I’d like to represent a very delicious main course, that looks elegant and suits perfectly to this special day. A healthy and tasty fish is complemented here by aromatic lentil ragout and fresh fennel shavings. Another secret weapon in this sensational dish is aromatic spices: turmeric and ginger, that really burst the lentils with lots of flavour. And of course don’t forget the final touch – a drizzle of lime juice.
1 medium tomato, chopped (without liquid and seeds)
1.5 tbsp tomato puree
zest from 1/2 lime
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
fennel or parsley
Rinse and drain lentils. Put in a saucepan with rosemary, cover with water (do not season) and bring to boil on a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add extra water if all absorbed, or drain some if there is any left.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small frying pan, add onion and carrot and saute for 6-7 minutes until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and saute for a minute more. Stir in chopped tomato and puree. Turn off the heat.
Discard rosemary form lentils. While lentils are still warm season with salt and pepper, then mix in lemon zest and vegetable mixture; give it a good stir.
Drizzle fish with lime juice, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle skin side with breadcrumbs and flour. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry skin-side down for 2 minutes, then turn and fry for 1-3 minutes more (depends on fish thickness), until golden and cooked.
Arrange lentil ragout on a serving plate, top with fennel and fish fillet, drizzle with lime juice. Garnish with fennel (or parsley) and lime wedges.
The week before St.Valentine’s Day is just started. Are you ready for the Big Day? Have you planned how do you want to spend it? No matter what you choose – whether to go to a restaurant or to spend a romantic dinner in, I recommend you to try this pureed soup with roasted beetroot. You can serve it as a hot starter on the V-Day, or just prepare it during the week. The soup is very easy and quick to make. The only thing I’d like to mention: better to roast beetroot instead of boiling, roasted beets with rosemary and olive oil have such a lovely aroma and they add an extra amazing taste to the soup! And if you are vegetarian – omit the bacon.
You may also garnish the soup with fresh chopped dill instead of chives.
Omit the bacon for vegetarian option.
2 small beetroots, about 230g
1 small red onion
1 garlic clove, optional, peeled
1 teared fresh rosemary sprig or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp olive oil
500ml water (or veg or beef stock)
2 small potatoes, about 230g
1 bay leave
1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or sub with white)
1 tbps lemon juice
freshly ground pink pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
3-4 smoked bacon strips
1.5 tbsp each cream cheese+sour cream (or use more cream cheese)
4 tbsp fresh chive
Wash and peel beetroot, cut into 4-5 slices and arrange on a piece of foil. Slice onion and add along with garlic and rosemary to beetroot. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 20 minutes, then take out onion and garlic. Seal the foil and bake beetroot for 20-30 minutes more or until it’s soft.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Bring water or stock to boil in a medium pan, add potatoes, bay leave and some salt. Slightly cover, simmer on a medium heat until soft. Discard the bay leave.
Add all roasted vegetables to the pan along with sugar and lemon juice. Season to taste with pink pepper and salt. Simmer all together for 5-6 minutes more.
In a small pan, fry sliced bacon (without oil) until it’s crispy. Drain on a paper towels.
Blend the soup until smooth.
For the garnish, mix cream cheese with sour cream, or use only cream cheese. Chop chives.
Pour the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with fried bacon, chives and a dollop of cream.