Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Valentine’s dinner on a budget

Chef Lesley James’ $5,000 three-course feast

Published:Friday | February 9, 2024 | 4:26 PMShanel Lemmie/Staff Reporter - -
This simple salsa is a quick no-heat dish that transforms any beginner to a seasoned chef.
This simple salsa is a quick no-heat dish that transforms any beginner to a seasoned chef.
Chef Lesley James, a recipe developer and food content creator who operates under the moniker ‘Lesley Cooks’, chops onions.
Chef Lesley James, a recipe developer and food content creator who operates under the moniker ‘Lesley Cooks’, chops onions.
The crostini, with tomato salsa and caramelised onions, is a budget-friendly appetiser that packs a flavourful punch.
The crostini, with tomato salsa and caramelised onions, is a budget-friendly appetiser that packs a flavourful punch.
Chef Lesley James’ scrumptious meal is an economical way to still keep the romance alive this Valentine’s Day.
Chef Lesley James’ scrumptious meal is an economical way to still keep the romance alive this Valentine’s Day.
Creamy tomato pasta, topped with pan-seared chicken and a cilantro garnish.
Creamy tomato pasta, topped with pan-seared chicken and a cilantro garnish.
Chef Lesley James of ‘Lesley Cooks’.
Chef Lesley James of ‘Lesley Cooks’.
Chef Lesley James of ‘Lesley Cooks’ is pleased as punch with her crostini with tomato salsa and caramelised onions.
Chef Lesley James of ‘Lesley Cooks’ is pleased as punch with her crostini with tomato salsa and caramelised onions.
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The cosiest place to be this Valentine’s Day is at home. So while the rest of the country combats the Ash Wednesday traffic and stuffs themselves into noisy restaurants and bars, you can enjoy a quiet evening making dinner for two.

According to Chef Lesley James of Lesley Cooks, this $5,000 three-course V-Day feast is the perfect way to say ‘I love you’ without breaking the bank.

With a budget of $5,000 you will need:

1 Baguette

Fresh cilantro

Garlic

2 boneless chicken breasts

Butter

Linguini

Plummy tomatoes

Grated Parmesan

Vinegar

Brown sugar

Salt

Black pepper

Onion powder

Full cream milk

Cooking cream

Tomato paste

Chocolate brownie mix

A chocolate bar

A pint of ice cream

APPETISER

Crostini with tomato salsa and caramelised onions

DIRECTIONS

1. Dice tomatoes into small squares then scoop into a bowl.

2. Mince two cloves of garlic and scoop into the same bowl.

3. Add chopped cilantro, then season with salt, black pepper and onion powder and set aside.

4. In a non-stick pan, heat a gram of butter.

5. Add thinly sliced onions and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

6. Stir until caramelised.

7. Cut the baguette into one-inch slices, coat with butter and toast.

8. Scoop the tomato mixture onto the toasted bread and top with onions.

MAIN

Creamy tomato pasta with pan-seared chicken

1. Slice horizontally along the chicken breast to create a ‘butterfly’.

2. Season with salt, pepper and onion powder mixture and set aside.

3. Add butter to a frying pan and sear the chicken until golden brown on both sides.

4. Set aside for later.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the linguini. Cook al dente then drain.

6. In the same pot you seared your chicken in, add one cup of full cream milk and a half cup of cooking cream and stir.

7. To your mixture, add the tomato paste to your liking and continue stirring. Ladle your linguini into the mixture and season to taste.

8. Once your pasta is plated, slice your chicken breast into sections and lay atop your pasta. Garnish with cilantro and voila!

DESSERT

Microwave molten brownie with vanilla fudge ice cream

1. In two mugs, add half of your brownie mix.

2. In each cup add 1/4 cup of milk and 1 gram of butter.

3. Mix until fully emulsified. Once mixed, add two pips of a chocolate bar.

4. Microwave for three minutes and top with a scoop of ice cream.

shanel.lemmie@gleanerjm.com