Last Updated on January 24, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
No sex please, we’re British!
Since restaurants are shut at the moment and it’s impossible to sweep your beloved off to Paris for a romantic staycation, here at London Unattached we are providing you with three internationally themed date-night menus just in time for Valentine’s day with matched wines. This is the first in the series (the other two comprise Italian and French menus) with the emphasis being on British food and wines. In particular, we will be focusing on British seafood, which is much in the news at the moment, lubricated by English sparkling wines.
It’s an exciting time for the English wine industry which is growing exponentially and we are excited to be featuring two fabulous bottles to go with our British Valentine’s menu. Our first is the Hambledon Classic Cuvée, a stylish sparkling white from the Hambledon Vineyard.
We also love the elegant Langham Wine Estate Rosé 2017. These are two bottles guaranteed to put some fizz into your Valentine’s day.
When plotting out your date night menu for Valentine’s Day or any other romantic occasion, it’s important to think about the desired post-meal outcome with your significant other! Do you want a cuddle on the sofa whilst watching an old Cary Grant movie or are you looking for something a bit more active? This should affect your menu choice, portion size and alcohol intake. And since this year we can’t go out for our annual slice of romance, you also want a meal that is relatively easy to prepare. You don’t want to be exhausted and stressed out when you finally get to sit down.
So with all that in mind for our British Valentine’s Menu we suggest:
- Aperitif – Hambledon Classic Cuvée
- Starter – Potted Shrimps matched with Hambledon Classic Cuvée
- Main course – Scottish Scallops in an English Champagne Sauce matched with Langham Wine Estate Rosé 2017
- Dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding – matched with Langham Wine Estate Rosé 2017
Hambledon Classic Cuvée (£28.50), a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, is the perfect aperitif. This beautifully structured wine from the Hampshire estate beat Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Pol Roger in a recent blind tasting arranged by Noble Rot Magazine.
With its pale straw colour and crisp apple and brioche notes, Hambledon Classic Cuvée is a match for any champagne at the same price point. It will also work well with the sweetness and spice of potted shrimps. I would buy them in from The Fish Society or you could try the Felicity Cloake recipe. Serve with thinly sliced toasted sourdough or even toasted crumpets (you can slice them in half).
Here’s our recipe for Scottish Scallops in an English Champagne Sauce, served with Langham Wine Estate Rosé 2017 ( £29.90). This fizz, with its blush gold hue, has a wonderful mousse, strawberry yoghurt on the nose and a crisp dessert apple flavour. It’s a blend of 54% Pinot Noir, 23% Pinot Meunier and 23% Chardonnay and is perfect with seafood – it’s refined rather than sweet.
A delicious and simple scallop dish with champagne sauce
- 150g unsalted English butter at room temperature
- 14 Queen scallops
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 125g long grain rice
- 115g samphire
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 100ml sparkling white wine
- 2 tsp salmon roe
- 1 pinch salt
Place your rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water.
Boil a kettle and pour the water into a saucepan bringing the water back to a boil. Use 1 3/4 the volume of the rice to be cooked. Add a pinch of salt.
Place the rice in the boiling water, stir once, bring the temperature down to simmer, then cover and leave for 18 minutes.
Take the rice off the heat and leave to steam for 5 minutes.
Add the sparkling wine to the shallots in a small saucepan, simmer and reduce by 2/3.
Take the pan off the heat and stir a small knob of butter into the sauce.
Place the pan back at a medium heat and gradually add the rest of the butter constantly stirring.
When the butter starts to froth take off the heat. Add 2 teaspoons of crushed salmon eggs to the sauce, stirring well.
Dry the scallops between sheets of kitchen paper.
Pour the olive oil into the frying pan and place on a high heat.
Place the scallops in the pan, leaving space between them
Cook the scallops for 2 minutes on each side.
Boil a kettle and pour the water into a saucepan, bringing the water back to a boil.
Place the samphire in the water and simmer for 3 minutes.
For the sticky toffee pudding recipe I don’t think we should look further than Nigella. If anyone has an understanding of how to embed a British approach to sensuality in a dessert it is her and if you want an easy life you can always buy one in. Happy Valentines!
Meanwhile, if you really don’t feel like cooking your own dinner, for Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year, there are a plethora of great date-night food delivery services around, many from some of the top restaurants