It’s Valentine’s Day this week as the vividly pink displays in the shop windows remind us. Those supermarket aisles that recently featured chocolate Santas are now laden with Prosecco and red velvet truffles. Where’s gender equality? There should be beer and sausages on display, too.
As restaurants repeat the Christmas shtick on the 14th Feb, by offering overpriced and underwhelming special menus, the thing to do is stay in, cook together and have what you both like best, with a glass or two of strawberry fizz (who says it’s only for the summer?) – or beer.
What’s good for cooking together? Chicken alla fiorentina for instance. One of you on the spinach, the other on the chicken and then both get together in one pan – fitting, and not too much washing up. Fish cooking is not too romantically fragrant but mussels are inoffensive, and such a sensuous dish: cook the classic moules marinieres or add cream to the sauce.
For starters you can make the simple crab salad or scallops with chorizo, but a slice of fresh tomato and olive bread with good oil to dip it in will be just as good, if you’re of the baking orientation.
If no meat is your choice but you’re both okay with cheese, it won’t get better than the camembert en croute. Make the pastry from scratch – together – it’s totally worth it. If you are SO not keen on the idea, bring shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry to room temperature and fold in a sprinkle of grated Cheddar and fresh thyme leaves. You can also marry the Valentine Wednesday with the Shrove Tuesday preceding it and make enough pancakes to eat on both days. Spinach and blue cheese filling is especially appealing.
To finish – the easiest chocolate mousse – honestly, scrambled eggs are harder to prepare than this mousse. Or the marginally more involved mini valentine heart cake. It’s so good you might not even bother cutting out the sponge hearts, but it’s a nice touch. Happy Valentine’s!