Some celebrate it, others ostentatiously ignore it, and malicious tongues even claim that it was invented for purely commercial reasons: Valentine's Day.
In fact, there are plenty of stories about the origin of this custom. But we think a nice dinner for two is always a good idea. We simply leave out the red kitsch and set the table tastefully and elegantly in delicate shades of green. Pure coincidence that the color green also stands for fertility and growth, among other things. For the table decoration, we opt for fragrant herbs such as thyme and eucalyptus, broken up by delicate horned violets. And in the menu we have hidden a small, stimulating ingredient in each course...
Scallops on vanilla pumpkin cream
Ingredients for two:
50 g butter
1 vanilla pod
1 small Hokkaido pumpkin
150 ml coconut milk
50 ml vermouth (e.g. Noilly Prat)
A few fresh sprigs of lemon thyme
A handful of pumpkin seeds
Fleur de Sel, Timut pepper
Pumpkin seed oil
For the pumpkin puree, quarter the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut into pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes until soft. Then chase the soft pumpkin flesh through a blender and gradually add the coconut milk until the desired consistency. Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the pulp. Season the puree with fleur de sel, mace, vanilla pulp and timut pepper.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a pan without fat.
Pat the scallop meat dry with a paper towel, season with lemon juice and salt. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the thyme sprigs and fry the scallops for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Deglaze with vermouth and add a generous knob of butter to the pan.
Arrange the scallops on the puree, top with the liquid butter, pumpkin seeds and a few drops of pumpkin seed oil and serve.
- Hokkaido pumpkin can be processed with skin. To remove the seeds, simply scoop them out with a tablespoon.
- A lemony pepper such as Timut pepper goes well with the scallop.
- Vanilla is said to have a lust-increasing effect, because vanilla beans contain pheromone-like substances.
- Pumpkin seeds are said to increase libido due to their high zinc content.
Guinea fowl on barley risotto with flower sprouts and mugwort jus
1 guinea fowl
150 g pearl barley
4 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, 1 finely chopped, the other halved
50 ml vermouth
1 sprig of thyme
100 g grated Parmesan cheese
700 ml poultry broth
300 g Flower Sprouts
100 g butter
2 bay leaves
A bunch of mugwort
1 vegetable onion, 2 carrots, ¼ celeriac
2 tablespoons tomato paste
100 ml white port wine
Fleur de sel, pepper as well as 1 tsp whole peppercorns
Carve the guinea fowl and remove the upper legs and breast. Chop the remaining bones into coarse pieces. Coarsely dice the onion with the skin, and also coarsely dice the carrot and celery. Heat clarified butter in a saucepan and fry the bones with onions, carrots and celery until hot and dark. Then add the tomato paste and roast as well. Deglaze with port wine and reduce. Repeat this process two to three times. Then remove the bones and the vegetables and fill up the jus with poultry stock. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and two or three stalks of mugwort and reduce. Finally, strain the jus through a fine sieve and thicken with a little starch if necessary.
Sauté the shallots with the garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the pearl barley. Deglaze with vermouth and gradually add stock to the risotto until the pearl barley is firm to the bite. This will take about 25 minutes. Then stir in 50g of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with pepper.
Wash the Flower Sprouts and cut off the dry cut edges on the stem. Heat butter in a pan and toss the Flower Sprouts briefly in the hot pan for about 4 minutes. Season to taste with fleur de sel.
Pat the guinea fowl top legs and breasts dry and salt with fleur de sel. Sauté in hot olive oil on the skin side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Then turn and sear for another 2 minutes. Add 50g butter as well as the rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs and halved garlic clove to the pan and toss the meat in the flavored liquid butter.
Arrange the risotto on plates, place the meat on top, top with jus and Flower Sprouts and then enjoy together!
- Flower Sprouts are a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale. You can get them at a well-stocked greengrocer at the weekly market.
- For the perfect consistency of the risotto it is enormously important to add the liquid only after and let it boil down.
- Mugwort is said to have an aphrodisiac effect as a medicinal herb.
- The jus can also be prepared the day before.
Champagne zabaglione on spiced oranges
80 ml champagne
3 egg yolks (eggs size L)
2 tablespoons sugar
50 ml Grand Manier
cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise
A handful of coarsely crushed Amarettini cookies
For the spiced oranges, peel and fillet the oranges. Caramelize the sugar in a pot and deglaze with Grand Manier. Boil everything again and add the fillets with the juice and the spices. Set aside and allow to infuse.
Remove the fillets and spices, bring the juice to a boil and thicken with the starch. Then add the fillets back in.
For the champagne zabaglione, whip the egg yolks with the sugar in a double boiler for about 8 minutes until creamy. Then carefully add the champagne and continue to beat vigorously until the volume has approximately doubled.
Fill the spiced oranges with the zabaglione into a glass, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, amarettini crumbs and mint and enjoy.
- Now perseverance is required. The secrets of a good zabaglione are constant beating, patience and a constant temperature. These are skills that you can safely hand over to a Thermomix. If one is available. Alternatively, we suggest that you put the whisk in the hand of the male part at the table and put his endurance to the test.
- A constant 72°C is ideal for whipping the egg yolk foam.
- Cinnamon and cloves get the blood pumping. The essential oils contained in the spices stimulate blood circulation and are thus said to have a pleasure-increasing effect.
One must celebrate the celebrations as they fall!
The two marketing experts Jennifer Driesen and Nora Döhmer agree. The two managers jointly head the marketing of the sustainable premium caterer Die KOCHfabrik, based around entrepreneur Patrick Diehr. Together, they are always on the lookout for exciting new culinary experiences and surprising event concepts. No matter if wedding, conference or gala, the KOCHfabrik finds the appropriate setting with an impressive culinary.
You can find out more about the Kochfabrik on the following links. Click on it! It's worth it!
All photos: Chris Hartwich, Hamburg