Sunday, 15 February 2009

Culinary Valentine

In a slight break from tradition, we decided to spend our pennies on ingredients rather than a meal out. Our (admittedly somewhat limited) experience of the hospitality trade around this time of year is not exactly positive and can be summed up in three words; expensive, contrived and unromantic. .

Consequently, Valentine's Day saw us crammed into Oxford's bustling and popular Covered Market. We collected fresh mussels and shell-on prawns from the fishmonger; shallots, apricots, an avocado and vine tomatoes from the greengrocer; a camembere from the cheese shop; olives, paté and a selection of cured meats from the deli and semi-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh anchovies (a particular weakness of my Valentine) and yet more olives from Fasta Pasta. This was supplimented by a bottle of white wine and a loaf of ciabatta (as the entire market had been cleaned out of bread that morning!) from the local supermarket.

This was deftly crafted into a delicious anti-pasto of cured meats, olives and bits and pieces to nibble on while I roasted the camembere and caramelised shallots to drizzle on top. This was intended to be a starter but we were so full and wanted to do full justice to our seafood main course that we skipped straight to pudding. Heavenly!

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