Fun with plating – four course dinner on Valentine’s Day

I had a blast making Valentines Day Dinner this year, probably because I had all day to work on every little element, a luxury I don’t generally get. Not everything turned out exactly as I would like it to, but I was trying some new ideas and techniques so I wasn’t expecting perfection. I thought I would share, just for fun, and maybe my next fancy dinner I can compare to this and critique!

Course #1: Roasted beet and goat cheese napoleons with reduced balsamic and roast hazelnuts.

beet and goat cheese napoleons

Having bought mini beets for no particular reason, my beet layers were a bit uneven but that didn’t matter. I used a round cookie cutter to layer the roast beets and cheese, then cut into quarters. There were only six because it looked nicer on the plate that way, also “someone” ate two while prepping. Wasn’t me, I swear. 😉

Course #2: Caramelized carrots and brussels sprouts on sweet potato puree with croutons.

carrots and brussels sprouts

I had the most fun with this one, and had taken the advice of a food plating video that suggested you should visualize the plate in advance. By thinking it over beforehand I got a much nicer plate. The combination textures made this simple course interesting; crunchy crutons, crispy honey glazed brussels sprouts and carrots, and the smooth puree to add extra sweetness.

Course #3: Prawn surf and turf with roast vegetables and dijon mashed potatoes

DSC05610 copy.jpg

I wish I had done the prawns directly on the grill of the barbecue instead of on a skillet to get some charring, but they still tasted great. I marinaded them in honey, lemon, Dijon,  cayenne pepper and a few other spices for a little kick. I could have taken more time placing veggies but we were too keen to dig into that steak!

Course #4: Lemon tart with berry coulis and crushed meringue

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Full disclosure I had a catastrophe with a flourless chocolate cake earlier and had to change course. But this was to the delight of my partner as the original dessert was my preference and a lemon tart is his, second only to crème brûlée. Meringue made sense to have with a lemon tart since you end up with leftover egg whites anyway, I also love berries with lemon, hence that addition. I sifted the coulis after cooking to get it perfectly smooth; I would file my plating under “needs work” but again, taste is what matters most!

So there you go, four courses for Valentine’s Day. I will note that I sat down during almost the whole meal (with the exception of the third course) as almost everything was prepared in advance and just needed a quick final cook or plate! See my last post for some tips there if you’re planning a meal like this yourself.


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