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Food for Lovers

Food plays an important part in setting the mood for that special Valentine’s evening. Why spend the evening in an overcrowded restaurant and pay over the odds for it as well, with a little forward planning you can set the scene right there in the comfort of your own home.  For simplicity try sharing platters or fondues, we have placed a few ideas below –

Romantic sharing platter

Take 6 tender young spears of Asparagus and wrap each in a slice of Parma ham. Brush with a little melted butter. Place on a baking platter and bake in a pre-heated oven, 160°C-180°C, for approx. 4-5 mins or until tender with crispy ham. Cut a cross shape into the tops of 4 fresh figs and press gently to open up the figs. Place a spoonful of goat’s cheese inside each fig and place under a pre-heated medium grill for 4 mins until the cheese starts to ooze. Place on the platter and drizzle with a little honey. Arrange the Asparagus and figs on a platter with a few salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of olives. Enjoy with a glass of chilled wine.

Cheese Fondue

Prepare your fondue in the fondue pot on the hob it is transferred onto the burner to keep it hot when it is ready. Cut some day-old crusty bread into small squares ready for dipping and place in a basket. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with a clove of garlic. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of cornflour into about 25 ml of kirsch (schnapps made from cherries) and set aside. Place the fondue pot on a low-medium heat on the hob and add a glass of dry white wine. Slowly add the 400g of grated cheese (a mixture of two  different cheeses such as Gruyere and Emmenthal work best) and stir until the cheese melts, add the kirsch and continue stirring until it  becomes a smooth sauce. Do not allow to burn on the bottom of the pot. When ready transfer the pot to the fondue burner. Keep the flame low enough to just keep the fondue hot without burning it. Using the long fondue forks, dip the chunks of crusty bread into the melted cheese. Enjoy!

Baked Camembert

This is a very simple and quick alternative to the traditional fondue.  Buy a Camembert with lidded box (not paper), remove the paper from around the camembert and slice a thin section of the rind from the top of the cheese. Replace the camembert back inside the box and put on the lid. Place in a hot pre-heated oven ( 200°C) for around 7-10 mins until the cheese is soft, hot and runny. Serve with chopped walnuts and chunks of crusty bread for dipping.

Chocolate Fondue

Arrange things for dipping on a platter before getting your fondue prepared, you can use your favourite fruits such as strawberries, bananas etc, dried apricots, candied fruits or ginger, marshmallows and small crisp biscuits. In a heavy-based saucepan, gently heat 300 ml double cream until it is hot. Keeping the heat low add 350 g grated dark chocolate ( you can use 200 g dark and 150 g milk if you prefer), and stir briskly until all is smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and place over a low heat on the fondue burner to keep the chocolate hot but not bubbling. This is the ideal romantic finale to a Valentine’s Day meal.