Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us and with love in the air, it’s time to start thinking what you will cook for your loved one this year. I had to think about a bit earlier this time, as last week on Twitter, I saw that Forman and Field (@FormanandField) were after bloggers to take part in a Valentine’s Cook Off (#Formanslovecookoff) using a mystery box of food items that they would provide. This sounded like my kind of challenge so I signed up, along with Dan, The Grubworm, Carla, Meemalee, Food Urchin and Pavel.
The mystery box soon arrived and it contained:
- Royal Fillet of Salmon
- Brandied Cherries
- Tarragon Jelly
- Kirkham’s Lancashire
- London Honey
- Marinated Anchovies
A bit of a strange mix, I am sure you will agree. It took a few days of thinking but I managed to come up with a Valentine’s menu that I thought was simple to do and showed the amazing produce off at its best. To be completely and utterly truthful, I dislike anchovies with a passion, however I was determined to use everything that came in the box, so I thought that as the anchovies had garlic in them, I would make a foccacia as it is easy and a bit more upmarket then a pizza, where you usually find anchovies. For my main, I simply griddled the salmon as it was too good to do anything else with, and served it with dauphinoise potatoes, with a generous grating of Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese on top and green beans, with both the tarragon jelly and horseradish on the side. For pudding, I made a chocolate pot with brandied cherries and honey biscuits. The pictures of my dishes and full recipes are below.
Stuart and I really enjoyed the meal. The Royal Fillet was the best salmon I have ever tasted and the honey was delicious. I am now addicted to brandied cherries as well. My big jar will not last very long! One minor downside is that the foccacia did not really work. It was simply too fishy and overpowering. I have included the recipe here so that someone who likes anchovies can have a go and see if they can make it better than I did.
To be in a a chance of receiving a box of goodies from Forman and Field (worth £60) like I did, all you need to do is a leave a comment on this post, with your ideal Valentine’s recipe or menu and a box could be on its way to you and your loved one, in time for the big day itself. Please leave an email or twitter name so that you can be contacted if you win. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and you have until the 10th February to enter. My recipes are below. Please check out my competitors and see what they did with the mystery ingredients and check back soon to see if I won the Cook Off. Don’t forget, all the other competitors also have a hamper to give-away so why don’t you leave a comment on their blogs too!
All Serves Two
Anchovy and Garlic Foccacia
- 200g strong white bread flour, and more for dusting
- 1 packet of dried yeast
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 125ml warmish water
- 6 anchovy fillets, chopped up into small bits and some oil out the container they were in
- Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the olive oil and water and mix with your hand until its forms a sticky ball of dough.
- Put some flour on your work surface, and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and springy. Put in a oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel, cling film or even in a bin bag and leave in a warm place for an hour.
- After an hour has passed, knock back the dough and place in an oiled tin or tray and spread the dough out until it covers the bottom. leave it covered for another half an hour in a warm place.
- After half an hour, uncover it and spread out the chopped up anchovies and oil all over the top of the foccacia. Put in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) and let it cook for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy.
Griddled Salmon with Dauphinoise Potatoes and Green Beans
- 1 Royal Fillet, chopped up into two portions
- 3 large or 6 small Maris Piper Potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
- 100ml double cream
- 300ml whole milk
- 1/2 onion, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- Salt and white pepper
- Generous handful of Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese, grated
- 1 packet of green beans, cooked according to the packet instructions
- Horseradish sauce and tarragon jelly, to serve
- In a saucepan, put the potatoes, cream, milk, 1/2 an onion, salt and pepper and allow simmer gently until the potatoes are nearly cooked through.
- Remove the onion from the potatoes and place everything else in a lasagne type dish and put the grated cheese on top. Put in an preheated oven (180 degrees C) and allow to cook until slightly golden and bubbling.
- Meanwhile, preheat up a griddle pan and cook the salmon on both sides, until slightly charred and warmed through.
- Serve the salmon with the Dauphinoise Potatoes and green beans, with a spoonful each of horseradish and tarragon jelly on the side. Enjoy
Chocolate Pots with Honey Biscuits and Brandied Cherries
Ingredients for Chocolate Pots
- 100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped up
- 140ml double cream
- 35g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 6 pitted brandied cherries and 4 whole, for the top
Ingredients for Honey Biscuits (Makes 12-14)
- 2 heaped table spoons Regents Park Honey
- 2 table spoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
- 175g plain flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 100g unsalted butter
- (For the Chocolate Pots) Gently warm the cream and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar the melted.
- In a bowl, put the chocolate, 1 egg yolk and vanilla extract. Pour over the cream and sugar mixture and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pop 3 pitted cherries into the bottom of each ramekin and pour the chocolate mixture on top. Allow to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- (For the Honey Biscuits) Put the honey and milk in a saucepan and allow to warm through. Add in the Bicarbonate of Soda and stir until frothy. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the flour and frothy mixture and mix until combined.
- Roll and shape a knob of the biscuit mixture and flatten onto a baking tray lined with parchment. Do not make them too big as they will spread during cooking.
- Bake in a preheated 2o0 degrees C oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving with the chocolate pots and brandied cherries.