By Georgie Socratous
OK, before I start to rant I’d just like to say that I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. If it’s done right. Lots of people go out to dinner and I get that. Safe in the knowledge that there’s no washing up, you can focus on each other, and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes across a candlelit table. The problem is, fifty other couples in close proximity are doing the same, which kind of makes the moment less intimate for me. To be honest, I’d rather stay in and watch Corrie.
One way to avoid a hideous public display of affection while still embracing the sentiment is to stay in and cook your loved one a beautiful meal. Another way is to curl up on the sofa with your better half, a plate of baked beans on white buttered toast and a bottle of Nyetimber – as I did last year. Nothing quite says I love you like beans on toast and bubbles.
You see, it’s not about lavish gifts and overpriced roses; it’s about being thoughtful and doing little things that show you care. Now, if you fancy something a little less gassy and a little more involved than Heinz’s finest, pop down to your local market/greengrocer, buy some gorgeous seasonal ingredients and concoct something super simple that you can both enjoy.
Blood oranges squeezed into a glass, topped with Prosecco for the moment they walk in the door? Yes please. For a starter, mussels are oh-so easy to prepare and in season. Oysters are too, lest we forget that these delicious native gems are also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Lucky, lucky you! Simply serve with a quick shallot dressing, lemon wedges and a bottle of Tabasco to get those endorphins going.
Steak as a main is always a winner, being so quick and easy to cook. Try something a little different by using venison; it’s in season, impressive and lower in fat than beef. Just cook it the same way as fillet steak, so that it’s lovely and pink in the middle, and serve it with a punchy sauce.
I think you’ve got to go full-on cliché for pud and serve something chocolaty, ideally something gooey and runny that you can enjoy together – a dark chocolate fondue laced with Armagnac and fluffy marshmallows on the side is dreamy. Totally cheesy, but that’s why I love it.
In my head this is my dream menu for V-Day, but if we only get as far as the blood orange Prosecco before cracking open the Heinz and sliced bread that’s perfect too, because I’ll be at home with someone I care about, and really that’s all that matters.