Valentine's Day is arguably the most unromantic day to eat out. So stay in and cook something nice for your beau. Here are some suggestions.
We Brits have a funny relationship with Valentine’s Day. We want to acknowledge it, but not feel like we’re being manipulated into doing so. We also rather like romantic meals out, but not when everyone else is doing it on the same night... that's about as special as those massive group weddings you see in China.
So if staying in and just eating something nice is your thing (and it is ours), here are some great menu ideas from our recipe database.
Spice up your life
For those that like a bit of heat, we’ve got a Thai-style main made with a wealth of colourful ingredients; crispy pork with jasmine rice for Chinese food fans; and a Persian-inspired stew straight out of Arabian Nights.
Diana Henry’s Thai-style broth: an incredibly quick, no hassle meal yet it appears on serving as if you have made quite an effort. Diana also makes it with leftover chicken and leftover pork. Add the Tenderstem broccoli near the end and cook it briefly so it provides both freshness and colour.
Ching-He Huang's crispy pork: the crisp pork skin literally melts in your mouth and the rich flavours of the pork belly taste absolutely delicious combined with jasmine rice. The dish is known as Huí Guo Ròu - which literally means 'meat that has been returned to the pot'.
John Gregory-Smith's Persian Lamb Stew: John says 'the earthy smell of saffron evokes the windy souks, sweet mint teas and colourful spice markets that inspired me to make this wonderful Persian stew'.
The seas of love
Cat Power sang about sailing on the seas of love; indeed it’s a fitting musical backdrop to this collection of brilliant fish and seafood recipes.
Mitch Tonks' grey mullet with mussels: this little salad is a perfect foil for any grilled fish and oregano is wonderful to sprinkle on to sliced tomatoes that have been dressed with a little good quality red wine vinegar. The roasted garlic and oregano work amazingly well in this light stew.
Tom van Zeller's cauliflower and squid ink puree: use this recipe to impress as you serve up a tasty piece of pan fried fish such as salmon, cod or sea bass. It's the easy way to show off your chef skills. Result!
Jun Tanaka's peppered tuna with niçoise: Jun says: 'Elevating a recipe from the simple to the sensational may require a change in technique, the addition of a new ingredient(s) or modifying the cooking method. Or it could be as simple as changing the presentation.'
The voluptuous veggie
Here’s our round-up of veggie dishes for you non-meat eating love birds.
Denis Cotter's tagine: with the classic Moroccan tagine flavours of both hot and fragrant spices combining with sweet and sour fruit, this stew also has the contrast of slow-cooked vegetables and the quickly stir-fried okra at the end. If you are not a fan, try some green beans or broccoli instead.
The Hairy Bikers' spicy bean hot pot: big flavours for a big pie, this hot pot pie has a topping of sliced potatoes over a scrumptious array of vegetables, beans and spices. A feast for you both from the bike-riding hairy boys.
Stella McCartney's winter minestrone: a hug in a bowl from the famous fashion designer that's perfect in this cold weather. Bonus points if you make some proper homemade bread to go with it.
Nothing says ‘Look, I’ve invested all this effort and care for your comfort my love’ than a pie. Make one of these and your beau will be well impressed. If not, it's fine to dump them.
John Webber's shallot, chunky steak and mushroom pie is quite possibly my favourite pie recipe on lovefood.com. It's packed with shallots, chunky steak and mushrooms, and is the perfect comfort food. Shallots have less water than onions and can stand up to a longer cooking process without falling apart.
Lesley Water's' fish pie: as pies go, Lesley's is pretty healthy and a tasty way to enjoy one of your recommended weekly portions of oily fish. Although it contains green beans and spring onion you will need a further portion of veg to count as one of your five a day, so why not serve it with a crisp side salad?
Chocolate is the traditional indulgent pud on Valentine’s Day, and we’ve got plenty of recipes featuring the stuff. However there are a few other options here, from a light and refreshing lemon posset to a warming bread and butter pud.
Eric Lanlard's hot chocolate fondant: Eric reckons this is the easiest, almost foolproof, chocolate fondant recipe. The secret’s in the timing, so don’t guess. Set your kitchen timer and you’ll be able to serve your loved one the most tasty, warm, chocolatey dessert they’ve ever had. And an added bonus is that you can even prepare the fondants the day before! Just keep them in the fridge (hidden, of course) to be cooked just before you are ready to eat them.
Gary Rhodes' bread and butter pudding: Gary's pud is not only delicious, but it's also time saving as it can be prepared well in advance, then just finished off in the oven when needed. As lovefood user bcfacer commented, 'Simple ingredients to make a creamy enjoyable desert for all.' Or in this case, just the two of you.
Richard Corrigan's lemon posset: Richard says, 'I love the way the punchy, refreshing smell of lemon translates on to your hands as you make this dish. When you’re zesting the lemon, keep your hand on the top of the lemon because the grater is very sharp; it does enjoy meeting fingers.'
A little extra something...
How about some homemade chocs to nibble on in front of Titanic/Romeo & Juliet/When Harry met Sally?
Ice cream truffles with almond and biscuit crumb: a lovely little recipe, which involves scooping little balls of vanilla ice cream, rolling them in toasted almonds and biscuit crumbs, then dipping the whole thing in a pool of melted dark chocolate. Very easy to make, but also very impressive on the plate.
What will you be cooking for dinner on 14th February? Tell us in the Comments section below.
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