Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How To Create A Slap-Up Romantic Meal At Home

Eating at home is much more intimate than eating at a restaurant. You can play your own music, set your own lighting, and prepare your own food. The act of cooking for someone is in itself an act of caring. You’re demonstrating that they are important to you because you are taking the time to feed them. If you haven’t done this before, don’t be nervous. Follow these simple steps to a memorable romantic meal.

Plan Ahead

If you plan ahead and get organized, you will have much more free time on the night. The first thing you need to consider is where you’re going to eat. Is this room or area presentable? Do you need to clean? Remember that your guest is likely to visit other rooms and so it’s probably best to clean the house.

Does your guest have any dietary requirement?. For example, are they vegetarian or do they have any allergies? If you don’t know, then check. This will save you a lot of time.

Next, it’s time to plan your menu. Decide whether you’re going for a traditional three courses or something more elaborate. Choose the main meal first and then plan around it. Look through cookery books or online for inspiration.

Keep It Simple

If you don’t cook often, it’s probably best to keep it simple. Don’t plan anything too elaborate. Wherever possible, prepare food in advance. For example, chop vegetables and place them in an air-tight container to be used on the night.

Consider using a tagine or a slow cooker so your meal can be cooking in advance. This will have the benefit of ensuring meat is tender. It will also allow your food to marinate in herbs and spices which will add to the flavor. There are lots of simple tagine recipes that are easy to follow. When your guest arrives, the food will be ready, and all you will need to do is serve it. For a simple side dish just add salad or bread.


When planning your food, don’t forget to select some wine. Decide whether you’re going to keep it simple or whether you intend to serve a different wine for each course. And don’t forget to decant. Websites such as provide information on how to do this.

As a general rule of thumb, rose wines work well with cheesy dishes such as Roquefort, etc. White wines with fish dishes and white meat. Serve red wine with red meat. These are just general rules. Do your research to find the best pairings.


When deciding on your dessert, think about the meal as a whole. If you’re serving a rich, heavy meal, then opt for a light dessert. Ice cream and sorbet are always well-received and take little preparation. They have the benefit of cleansing the palette. For a simple dessert make a fruit salad made with seasonal fruits.

And finally, choose a good filter coffee to serve at the end of the meal. Decide whether or not to include a cheese board. Again, this is simple to put together and can be prepared in advance with some bread, crackers, and fruit.

The good thing about cooking at home is that there are no rules. You have a blank canvas and can create whatever takes your fancy. Rules can be useful if you don’t know where to start. But know when to break them and to add your own flair.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cooking For A Veggie? Don't Panic!

From Pixabay

It’s a pretty common scene to hear about. You suddenly realise that one of your dinner guests is a vegetarian, and it throws all your plans into the air! If this has happened to you, then don’t panic. Dropping your plans and preparing something that’s both delicious and meat-free is easier than you may think. Here, I’ve brought together a few tips on cooking for a vegetarian.
From Pixabay

My first tip is to find out what kind of vegetarian you’re cooking for. That’s right, there’s more than one! Pescatarians, for example, can eat fish but no dairy products or eggs. Lacto-vegetarians, on the other hand, can eat dairy products but pretty much nothing else that comes from an animal. Ask your vegetarian if they have any exceptions to their rule, without making it sound like they’re a circus curiosity! It may be that you’ll only have to change one small part of your meal. If you can prepare a meal with fish, eggs and broccoli while keeping everyone happy, then you’ve hit the jackpot! Figuring out exactly what you can and can’t make will usually simplify the whole process.
From Wikimedia

Secondly, don’t be afraid to mix raw and cooked foods. For most of us omnivores, this is complete sacrilege! However, some of the most popular vegetarian dishes around use a combination of cooked and raw foods. You might want to mix bits of roasted sweet potatoes with a raw salad. Or you could have some fresh orange segments mixed in with a range of steamed greens. The dishes you can prepare take a little creativity and experimentation.

From Pexels

Just make sure you try your creations yourself before plonking them in front of your guest. The mash of textures and flavours may not go down so well with your own household. However, if you want to give your vegetarian a compatible and memorable meal, you’re going to need to come out of your shell somewhat.
From Pexels

Finally, be sure to season the meal you serve up. I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. If your ingredients are fresh, all you need to make something delicious is olive oil, garlic and salt. These three seasonings, when used in the right quantities, have the power to turn even the blandest of dishes into complete wonders. Obviously, you don’t have to stop there. If you’re making a dish which you’re afraid is going to end up being a little bland, then pull out the spices and experiment to your heart’s content! Just make sure you’re using your herbs and spices to accent the other food, and not replace it. If you overload the spice in a dish, you’ll only end up with a heavy, acrid flavour and a wholly unpleasant meal. Take baby steps, and make sure to keep tasting as you go along.
From Wikimedia

Whether your veggie avoids meat out of health or for moral reasons, cooking for them shouldn’t be a problem. Ensure you know what the rules are, and leave yourself some time for experimenting before you serve up.