As I have written about a few times before, H. and I don’t really enjoy going out on Valentine’s Day. We prefer to stay in and for the last several years have had the tradition of cooking a three-course meal together. I was recently thinking about this tradition as I noticed the title of Mimi Thorisson’s latest blog post, “wonderfully ordinary“. There is something about this act that while ‘special’ in a way — because we are spending much more effort putting a meal together than we normally do — is actually an ordinary, even banal, thing to do together. Yet, there is something very comforting and in fact “wonderful” about taking the time to create a meal together.
This year’s menu
Marinated feta with thyme and honey – served with flatbreads (recipe)
Roasted salmon, spinach & ricotta raviloi, salad
Chocolate molten cakes (recipe)
With the exception of making the ravioli, this meal came together easily. With part of the meal being so labour-intensive I wanted the other elements to be straightforward: the starter is very easy to prepare, as is the dessert. The salmon, which we always cook the same way (Mark Bittman’s), is also very simple.
We ate the starter ‘on the go’ while we made the ravioli. It was good, but for some reason (I don’t know why) I was expecting to be blown away by it, and I definitely wasn’t. I think it was actually too rich, and although the honey adds some depth, the flavour was a bit one-dimensional for me. I probably would not make this again (in favour of something like this).
We used a recipe from The Silver Spoon for the ravioli. Having made the filling earlier in the day, H. took charge of making the dough and forming the ravioli. There’s no doubt: this is finicky and tedious. Alas, although a few were oddly shaped, they actually stuck together well. Unfortunately, these ravioli didn’t measure up with regards to taste. I knew the filling was a bit of a gamble because I am not the biggest fan of ricotta. However, they were just too….spinachy. The flavour of spinach really overwhelmed everything else which although it didn’t ruin them, was less than ideal. I have to score these only 5/10 (although the salmon came out perfectly).
The dessert is not a typical choice for me. I don’t like chocolate cake(!). But H. does and I was curious to see how this recipe would turn out. Michael Smith’s recipe could not be easier, but I was a bit worried about the cooking time due to our notoriously unreliable oven. They were in just slightly too long; the middle was still soft and spongy but the “lava” did not “flow” out of the cake when we cut into it. Despite that even I have to admit that they were tasty, although extremely rich. Neither of us could finish even half of our individual portions and we had to save it for the next day.
All in all, it was a meal with a few flaws, but one that was a lot fun to make and eat together!