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Valentine's Day And Cooking

Updated on November 29, 2016
Valentine's Day dinner at McDonalds?
Valentine's Day dinner at McDonalds? | Source

Valentine's Day in Africa? Most African men will tell you that: I love my woman all the year round, so women in the continent are not expecting boxes of chocolates or red roses.

Celebrating love in all shape or form is a good idea, but February 14 is seen as a commercial pursuit because it takes love away from real life, and concentrates on just two individuals.

Valentine's Day Dinner For Four

Shopping malls are already red, with Valentine’s Day cards, lingerie and clothing. Unfortunately, all of them advertise around two people in love, especially candle lit dinners.

You don’t have to follow the script. You can host a dinner party where your friends bring their favourite dish and wine. The following are some of the people you can invite to your Valentine’s Day dinner.

  • Your best man/bridesmaid

  • Your wedding planner who did a great job

  • The person who introduced you to your wife/husband. Maybe it was an arranged marriage.

  • Your hairdresser

They can come with partners or alone. They don’t have to be in relationships. It will be a fun evening re-visiting everything that happened on your wedding day, or failed to happen as planned.

I like the idea of inviting the wedding planner because she is always on her feet arranging other people’s lives. It will be so nice for her to be a guest. Hairdressers too. They work so hard making the bridal entourage look good but the camera is seldom on them.

Guests Should Bring Something

Once you get the buy-in from the invited guests, agree on what each of them would bring, with the condition that food should be cooked. The following items are a no-no!

  • Brownies (it has happened in some potluck parties)

  • A big Tupperware dish full of nothing but lettuce leaves (it has happened)

  • A fruit platter from Superstore

  • A roast chicken from Harrods Food Halls

The whole point is to make the connection between love and food. Food is normally prepared with love for certain people. Mama always cooked rice and beans when I came home from the university. She also made sure that there was pumpkin my favourite.

Buying food from the deli will defeat what you are trying to achieve in the joint venture Valentine’s Day dinner. Food is love. It was meant to be shared. It is a social thing, and has been since Adam and Eve shared the apple. It think it was a pomegranate (my current favourite fruit).

Pomegranates, Valentine's Day dinner dessert, to be eaten all year round.
Pomegranates, Valentine's Day dinner dessert, to be eaten all year round. | Source

Dinner Hosts

  1. Ideally, newly-wedded couples should host the Valentine’s Day dinner and that responsibility comes with certain obligations.

  2. Provide bare necessities like wine glasses, no plastic please.

  3. Provide something to nibble, like almonds, dried fruit, sliced apples or bite size quiche.

  4. Have enough chairs for guests to watch themselves in the wedding video.

  5. Provide the main course of the dinner.

Menu

The hosts must prepare substantial food like lamb roast, chicken, whole salmon, ribs, curry goat or beef stew, ox tongue or duck.

Do you crave for Peking duck the Chinese delicacy? You can buy it in Hong Kong, Beijing, Vancouver or San Francisco, but you don’t live there so you just have to settle for plain roast duck.

Here is my take on roast duck you can prepare for your Valentine’s Day dinner.

Preparation time: 3 days

Cooking time: 4 hours

  • Small frozen duck

  • Two tablespoons honey

  • Five spices mix

  • Rice Vinegar

  • Less sodium soy sauce

  • Salt

  • Oranges for the garnish

Honey gives the duck that brown colour.  That is why i removed the foil after 3 hours.  Bad news.  It dried up the roast duck a bit.
Honey gives the duck that brown colour. That is why i removed the foil after 3 hours. Bad news. It dried up the roast duck a bit. | Source

Preparing Roast Duck

Day 1

De-frost frozen duck overnight. Place it in a deep dish that will hold the water.

Day 2

  • Remove plastic cover, pull out giblets and orange sauce sachet from inside the bird

  • Drain water

  • Leave duck in the refrigerator for 5 hours

  • Drain more water

  • You must let the duck to drain more water but that might be a problem. This is very easy in China where kitchens have facilities to do this. You can push a champagne glass inside the bird so that it stands upright. More water will out.

  • Just before going to bed, pat dry duck, rub it with salt and 5 spices mix. Using your hands, massage it with soy sauce and rice vinegar.

  • Wrap it tightly with foil.

  • Leave in the fridge overnight.

Day 3

Please note: Cook the duck on the day of the dinner party because it envelopes the whole house with its aroma.

  1. Heat oven at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.

  2. Place the duck, still covered in foil in a roasting pan with a tray.

  3. You will hear some crackling after 2 hours or so. That is fat coming out.

  4. Roast for 3 hours, 30 minutes.

  5. Switch off oven but leave the bird in there for 30 minutes.

  6. Using your oven mitts, remove from oven and open foil.

  7. Carefully transfer the duck juice into a small pot.

  8. Brush duck with honey for 15 minutes to get the golden finish.

  9. Leave to cool for an hour then slice to bite size pieces.

  10. Arrange into two platters and garnish with oranges.

  11. Store bones in the freezer to use for soup later.

Roast Duck Side Kicks

  • Cook two coffee cups of brown and wild rice combination.
  • Open pot lid and leave to cool for an hour.

  • Chop a little red or green chillies.

  • Add to the duck juice you put aside.

  • Transfer rice into the duck juice.

  • Boil pumpkin slices.

  • Serve with sliced duck.

The End

Just plain strawberries for dessert or pom poms, as in pomegranates.

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