Everyone knows that February is the month of love, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend hundreds of pounds on presents and extravagant meals. Sometimes little gestures at home mean the most. At Geepas we want to make things easier for you, so we have put together a few little tips to help you this Valentines Day.
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day and who doesn’t love breakfast in bed? Why not impress your love by making some blueberry and banana pancakes. They're super easy and quick to do:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise 2/3 inch thick and cut to fit the pancake
- Icing sugar and maple syrup, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk. Quickly stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the melted butter and blueberries.
Switch on your pancake maker and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle, leaving room for the pancakes to spread. Gently lay one banana slice in the middle of each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, around 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Generously dust the blueberry-banana pancakes with icing sugar and serve with maple syrup and a few blueberries.
Because nothing says I love you like a lovely 3-course meal, we have put together what we think is a simple yet very romantic menu, starting with oysters (of course) a seared duck main and finish off with an indulgent chocolate pudding. Yumm.
Starter - cooked oysters with burnt butter
- 8 rock oysters, scrubbed clean
- 800 g rock salt
- 40 g unsalted butter
- Tabasco sauce
- ½ a lemon
Preheat your oven to the highest it goes. Place the rock salt into an ovenproof frying pan, then pop in the oven to preheat for around 20 minutes, before carefully placing the oysters on top and returning to the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden colour and starts to sizzle. Add a few drops of Tabasco to taste, then remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice, swirling the pan until combined. Put the pan to one side.
Insert an oyster knife or a blunt knife into the oyster, then carefully lever it open – beware of the hot steam! Discard the oyster tops, then place the bottom shells with the oyster on a platter, drizzle over the burnt butter and serve straightaway.
Main - seared duck with ginger mash
- 25g fresh ginger
- 1 small orange, zested and the juice of half
- 340g duck breasts, skin removed and halved lengthways
- 160g sweet potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
- 125g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 160g broccoli florets
- 160g Brussels sprouts, peeled
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- few leaves fresh parsley or coriander (optional)
Cut 4 thin slices of the ginger and shred, then finely grate the remainder. Rub ¼ tsp each grated ginger and orange zest into the duck breasts, then grind over plenty of black pepper and set aside. Put both types of potato into a steamer and cook for 15 mins until tender. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining grated ginger, then blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and shredded ginger and fry for 5 mins until softened and starting to turn golden. Push the onions to one side, add the duck and cook for 8 mins, turning frequently and stirring the onions occasionally. Lift the duck out of the pan and put on a plate to rest.
Add the broccoli and sprouts into the steamer and cook for 8 mins until tender. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add 150ml water, ½ tsp orange zest and the bouillon to the onion mixture and bubble to a sauce, then remove from the heat and add the orange juice.
Smear the ginger mash onto two warmed plates and top with the duck. Spoon over the onions and drizzle over the sauce. Scatter with the parsley or coriander, if using, and serve with the broccoli and sprouts.
Dessert - indulgent chocolate pudding
- 150g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
- 115g butter
- 2 large eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 25g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Grease four ovenproof cups or ramekin dishes with softened butter.
Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl (add a pinch of chilli here if you want a spicy chocolate middle) set over a pan of simmering water and leave until melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth.
Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl using an electric whisk until very thick and pale. Fold in the chocolate mixture. Sift over the flour and fold in gently.
Divide the mixture between the cups or ramekins. Place on a baking tray and bake for 12-15 mins until risen and almost set – the puds should still have a slight wobble to the touch. Serve immediately.
So get your apron on and impress your loved one, it is Valentines Day after all.