PURE INDULGENCE

Date night

Ever wonder how it is actually possible to barely see the other half you live with? So do I, to the extent that every fortnight JB and I try and get a date night locked down and make time just for us, no phones, no work and no other outside interruptions. 

We have done everything from activities to nights away but the last one was one of the cheapest and most blissful. A night in with all our favourite foods. In this case, a two course feast.

I have very definitely made my love of seafood clear but this dish blows them all out of the water. When JB and I first got together he was totally anti-fish and seafood because, and I quote, "they look like aliens" (I kid you not) but I soon got him round to the right way of thinking... mine HAHA. It took a while but we started with prawns and worked our way on from there. It's a good job really because I cook seafood A LOT! Case in point, our main course. I made a squid ink linguine with langoustines and king prawns in a prosecco and lemon butter sauce.


Ever since I first tried prosecco I think I have been it's biggest fan and one of the largest contributors to it's production. With summer holidays here it now means a bottle of bubbles is on the weekly shop : ) Who can blame me? 

So, I got myself thinking... If you can drink it, surely cooking with it is also a good shout? I love using a citrusy white wine with seafood but in this case seeing as I was going all out for my boy, I chose a medium dry prosecco and sloshed a glass in there. One for the chef and one for the pan! That's fair right?

I made sure I reduced the prosecco to burn of the alchohol and intensify the flavour then added a nob of butter to create a thick and glossy sauce. Beyond delicious.

I always, always, always get my fish fresh and in season so that I can freeze it myself if necessary* I am lucky that I have Bury market right on my doorstep along with some other great local producers, so that makes things a heck of a lot easier for me. On one of my previous trips I managed to snag the last of a batch of langoustines, I cooked half and froze the rest for use at a later stage!

Prepping #langos is easy but needs you to be very light handed. Unless I am baking them in the shell I like to remove it and devein (remove the poop shoot). The easiest way I find to do this is to:
> firstly twist the head off and pop to one side if using for a stock
> secondly, squeeze the underside of the shell until it cracks then peel from the legs around
> thirdly, using a sharp knife cut along the back and remove the vein.


If you're struggling to prep your seafood ask your fishmonger or there are tonnes of YouTube videos out there! In this dish I cut the langoustines up into bite sized pieces and dropped them in the sauce with 2 minutes to go! They cooked perfectly and get coated in that lovely lemony, buttery sauce.

I fell in love with squid ink on a trip to Barcelona about 4 years ago where I had it as a risotto. Since then my fascination with has grown and grown to the point I know bring back authentic squid ink products on every trip I can get hold of them... sad I know!

Anyways, on my latest trip to Italy I brought back some squid ink linguine and that is the perfect accompaniment to this feast of pure decadence : ). I cook the pasta in boiling salted water for just 6 minutes so that it has a chance to finish of in the sauce and soak some of it in whilst still being al dente.

Next up is dessert, my favourite course usually as I have an incredibly sweet tooth. I'm not big on pastry usually, especially when it comes to savoury products but I do love a good choux pastry. Normally in the form of profiteroles rather than eclairs because I prefer my desserts in miniature a lot of the time, it feels like you're getting more.

It is safe to say I've made profiteroles a few times, usually though I tend to stick to the traditional recipes and make a vanilla creme patisserie to fill them with. This time though I went full blown experimental with them. Mixing tea's and citrus flavours has been done before but I've not seen any recipes using jasmine tea in this way...maybe I'm just not looking hard enough though. I think the flavour combination I've chosen for this makes them slightly of the wall but I think they taste great.


One of my oldest friends brought me a white tea and jasmine blend tea back from Hong Kong when she lived out here and truth be told it took me a while to get the balance of leaves to water right. It's a running joke between LR and I, it once took me 6 attempts to make her a cup that wasn't too strong or too weak.

This blend of tea is so aromatic and also naturally quite sweet which is great as it meant I could reduce the sugar content of my profiteroles. As with any tea, to get the best flavour you have to let it brew for a while so that is what I did. I used the tea in place of water or milk for my profiterole base. This does give the profiteroles a slightly darker colour but I like the it.

Next up I got to thinking of what to put in them. I love the idea of citrus to cut through the richness of cream so decided to go with passion fruit. I absolutely love The Cherry Tree, they are a family run company that make the most delightful preserves and pickles. Every year at Manchester's Christmas market I buy myself a few jars of their passion fruit curd and I cannot get enough.

I added 3 heaped spoons of the curd into some double cream so it is just marbled through and that is all there is to it. When the profiteroles are done it's just a case of pricking a hole in the middle with a skewer and leaving in the oven with the door ajar to stop them from losing their shape and going soggy. Pipe the cream into the hole you made earlier then pile into a mound of pure deliciousness.

If you don't have a piping bag you can make one out of grease proof paper of simply cut the corner of a food bag.

This is my idea of pure indulgence and definitely goes down a treat when we have a stay at home date night : ) Make sure you check out the recipes x


* Helpful guide to what is in season from the marine conservation society can be found at: http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/fisheries/BuyingFishInSeason.pdf 

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