February is the month of love with St Valentine's Day, so it seemed apt to look at how you can treat your partner if they have psoriasis. This doesn't have to be for Valentine’s Day, you can do this at any time and maybe that will make it all the more special to show them you care.
Help your partner relax
Relaxing when you have psoriasis can be difficult and anything you can do to help will receive a warm welcome. From as little as running them a bath with their usual emollients in and lighting a few candles, to telling them to take the night off and you doing the chores and making dinner. Don't forget to use only those products they rely on in the bath and don't put anything perfumed in there which may irritate their skin. A bath is a perfect way to get them out of the way too whilst you cook up a sumptuous three course meal to spoil them!
If you do decide to spoil your partner on Valentine's Day it doesn't need to be expensive, you can make dinner seem like a fine dining meal without making it too rich or calorific. For inspiration I looked through my many cookbooks and decided to use just one, Gourmet Food for a Fiver by Jason Atherton. I picked three fairly simple courses and, where I could, I have changed a few elements to make them a little healthier as well as adapted them for two people.
First course: Potatoes, avocado, smoked trout and horseradish cream
- 2 larger new potatoes or 4 small ones
- 2 Thyme sprigs
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 75g smoked trout
- 1 ripe avocado
- Juice of ¼ lime
Put salt, the thyme and crushed garlic cloves into a pan of water and bring to the boil then add the potatoes. Reduce the heat and cook for around 7 minutes depending on the size. Drain the potatoes and peel whilst warm then put in a bowl, cover and chill.
Next, make a vinaigrette with the vinegar and oil. Put the ingredients in a bowl with a pinch of sea salt and whisk to an emulsion. Slice the cold potatoes into roughly 1cm wide slices and gently toss in the dressing. Cover again and chill for about an hour.
Take 1 tbsp double cream blended with ½ tsp of horseradish sauce. Use more if you like a more powerful flavour. Make this whilst the potatoes are chilling and put in the fridge so it thickens.
Now get the trout ready. Check for any small bones and remove with tweezers. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and peel off the skin. I find using a large spoon to scoop it out in one piece works well. Slice the avocado across the flesh and put in a bowl and drizzle over the lime juice. Season with a little salt.
Now it’s time to plate up. To make it look cheffy place a few slices of potatoes then layer on avocado and trout before adding a dollop of the horseradish cream. Garnish with a salad of pea shoots, sliced radish and dill. Drizzle a little olive oil over and serve.
Main Course: Grilled chicken with tamarind and a herb salad
- 2 chicken breasts, without skin to make it a little healthier
For the marinade:
- 15g tamarind paste
- 4g coriander seeds, lightly toasted then crushed
- 25g palm sugar or sugar alternative
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
This is a good dish to do as most of the work can be done the day before. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 70ml of warm water and ensure any seeds are removed. The paste I bought didn't have any. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place the chicken breasts in a bowl and pour over the marinade and leave overnight.
When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and keep the marinade aside. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and reduce by about a third to make a thickened sauce. This should only take about 4 minutes - if you thicken it too much, add a little water and combine.
Brush the chicken with vegetable oil (again a healthier option as little oil used) and place under a hot grill. Using so little oil you can do this in a pan on the hob if you prefer. Cook for about 8-10 mins each side depending on the thickness, ensuring they are cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare a quick herby salad. I used parsley, basil, mint and coriander leaves. Place them in a bowl with some diagonally sliced spring onions and sliced and deseeded red chilli. Slicing the spring onions this way just makes them look nice. Toss the ingredients together to mix.
Plate up by cutting the chicken breasts in half and place one on the plate with the other resting on it. Pour over some of the sauce. Pile the salad on top and drizzle over some more sauce. I was a little unsure about this recipe, thinking it may leave me hungry, but it is actually quite filling and the flavours work really well together.
Final course: Thyme scented strawberries with melon soup
This recipe actually calls for lemon thyme and I searched high and low for some lemon thyme. In fact, whilst getting the ingredients for the whole menu, I got the feeling there had been a rush on herbs in general as I managed to get the last bag of basil I could find. Anyway, I digress. Eventually I went for everyday thyme hoping it would work. The rest of the ingredients couldn't be simpler; a punnet of strawberries, a cantaloupe melon and strawberry frozen yoghurt. The recipe in the book uses sorbet so I went for a low fat yoghurt by Yoo Moo which I found in Sainsbury's. It is a little difficult to do this just for two but you could put the extra strawberries in an elderflower and sparkling water drink to pretend you're having a champagne cocktail. Or if you think spoiling yourself is as important as being healthy, just go for the real thing!
Hull and quarter the strawberries and place in a bowl. Using the thyme leaves only from a few sprigs of thyme or lemon thyme, gently toss the strawberries to mix these in, cover and chill. You can do this before serving the starter so at the end all you have to do is dish up, the same goes for the melon soup.
Okay so melon soup is basically blitzed melon. Cut the melon in half, deseed and cut the flesh from the skin. Chop and whizz up in a blender or smoothie maker if you have one. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and extract all the juice you can, discarding the pulp. Put this in a pouring jug, a gravy boat will do, cover and chill.
To serve, place the strawberries and a small scoop of the frozen yoghurt in a bowl. For that final flourish, pour the melon into the bowl at the table.
So there you have it, a romantic three course meal suitable for any time of the year. Obviously strawberries are not in season in February, but then they will be at every restaurant offering a pricey three course meal. What better way to show the person in your life with psoriasis that you care, especially if they are at a stage where they do not fancy going out. Turn your home into a classy restaurant, put a single rose in a vase on the table, turn the lights down, put on some soft music and treat them to a luxurious, restaurant style meal that is fairly simple and cheap. The effort of your time and the care you show will be worth much more than anything else.
Don't forget to do all the washing up yourself too, this is their night.
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-07156. Date of preparation: January 2017