.DIY Dinner Date | Steak, Bruschetta and Strawberry Cheesecake.
Last weekend Joe and I decided to stop in and make our very own dinner date! I absolutely love cooking but being back at home with my parents and having such a busy lifestyle during the week I hardly get chance to do it, so when I can cook for Joe at the weekends I really enjoy it. I managed to snap a few piccies of our super simple but incredibly delicious DIY Dinner Date so I thought I’d show you in case you wanted to surprise someone you love this weekend too! It’s all incredibly easy with a few cheats along the way so you only have to spend minimal time in the kitchen and can enjoy the evening together without working up a sweat! (no sniggering at the back)
Bruschetta is one of my favourites and it’s so easy to make. I whipped this up without a recipe and it was just right, you won’t believe how easy it is and just how good it tastes!
Half a Red Onion
3 garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper to taste
(Prep time 5 mins)
Slice the ciabatta at a 45 degree angle into 4 1-2inch pieces and place under the grill to brown slightly. While your bread is toasting chop up your cherry tomatoes (a mixture of halves and quarters) with your red onion and mix together in a bowl with a good slug of olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of green pesto. Add Salt & Pepper to taste and set aside. Crush three garlic cloves (we love lots of garlic but simply adjust to taste) and mix together in a ramekin with a tablespoon of soft butter and spread over your toasted ciabatta. Spoon the tomatoes and red onion over your bread and finish with a few leaves of fresh basil!
We’re big olive fans too and these Bodega Olives are amazing! Just like Jamie Olivers World’s Best Olives they’re big, buttery and beautiful and these i found on the shelves in Sainsburys were dressed in simple lemon flavours - perfect for tickling the taste buds before our starter!
As this was a treat for the boy our main had to be Steak, Fries and a Peppercorn Sauce – one of his favourites! This course is possibly even easier than the starter and it only takes 12-15 minutes to cook - steak doesn’t have to be scary, ours was melt in the mouth and absolutely incredible. Here’s the foolproof way to cook a perfect steak:
Two Good Quality Steaks (we used Organic Sirloin out of preference)
Whole Black Peppercorns
Salt & Pepper to taste
(Cook time 15 mins)
Always take your steak out of the fridge, cover it and let it come to room temperature for about an hour before cooking - frying a steak when cold will make it tough and that’s everything we’re trying to avoid! Put your chippies in the oven and relax for a while, we only need about 7 minutes to cook the rest - more wine anyone? Generously rub your steaks with oil, salt and pepper on both sides and put a large non-stick pan on a high heat so it gets super hot, we want that sizzle! Splash a little more oil in the pan when it’s reached the rigth temperature and using a pair of tongs or a good fork place your steaks away from you in the pan. Turn your steaks every minute until they’re cooked to your liking. Ours were nice and thin and we like them rare - medium rare so 2 ½ - 3 minutes left them perfectly pink. I sliced into mine to show you the colour but if you want to leave them whole you can press the steaks gently to feel how they’re cooked: Using your left thumb, Rare feels like the middle of your right palm, Medium feels like the muscley area below your thumb and well done feels like the very top of your wrist. After a maximum of 4 minutes place your steaks on a plate and let them rest while you stir fry the veggies for about 3-4 minutes. Resting meat is also a really important step to stop them going tough. The peppercorn sauce recipe I use is a really simplified version but very tasty: crush a handful of peppercorns in a saucepan with the back of a spoon, add a tablespoon of beef gravy granules and gently heat with a big dollop of single cream. You can add a bit of water to create the consistency you like if it’s a bit thick but that’s it, easy peasy! All I needed was a little bowl for my fries to make it look a bit better on the plate and it would have been perfect, but it didn’t last long enough for Joe to notice either way - i blinked and his was gone!
Joe’s favourite dessert is a dark chocolate torte which is pretty easy to throw together but as I didn’t have my baking equipment at his house I cheated and picked up a Taste the Difference Strawberry & White Chocolate cheesecake instead – naughty naughty! It was absolutely delicious and meant I had more time to get ready before dinner and longer to spend with him finishing off our wine after cooking the other two courses. You could always whip up some cream with a vanilla pod mixed in and quenelle it (roll it between two spoons all fancy and stuff) on the side with a few fresh basil leaves if you wanted to add your own touch! We’re big Irish Coffee fans so we picked up some Jameson’s Whiskey and I made us the perfect Irish Coffee for afters too! Filter a really strong fresh bean blend of coffee and while that’s brewing pop a shot of whiskey in each glass with two teaspoons of brown sugar. Place a metal spoon in the glass to absorb some of the heat and pour over the coffee leaving about an inch of space at the top before giving it a good stir to dissolve the sugar. Place your spoon over the top of the coffee just touching the surface and roll your cream over it to make it float! You’re supposed to drink your Irish coffee through the cream but I have a terrible habit of mixing mine up as I prefer it that way and sadly it doesn’t look as good but trust me, it tasted amazing!
With steak I prefer a good hearty red, and you don’t get heartier than a Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. Wine is totally subjective so of course go for whatever you like to drink, but if you’re a little unsure, with red meat you can’t go wrong with a heavy bodied red wine like the above or a good Rioja. I found both of mine in Aldi - £13 for the Chateauneauf (which is a bargain) and £6 for the Rioja, but as a good rule if you’re on a wine budget, always go for the £6 wine that’s half price from £12 than the £6 wine that’s always £6. If you’re not a wine fan then a good old fashioned beer or lager would go down a treat with this or if spirits are your bag why not try a hefty shot of gin over ice mixed with cranberry juice, mint leaves and topped up with soda water!
All my ingredients including wine came in at £30 which is about half of what I’d pay if I’d have taken the boy out for a meal – you can’t grumble at that! It was completely delicious and because it was all really easy I had a great time creating it all and felt rather accomplished and nicely full afterwards. Don’t forget to doll up too! Just because you’re not leaving the house doesn’t mean you can slip on your favourite dress, curl your hair and paint those lips…just make sure you wear an apron!
What’s your ideal dinner date? Will you be giving this a go?
Tweet me @xameliax #DIYDinnerDate