Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Dinner

Happy Valentine's Day! How did you celebrate the heart's day? For us, we just had a simple dinner at home. But to make the ambiance more special, we had it by the pool. Apparently, Valentine's Day  is not celebrated big in Singapore compared in the Philippines. Back home, this is a day of frenzy. It's just too commercialized and well hyped down there. But really, regardless of which culture you're in, as long as you have you're own reasons for celebrating it, nothing should stop you in keeping the tradition of love. 
For this dinner, I just had a simple repertoire in mind. Since my first attempt into steaks became successful, why not have it for the second time around? Only, I used a different meat cut this time. I opted for a sirloin instead of a ribeye. To my surprise though, I still preferred the later for a better steak experience. For the dessert, I made a Raspberry Chocolate Cake. Although, the appearance of the cake failed me (blame it to the wrong size of the baking pan), the taste delivered well. 

Raspberry Chocolate Cake (modified version from the Baking Cookbook by Love Food)

What you need:
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 eggs
scant 1/2 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup sunflower oil
fresh mints, sprig for decoration
225g semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries

How to make:
1. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa in a large bowl.
2. Beat the eggs with the sugar and oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture, then stir to mix thoroughly, beating to a smooth batter.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 mins or until risen.
4. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.
5. For the frosting, put chocolate, milk, sugar and flour in a bowl over simmering water until melted. Pour over the cake. Top with raspberries and fresh mint sprigs. 

 Pan Roasted Sirloin Steaks (I used the same recipe I mentioned in this post).

 Aglio Olio Spaghetti

What you need:
500g spaghettti
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps dried basil leaves
1/2 cup pasta water reserve
1 tsp chopped mint leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

How to make:
1. Cook the spaghetti to al dente texture. Reserve 1/2 cup of water and drain completely.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and saute until it turns light brown (don't burn). Add basil leaves and pasta water reserve.
3. Stir in cooked spaghetti. Season with salt  and pepper. Add fresh mint leaves.
4. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.

 Fresh Greens Salad with Vinaigrette (this recipe is another inspiration from Ina Garten)

What you need:
3 packs of fresh greens (ready to use)
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

How to make:
1. Mix garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl. Continue mixing until the mixture is emulsified.
2. Drizzle a generous amount of vinaigrette into the fresh greens and mix well.

 And here's how our plate looked like for the night.