Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and I for one can’t wait to see the back of it. For weeks now, shops have been littered with Valentine’s Day greetings cards, heart-shaped memorabilia, teddy bears and red roses.
It’s one of those commercialised times of the year where many restaurants get away with charging pretty much whatever they like for a three-course meal and, although you can always rely on chains like Wetherspoons and Varsity to put on a decent deal, the quality of the food you’ll be served is much less predictable.
If you want a tasty three-course meal for Valentine’s Day but don’t fancy paying restaurant prices, and slaving over a hot stove isn’t exactly your idea of a romantic evening, Dine In For Valentine’s with M&S’s mouthwatering menu. From 11th – 16th February, you can enjoy a starter, a main, a side, a dessert, chocolates and a bottle of wine/non-alcoholic drink (to serve two) all for just £20.
Starters include Heart-shaped Salmon portions, Thai Fishcakes and Coquilles St Jacques (scallops with potato, butter and cream). For the main course, you can choose from a range of classic dishes including Rump Steak with Peppercorn Sauce, Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb and Duck a l’Orange, whereas sides include Layered Super Green Vegetables, Chunky Chips and Mediterranean Roasting Vegetables. Moving on to dessert, take your pick from the Posh Profiterole Stack, Marc De Champagne mousse and chocolate Valentine’s Hearts, amongst other sweet treats.
To wash all that food down you can choose a bottle of plonk from a selection of white, red or rose, with sparkling wines and champagne also available, alongside several non-alcoholic drinks.
Want to see the full menu? Click here for M&S’s full Dine In For Valentine’s range
I’m single for Valentines Day this year, so going out definitely isn’t on the cards for me. Instead, I’ve chosen to indulge in M&S’s Dine In For Valentine’s menu with another single friend.
We enjoyed catching up over a glass or two of Cava Hererat El Padruell, a vibrant bottle of bubbly with pear, orange and vanilla tones.
For starters, the Gastropub Runny Scotch Eggs were the obvious option for us. I fell in love with runny scotch eggs at Bill’s Restaurant in Cardiff last year and, up until now, I hadn’t had the pleasure of trying them for a second time.
When we cut them in half, the runny yolk ran out of the egg and soaked into the surrounding sausage meat. Combined with the sage and onion flavouring, this just made the sausage meat taste even better and helped to add moisture to what could otherwise have been quite a dry starter.
Moving on to our main course we eventually agreed on the Fillet of Beef Wellington, with Layered Green Super Vegetables as our chosen side.
The beef wellington was perfect; the steak was incredibly tender, the mushroom filling tasted great and the lattice puff pastry was golden brown and crispy.
The layered veg consisted of shredded cabbage, peas, broad beans and finely sliced courgette with a mint butter dressing. It was microwave-only but as I’ve recently moved home I only have an oven at the moment, so I transferred the veg to an oven-proof dish, covered it with foil and popped it in the oven for 15-20 minutes and it was fine, although would probably have tasted fresher microwaved.
For dessert, we went for the Blueberry Velvets, consisting of a perfectly formed dome of lemon mousse with a blueberry jam centre and soft sponge base, pictured above with three of the chocolates from the box included with the offer.
The lemon mousse was fairly zesty and somewhat bitter but the sweet blueberry centre helped to offset this, while the texture of the fluffy sponge base contrasted nicely with the smoothness of the mousse.
So if you don’t fancy braving the cold weather to head out this Valentine’s Day, or maybe you begrudge paying rip-off restaurant prices, just head on down to your local M&S for everything you need to enjoy a romantic night-in – or, like me, a catch-up with one of your single mates!
The ingredients used in this recipe were provided to me complimentary by M&S, but I was not obliged to write a positive review.