The perfect 3-course meal to cook for your significant other this Valentine's Day
Brought to you by the National Dairy Council.
Planning on staying in this Valentine's Day?
Sometimes staying in is so much better than going out. It's intimate, casual, and you'll save a tonne of money too. If you do decide to cook at home this V-Day then look no further for your culinary inspiration.
We've rustled up three fab Clodagh McKenna recipes that are perfect for the occasion and are sure to win you serious brownie points.
So, whether you consider yourself a bit of a master chef or a complete novice you will be able to pull off this perfect meal for two this Valentine's Day.
We might be drooling slightly.
Starter: Fresh crab toasts with spiced yoghurt
- Four slices of sourdough bread, toasted
For the crab:
- 220g fresh cooked crabmeat
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
For the spiced yoghurt:
- 100ml plain yoghurt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mix together the crabmeat, sliced scallions, chopped fresh dill, lemon juice and zest in a bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Stir together the yoghurt and crushed dried red pepper flakes in a small bowl and season with sea salt.
- Slice the sourdough toast into quarters, spoon the crabmeat mixture on the toasts and drizzle the spiced yoghurt on top. Sprinkle the remaining fresh dill on top.
Main course: Spring herb spatchcock chicken on fennel
- 1 whole chicken
- 100g salted Irish butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons fresh spring herbs (flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, garlic leaves if available), finely chopped
- 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4 whole fennel bulbs, cut in half, lengthways
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 190oC / Gas 5.
- To spatchcock the chicken place the whole chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using sturdy scissors cut up along each side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness. You can ask your butcher to do this for you if you want.
- Next make a spring herbed butter, by placing the softened butter in a bowl and mix in the chopped spring herbs, juice and zest of one lemon and the crushed garlic cloves. I find it easiest to use the back of a spoon to mix all the ingredients together.
- Use your fingers to gently separate the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh meat to create pockets. Spoon half of the flavoured butter underneath the skin of the chicken breast and wings, and over the skin of the chicken. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the remaining half of the butter in a saucepan over a low heat to melt. Then toss the halved fennel bulbs in the melted herbed butter, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Arrange the fennel bulbs on a baking sheet or roasting tin. Place the spatchcock chicken on top of the fennel, and into the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked, spoon the juices from the pan over the chicken and fennel until all the juices in the pan (or most of them) have been absorbed.
Dessert: Orange pistachio yoghurt cake
For the cake:
- 50g slightly stale white breadcrumbs
- 100 g ground almonds
- 100g pistachios
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 150 g caster sugar
- 125 ml sunflower oil
- 200ml natural Irish yoghurt
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
For the citrus syrup:
- Juice of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pre-heat the oven to 190oC / Gas 5.
- Grease a 20.5cm (8in) round and 5cm (2in) deep tin and then lightly dust with flour.
- In a large bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, almonds, pistachios and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with the caster sugar. Continue to whisk while pouring in the vegetable oil, followed by the natural Irish yoghurt.
- Next, stir the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the orange and lemon zest. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and into the pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown. To ensure cake is done, insert a skewer into the centre – if it’s ready, the skewer should come out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.
- Meanwhile, make the citrus syrup. Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thick.
- While the cake is still warm, pierce it several times with a skewer, then spoon the hot syrup over the cake, allowing it to run into the holes. Leave to cool. Spoon any excess syrup back over the cake every now and then until it is all soaked up.
- Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top, and the zest of one orange. Serve with natural Irish yoghurt
This article is brought to you by National Dairy Council.