LIFE | HOW TO ROMANTIC DINNER

A romantic dinner for your partner should essentially be all about your partner.

Meet Victoria, one half of the glamorous duo from Mama Privee, a lifestyle blog helping women believe they can have it all. 

The things they love and the food they love or sometimes spoiling them with decadent treats that are luxurious and therefore special and rare.

Romantic dinners are about showing your significant other that even though you are now 100% preoccupied with a new love of your life, in my case Xavier (my one year old boy) that you still love them and somewhere in the back of your mind you have actually stored the dossier of things they love too.

Now even though I only have one partner. Who happens to be a heterosexual male. I really do think the below will work like a charm for most variations of what a partner is these days!

This romantic dinner planner will literally wow the pants off your significant other. So make sure the little ones are at grandma’s house.

Now as a wog I am good at two things and two things only: cooking and loving.
I do not feel however that I am qualified to talk shop on the ‘loving’ so today we will just focus on the cooking.

The menu for a romantic dinner needs to be sexy, bold and a little out of the ordinary. I think in days gone by the theme was oysters and lobster type food but that is just a bit 80s/90s for my liking. I prefer going something that is not too far out of the box and is very familiar but that is a little decadent.

THE MENU

  • Dirty Martinis
  • Truffle Pasta
  • Wagyu Steak (sirloin) with Cavalo Nero and Fresh Lemon
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with French Champagne

THE DETAILS

What are you drinking?

So we have discussed dirty martinis to start and I will certainly furnish you with the recipe below. Now I am not a cocktail connoisseur by any stretch. I have never in my life even worked in a bar or pub of any description. I rarely make my own dirty martinis BUT I often drink them. They are 100% my only cocktail of choice. There are no seconds or thirds for me and the best thing about them is that starting with one delicious dirty always connotes the beginning of a fabulous night (for many reasons). 
In my very very humble opinion a good dirty needs to be made with either Grey Goose or Belvedere. You need to use great quality olive brine, you need to follow instructions to the tee when it comes to the vermouth, the glass needs to be icy icy icy cold and you need to ensure that the ice in the mixture amalgamates properly with the alcohol mix.
This is for two reasons 1. So that the dirty is trés cold and 2. To dilute the vodka slightly so that the cocktail is easy and delicious to drink.
I know I probably just broke all the rules of what a good dirty martini is but I just want you all to try it my way and LOVE them. You honestly will.
 Now you need white wine with your pasta and red wine with your wagyu. If you are concerned about not finishing bottles have a look for some half bottles next time you are at your local bottle shop.
Champagne with your strawberries: There is only one champagne that exists for me and it conveniently comes in different incarnations for your personal palate.

  • Billecart Salmon Brut Réserve
  • Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé
  • Billecart Salmon Cuveé Nicolas Francois
 

Truffles…
Decadence to the max if you are able to get a fresh one. There are two types – white and black. Black is best when it is cooked, for example stuffed under the skin of a whole chicken and then roasted. White is the one you want if you are shaving over your pasta. I find white is very hard to get my hands on in Australia your best bet is to contact Gourmet Life. The options you have if you can’t get white are:


1. Just use truffle oil the best options can be found at Gourmet Life and they have many price points to choose from


2. Use truffle oil and buy some minced black truffles (I use Figante Tratufi which I buy from Gourmet Life)


3. If you can only get a black truffle make a truffle risotto so that the black truffle is cooked my favourite recipe that I have come across is from Anhs Food Blog
 
What are you Wearing?
It’s hard to feel sexy sometimes as a mother – but I guarantee you Porte a Vie has the answers. Because actions speak louder than words.


NOTE: You will 99% be too full and too drunk to parade around in sexy lingerie after this dinner. The house is empty, you are under no time constraints and you have already had a dirty martini… just saying.

LET’S GET COOKING

Dirty Martini


Makes 2
• 5 shots of ice-cold vodka
• 1 shot dry vermouth (to taste, i.e. dry or wet)
• 8 teaspoons of olive brine (less or more depends on how dirrrrty you like it!)
• 6 large green olives


You will need

Freezing cold martini glasses straight from the freezer. Otherwise pop ice in them while you make the cocktail 
• Cocktail shaker or mixing jug depending upon your preference of shaken or stirred. Unlike Jimmy Bond… I am a stirred kinda gal.
• Hawthorne strainer
• Fine strainer

Preparation

Fill the shaker or jug with ice nearly to the top
2. Add all the ingredients and stir for about 30-40 seconds but you can shake it , which will marry the vodka and vermouth together a little better for sure
4. Use the Hawthorne and fine strainer together and pour the dirty Vodka martini into a frozen martini glass
5. Add olives and serve immediately so it is icy cold
 


Truffle Pasta

Ok- now let’s get nasty. My version of truffle pasta is not traditional and I would like to apologise in advance. However for the record. I am Italian. So trust me. I know how to make pasta. I like to treat my truffle pasta like a version of Carbonara. As soon as the pasta is al dente you throw it into the pan to coat in olive oil and garlic, quickly followed by whisked eggs, quickly followed by cheese, quickly followed by shavings of fresh truffle. If you are using truffle oil this comes after the eggs and the cheese.

You Will Need

Dry Fettuccine Or linguine 100 grams per person will be HEAPS. Obviously there is no such things as a packet for 200 grams so if you are buying fresh pasta rather than dried you can buy it at the per gram price. However if you are using packet pasta just use a little less than half the packet.

  • 2 eggs

  • 3/4 cup grated truffled pecorino

  • 3/4 cup grated grana padano or parmiggiano reggiano (depends on budget and preference for taste)

  • 2 small cloves of garlic (I don’t mean teeny weeny I just mean if they are those huge honking purple organic cloves two cloves for two people will lead to no romance at any point in the night… and it is supposed to be a romantic dinner)

  • Truffle** Oil and some minced truffle or fresh (white)

  • Olive oil (a good amount, say 4 table spoons)
  • 
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Put the water on with a pinch of salt to boil.
In a deep-ish (it needs to fit the past in it once cooked) fry pan gently fry your garlic in olive oil. Not for long, just long enough to release the flavour. No burning or browning at all here. Now turn off the heat and leave the oil and garlic in the pan.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add pepper (lots of pepper).
The water should be boiling now, throw in your pasta and follow instructions as to pack or pasta provider, each one will be different. Once the pasta is al dente strain in a colander reserving equivalent of 1/4 cup of the boiling water.
Throw the pasta into your pan of garlic and olive oil and coat. Now working quickly but gently add your eggs to the pasta and move, stir, caress once again coating all the pasta in the eggs without turning the eggs to scrambled eggs!
Now in goes your cheese. Stir it in and show it some love.
The finished product using truffle oil and minced truffles from Gourmet Life
Truffle time – NOW if you are using truffle oil- How much…? Again hard to measure and depends on the quality but start with 6 tablespoons and keep testing until it’s to your liking. Using minced black truffle then a good four dolloped teaspoons while you stir is going to work.
Is the pasta dry? Does it need some lustre? Add some reserved pasta water. Stir.
Using white truffle. This is the time to shave half the truffle on then stir through and the rest after the pasta has been plated up at the table.
Salt and pepper to taste.
The calm before the storm – doing my prep before Tim gets home and the LBD goes on!
 
Obviously everything that needs to be pre done ie cheese grating and garlic cutting has been done. Think like you are on a TV cooking show. You know- everything in little bowls ready to go. This is cooking on the spot stuff. You are putting on a show for your partner. Finishing off your dirty martini, cracking open your demi bottle of white and pouring your first glass. He might be decanting the red and allowing it to breath in anticipation of his wagyu. After you have both enjoyed your white wine and decadent truffle pasta it’s back to the stove top for the wagyu. Note: I have said nothing about table settings… Men don’t give a shit about this. You are in the kitchen, he is sitting on a bar stool at the kitchen bench and that is where this is all taking place. You might light a candle or two but remember… this is for you, not him.
 
Wagyu Sirloin with Cavalo Nero and Fresh Lemon
 
I’m cooking sirloins that are 1cm think here. Also, I have something I want to say that I know is gastronomically incorrect. I don’t like my wagyu rare. I like it medium or medium rare. Why? I like the fat to render a bit more so that the meat goes all creamy and juicy. This creaminess is juxtaposed so nicely with the fresh squeeze of lemon juice which just adds freshness and cuts through all the marbling. With the first course and wagyu being so rich you will note below that the cavalo nero is very simple and fresh. Just pan fried with lemon juice and a tiny bit of garlic. It should be light and make your stomach feel uplifted after the rich wagyu.
2 x wagyu sirloin 200-250 grams

1 bunch cavalo nero

2 x large garlic cloves

Olive oil

2 x Fresh lemon

Salt and pepper

Method
Brush the wagyu with olive oil on both sides, cut one of the cloves in half and give each piece of beef a bit of a rub down and a pepper. Leave to marinate for a few minutes with the half cloves of garlic.
Cut the thick middle vein of the Cavalo nero then chop to size. Throw into a medium hot pan with a lug of olive oil, salt and pepper at the half way point between raw and reacy (about 3 minutes throw in your large chopped clove of garlic and possibly another dash of olive oil. You might also like to add a small birds-eye chilli but it depends on if you and your partner are into spice. We are at 5 minutes in the pan now and we are almost done- squeeze in a full half of the juice of a juicy lemon. Sizzle, hiss. Ready. Leave in the pan to stay warm.
Delicious and decadent Wagyu Sirloin
Now the sirloin. If you are lucky enough to have easy access to a BBQ this will make it even tastier but a griddle or fry pan is also fine.
I like my wagyu in 1cm thick pieces – why… so that the heat can penetrate the beef and during the cooking and render the fat bringing it to a good eating temperature without over cooking the steak.
Make sure your chosen cooking surface is hot hot hot, presentation side goes down. Sizzle sizzle 2 minutes and flip, 1 to maybe 1.5 minutes max then off to a plate for resting.
Add salt and serve with a slice of fresh lemon and the warm cavalo nero.
 


Chocolate Strawberries
Easy peasy. Use as many as you like. I think about 4 each is nice.
Melt your chosen chocolate by breaking pieces into a heat proof bowl. Bring saucepan of water to the boil then turn to low and place chocolate filled bowl over the top. Stir chocolate until melted.
Dip the strawberries ¾ of the way each into the melted chocolate and put on a tray or plate lined with baking paper.
Refrigerate until set.

This post was first published on Mama Privee. If you are currently performing a balancing act of wearing heels, eating at fancy restaurants, reading parenting books, cooking dinner, working out, shopping online, being a wife/girlfriend/partner and either working or coming dangerously close to the looming deadline of going back to work, and you also happen to be a mother, then Mama Privée is you. 



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