I wanted to cook a special Valentine’s day menu, filled with some of the favourite flavors I’ve shared with my husband a few romantic meals ago. I’ve always felt a link with Saint-Valentine, perhaps because my middle name is actually Valentine. My full name is Marie-France Valentine Thorisson, sounds very old-fashioned to say the least! That’s why everybody calls me Mimi.
Yesterday morning, despite the cold rain pouring in Médoc, we headed to the market inspired to hunt for beautiful ingredients to make this post a special one. Little did I know that my morning turned out to be a bit of an eclectic adventure. En route, we saw a group of hunters hunting for the bécasse (woodcock). There were a few familiar faces so we stopped to say bonjour. At the market, we met ‘the artist’. Such a charming man, certainly the best dressed that morning. He had such allure, humor and passion for life. As we kindly asked if we could take his photo, he accepted and declared ‘Je suis un artiste’. He is in Médoc to produce a musical show, just like in the old days. It’s nice to know that characters like that still exist. With a smile on my face, I went on with my shopping list. A dozen red roses, two dozen oysters from Arcachon, four slices of bacon ‘noir de bigorre’, a few veal chops, five large sweet potatoes and rose water.
On my way back home, we bumped into a big group of hunters again. They looked so happy, and it didn’t take me too long to figure out why. They proudly showed us their prize, a huge wild boar they had hunted. It’s their passion, their culture, they are true Médocain hunters. I could hear discussions and debates on how to cook the animal, echos of a grandmother’s recipe for sausages with white wine. Hunting is as big of an activity as wine making in Médoc.
Back home, after such an interesting morning, I got to work on the menu. The starter, oyster fritters with a wasabi cream dip, is inspired from a dish I had years ago in Sydney. Some of my fondest food memories are from meals I’ve had there. The freshness, the creativity and beauty of it all. The main course is simply a lovely piece of veal chop, pan-fried in butter and olive oil, served with roasted sweet potatoes, thyme, rosemary and garlic. And the obligatoire bacon noir de bigorre (black pig bacon from Bigorre) with its incredible nutty taste. Add some fresh parsley, garlic and use the juices from the pan to drizzle all over the dish. It’s such an incredible mixture of sensations. Living in Médoc we naturally tend to drink mostly local wine. But for this meal I was in the mood for something different, something very red and clear and slightly chilled to match the occasion. I chose a lovely Pinot Noir from Burgundy, it was a perfect fit. To end this meal, I prepared a rose crème brûlée, and instead of using cassonade brown sugar, I used pink crystal sugar (something I bought for my daughter’s birthday last November). Everything looks prettier in pink, especially on Valentine’s day.
Oyster fritters with wasabi cream dip
Ingredients: (serves a generous 2)
24 fresh oysters (if you can’t find oysters, why don’t you try using shrimps, crab, fish, or even vegetables. The wasabi cream dip goes with everything.)
For the batter:
55 g/ 1/2 cup corn flour (I use maïzana)
70 g/ 2/3 plain flour
Enough ice-cold fizzy/sparkling water to make a sticky thick batter – not too liquid, not too thick – it should coat the oysters).
For the wasabi cream dip:
120 ml/ 1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tsp wasabi paste (you can add more or less according to your taste)
In a bowl, pour whipping cream, add the wasabi and whisk till stiff.
Coarse salt & black pepper (for seasoning)
Peanut oil (for frying)
Open the oysters and drain the water. With a sharp knife, cut of the oyster off. In a medium pan, heat peanut oil until approx 180°C (8 cm/3-3.5 inches deep). You can measure the temperature with a thermometer or test with a drop of batter – if it sizzles and turns golden within 5 seconds, it’s ready.
Place each oyster in a teaspoon, dip in the batter until coated all over. Fry in oil until golden. The fritters will puff up instantly. Fry oysters by batches (5 by batch). Drain on kitchen towel before serving.
Drizzle oyster fritters with coarse salt and black pepper. Serve with salad and wasabi cream dip. Serve immediately.
Pan-fried veal with sweet potato wedges (serves 2)
2 good-quality côtes de veau (veal chops)
3 large sweet potatoes (sliced in wedges)
6 garlic cloves (4 for the sweet potatoes, 2 finely sliced for the veal)
A bunch of fresh rosemary
A bunch of fresh thyme
A bunch of fresh parsley
2 slices good quality bacon (I used bacon ‘noir de Bigorre’/ black pig – optional)
1 tbsp unsalted butter (for frying veal)
Olive oil (for frying and for the roast sweet potatoes)
Coarse salt and black pepper (for seasoning)
Preheat oven to 210°C/ 400°F
Slice sweet potatoes into medium-sized wedges, place on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, shake the pan so all the wedges get coated in oil. Season with salt and pepper, add a branch of rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves (you can leave the skin on). Cook for 30 minutes, stirring the potatoes frequently (and gently as sweet potatoes are softer).
Chop parsley and garlic finely. Set aside. Season veal with coarse salt and pepper. In a frying pan, melt a tbsp of butter and a tsp of olive oil on a medium to high heat. When sizzling hot, add the veal and fry on each side for approx 2-3 minutes (depending on your choice of ‘cuisson’) – the veal should be golden on each side . At the same time, fry the bacon in another pan (or in the same pan as the veal if you don’t mind).
Place veal on a serving plate, pour all the juices from the pan in a small bowl. Add the chopped parsley, garlic and bacon on veal. Serve with the sweet potato wedges. Pour the reserved juices all over the meat and potatoes. Serve immediately.
Crème brûlée (serves 2)
3 egg yolks
40 g/ 3 tbsp granulated sugar
80 ml/ 1/3 cup ml cream
80 ml/1/3 cup full fat milk
2-3 tbsp rose essence extract (depending on strength)
1 tbsp pink sugar crystals (or plain sugar/ brown sugar – to be sprinkle and caramelized)
Preheat oven 120°C/ 240 F
Pour milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a soft boil. Set aside. Whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add rose essence extract in the milk/cream mixture and pour on egg yolks. Mix well until smooth.
Place ramequins in a roasting pan (deep enough to add some water). Pour the mixture in the ramequins. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for approx. 50 minutes, until they are set but still trembling. Set aside and chill before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle the crème brulées with sugar, and use a blowtorch or hot grill to caramelise the tops (be extra careful not to burn as it heats up fast).
45 thoughts on “Roses & Oysters”
Everything is just so wonderful and divine. Have the best Valentine dinner. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thank you Joy! Have a lovely Valentine’s day! Mimix
How gorgeous those flowers are!! Unbelievable 🙂
Thank you Svetlana, Happy Valentine’s to you too! Mimix
What a beautiful meal! You’ve now inspired me to also get into this holiday and to whip up something dreamy and romantic. And to hunt down delicious oysters (which is not always easy in land-locked Munich)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Bonsoir Sasha! It’s always nice to prepare a little feast for Valentine’s day! Good luck with the oysters! Mimix
Mimi… this meal is superb and perfect for a romantic interlude… The photograph of the roses is superb… I would love to share it and shall link back to you later in the week… xv
Bonsoir Vicki! So flattered to hear your kind words! Looking forward to seeing the roses on your lovely blog! Thank you! Mimix
Crazy for this and kicking myself for not thinking of the title!
Vicki is right, those roses…*le sigh*
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
Hello Heather! Hope you are well and enjoying life! Wishing you a fantastic week (and some sunshine fingers crossed!) Mimix
Just in love with your images and stories of life in France. The food, the landscape, your family…all so beautiful! I voted for you in The Homies and watched your blog climb higher and higher. Congratulations!
Bonsoir Sarah! Thank you so much! We try to capture our daily lives and share through ‘Manger’ – it’s such a joy for me to get to know so many wonderful people through the blog:) Thanks a million for voting for us – we are quite new on the scene so it’s nice to be amongts the finalists. Have a lovely Sunday, and Valentine’s day! Mimix
Wowzers, ce lard looks gorgeously fat!
Happy Valentine’s day. Fx.
Im in love with this post! So beautiful.
I love this type of old fashioned veal chop recipe. There is something romantic about the classics. And when combined with beautiful roses…it makes for a lovely evening, I’m sure.
I have been following your blog and love the composition of your photographs and the beauty of your life and home. I am travelling to France (Paris and then South France) for a little bit of time in the end of March and was wondering if you had any recommendations on must see, eat or experience things! I just love your taste.
Thanks for a nice story, nice pirctures & recipes! Wish all a warm and heartful Valentine’s Day from one more Valentina!
It all sounds very yummy – happy Valentines day!
Bonjour Mimi! A quick question – how high do you set the oven for the créme brulee? thanks – everything looks amazing!
Bonjour Kristin, the oven temperature is 120°C/ 240 F. I just updated on the blog. Thank you so much for pointing this out! Best,Mimix
You have a beautiful name Mimi! This was a splendid and inspiring post and the photography was beautiful as always. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Divine. I can almost taste the veal chops.
I love your Valentine’s dinner menu Mimi, I love your creme brûlée recipe, one of my youngest son’s favorite dessert. Happy Vanlentine’s day.
Came with my hubs to London to celebrate our princess’s birthday on the 9th Feb and last night celebrated Chinese New Year it was beautiful in London. Valentines day in London so looking forward to it. xoxo
Everything is just so lovely! What a wonderful idea to use pink sugar for the creme brûlée!
I’m so glad to hear that the wasabi cream dip pairs well with vegetables…my poor husband is allergic to shellfish and he adores wasabi!
Absolutely stunning. I want to wander right into these photos…into this life! How will I ever forget the phrase “obligatoire bacon”? Thanks for the visual feast. My first visit to your blog. Many thanks for a glimpse into foggy Medoc from a new reader in Philadelphia.
We made an early Valentine’s meal of your winter vegetable tart, steak with cognac cream sauce and chocolate tart. All the recipes were outstanding! Thanks for sharing your recipes!
I love hearing this! Merci for making me so happy! So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe:) Mimix
The title of this post alone has my attention. I’ve never had an oyster I didn’t like, so I’m so jealous of your delicious menu!
I’m a new-ish reader your blog. I really love the photos, the relaxed sensibility, and especially the recipes. I can’t wait to surprise my Asian friends with the Hong Shao pork recipe, since I’m of Chinese heritage, but I’m a total Francophile. I was wondering if you have a recipe for sweetbreads that you could share. I didn’t see it on the recipe page.
Bonjour Joséphine! Thanks for visiting Manger. Hong shao pork, with a bowl of steamed white rice and tea eggs on the side – all I can say is WAH! And thanks for reminding me to cook sweetbreads! It’s my husband’s all-time favourite food, and he’s been trying to get me to cook some for a while now:) I’ll post a recipe soon, because there’s a recipe I love, inspired from one of our favourite chefs, Alain Passard. Bonne journée, Mimix
What a visual feast ! This is my first time time to your blog and I just love it.Thank you for sharing all the lovely recipes.I am going to try the oyster and veal recipes. Trish
i have goosebumps reading about you and your amazing life. what a lovely discovery! i am so very jealous, and you take the most wonderful photos.
I made your Escargot in Cream Sauce…a 4 star recipe…I had a similar at Levernois near Beaune some years ago and have been looking for the recipe.ever since…..Many thanks It is Wonderful…Secondly…did you see that 2 Jack Russells …Parson & Russell made it into the Westminster Finals last night…As a JR owner I was thrilled…
Bonjour Patricia. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the recipe! I am thrilled you enjoyed it. I’ve received such fantastic response from this recipe, and it works so well with poultry or vegetables. I did not check the latest news on the Westminster dog show, but I will asap! So glad to hear JRT are in the winning team:) Have a lovely day, Mimix
Magnifique! I look forward to every post – truly beautiful with such style.
hello, thank you for this inspiring post.
Did you receive my message on gmail asking you for an interview ? Have a wonderful day.
Hello Caroline! Thank you. Yes, I just responded. A bientôt, Mimix
First of all thank you for your gorgeous blog. It is my absolute favorite 🙂
I did try your creme brulee yesterday but I had some troubles -> It did not set. Any tips and tricks that are important when making this deliciousness? It was my first creme brulee attempt 🙂
(I ended up baking it a little bit longer but that did not help. I also used Orange blossom water and vanilla instead of the Rose Water and as I did not have fresh full milk I used the Icelandic G Mjólk – could that have hurt the process?)
Hello! Thank you so much for visiting Manger! I do know G-Mjolk (I noticed they use it at Kaffitar for their delicious cappucinos and lattes!), I am not sure how it works for crème brûlee, but I am always make sure to use full fat milk and cream because it always works better for my desserts. You could try turning up the heat just a little – all oven are different. I do hope it will work out! Best Mimixx (ps: I miss Iceland!)
Tried the Creme Brulee recipe a second time, this time with proper full fat organic milk. Turned out amazing. Thanks again for sharing!
Rose creme brulee! Sounds delightful and right up my alley. I will have to give it a try. Thank you!!
Thank you for following me Mimi – you have a lovely blog with great photography, I look forward to seeing much more!
Dear Mimi!I would like to come next summer to help you.I am lawyer but my hobby and. love is cooking.Also I can. jela you in buying,cleaning because all those things are part of it.Best rregards from Zagreb!