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A course in seduction

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11:04 CEST+02:00
Finding a dishy date is often the easy part. Ronnie Gilghrist offers culinary tips on how to keep your date coming back for more.

After three months you finally built up the courage to ask the girl from work out on a date.

She said yes, surprisingly enough. Why the hell did you wait three months?

Christine is blonde, tall, blue-eyed. Or were they green? You'll have to look better next time. In any case, she is everything you ever dreamed of. Now, shortly after arriving in Sweden, the land of opportunities, you will realize all your ambitions.

So the night has arrived: you have invited Christine to dinner at your place. You open the door of the cupboard and realize that the only thing you have to offer her is half a pack of Pringles, sour cream flavour, a curry you made three days ago and a can of Carlsberg.

You open the Carlsberg and think of how best to impress Christine, so that this will not be the last date but the first of many cosy nights together reflecting on how it all began.

You have to show her that you are a modern man capable of looking after yourself and, more importantly, her. That's why you suggested your place and not a restaurant; you want to show her abilities that you don't show to just anybody.

So how do you impress the would-be girlfriend in the space of three hours, with no food in the house, and not knowing how to cook?

You look despairingly into the fridge, hoping to find you answer amongst the contents. You take a swig of your beer, you take another swig, and only then do you start to think of the perfect meal: simple, traditional, romantic, fast and cheap.

The meal

Three courses are necessary to show that there was a lot of effort put into this banquet. Effort means that you are willing to put yourself out for this girl, that she is special. It is kind of like telling her that you love her without committing yourself to anything.

It is often said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Well so are the starter and the dessert. It is amazingly complicated to cook a meal with more than one hot course. The timing is extremely difficult. By the time one course is ready, the other is cold. Or you realize while munching on the main course that you have managed to burn the dessert.

Starter

For a starter I would recommend Gallia melon with Parma ham. When serving this dish, take it to the table before pouring Muscat wine over the melon and ham. This will increase the olfactory sensation and look impressive in front of Christine.

Gallia melons are easy to find but not always the ripest, so take the oldest one on the shelf even if it has bits that are unusable. You will not need the whole melon. Parma ham is also available in most local ICA/Konsum stores.

Important note: wine is only available in a shop called Systembolaget and the opening hours are not great. They close at 3pm on a Saturday so by the time you are thinking about the evening ahead, the shop is already closed. Always invite girls for dinner on Friday -- the shop is open until 7pm and you will have time to buy the wine.

Main course

When it comes to the main course I would suggest a coq au vin. Even though it is not so fancy it will mean that your tiny apartment will smell succulent when she arrives, activating her taste buds instantly.

It will be ready to eat while you are polishing of the starter. This makes the timing of the courses even easier.

To prepare:

Heat oil and 30g of butter in a large saucepan and add the bacon.

Roll the chicken pieces in seasoned flour. Add them to the pan. Cook on each side until the chicken is golden.

Peel 8 garlic cloves and add them to the pan. Add a whole shallot, sliced, and half an onion.

Pour in a bottle of red wine and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Simmer for 50 minutes to an hour, until the chicken starts to fall off the bone.

Serve good quality bread.

Dessert

The dessert is by far the most important course for most women in the world. Christine will appreciate the sugar and chocolate is a natural aphrodisiac that must be employed.

A dark chocolate cake is the easiest thing in the world to make.

Preheat the oven to 190C and lightly grease a round cake tin.

Place 200g of chocolate and 200g of butter in a small bowl. I would recommend Lindt chocolate with 70% cocoa, which is available in every ICA/Konsum store.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir until the mixture is melted.

Add 200g of sugar.

Remove the bowl from the heat. Sift in the flour and some cinnamon. Do not forget the cinnamon: Swedes love it and so will she.

Slowly incorporate 3 eggs until the mixture is well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.

This whole meal will take you approximately two hours to cook. But with any luck the night will last much longer.

English/Swedish glossary

Butter – Smör

Chicken – Kyckling

Flour – Mjöl

Cinnamon – Kanel

Wine - Vin

Ham – Skinka

Oil – Olja

Sugar – Socker

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