Yesterday was A Man and my anniversary. It’s now 6 years since we’ve been engaged, and our wedding is finally less than a year away! As I had the day off and he was working I decided to cook a yummy 3 course dinner, complete with actually setting the table nicely, with a tablecloth. I must admit to going a little over the top. I bought fillet steak when rump would have done the trick, but the steak was short-date so substantially reduced. There was also no need to make quite such an enormous dessert, but I’ve only got one spring-form tin and it’s that big. It’ll hopefully get eaten during the week.
My menu was:
Starter Home-made duck liver parfait with a side salad and herb ciabatta toasts
Main Peppered fillet steak with baked potato wedges, tomatoes and flat mushrooms, served with a peppercorn sauce
Dessert Vanilla cheesecake with fresh raspberries, blueberries and mango
Yum! The starter and main turned out very well. The dessert, though tasty, looked like an absolute unmitigated disaster. I shan’t be following that recipe again! And I’m determined not to think about how many weeks’ calories must have been involved in this single meal.
Duck Liver Parfait with a side salad and herb ciabatta toasts
Duck livers (or chicken livers if you can’t find duck)
Grana Padano cheese
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- I made the parfait more or less like this, but without the port and cranberries and with a splash of brandy to deglaze the pan after cooking everything off.
- Take a herb and onion ciabatta roll and slice it as thinly as possible. Place the slices on an oven tray and bake in a medium-high oven for a few minutes until they are crispy. Be careful not to overdo it or they’ll burn.
- Plate up some rocket leaves. Toast some pine nuts in a dry frying pan until they start to darken (be careful, they burn very easily) and sprinkle over the leaves. Use a vegetable peeler to get some shards of cheese and sprinkle over the top. Dress the salad with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Peppered fillet steak with baked potato wedges, tomatoes and flat mushrooms, served with a peppercorn sauce
Black peppercorns, salt and sugar
Tomatoes on the vine
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Remove the steak from its packaging and dry the surfaces with kitchen roll or a teatowel. Coat both sides liberally with freshly ground black pepper and season with a little salt. Leave to come up to room temperature.
- Slice the potatoes into wedges (leaving the skin on) and boil until soft. Remove from the pan and arrange on an oven tray, cut sides facing up. If you like you can season them with your chosen flavour, an cook them in oil or fat to make the crispier. I decided that with all the other calories in this dish, just baking them au naturel made the most sense!
- Place the tomatoes and mushrooms on an oven tray. Cut the onion into quarters and add to the veg. Season well with salt, pepper and a little sugar on the tomatoes. Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Cook the potatoes and veg in a hot oven for around 30 minutes, or until the wedges are browned and the veg is soft. Turn the oven off and place some plates to warm.
- Melt some butter in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. When it is bubbling and starting to brown, add the steaks to the pan with a few peppercorns. Cook them on both sides until they are cooked as desired. I only cooked mine for a minute or two on each side, as we like ours very rare. Scrape some of the pepper off of the steak into the butter and remove the meat from the pan, placing it on the warmed plates.
- Deglaze the pan with a couple of tablespoons of brandy, scraping up any crispy bits on the bottom of the pan. Add a spoon or two of crème fraîche and cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce has reduced. Serve as quickly as possible, to ensure the steak is still warm.
Vanilla cheesecake with fresh raspberries, blueberries and mango
I used a Jamie Oliver recipe and followed it to the letter. It ought to have been beautiful but somehow the cream cheese seemed to melt everywhere as soon as I topped the cheesecake with the raspberry sauce. Sadface. At least it tasted good! And I suppose there had to be a disaster somewhere…