Be My Valentine?!
Valentines/Singles Awareness Day is tomorrow! This day used to haunt me as a child. The whole day of school I would be on tenterhooks, I knew I wouldn’t get a card, and if I did I would think it was somebody playing a joke, but the entire day was filled with trepidation. And this was when I was about 8!
Valentines is a commercial day, a day for companies to make money, however, it is not a modern celebration, Valentines has its place in history.
The earliest surviving valentine is claimed to be a 15th-century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orléans to his wife, while he was in prison. It commences:
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…
My very gentle Valentine
Planning your Valentines Meal
When planning your valentines meal don’t go overboard. There is nothing romantic about a very full belly! There is a very funny scene from episode 88 of Sex and The City. Charlotte, the hopeless romantic, is complaining of the lack of true romance in modern living. To prove to her romance is still alive, her husband Harry treats her to a romantic dinner. The night ends with them both racing for the toilet as a result of food poisoning! “Surviving the night of food poisoning together wasn’t the stuff of great romance, but it was the stuff of lasting love!”.
Personally, for Valentines, I would avoid all restaurants to avoid the commercial aspect and to avoid the crowds. A crowded restaurant is not a romantic location!
It is simple to plan a nice meal at home. It is quiet and intimate. If I was cooking for someone special this year and wanted to go all out and cook a three course a meal..it would probably be something like this:
Scallops or prawns sautéed in white wine and garlic
A nice juicy piece of sirloin steak served on a bed of sweet potato mash with some green beans or tuna steak with mango salsa and salad
Something simple and speedy like strawberries dipped in chocolate or this baileys dream! Also, lemon sorbet is very refreshing after a meal.
It is simply some baileys in a little glass with some melted chocolate or melted nutella topped with a strawberry!
Simple romantic snacks and treats
Planning a meal can be simple but may take some time and when the meal is ready you may be exhausted and feeling very unromantic. Having some simple snacks prepared in advance can be useful. Starters like prawn cocktail, and dips like hummus and guacamole are handy to have ready in your fridge. Snacks like red or mini sweet peppers with goats cheese, pear salad, stuffed mushrooms, prawn and avocado take little preparation and look great!
Pear and avocado on toast or crackers with parmesan shavings!
Simple romantic treats include port poached pears, chocolate dipped strawberries, rocky road hearts, strawberry and marshmallow skewers with a chocolate dip and fresh fruit like cherries and berries.
Strawberry and marshmallow skewers with a chocolate dip
Cherries are one of my favourite fruits so don’t forget about them on valentines. Strawberries are always associated with this romantic holiday, but there is nothing more romantic than a fresh juicy cherry!
Rocky road hearts
Other romantic options
I think probably one of the most romantic gestures would be a valentines breakfast. It would make a simple speedy surprise! Heart-shaped fried eggs, or heart-shaped pancakes with some fresh fruit, a mimosa and one red rose!
Ordering in some sushi and watching a romantic old movie with some sake is a another simple and speedy option which requires little effort but dialling your mobile phone!
And finally, whether it is for a spouse, partner, loved one, friend, family member or for yourself, let Valentines be a day to treat your loved one and/or just yourself. Valentines day differs in different countries. The day is banned in some muslim countries. In some Latin American countries, Valentine’s Day is known as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship). In Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Puerto Rico a common tradition is to see people performing acts of appreciation for their friends.
Valentines can be a bitter day for broken hearts, but it can also be an excuse to have some good food and a glass of champagne or good wine!