Date Night In : Beef Stew

Valentine's Day has always been quite controversial. There is a legend behind this day but some think that it is a day created so businesses could benefit from selling cards, buying gifts, flowers, restaurants hiking up prices just because it is a day of romance and everything else that is related to February 14th.

Personally, I think it is not necessary to go out on expensive dinner dates on this very night just cause everything is twice the price, restaurants are packed, most places would have a set menu to make their life easier so there is limited choice, and then there is higher expectations cause it is suppose to be this perfect night spent with your loved ones. All these are unnecessary. What is most important is that loved ones are nice and caring towards each other throughout. The most romantic in my opinion is the little everyday details. It could be the morning or I'm home kiss, even making dinner for him/her, helping out with laundry and cleaning, or waking up with that amazing breakfast with juice and hot chocolate or tea waiting for you. All that daily details aside, what makes a girl happiest are surprises at the most unexpected moments.

Since M and I won't be celebrating Valentine's Day on the day itself, we had a date night in on Saturday. It was a perfect evening with great meal home cooked with love, good wine and the best company. It was simple but lovely.


~ no starter ~
~ beef stew with puff pastry ~
~ chocolate thyme cake with orange cream ~

Beef Stew with heart shaped Puff Pastry sprinkled with herbs

The beef stew was initially planned to be served with rice or potato puree but I thought of giving it some texture so chose puff pastry instead. It makes it sort of like a dismantled beef pie; less rustic with heart shaped puffs.


adapted from SmallKitchCara's entry on Food52
Serves 4


  • 700g stewing beef, cut into 2-3 inch cubes
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil

  • 1 anchovy
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery, diced
  • 150g white mushrooms, quartered
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 60ml red wine vinegar
  • 120ml red wine
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 150ml water
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes

  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme (I used scented thyme)
  • 10g dark chocolate
  • Handful chopped parsley

Scented Thyme

Chopped ingredients


1. Brown the beef that has been seasoned with salt and pepper in high heat. Remove to plate
2. Fry the bacon then the onions and garlic until fragrant. Add in the rest of the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
3. Stir in anchovies and tomato paste, melt it and distribute.
4. Add in the beef and its juices, vinegar, wine and chopped tomatoes.
5. Add the beef bouillon that has been melted in 150ml of water into the pot. Then put the bay leaves and thyme in and bring it to boil.
6. Let it simmer for about 3 hours then stir in the dark chocolate and let it cook for another 30 minutes.
7. Cool to room temperature. Have it to sit for a few hours until ready to serve.
8. Heat it for about 3o minutes and garnish with chopped parsley.

The lovely multi-sized heart shaped puffs with the simple but delicious beef stew

Please click here for Chocolate Cake recipe.

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