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Valentine recipes

Sun, 12 February, 2017

Love or hate Valentine's Day? There are so many reasons to hate it. If you're a teenager, you fear the lack of valentines or perhaps too many but all from wrong senders. If you're a fresh couple, you dread making a wrong move: what if I roll up with a bunch of overpriced roses and she hates the phoniness of it? And the couples who go out on the day will resent the shock-high prices restaurants charge and the shock-low effort they make.

I say don't go out - cook at home. Cook something special even if you're French and shrug at the mention of a valentine because you SO don't bother with it.

It needn't be oysters and foie gras: how about this fantastic beef fillet wrapped around dried wild mushrooms? Or five spice duck which is so good (and quick to make), I promise you'll be cooking it again and again.

If meat isn't your thing - or your partner's - there's always melanzane parmigiana. Or cheese fondue which apparently is something of a tradition for the 14th of February - or so The Guardian tells us.

Fish dish - that might be the thing. How about simple but flavoursome steamed salmon - using my secret trick of wrapping fish in cling film for the steaming. That way you end up with bags of taste rather than a bland and dry outcome. Another, quite unusual way of cooking fish is poaching in butter - beautiful, succulent fish, and butter can even be reused, though possibly not in a cake.

Dessert will be the crux of the VDay feast - and I have the easiest but the most impressive idea. Heart shaped mini sponge cake, served with love and icing sugar. And if you want a challenge there's always the dome cake, but for that you probably need to start at it NOW. Happy Valentine's!