The French have no real translatable word for a 'date'. They use the same word date for a 'calendar date', as in February 15. The oh so well known rendez-vous refers to a meeting/ 'hook-up'/ an appointment. But the term for a 'date' as in dinner shared between two people, gazing at each other over their magret du canard and playing footsies under a candle-lit table, is referred to as dîner en amoureux - 'dinner in love'. Sweet, hunh?
Three of my closest friends in Paris work nights in bars, and sometimes I strike it lucky and two are off on the same night and we can go out as a clan. This year I struck it super lucky as not one, but two of my friends were given Valentine's Day night off. And so, as Mr M had to work himself and we had no romantic dinner planned, the girls came to my place for our own romantic and silly dîner en amoureux before heading out for cocktails.
Menu for a dîner en amoureux entre amis (between friends)
+ Organic hand-pressed cider from Haute-Normandie
+ Black olives à la herbes de Provence
+ 'Heart Tart' with beetroot and chèvre (goat's cheese).
- Prepare the pastry (I used store-bought roll-out puff pastry - pâte feuilletée).
- Cut out a 'dip point' in the top and taper lower sides down to a point.
- Place thinly-sliced pre-boiled potatoes all over the base and very lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle gently-crushed rosemary all over. Top with sliced zucchini. Scatter small cubes of already cooked beetroot around the edge to form a heart. Place cherry tomatoes and thin slices of chèvre.
- Place in the centre of a 180°C pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. If the middle where there is no beetroot puffs up just gently pierce with a knife to deflate.
+ Salad drizzled with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena.
+ Côtes de Provence AOC rosé with added fresh raspberries.
+ Single-Serve Chocolate Cheesecake (recipe and step-by-step can be found here).