatula fold the olive oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. If you chose to add blueberries then fold those in as well.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
8. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
9. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
7. RASPBERRY BELLINI
1 (750ml) Le Rosé Impérial de Moët & Chandon bottle
150ml raspberry juice
1. Chill the Champagne bottle in the fridge overnight.
2. Spoon 25ml of raspberry juice into a Champagne flute and top it off with the Le Rosé Impérial de Moët & Chandon Champagne.
3. Garnish with couple of fresh raspberries. You can either add couple of raspberries into the Bellini or decorate the rim of the flute with one.
The Dresses: 6:05 AT DEPECHEMODE
We couldn't just show up in jeans and a sweater, we simply had to live up to the occasion. So we went to 6:05 at depechemode and chose some beautiful dresses that we'd definitely wear to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. If you are looking for one, drop by they've got lots of dress options.
VISIT 6:05 AT DEPECHEMODE STORE: ACHRAFIEH, CHARLES MALEK AVENUE, ST. NICOLAS +961-1-335450 +961-3-040208
This was brought to you by Moët & Chandon
A very special thanks to Moët & Chandon that so generously filled our glasses with Rosé Impérial that evening. We love Moet and typically do drink it on occasions, so we were happy to get to know more about the brand, especially given that it works perfectly with Valentine's Day. Here's an official description of the bottle straight from the Moët & Chandon team.
Moët Rosé Impérial is a spontaneous, radiant, romantic expression of the Moët & Chandon style, a style distinguished by its bright fruitiness, seductive palate and elegant maturity. Aged for three years in the Maison’s cellars, Moët Rosé Impérial features a glowing pink color with amber highlights, and its bewitching bouquet combines a lively, intense bouquet of red fruits, floral nuances of rose, and a slight hint of pepper. Its expressive palate combines intensity and suppleness with the juicy, persistent intensity of berries, the fleshiness and firmness of peach, and the freshness of a subtle note of menthol.
All Photography by Nadim Kamel.