15. Feb, 2018

Dinner for two

Hi everyone, a lot of my friends and followers have contacted me and asked why I did not suggest a Valentines day dinner for two, to enjoy at home. Well the truth is, that I wanted to, but due to the fact that this year San Valentine day fell on a Wednesday, and also coincided with Ash Wednesday and not forgetting the Madrid- PSG champions league game. So I thought that taking into account all the previuosly mentioned  it could wait and you can celebrate your Valentine's dinner next Saturday. So! today, I enclose a few menus to choose from, please elaborate the one that best suits your tastes, the time you have and the budget available at this time of the month.

The matter is not if you believe or not  in "Valentine" or think that every day should be the day of love or all this seems like one of the many nonsense that populate the planet, the important thing, (I think), is that life consists of small gestures, moments that we must use magic to make it unique and if we receive or prepare  a wonderful dinner, with candles, background music, a white tablecloth, presented with a exquisite taste, it does not matter what the meal is. The idea is to achieved something that has no economic value but an important emotional component and that is what it is, trying to make beautiful moments no matter if the day is called San Valentine or San Birdy Day.

Spanish ham with Melon: Iberico ham  and Melon are products that do not need elaborate recipes to show their flavor in all its fullness.A thin slice of high quality Iberico ham by itself can delight the most demanding palate. This simple and classic starter is not to be underestimated. The smell of the melon skin alone is enough to put you and your partner in  "alert mode", and the combination of the ripe juice and good, cured iberico ham   brings out the sweet-savoury-salty-sunny best in both. Ingredients: 1 ripe melon (buy good quality) 200g Spanish ham “Jamon Iberico”, sliced thin,1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves only, Extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Preparation: Cut the melon in half and clean out the seeds. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Place the melon wedges on a medium size platter.Top with the jamon slices and mint leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a dash of pepper.

Stuffed scallops: You all Know that I'm a great fan of  Julia Child, so I thought that Stuffed Scallops can be a great dish to prepare for the Romantic Dinner. The indications that the popular cook transmitts in her book "The Art of French Cuisine" allow us to prepare the scallops in the Provencal style. It is a very simple recipe, without whipped cream or cream, just with a little butter and the final touch of  cheese to gratinate. Ingredients for 2 people: 2 scallops, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 sweet onion, 1 shallot, 1 small clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 bay leaf , 1 teaspoon Provençal herb mixture, 1 glass of white wine, cheese to gratinate, a little bread crumbs, black pepper and salt. Preparation: Chop the sweet onion and the shallot separately in small cubes. Chop the garlic clove too. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan and add the onion, over low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, without letting it brown. Add the shallot and garlic clove, cook for a couple of minutes. Remove and reserve. Dry the scallops well and remove the corals and reserve. Season with salt and pepper and pass lightly through the flour. Melt the other tablespoon of butter and the teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and brown the scallops on both sides over high heat , for a couple of minutes. Add chopped coral, poached onion, laurel and Provencal herbs. Drizzle with the wine, lower the heat and cover. allow to cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove the bay leaf and distribute the filling evenly inside the clean scallops shells. Top with cheese, some bread crumbs and a pinch of butter. Gratin in the oven at 200ºC for 5 minutes and serve.

Foie Gras with Red Berries: Who will resist a delicious foie, accompanied by red fruits, I’m sure that this starter will be loved by your partner on this romantic dinner for two. A dish whose elegance is only surpassed by its flavour, try my original recipe of foie gras with red berries. Of course, I always prefer to buy foie that is produced from geese raised in freedom that have not been subjected to abuse , although you have to pay more for it, the quality of the product is also noticeable! Foie gras combines perfectly with sweets and fruits. This is one of my favourite recipes, which I’ve perfected throughout the years and now I thought I’d share the goodness with you all .Ingredients: 220 g goose liver, raw,100 g fresh blackberries, , 100 g fresh blueberries, 80 g fresh raspberries,1 onion, chopped finely, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp porto wine, 1/2 tsp sea salt,1/2 tsp fresh ground. Preparation: If you have whole foie gras, separate the 2 lobes of the foie gras. Cut each lobe in 2.5cm-thick slices. Season with pepper. In a pan at high temperature , sear the slices of foie gras for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Do not add any fat. Remove the fat surplus from the pan, as it appears. preheat oven to 200°C. Transfer seared foie gras onto baking sheet and bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes; remove from the oven and keep warm. Prepare berry sauce; heat extra virgin olive oil in sauce pan; add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft, over medium-high heat. Add the honey, red wine vinegar, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Mash berries with fork. Deglaze with the porto wine, and stir well. Remove the foie gras from the oven. Pour the liquid fat into the sauce pan, but do not mix. Serve slices of foie gras on to  platter and drizzle with berry sauce.Season with salt only before serving because adding salt to liver before cooking makes it harder.

What Is Duck Magret: The magret refers to the breast of a Moulard duck that has been reared for foie gras. A Moulard duck is a cross between a Muscovy drake and a Pekin hen, and is a sizable bird with a well-developed breast. It also is the preferred duck used to produce foie gras, because of its large size and hearty constitution. Since Gascony, France is the heart of foie gras country, the Moulard duck is common in the cooking of the region.
Slow-Roasted Duck Breast: The rich, rosy red meat of a perfectly cooked duck breast delivers the same sort of primal satisfaction that you get from a good, thick steak. The key phrase in that sentence is 'rosy red.' Overcook duck breast and you'll miss much of what makes it so wonderful. Despite its thick layer of fat, the actual meat is quite lean (leaner, in fact, than either chicken or turkey). Sear-roasting -- browning and crisping the duck on the stove before transferring it to a very low oven to gently finish cooking -- is nearly fool proof for turning out perfectly cooked duck breast.Ingredients for 2: 1 Moulard duck breast (magret), about 300 grams, 3 tablespoons honey, 6 fresh thyme sprigs, 1/2 cup orange juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper. Preparation: Using a sharp knife, score the layer of fat on the top of the margret de canard diagonally, making cuts spaced about an inch apart. You want to cut about halfway through the fat, not all the way down to the meat. Then, score in the other direction, making a hashmark pattern in the fat. This will help the marinade get into the meat, and will also help the fat contract evenly when you sear the breast. Rub the salt all over the magret, then smear with the honey and give the thyme sprigs a good rub and stick them evenly all over the breast. Place this in a zip-top bag and pour in the orange juice. Press out as much air as you can from the bag and place it in a tupperware large enough for the magret to lay flat, and marinade for at least 8 hours (up to 48 hours).When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 200°C. Remove the magret from the marinade, unsticking any thyme sprigs that stick to it, and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the duck breast fat side-down onto a pan or oven-proof skillet. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the fat render from the duck breast for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat up to medium and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until much of the fat has rendered and the hashmarks on the fat side of the duck breast have contracted into a crispy brown diamond pattern. Drain the fat from the pan and reserve for another use. Flip the magret and place it, skillet and all, into the oven for about 5 minutes, until medium-rare (about 65ºC on a digital thermometer, but I always just poke it to check). Remove the magret to a cutting board and let it rest for 4-8 minutes. Slice thinly and serve.
Steamed skrei with roasted vegetables: So what is Skrei again? It’s a Norwegian cod and strictly seasonal. To be classified as Skrei the fish needs to be caught between January and April, it needs to be fully grown (approx. 5 years) and in excellent shape. To ensure top quality the fish is packed within 12 hours of being caught and stored on ice at a temperature between 0° and 4° Celsius. Look for the SKREI®  identification brand that should be pinned on the forward dorsal fin. The Skrei also comes in a branded Skrei box. Ingredientes: 400gr (2 piecesof 200gr.) Skrei, 4 chives, 2 tomato, 2 leeks, extra virgin olive oil, Pepper, Salt, oregano. Preparation: Wash and split the leeks and chives into large pieces, Place Skrei loins with extra virgin olive oill in steamer for about 3-5 minutes. In a baking dish, introduce the chives and leeks with extra virgin oil, place in the preheated oven (185ºC). add pepper. Also add in the baking dish the tomatoes cut in half, a few minutes later, seasoned and sprinkled with oregano. Bake until tender (they must be whole). Serve the Skrei  with the vegetables, add a dash of extra virgin olive oil.

Tiramisu: Today I will share with you all the secrets of another great myth of Italian cuisine. The most known dessert in the whole world: the Tiramisu. The secret of tiramisu is its base, the mixture of eggs, sugar and Galbani mascarpone. Savoiardi cookies are (Ladyfingers often called with their original Italian name, savoiardi or sponge fingers in British English) low density, dry, egg-based and sweet sponge biscuits roughly shaped like a large finger. Very fresh whole eggs, sugar, mascarpone, pure cocoa powder and finally coffee, water, sugar and marsala or brandy for the preparation of syrup. (The equivalent of marsala is sherry). Ingredientes: 500 g. Mascarpone Galbani, 5 Eggs, 5 Tbs of fine White sugar. 40 savoiardi sponge biscuits, 2 cups of strong coffee without sugar. 2 tbs Marsala wine o sherry.  pure cocoa powder (a cup should be enough). Preparation: Prepare the syrup by boiling the water and dissolving in it a spoonful of sugar, coffee and sherry. Let cool. Separate whites and yolks. Add the remaining sugar to the yolks and beat until you get a foamy mixture. This step is very important because the yolks and the sugar must form a creamy, light and stable composition to give the final product its characteristic flavour and texture. It is ready when the colour changes from yellow to white and the volume of the mixture will have doubled. Mount the egg whites until firm, add the mascarpone to the yolks, this operation must be carried out slowly adding small portions a little at a time. Do not beat the mixture because mascarpone is a cheese with a high fat content and if it is beaten it can be transformed into butter or whey. Incorporate the egg whites into the mixture, again slowly. Wet the sponge biscuits in the previously prepared syrup and arrange them at the base of a 7x11 inch glass dish. Starting with the base layer of wet sponge biscuits, then a layer of mascarpone cream and a layer of pure cocoa powder. Repeat this operation 2 or 3 times, depending on how much fits into the dish. Before tasting, store it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours at a refrigeration temperature (between 0ºC and + 4ºC) and, be careful, remember that it is a dessert made with raw egg, so make sure that the eggs you use are very fresh. Once elaborated, do not store for more than 2 days in the fridge, In any case if you want it to last longer you can freeze it and store it for a longer time, although I would not recommend more than three weeks.