Stupid Cupid – Anti Valentines Day Dinner

Valentines Day is one of those occasions much like New Year and Christmas where the cybersphere becomes intolerable. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are positively rampant with singleton self indulgence or worse such vulgarities have included a rose petal strewn, post coital bed! In light of this abomination, I thought i’d cook up a Pre St Tino’s day dinner using a few sombre ingredients – black rice, black chocolate and blood oranges. Although I must apologise for the awful photo, the risotto is fabulous and it’s incredibly simple to make. Whilst it’s certainly not authentic, it really does taste delicious.
Generic well wishes and greetings have no place here so read on for the ultimate in cynical feasts.
Easy black rice ‘risotto’ with pancetta and mushrooms 
(serves 2 with plenty of leftover for arancini balls)


300g Black Italian Rice
200g Mushrooms (I used oyster and Shitake but any variety will do)
100g Pancetta (or lardons) cut into small chunks
1 Clove Garlic
Large handful Parsley
Enormous Chunk Parmesan


Slice your mushrooms and grate your parmesan then put to one side. Boil the black rice for around 30 minutes then drain. Keep about a cup of the cooking liquid to use later.
Sautee your mushrooms with the garlic in a little olive oil in a large pan then pour in about half of the saved cooking liquid and allow to reduce on a low heat.
Meanwhile, lightly fry the pancetta then add it to the mushrooms. Throw in the parsley and add a little salt if you need it. Next, add the cooked black rice, folding in all the mushroom and pancetta evenly.
Now stir in the grated parmesan until it takes on a creamy consistency and serve up immediately.

Black Chocolate Mousse (Serves 2)
140g Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa Solids)
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Cups Double Cream
1 Vanilla Pod
Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and cold water and place a smaller mixing bowl on top. The base of the smaller bowl should touch the ice. Set aside
Melt the chocolate with the water and sugar in a pan over a low heat then pour the mixture into the bowl over the ice. With an electric or hand held metal whisk, beat the chocolate until just glossy. Be careful not to go too crazy here as it can be over whipped and just ends up dry and hard. If this happens, just scrape it back into the pan, heat it and then repeat the process again.
Leave in a cool place until you’re ready to use it. I layered mine with whipped double cream spiked with the contents of a vanilla pod as well as raspberries but feel free to jazz it up to your tastes.
Blood Orange Negroni (Makes 2) 
1 shot Campari
1 shot Vermouth (Martini Rosso is ideal)
1 shot Gin (Bombay, Beefeater..whatever)
Juice of 4 Large Blood Oranges
Pour the shots into a glass over ice then add the orange juice and garnish with a slice of orange peel.
Happy Bloody Valentines Day
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