Valentines Day is only a couple of days away, and I’m here to save your butt with a last minute plan that will blow your loved one’s mind.
Spain is incredible: the colours, the fact that everyone is eerily relaxed, and the appreciation for food, wine, and good company. Here you’ll find the tools to combine these things into a romantic Valentine’s Day (except for maybe the quality of your company – that’s on you!)
So, whether preparing this for your partner, family, housemates or cat (no judgement here) here’s how it’s done – from the decoration, what to drink and some super-easy and delicious tapas recipes.
Spain oozes vibrancy and colour, so stick to a theme of orange, yellow, pink and red. A bright table cloth and candles would look great – and for an extra touch add some bunches of colorful gerberas to the table.
The Spanish can gin-and-tonic like it’s nobody’s business – a great way to kick off your evening. Here’s how:
- If you’re going all out, find the big fishbowl-esk glasses. If not, a wine glass will do just fine;
- Add a decent amount of ice – about half the glass;
- Choose your garnish. This might be 1-2 of: mint, lime slice, orange peel or berries;
- Choose your gin – I’m a Beefeater girl personally;
- Pour the gin onto the garnish, to properly flavor the gin; follow with tonic poured from a freshly-opened bottle or can at a ratio of 2:1 or 3:2 tonic to gin. Stir!
Wine with dinner
Spain, and particularly the region of Rioja, is famous for its awesome expression of tempranillo (temp-rah-nee-yo) – it is bold with structure comparable to a cabernet sauvignon, but bright and fruity like a pinot noir or sangiovese. If you’re not sure what that means, just trust me on this – everyone from super-duper wine critics to my boyfriend’s football team love this stuff.
Campo Viejo does a great expression that’s perfect for food pairing.:
If you like your wines young, vibrant and fresh, go for the 100% tempranillo.
If you’re after a little more structure and boldness, choose the Reserva, it’s only a few dollars more and has been aged for 3+ years, adding complexity.
Just one sip will transport you to the cobblestone streets of Spain *sigh*.
If you’ve gone a little beyond tourist areas in Spain, you’ll be used to receiving a free tapas with your drink. The notion of tapas is awesome – it’s made to be shared, easy to eat and social. Bring this concept to your home with these easy recipes, specifically made to compliment the wine.
Tomato, onion and tuna salad.
For anyone (like me) who can’t cook and requires as little preparation as possible. A great starter.
500 g Different types of tomatoes
1 Spring onions
2 tbsp. Cider vinegar
8 tbsp. Olive oil
150 g Tuna belly
Salt – to taste
Wash and peel the tomatoes with a peeler and cut into even wedges. Cut the spring onion into strips and put the onions and tomatoes in a bowl. Dress with oil and, check the salt and set aside. Plate up the salad and arrange the tuna belly shavings on top.
Hanger steak with maize porridge
This is still on the ‘pretty easy’ scale. It’s going to rock your socks off paired with your Spanish wine. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
250 g Hanger steak
1 tbsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Olive oil
100g Cornmeal or polenta
For the porridge: Bring the milk with butter, cream and a clove of garlic to a boil. Add the polenta little by little and cook for 8 minutes stirring gently. Check the salt and pepper and set aside.
For the hanger steak: The hanger steak is a cut is located below the lungs. To prepare it, salt the meat and sear it on all sides with a little oil in a pan, leaving it a little pink inside.
Fillet the hanger steak into four pieces and plate up accompanied by a bowl of maize porridge so each diner can choose how much they want.
Sweet peas with ham
This is awesome on the side of the steak, and surprisingly flavoursome.
50g Diced ham
1 tablespoon Olive oil
50 ml Chicken stock
5 Mint leaves
Dice the onion and sauté (fry) with olive oil until transparent. Add the ham, the chicken stock and the peas, cook for 3 minutes and set aside.
Serve in an earthenware clay pot and decorate with mint leaves.
Mediterranean steak tartar
Trendy and stylish, tartar is in its heyday – I never realised how easy it is to make! This is sure to impress.
200g Fillet of beef
1 Tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Crunchy original chips
Remove any fat from the meat and finely chop with a knife. In a bowl, dress the meat with the mayonnaise, the grated zest of 1 orange, a few drops of Worcester sauce and a small spoonful of mustard. Check the salt and set aside.
Plate up with a rectangular mould up to 1 cm high. Uniformly distribute capers and tapenade beads over the surface. Serve with chips.
So yeah, that easy. Comment below to let me know if you pull this together!