Comfort food for date night at 'Restaurant-a-la-Home'
It's date night, but not as we know it. With the old adage 'there's no place like home' taking on new meaning these days, and the cold winter weather beckoning more cosy nights in instead - we're here to help bring fresh inspiration to dining at home this week. Think stress-free favourites that are sure to fill your significant other's heart (and belly) with love.
While you're at it, why not light some fragrant candles online from Farmers, Bed Bath N' Table, Living & Giving, Stevens Home & Giving or Peter Alexander and put on your favourite playlist, to amp up those romantic vibes? Ambience is everything - plus, it'll make your homecooked meal taste even better.
Greek lamb mince nachos
Nachos and Netflix - can you name a better duo? We promise you'll be licking the plate clean in no time. This is a simple, quick and flavoursome dish made for sharing, and is also perfect for when you are entertaining at home.
• 500g lamb mince
• 2 wholemeal Lebanese pita breads, cut into 7cm triangles
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
• 400g napolitana tomato pasta sauce
• 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped +extra small leaves, to serve
• 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
• 80g feta cheese, crumbled
• Tzatziki, green salad and lemon wedges, to serve
Head to Countdown to find the freshest ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°fan-forced). Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Spread pita in a single layer and spray both sides lightly with oil spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway, or until crisp and golden. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook mince, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Add capsicum and cook for 2 minutes. Add sauce, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Stir through oregano.
- Arrange pita crisps in base of a baking dish. Top with lamb mixture, sprinkle with olives and cheese. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is lightly golden.
- Sprinkle with oregano leaves. Serve lamb nachos with tzatziki, green salad and lemon wedges.
• Sliced lamb rump or leg steaks or would also work well in this recipe.
• Use grated mozzarella instead of feta for cheesier nachos.
• Any choice of tomato pasta sauce would work in this recipe – napolitana contains garlic, onions, carrots and herbs.
Steak frites with knockout mushroom sauce
Think pub steak, but better. This delicious recipe combines all the good things, plus it's perfectly paired with your favourite craft beer or red wine.
- 800g beef rump steak, fat trimmed
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 500g dutch cream potatoes, scrubbed
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 sprigs of rosemary leaves, chopped
Knock out mushroom sauce
- 20g butter
- 1 brown onion, halved and sliced
- 2 tsp picked thyme leaves
- 400g swiss brown mushrooms, some halved, some sliced
- 1 tsp dijon or wholegrain mustard
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup red wine
- ½ cup stock (or water)
- ¼ cup natural yoghurt
- steamed broccolini and green beans, to serve
- Place rump on a plate and brush with 1 tbsp olive oil
- Cut potatoes into chunky batons and mix in a bowl with grated lemon zest, rosemary, 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a large baking tray and roast for 30 minutes at 200C fan forced until deeply golden and crispy.
- Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add butter, onion and thyme leaves. Stir often for 5-8 minutes until onion has softened and turned golden. Add mushrooms and allow to brown - do not stir too often. After 5 minutes, season and stir occasionally. Once mushrooms have developed colour, add mustard, worcestershire and wine, before allowing to bubble up and reduce. Add stock and stir to scrap off the char at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly before stirring in the yoghurt.
- Heat a lightly oiled bbq or chargrill pan over high heat and cook steak for 3 minutes each side, until medium rare or to your liking. Serve steak, thickly sliced, with chips, sauce, broccolini and beans.
If your steak is less than 2cm thick, 2-3 minutes per side should be fine, but if it's 2-3cm thick it may need 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare.
Roast pumpkin salad with feta, pine nuts, & baby spinach
Fuss-free to prepare and perfect as a side dish, this recipe will add a different texture and dimension to your meal. If you're a fan of sweet potatoes instead, feel free to substitute the pumpkin with it!
For the salad
- 600 g pumpkin skin removed and cut into slices or chunks
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
- 75 g pine nuts
- 150 g baby spinach leaves
- 80 g feta crumbled into small chunks
For the dressing
- 1 tbs honey
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (fan-forced).
- Chop the pumpkin into small slices or chunks and remove the skin.
- Drizzle a flat baking tray with the olive oil, add the pumpkin pieces and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender (but not too soft). Set aside.
- Place the pine nuts into a small frying pan over low/medium heat. Cook, while stirring regularly, until lightly golden (keep a close eye on them as they can easily burn). Set aside.
- Layer the baby spinach, pumpkin, pine nuts and feta cheese in a serving bowl or dish.
- To make the dressing, place the honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk with the fork until combined.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and serve immediately.
Lychee with coconut wafers
And if you both love finishing off your meal with a dessert, this recipe is not only aesthetically pleasing, it's also an absolute treat.
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 300g sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 teaspoons icing sugar, sifted
- 450g lychees, peeled
- Preheat oven to 190C. Place the coconut, egg whites, flour and caster sugar in a large bowl and mix until fully combined.
- Take spoonfuls of the mixture and place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper. Press flat to make 8 thin discs approximately 12cm in diameter.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove and set aside. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- While the wafers are cooling, mix together the sour cream, vanilla and icing sugar in a small bowl.
- To assemble, place a coconut wafer on each plate, top with some sour cream mix, then some lychees.
- Repeat the layers and serve dusted with extra icing sugar.