Oh my! What a delightful Valentine’s Day we had, and I do hope my dear readers also had a beautiful day filled with the love and joy of the Lord!
As it was also my precious mother’s birthday, we had a combined celebration, and my sisters and I spent the day cooking and baking a delicious feast which we sat down and enjoyed in the evening whilst listening to lovely music and enjoying the silent beauty of flickering candlelight…
My dad decided to take my mom to town for a morning spent doing a few of the things she loves best… Browsing second-hand shops and bookstores, having coffee in a cosy little shop…visiting a plant nursery… Yes, they had a very pleasant time while we ladies enjoyed setting up our lovely meal table and baking an elegant red velvet cake for afternoon tea! There was much excitement, as well as a bit of chaos, in our home that morning…
…What birthday would be complete without cake…? Beth and I baked this yummy Red Velvet Cake and iced it with a delicious cream cheese icing… How I love cream cheese! And it certainly makes for a rich and creamy tasting icing – perfect for completing the flavour of this moist cake…
Nancy made sweet mini bunting from pretty scrapbook paper to decorate the cake, and I adorned the top with a single lovely bloom to give it a touch of simplicity… Recipe coming very soon!
We relish any occasion to add a few extra special touches to the table as usually we are too busy with school and the daily activities of home and farm life to spend more than a little time on the creative setting of the dinner table…
Nancy created truly beautiful table settings and she and Beth laid the table in such an elegant fashion! I strung up my sweet heart garlands and we even hung our white twig tree from the ceiling and hung some mini fabric hearts on its branches to create a beautiful Valentine’s dinner table.
And while the younger ladies were creating, I added the final touches to our dinner which I had been preparing since early that morning. I do love cooking such wonderful spreads and it is always very exciting to try new recipes!
How I love the bright colour of pumpkin…
Happy table setter…
Such beautiful place settings…
I fell in love with these lovely serviettes…
Cinnamon Baked Pumpkin…my favourite!
Our delicious celebratory menu included… Creamy Cauliflower Cheese, Cinnamon Baked Pumpkin, Crispy Roast Potatoes and Lamb with Prunes and Rosemary and Sage Salt… Mmmm…such a glorious meal! I just have to share a few of the recipes with you…
Lamb with Prunes and Rosemary and Sage Salt
Recipe from Country Living Magazine, March 2013
6 tbsp olive oil
1 leg of lamb (about 1.6kg), deboned
2 tbsp rosemary and sage salt
12 pitted prunes
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 small celery stick
1 onion, peeled and halved
185ml white wine
About 125ml water
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and drizzle four tablespoons of the olive oil into a baking tin about 22cm x 30cm.
Lay two large sheets of foil on a worktop, shiny side down and overlapping to give a larger surface. Rub with butter.
Rinse the lamb and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off any excess fat, but leave enough of it on for flavour and moistness. Put the lamb on a cutting board, skin side down and opened up like a book.
Mix together the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and the herbed salt, and massage half of it over the inside of the lamb.
Line up the prunes in pairs like soldiers, running lengthways down the centre of the lamb.
Wrap the sides of the lamb over to enclose the prunes. Tie up with kitchen string in a few places to hold the shape while cooking.
Rub the rest of the herby oil mix all over the outside of the lamb, then place it in the centre of the foil. Wrap up rightly, tucking in the sides.
Put in the oiled tin and scatter the vegetables around (add the lamb bone, too, if you have it). Roast for 40 minutes.
Remove the foil from the lamb, scrape in any accumulated bits from the side if the tin and splash in the wine.
Return to the oven for another 40 minutes or so, turning the lamb once or twice to brown all the sides and spooning the juices over. Add extra water if needed.
To test if the lamb is done, prick it with a fork. The juices should run out, but not be pink.
Remove the lamb to a suitable dish. Cut away the string and leave it to rest for a bit while you make the gravy.
Add the water to the baking tin and put it on the hob to bubble up and thicken a little. Scrape down any interesting bits from the sides of the tin into the juices.
Cut meat into slices of about 1.5cm and serve hot with the juices spooned over.
Rosemary and Sage Salt
Recipe from Country Living Magazine, March 2013
5 tbsp chopped rosemary
5 tbsp chopped sage
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small red chilli, chopped
160g pink Himalayan salt or other coarse salt
A few black peppercorns
Scatter the rosemary, sage garlic and chopped chilli on a tray lined with baking paper.
Cover with a net and put in front of a window that gets direct sunlight.
Crush the salt in small batches in a mortar with a pestle.
It’s nice to have a varying texture in the salt, but each crystal should be at least cracked.
Crush the peppercorn with the last batch.
Toss onto the tray with the herbs and leave to dry, then store in a closed jar.
And thus ended our lovely Valentine’s Day dinner… I think we will all remember this special day for as long as we live!
I treasure every occasion spent with my family and feel so blessed that we have the joy of celebrating together…
I do hope your day was just as delightful!