This is my fourth romantic post, and I haven't mentioned food and drink yet, which is very remiss of me, so I hope that the following recipes might give you some ideas for making it a special evening on Valentine's Day, to share with that special person in your life.
Berry Blush Cocktails.
Use any berry liqueur you like for these cocktails
Pour 2tbsp each berry liqueur and vodka into two tall glasses and top up with lemonade or tonic water. Garnish with strawberries, raspberries and ice and serve immediately.
Be Mine Bruschetta.
Good deli ingredients mean more taste with less prep!
4 ciabatta bread slices
1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to brush
1tsp balsamic vinegar
½tsp runny honey
½ x 125g ball buffalo mozzarella, torn into pieces
40g (1½oz) Parma ham, torn into pieces
75-100g (3-3½oz) grilled artichoke hearts, chopped
Basil leaves, to garnish.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Arrange the ciabatta slices on a baking tray, brush with a little extra-virgin olive oil and bake for 8-10min until crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and seasoning in a jug.
Arrange the toasted bread slices on a platter and top with the mozzarella, Parma ham and artichoke pieces.
Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with black pepper and basil leaves.
Steak Your Claim with Crush on you Tomatoes.
Steak comes alive with a flavourful butter – and this one’s ready in minutes.
15g (½oz) butter, softened
1tsp Dijon mustard
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
1tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 x 250-300g (9-11oz) beef steaks
Sunflower oil, to brush
12 cherry tomatoes on the vine, cut into two bunches.
In a small bowl, mix together the first four ingredients with some seasoning and set aside. Pat steaks dry with kitchen paper and season both sides.
Oil a griddle pan and put over a high heat to warm up. Brush steaks with oil, then griddle for 5-6min, turning once, for medium meat. Transfer steaks to a board, cover with foil and leave for 5min.
Meanwhile, fry the cherry tomatoes in the griddle pan for 5min until beginning to collapse.
Top the steaks with flavoured butter and serve with the tomatoes, French Kiss Fries and a crisp green salad.
French kiss fries
No peeling or par-boiling means these oven-baked fries are fuss free.
2 medium floury potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into thin strips
1tbsp plain flour
1tbsp sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and toss together with plenty of seasoning. Tip fries on to the lined tray and spread out as much as possible.
Cook for 25-30min, turning occasionally, until fries are golden and tender. Serve immediately.
True Love Espresso Pots.
These decadent puds will have you swooning in no time.
100g (3½oz) white chocolate, broken into pieces
75ml (3oz) double cream
¼tsp ground coffee, finely ground espresso is ideal.
Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool for 5min.
Pour cream into a bowl and whisk until it holds its shape.
Fold the chocolate and coffee into the cream. Pour into two 75ml (3fl oz) cups, decorate and serve.
Decorations for your espresso pots
When time is short...
A sprinkling of cocoa powder and chocolate-covered coffee beans is sweet and effective.
Time to spare...
Line a tray with baking parchment.
Melt 25g (1oz) dark chocolate and use a teaspoon or piping bag to drizzle it on to the parchment to make hearts and write words.
Leave for 30min before using.