Treating a loved one to a home-cooked meal is a great way to make them feel special. Of course, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s day! Here are some recipes that would be perfect for when you feel like cooking something special for someone – whether that’s for an anniversary, Valentine’s day or just when you fancy it!
Seared Scallops, Prawns & Balsamic Strawberries
You may be thinking that pairing scallops and strawberries is an odd idea but don’t judge until you try it! The sweet flavours of the dish are well-balanced by the rocket – but if you’re not a fan of rocket use baby spinach instead. To achieve perfectly seared scallops, make sure to check our cooking guide.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 3-4 large strawberries, stems removed and sliced (or quartered)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallots
- 6 cups (lightly packed) rocket or spinach leaves (large stems removed)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or light olive oil (see c ook's notes below)
- 4-6 scallops (depending on size)
- 6-8 uncooked prawns, peeled & deveined
- Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt
- In a bowl, stir together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Fold in the strawberries, cover, and chill for at least one hour. Remove from the fridge when you're ready to start cooking.
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the shallots until softened, then add the leaves and turn until well mixed. Cook just a minute or two until all the leaves have wilted but are still fully green. Remove greens to a strainer and keep warm.
- Dry the scallops and prawns well and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat until quite hot. Add the grapeseed or light olive oil, let the oil heat a moment, then carefully add the scallops and prawns.
- Let the prawns sear for about 1 minute per side until just opaque. Remove and keep warm. Don't move the scallops until you can see a brown edge forming around the bottom (about 2 to 2½ minutes.) Carefully lift one scallop - if the surface has a nice caramelized colour, turn them over.
- Cook for just another minute until the scallops are springy but not quite firm. Remove the scallops and keep warm.
- Wipe out the pan, then add the strawberries and vinegar. Remove the strawberries after they are heated through (about 30 seconds) and let the balsamic cook down briefly until thickened to a syrupy consistency.
- To serve, place the greens on a plate, top with the scallops, prawns, and strawberries, then drizzle the balsamic reduction over the scallops and prawns.
Brown Butter Sole with Peas & Mussels
If you’re a fan of classic flavours, try this lemon sole and mussels dish! Perfect if you’re looking for something easy to make that looks elegant enough for a special occasion and – above all – tastes delicious!
- Heat the oil and butter in a deep frying pan until foaming. Add the fish fillets and cook for 3-4 mins. Carefully turn over and baste with the butter, which should be nut-brown.
- Increase the heat and add the peas, mussels, cider, lemon juice and some seasoning. Cover with a lid and cook for another 3-4 mins until the mussels have opened – discard any that remain closed.
- Scatter with pea shoots and bring the pan to the table with the lemon wedges on the side.
Tikka Salmon & Jewelled Rice
If you like spicy food, try this super flavoursome salmon dish! The yogurt, pomegranate & apricot brings some sweetness to the dish, so feel free to change the recipe to balance sweetness and spiciness depending on your own preference!
- 3 tbsp tikka curry paste
- 150ml pot natural low-fat yogurt
- 2 salmon fillets, skinned
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 50g soft dried apricots, chopped
- 200g brown basmati rice
- 100g pack pomegranate seeds
- Small pack coriander leaves picked
- Combine 1 tbsp of the curry paste with 2 tbsp yogurt. Season the salmon and smear the yogurt paste all over the fillets, then set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pan (with a lid) and add the onion. Boil the kettle. Cook the onion for 5 mins to soften, and stir in the remaining curry paste then cook for 1 min more. Add the turmeric, apricots and rice, season well and give everything a good stir. Pour in 800ml water from the kettle. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 mins. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 mins more.
- Uncover the rice and give it a good stir. Put the salmon fillets on top of the rice and re-cover the pan. Turn the heat to its lowest setting and leave undisturbed for 15-20 mins more until the salmon and rice are perfectly cooked. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and coriander, and serve with the yogurt.
Fancy trying extra special and treat your loved one to luxurious lobster? Lobster meat is absolutely delicious, firm, meaty and has a delicate sweet taste. It’s an incredible experience that your loved one will remember! To help you out, we’ve got full cooking and preparation guides for live lobster.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the lobster tails. Boil until the shells are bright red and the lobster meat is cooked through, 7 to 9 minutes (add 3 to 4 more minutes for large tails). Drain the tails, and then remove and discard the shells, reserving the meat. If you're using fresh live lobster, check out our cooking and preparation guides.
- Rinse the pot and return it to the stove. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and bring to a simmer.
- Add the broth ½ cup at a time, bringing the mixture to a simmer and stirring constantly as the broth is absorbed. When the broth is nearly absorbed, add another ½ cup of broth and repeat. Continue until all the broth has been added and absorbed.
- In a medium pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook until the butter is very fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lobster tails and cook, tossing occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Remove the risotto pot from the heat. Stir in the final 1 tablespoon butter and the Parmesan, and then season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the risotto between two plates and then top each portion with two small (or one large) lobster tail and 1 to 2 teaspoons of the thyme butter. Serve immediately.