We appear to be coping with Covid19 lockdown heroically well, which is fantastic. The message that we must simply stay home in order to support our NHS seems to be getting through and the number of foodie pictures on social media makes some of us so called ‘professional chefs’ start to feel a bit hot under the collar.

But restauranteur’s fear not, reading Marina O’Loughlin’s ‘Love letter to the restaurants that feed me’ in the Sunday Times this week,  eloquently outlines why an experience in a restaurant is ‘much, more than eating‘. This week our blog is dedicated to special restaurant experiences, entitled ‘Date Night’ (don’t cringe!) it can be prepared for a special celebration of any sort or simply no reason apart from its Saturday night (is it?) – come on, we deserve an excuse to get out of the loungewear, fix ourselves a cocktail, prepare eat great food and ‘savour’ a bottle of decent wine.

As we are in lockdown, we will not be demonstrating complicated dishes with exotic ingredients. We will be bringing you a really delicious 3 course menu, which will not be taxing but guaranteed to be delicious. We will be starting the evening off with a fabulous Bushmills whiskey cocktail and we have a superb wine suggestion for you as well. If you are heading out to do an essential shop before Friday here are a list of ingredients that you may wish to add.

The not so ‘Old Fashioned

Our take on this traditional whiskey based cocktail. You will need some Bushmills whiskey, you can choose which one is your favourite. If you are anything like us you will have a bottle in the cupboard for medicinal, now’s the time to dust it off. If you can rustle up a snipe of sparkling wine, an orange, sugar, soda water and a touch of Glenballyeamon free range egg whites we might have ourselves a cracking cocktail or two!

Baked cheese infused with McIvors cider –

Pick up some camembert or if you are in the Causeway Coast Area, have a look at the Taste Causeway E-Shop for some excellent cheeses available from Warkes Deli, Porstewart (FB) and Broughgammon Farm (FB) which you can easily bake. We will be infusing our cheese with fresh herbs and McIvors cider and serving it with garlic sourdough slices.

Beef Bourguignon

A classic beef stew. You will need beef pieces, onions, mushrooms, bacon, stock (beef or chicken) and some red wine. Other vegetables if you have them can include carrots, celery and fresh herbs but remember it is a rich stew. Use quality beef and we can improvise and adapt. Broughgammon farm have an online shop, again check out the Taste Causeway E Shop for more details, many small butchers are opens and have social distancing regulations in place so support local whenever you can. This dish can be served with potatoes or rice.

Creme brulee

Glenballyeamon free range eggs are a staple in our house so it makes Crème brulee an obvious choice for this menu. In our recipe we will be making 2/3 portions so we will only need to use 3 egg yolks, 50ml whole milk & 3 eggs, caster sugar and vanilla (a pod if you have one, essence will work).

Wine and those special touches!

We will be bringing you an exceptional exclusive wine which you will not be able to buy in your local store but you will want to add to your wish list, we will give more details on Friday. Organise yourself a robust red to compliment the beef. And we will be looking at some really easy but atmospheric touches which will help make your special evening relaxed and enjoyable.

Have a great week. Take some time out to plan ahead what you want to cook and make a detailed shopping list. Plan in some days where you give yourself a challenge on a par with ‘Ready Steady Cook’. Simply pull out the odds bits and pieces that you have in your fridge and get creative. We would love to hear your stories on this #lockdownlarder #makeadinnerouttanothing #creativecovidcooking 


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