If you are a homeowner, you’ll know that it can be difficult to afford to go out for meals at a restaurant very often. With paying for bills and doing renovations in your home, any excess money you have is swallowed up pretty quickly. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t cook up a killer dish at home for your other half on date night.
To really prepare your kitchen for the big night in with your loved one, you can do a couple of things to spruce up the space before turning into a restaurant for the night. Replace your taps with some sleek, chrome ones from Tap Warehouse, buy some table decorations to really add that restaurant feel to your dining area, and finish off by adding some candles for some romantic lighting.
For this restaurant date, we are going to be making 4 courses from scratch. But don’t worry, some of these things can be made ahead of time so there’s no need to panic!
Appetizers: Bread Rolls and Balsamic Dip
For the first course, you want to keep things simple, and this appetiser is something you can both munch on as you wait for the starter to heat up.
- 1Kg Bread Mix- e.g. Wrights
- 30g Yeast Sachet
- 600ml Water
- 200ml Balsamic Vinegar
- 200ml Olive Oil (Good Quality)
For the bread: Place the mix, water and yeast into a bowl and mix to form a dough. Rest for 5 minutes then mould into small rolls. Prove for 60 minutes in a warm place, and then bake for 15 minutes at 230°C (450°F).
For the Dip: Pour your Balsamic Vinegar into a bowl, then pour olive oil on top. The oil will sit above and the balsamic below- don’t worry, this is what it’s supposed to look like!
Starter: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Risotto
This starter is one which is impressive, but very simple to make, and you can even make it the night before and then heat it up when you need it. Risotto is a recipe which intimidates many people, but actually it is very simple and delicious.
- 1 Red Bell Pepper (Roasted in an oven at 200C for 15 minutes)
- 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Cup Parmesan
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 120g Risotto Rice
- 50ml White Wine
- 400ml Boiling Water or Stock (your choice)
Start off by heating oil in the pan and adding your garlic. Let it cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile, blend your pepper and tomatoes. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Once coated, add in the wine and simmer until the wine has been absorbed.
Add 200ml of your red pepper and tomato mixture to the boiling water and stir. Put the rest in a freezer safe tub and freeze for next time you make risotto. Slowly add the liquid to your rice, stirring constantly and adding more when the liquid is absorbed. Carry on doing this until the liquid is used and you have a beautiful glossy risotto. Check that the rice is cooked. If not, add some more liquid. Add half of the parmesan and stir.
To serve, place into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan.
Main: Steak with Homemade Chips
The main course is your pride and joy, and should be the most impressive part of the meal. For this you want to pick your favourite cut of meat, and research the different levels of cooking for the steak . Find out how your guest likes it so you can cook it to their taste.
- 2 Steaks of your choice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper
- Sprig of rosemary
- 2 Large Potatoes
- 1 tbsp Flour
- Vegetables of your choice to serve
For the chips: Leave the skins on for crispier chips. Cut into inch pieces and boil for 5 minutes in a pan. Once boiled and drained, place into a bowl with a tbsp butter, flour and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and stab at the potatoes lightly with a fork to fluff them up. Place on a foiled tray and bake at 220C for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
For the Steak: 10 minutes before the chips are done, place butter and grated garlic into a large pan and add the rosemary. Heat up until smoking and add your steaks. Cook as you like them and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chips and vegetables. And a glass of red wine.
Dessert: Apple Crumble and Ice Cream
Dessert is the last course of your meal, and will probably be eaten at least half an hour after the main course. This will give you time to put this delicious crumble in the oven and enjoy conversation with your date as you wait for it to cook. This dish can be prepared the day before so that you are under less stress on the night.
- 4 Bramley Apples
- 1 Lemon
- 100g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
- 20ml water
- 120g flour
- 60g butter
- 60g caster sugar
- 500ml custard
- 300ml double cream
- 1 vanilla pod
For the crumble: peel and chop the apples. Place in a pan with the juice and zest of 1 lemon, water, and dark brown sugar. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. This allows the apples to soften which helps with the cooking process. To make the crumble topping, mix the flour, sugar and butter with your hands until a breadcrumb consistency. Place your apple mixture into a dish and top with the crumble. When you are ready, cook for 30 minutes at 190C.
For the ice cream:
Mix the custard, cream and vanilla. If you have an ice cream maker, mix for 15 minutes the freeze. If not, place in a tub and take it out each hour to break up the large ice crystals. Serve when ready and enjoy your simple, make-ahead dessert.
You can make an amazing restaurant meal from the comfort of your own home!