Whether you’re married, dating, single, or it’s complicated, it’s always lovely to celebrate the relationships you have with those closest to you on Valentine’s Day. A guaranteed way to score some brownie points with your special someone is through a fancy dinner because, as we all know, food is the key to the heart.
To help spread the love this Valentine’s Day, I have put together a simple yet impressive collection of recipes for a three-course meal that is bound to go down a treat. Not only are these recipes delicious, but they are also very affordable as the whole meal comes to a meagre £6.55.
The first recipe I picked for the starter is individual goat’s cheese and red onion tarts, a sophisticated and delicious way to start off the meal. The recipe suggests buying a block of shortcrust pastry for the tart case, but another option, if you’re feeling confident, would be to make your own by simply rubbing butter into flour and adding water when the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With shop-bought pastry, this recipe adapted from Olive Magazine comes to a total of approximately £1.41 for two portions.
Goat’s cheese and red onion tarts
(Makes 2 individual tarts)
- 170g shortcrust pastry
- 1 red onion
- Olive oil
- ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 slices of goat’s cheese from a small log
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/ gas 6.
- Line 2 tart tins (around 10 cm across) with thinly rolled pastry and prick the bases with a fork.
- Line the pastry cases with parchment and baking beans (or rice) and bake for 10 minutes or until the pastry starts to brown. Remove the parchment and the beans and bake for another 5 minutes or until the pastry is crisp.
- Slice the red onion thickly. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and fry the slices, without breaking them, on each side for about 15 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and thyme to the onions and let them bubble.
- Lift a slice of onion into each tart case and put a slice of goat’s cheese on top.
- Bake until the goat’s cheese begins to bubble and slightly brown.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil or balsamic vinegar before serving, and enjoy!
For the main course, I chose a vibrant green spinach and lemon risotto with crispy prosciutto. This indulgent recipe will be a guaranteed success as the salty prosciutto and rich sauce combine to make a delicious main course that will leave you wanting more. This recipe adapted from Good Food comes to approximately £3.97 for two portions.
Green spinach and lemon risotto with crispy prosciutto.
- 750ml warm chicken stock
- 100g spinach
- Small bunch of parsley
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 10g butter
- 1 thyme sprig, leaves picked
- 1 leek, the white part finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 150 arborio risotto rice
- 75ml dry white wine
- 20g parmesan, grated
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Blanch the spinach and parsley in the stock for 30 seconds until wilted and bright green, then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to cool for a moment.
- Turn the stock down to a low heat. Squeeze out any excess water from the spinach and parsley, then tip into a food processor. Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 1 tbsp of water and blitz until fine.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the prosciutto until crisp.
- Put half the butter, the thyme leaves, leek and garlic in the same frying pan and season. Fry for a few minutes until the leek is softened but not brown.
- Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the wine and cook for another 2 minutes until evaporated. Add one ladleful of the warm stock and cook until absorbed, stirring continuously.
- Continue this process one ladleful at a time for 20-30 minutes, constantly stirring, until the rice is creamy but retains a little bite.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the remaining butter, the parmesan, most of the lemon zest, and the lemon juice. Stir through the spinach mixture.
- Divide between two plates, top with the prosciutto and sprinkle over more parmesan and lemon zest.
For the finale, I decided to be more ambitious with a chocolate fondant. Yes, this recipe is risky as finding the balance between a cooked sponge and a raw mess can be difficult, but if you follow the recipe, you should get excellent results and wow your guest with a gooey, chocolatey delight. This recipe adapted from Tesco real food comes to approximately £1.17 for two portions.
Classic chocolate fondant recipe
(Makes two fondants)
- 10g butter, melted
- 50g dark chocolate, chopped
- 50g unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 50g plain flour
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6. Brush 2 ramekins with some of the melted butter, chill them for 15 minutes, then brush with another layer of melted butter. Dust the insides with cocoa powder and then chill them until ready to fill with the batter.
- Melt together the chocolate and cubed butter in a heatproof mixing bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the egg and egg yolk in a separate mixing bowl until light and thick. Sift the plain flour into the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the melted chocolate and butter mixture into the egg and flour mixture in thirds, mixing well between each addition.
- Divide the batter between the moulds and bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops are set and the edges start to come away from the sides.
- Allow to sit for 1 minute and then carefully remove them from the ramekins.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve.