Just to show I'm not a total Kiwi curmudgeon about Valentines I thought I'd share a pinky-red dinner that you can whip up on Monday night. Tried and true, both dishes have a well-earned place in my Idle Hostess portfolio for their min fuss and max effect.
The first requires a hammer, not the first tool that comes to mind on Valentines, but my Tallulah, nine, made it a little work of art with sticky jewels. Both recipes are from Jamie Oliver, but re-named and re-jigged by me, the slap-dash Queen.
This is the easiest dessert in the land. The hammer is the key. Any hard chocolate candy that breaks up is fine but Maltesers are the best. I've added pomegranate seeds for Valentines Day. I'm showing off in the photo by including a whole pomegranate. Fancypants me! Usually I just buy seeds from Trader Joes'.
2. Your favourite ice-cream. I'm usually a purist when it comes to sheets, towels, toilet paper and ice-cream - white!
3. Maltesers (UK or NZ) or Whoppers (US)
Bash up Maltesers with hammer and throw over ice-cream. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
The baked salmon came into my life via my wonderful Kiwi friend, Diana and to be honest I wasn't too sure I would like it. Because it centred around salmon - during my 15 years of London-life, salmon was a dinner party staple and I had grown tired of it. Plus it contained olives, which I go back and forth about in cooked dishes.
But after tasting I was a believer. For those who can't stand anchovies - I adore them - don't worry, cook it anyway! I suppose anchovies are not the best offering for a first date dinner, but good news is - you'll find out if you're suited! Plus the anchovies act like bacon and make a crunchy salty topping, a veritable piece de resistance.
In fact after I made this today I actually bought The Naked Chef and for the first time read the recipe! I had vaguely watched Diana making it years ago and I realised for years I had been making it - let's say differently! - we're too close to Berkeley to ever say wrong. The official recipe requires fresh anchovies, not tinned, black olives not green and includes lemons and basil. Plus Jamie cooks the topping separate from the fish. Oh well!
It's best to buy the highest quality salmon you can afford for this dish, you can taste the difference. After considerable research am totally confused about which salmon is most ecological. Let me know if you have further insights into this. Also I don't like green beans al dente so I always cook the heck out of them.
1. Fresh salmon, squeezed with lemon juice
2. Sliced green olives, cherry tomatoe and cooked green beens, ripped up basil
3. Tinned anchovies
Plop all the stuff in 2. onto 1. In layers, in any order. I love millions of anchovies so put them over everything and I think green beens look prettiest on top (with more anchovies). Salt and pepper. I use all the oil from the anchovies on top, but otherwise glog some oil over the whole thing.
Put in a tray in oven at 475F for 15 mins or until fish only just cooked.
What is your tried and true Valentines' dinner?