It’s beyond contention that the ability to cook is an attractive trait in a person – whether it’s developed to the point of rolling out a show-stopping stuffed porchetta or just making a really decent slice of cheese on toast.
There is quite simply no restaurant in the world that will light you up in the eyes of a date or significant other in the same way that a table laden with things you’ve prepared yourself will. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few ideas for a failsafe homespun Valentine’s – on the food front, at least!
If you’re concerned about the pressure, don’t be, because the “homemade-is-always-better” rule applies to most things in our romantic lives. As a self-confessed hopelessly romantic comedian recently said, even buying cards is a ridiculous thing to do when there is paper in your printer upon which you can simply write “I love you”.
And that’s the point of doing things yourself – it’s not about matching the quality of a restaurant, a card company, or even a jeweller; it’s simply about expressing how you feel. What you produce – be it the meal, the card or the present – doesn’t need to be remotely complex, it just has to be from you.
This is exactly what this menu has been designed to be, which is why it begins with a truly special starter.
We rarely let a Valentine’s Day go by without mentioning the easiest, sexiest salad in the world, because – well, just look at it.
With its combo of sumptuous seasonal figs, salty Parma ham, creamy mozzarella and sweet, sticky balsamic dressing, this is a simple salad that can hold its own in terms of flavour against any more complex dish.
The main event, a beautiful grilled tuna steak with a light and delicious tomato spaghetti, is straightforward enough to keep you in the kitchen for no longer than 40 minutes, as well as minimising your washing up! You can see for yourself how simple it is below, where Jamie and YouTube heartthrob Jim Chapman put it together for their own romantic meal – although there’s a distinct lack of their other halves!
Dessert is always a guaranteed winner on a DIY menu, especially on Valentine’s Day, and a little prep will go a long way. One of our favourite sweet treats is this rich salted chocolate tart, because as long as you make time to chill it beforehand, the result is truly, effortlessly elegant.
Another option is go for an even simpler treat – the timeless chocolate truffle. These little balls of joy are perfect for making in advance. Either present your truffles beautifully on a tray with coffee or, even better, pack them up into a pretty box with a bow, thereby incorporating your Valentine’s gift into the meal. You can follow our super simple chocolate truffle recipe, and also read Ren’s article on taking truffles to the next level.
If you need a little more inspiration, fear not – we have a whole category full of recipes for romantic meals for you to delve into.
You may be thinking that the one aspect of a night out that a DIY Valentine’s night can’t match is the cocktails, but we’ve got that covered too. Whether it’s something more interesting than champagne, something classic and fruity, or something tall, delicate and beautiful, the amazing Drinks Tube team have got it all.
Last but not least, a nod to another very important person in our lives – ourselves. YOU-app, a new wellness app that promotes a healthy lifestyle through micro-actions, was launched last month by Fifth Corner Inc. Ltd in collaboration with Jamie. Today we kick off our “Share the Love” week on the app, the goal being to spend seven days achieving a handful of romantic micro-goals that will encourage us to love our minds, bodies, and souls – from performing a random act of kindness to dropping some emotional baggage. Sure, making a splash on Valentine’s Day for the one you love is important, but it’s also the perfect time of year to make time for ourselves.
You can download YOU-app from the App Store, or sign up at you-app.com to be the first to get your hands on it when it’s released for Android.
So, whether you’re in the early days of a new relationship, celebrating the fortieth year you’ve spent together, or just looking after yourself, be brave this year and take Valentine’s Day into your own hands – you’ll thank us!