18 Feb2016


Regulars on the blog know the drill…Marketman is not fond of the Valentine’s hype. It’s a totally modern commercial “Hallmark Card” type of holiday. And the outrageous price gouging that takes place with respect to gifts, flowers and meals is ridiculous. So for many years, decades, even, we have boycotted the holiday in a sense, often opting for a good dinner in the comfort of our home, often with two, four, eight or more other friends who all seem to be first amused, then convinced by our Anti-Valentine’s Valentine’s stance… :) We’ve missed a couple of years, but everything came together this year and friends practically willed us to collectively put a dinner together. It was so incredibly easy, really. We arrived back home from a trip late on the 13th, and the crew had already done an early morning raid to the flower market, with strict instructions not to pay too much of a premium for roses, and we got several bunches at roughly PHP200 for two dozen. They weren’t the finest roses, but their acquisition meant we would go full head-on Valentine’s kitsch for the dinner. Out came the red placemats, the red roses in vases, place cards in red, and little mother of pearl hearts at each place setting…


We prepared some tuna tartare, served with chopped avocado and micro cilantro on fried fish skins. This took less than 30 minutes total to prepare.


One couple offered to bring pica-pica and they arrived with trays laden with all kinds of goodies from a goat and cream cheese and rosemary spread to cured meats, olives, preserves, etc. Honestly, we could have stopped there, had a few drinks and laughed at all the folks stuck in traffic, battling for a table at a restaurant, and paying triple for some horrible set menu.


But we didn’t. Two other guests insisted on sending the meat for the evening, so we had nearly 5 kilos of the finest cowboy steaks in super thick and medium thick cuts that were cooked to order as folks specfied their preferences for doneness from medium rare to medium well. In France, they basically like their steak “blue” or rarer than rare. I prefer it rare. :) Since folks were so generous with the meat, and we had only added the tuna so far, we went whole hog and got a whole lobe of foie gras, and seared that to be served on top of the steaks, as if we didn’t have enough protein and richness yet. It was, frankly, a bit over the top.


Leftover goose fat from the holidays meant our go-to roasted potatoes with goose fat…


…and some fresh asparagus just buttered and with some chopped dill.


We had a nice two-kilo baked lapu-lapu as well but my photos of it were wickedly bad, almost as if the fish didn’t want to be photographed alongside the beef and foie. And a big salad for anyone who wanted to balance out the protein. Guests brought more than enough wine for the evening. Various types and vintages, in a sort of clear out your (but still fabulous) cellar since MM said this is a shorts kind of dinner…


And for the finale, a really in your face Valentine’s red pavlova that was a HUGE HIT. Funny how some folks really get bowled over by the visuals. But actually, when you bite into the crisp and chewy meringue, the tons of whipped cream, the overflowing berries and raspberry sauce, this was a really nice way to end the dinner. Will post details of the pavlova next, I have gotten at least 7 requests for details, details. :)



  1. jr says:


    Feb 18, 2016 | 11:05 pm


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  3. EbbaBlue says:

    Wow powwow

    Feb 18, 2016 | 11:31 pm

  4. marilen says:

    ka-pow ! homerun !!! festive anti-valentine celebration!!

    Feb 19, 2016 | 1:33 am

  5. andrew lim says:

    My eagle eyes indicate that is a Chateau Siran. Excellent meal, indeed.

    Feb 19, 2016 | 8:48 am

  6. Marketman says:

    andrew, sharp eyes indeed. It’s their second growth, not outrageously priced either.

    Feb 19, 2016 | 8:53 am

  7. Natie says:

    THIS is a Market Man post.. oh, I miss this. . Thanks for sharing, MM.

    Feb 19, 2016 | 9:27 am

  8. ami says:

    Everything from start to finish looks good!

    Feb 19, 2016 | 9:32 am

  9. Kasseopeia says:

    I missed these posts and I am SO glad this is up!
    When I finally move into my condo unit, the first meal I will host will be an anti-Valentine’s dinner. That tuna tartare and the steak with foie is definitely making it to the menu.

    Happy you’re posting again, MM!

    Feb 19, 2016 | 3:26 pm

  10. Kai says:

    What? You had avocados on a February? Where did you get those? :(

    Here in Cebu, avocados are still nowhere in sight. I can’t wait any longer for avocado season!

    Feb 22, 2016 | 1:31 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Kai, yes, oddly, there were avocados in the market here last week and this past weekend as well. Not lots of them, but a few…

    Feb 22, 2016 | 4:57 pm

  12. Dragon says:

    MM, is it me or are the photos blurry???

    Feb 23, 2016 | 1:12 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    Dragon, they aren’t the finest photos, but I wouldn’t say they are my blurriest… they were either taken with my iPhone or a camera, but in relatively low light…

    Feb 23, 2016 | 3:36 pm

  14. Ana says:

    Wow this just gave me an ideas for next year’s Valentines Date. The steaks looks good. Too bad the pictures for you lapu-lapa didn’t go well. Was it the only Filipino dish you served that night?

    Mar 5, 2016 | 2:34 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    Ana, it wasn’t really Filipino in preparation, it was baked with several aromatics, lemon, etc…

    Mar 5, 2016 | 7:27 pm

  16. Babot Joseph says:

    So wonderful, Marketman! I had missed reading your blog for quite sometime.
    And just so glad I’m back to reading your recipes and thoughts on food and everything else.

    Mar 11, 2016 | 1:48 pm


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