It’s hard to put into words the power of food. In some ways great food is an art form, but not an abstract one.
Our brains have very little to do with it. Our senses, everything. Food is for gobbling up, from the smells of it cooking to the sight of it on a plates, and its warmth in the belly. Food is pleasure— and joy.
Like all the senses, taste is also tied to memory. Great food is emotion. It has a history, and the power to transport you back to certain place or time in a bite.
For these reasons and more, few things are as romantic as a great meal. And if they are, they likely involve more effort and expense! Below are some easy and rewarding eats to cook with or for your partner.
Fresh herbs add instant colour, peppiness, and tonnes of flavour to pretty much anything. If you can get your hands on some wild garlic so much the better.
Store these delicate flavours in butter ‘sausages’ to liven up every meal. Chop or blitz wild garlic leaves (or garlic cloves) with green herbs of your choice- we like parsley, basil, chives, thyme. Stir into quality room-temperature butter, with sea salt and chilli flakes if you like.
Keep in the fridge or freeze in pats ready to top onto sizzling steaks, waxy new potatoes, fish, straight onto fresh bread or toast, or to add to sauces.
A good salad dressing makes a salad. This one is good enough to make a meal.
Blitz the juice of two lemons with 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp of tahini, 2 tsp Worcestershire or soy sauce, 1/3 cup grated hard cheese, salt, pepper, a small handful of fresh parsley and ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Drizzle over your favourite salad leaves. Feel free to add any of the following: avocado, roasted cumin and chilli rubbed chickpeas, roasted chicken strips, halloumi, roasted sweet potato chunks, antipasti like olives sundried tomatoes or artichokes.
This is a deceptive dinner. The golden filo crest makes an impressive centrepiece, and the combination of golden crunch and smooth rich cheese filling is mouth-watering. But it’s a doddle to make.
Of course buy readymade filo, it tastes great and this isn’t bake off. Make this together and toast your culinary genius. Or cook for them and lap up the praise.
Fry a mixture of flat mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms (or whatever variety you have) in a good glug of olive oil. Let it sizzle until the sides are slightly caramelised and don’t be shy with the fat— this releases the delicious fat soluble flavour compounds. Add a clove of garlic, some fresh thyme and half a leek or a shallot. Stir in a tbsp of Dijon mustard, 100g cream cheese, 50ml veg stock and a tin of puy lentils. Season to taste until you have a rich, creamy sauce.
Line a tart tin with filo pastry sheets that have been brushed with oil or butter and a pinch of cayenne. Add in the mushroom filling, then top with 100g soft goat’s cheese. Fold the filo over the top (it doesn’t matter how messy this may look) and brush with more oil. Bake at 200 until the filo is crisp and golden.
Serve with a crisp salad or some green veg.
Whenever you fancy something different for breakfast, or a sweet treat in the afternoon. This is the lazy edit.
Get a ready to roll puff pastry sheet out of the fridge. Core and cut a Bramley apple and add to a small pan. No need to peel the apple - it adds pectin to keep the mixture jammy. Cook on a med-low heat until the apple breaks down, adding a knob of butter or vegan margarine and brown sugar to taste. Add a good tsp of cinnamon.
Roll the pastry out and cut into six squares. Spread the apple mix on top leaving a thumb-sized border of pastry around the edge of each square. Bake in a preheated 200 oven until the pastry is golden, around 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with icing (mix icing sugar, a few drops of almond or vanilla essence and water). These are great with coffee or as an easy pud topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In our charming hotel and restaurant in South Wales, great food is a given. Holding two coveted AA Rosettes and twice named Country Restaurant of the Year, Leicester's Restaurant attracts visitors from far and wide to sample its cuisine.
And why? Our menus are a love letter to the produce of our fields and waters. From fresh fish caught in nearby Porthcawl to Welsh beef, served in a red wine and shallot sauce on creamed cabbage.
Whether you're one of our hotel guests or simply looking for somewhere to eat, we can promise an exquisite meal and a true taste of Wales.