VALENTINE’S day is just one big heart-shaped excuse to eat mouth-watering, heart-melting food, our one true love.
Wonderful meals aren’t only found on menus, in fact, the best dinners are undoubtedly those you prepare yourself… and your loved one will certainly appreciate it all the more.
Cooking is a labour of love and whether you’re a Heston Blumenthal aficionado or a beans-on-toast connoisseur, it shows you care and takes you to the heart of the meal and the root of the flavour.
It takes far more thought and care to create exciting, enticing food than it does to fall back lazily on the default flowers and chocolates combo.
And why not experiment with some of mother nature’s own aphrodisiacs; avocado, almonds, honey and figs are all bound to cause a stir.
So with love in the air and rumbling in the belly, treat that someone special to these romantic recipes without stepping out your front door (except, of course, to buy the ingredients).
Parmesan-stuffed medjool dates wrapped in bacon
For a Valentine’s ‘date’ to remember…
· Pull the pits out of large Medjool dates and stuff with a small chunk of Parmesan cheese.
· Cut slices of bacon in thirds and wrap each piece around a stuffed date.
· Place them seam-side down on a baking sheet and bake at 180C for 10 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through.
Raspberry and scallop salad
Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than this lip-smacking combination of raspberries and scallops…
· Toss fresh salad leaves together in a large bowl and top with raspberries and slices of mango, avocado and red onion.
· Preheat a large frying pan and drizzle with olive oil, season the scallops with salt and pepper and fry them until they are brown on each side.
· Make the dressing by adding honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and mix well.
· Add the scallops and drizzle the dressing over the salad to serve.
Roast salmon and asparagus
It’s love at first sight when succulent salmon meets aphrodisiacal asparagus in this one-pot-pleaser…
· Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
· Tip new potatoes and 1 tbsp of olive oil into an ovenproof dish and roast for 20 minutes, until they are starting to brown.
· Toss the asparagus, trimmed and halved, in with the potatoes and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
· Add cherry tomatoes and vinegar and nestle salmon fillets amongst the vegetables, then drizzle more olive oil over and return to the oven for a final 10-15 minutes.
· Scatter over basil leaves and serve everything scooped straight from the dish.
Steak in red wine sauce
When all else fails, steak will still be there. Everyone loves steak and everyone loves red wine, you simply can’t lose…
· Season two fillet steaks with black pepper before adding to a sizzling hot, large non-stick frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, without moving them.
· Sprinkle with salt, turn them over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
· Remove the steaks, turn down the heat and fry chopped shallots in butter until softened. Pour in red wine, add thyme, and reduce by two thirds.
· Stir in redcurrant jelly and mustard and season before returning the steaks to the pan to heat through in the sauce.
· Serve with your valentine-veg of choice.