Love is in the air...
Thu 13 Feb 2014 - posted by Kelly Allen
As a parent, Valentine’s Day can be a bit of a nightmare. If (and it is a big if) you can arrange the appropriate childcare, organise someone to pet sit, remember to then book a table and budget for an expensive time out on the town, then you are a pretty lucky person.
For me, Valentine’s Day is normally quite stressful, it goes a little like this: Buy or make a card and find the time to fill it in when a. my husband is not around and b. when the kiddies aren’t wielding felt pens following me around trying to draw Daddy a spider or caterpillar in my oh-so-romantic love card. This is followed by rushed cooking experience once the children are in bed, with a pretty hefty bill to cover a main meal, dessert and drinks…
So this year, we have had a pre-Valentine’s celebration so that we can try out the delightful offer that Marks and Spencer are running that will suit any couple on a budget. My husband and I nipped into M&S to choose our selection whilst the little ones were in school. We were thrown into the Valentine’s Day vibe as we were spoilt for choice when it came to deciding on our options. For only £20, you can get a starter, a main meal, a side, dessert, a selection of chocolates and a bottle of wine. This would normally retail at over £35, even more depending on what you select for your options.
It was suggested that we try the egg and chorizo starter, we picked the beef wellington main and gastro chips side, and for dessert we had two valentine’s hearts, one that was passion fruit and white chocolate and the other dark chocolate and salted caramel.
The question was, how easy would it all be to cook and how good would it taste?
I decided to take the reins and cook the meal, whilst my lovely husband sorted out bedtime with our two crazy kids. The starter was presented in two gorgeous rustic ramekins, which I have since washed out and will re-use for my own little starters or puds for us or the children. I loved this quirky touch, and it made it feel more special that I could keep a memory from our Valentine’s celebrations. The starters only took 14 minutes to cook, they looked and smelled delicious and when it came to taste- oh my goodness, we were not disappointed! There was a delicious, slightly spicy and very more-ish sauce that had chunky pieces of chirozo and a perfectly cooked runny egg. It was pure foody heaven. My only suggestion would be to either eat it with a spoon, or you could pick up a small bread roll to soak up the delicious sauce.
When it came to the main, the suggested cooking time was approximately 25 minutes. The chips were outstanding and both my husband I thought the photo on the packet did not do them justice at all! They were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The beef Wellington was also gorgeous, however we followed the cooking advice correctly so that we would get a rare to medium result, but the beef was more medium to well done. I would definitely suggest cooking this dish for approximately 5 minutes less in order to get a medium to rare result. Apart from that the beef wellington was stunning, and although my husband and I avoid eating mushrooms, we really enjoyed them as part of this meal and it was great to try something new and different.
For dessert we shared the hearts and both preferred the salted caramel one; however we both enjoy rich, strong flavoured foods. The white chocolate heart is a lot lighter and would suit those with a more delicate palate. During the meal we supped on the delicious pink cava and it felt so lovely to have a high quality meal at half the normal price. It was also VERY easy to cook and even easier to eat! I would go as far as to say it was better quality food than we would get if we went to eat out at a restaurant and you know you can cook it the way you like, which is always a bonus.
When it came to the chocolates, we munched on these whilst we waited for dinner to be cooked (naughty!) and we also shared them with our kiddiebops- we can’t have all the fun! It was nice to get them involved with the Valentine’s them and I can only say that I wish I had another box of these chocolates- they were outstanding!
All I can say is, if you miss out on this amazing offer, you will be missing out full stop on Valentine’s Day… We are even going back before Friday to get another £20 deal so we can try some of the other offerings from the amazing and high quality selection at Marks and Spencer.
Take some of the stress out of your week and pop into your local store, you will not regret it!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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